{Prayers for Taiwan} Bai-bai (拜拜) & Ghost Month (鬼月)

I’ve decided to write a series of blog posts entitled “Prayers for Taiwan” about Taiwan’s culture and religion and the spiritual needs of the people.  Taiwan is a country in desperate need of the Gospel.  In fact, OMF, a mission organization with a strong presence in Taiwan, states that “Taiwan is recognised as the only major Chinese society where there has not yet been a significant spiritual breakthrough.”  I am not in Taiwan as a church planter or an evangelist, but through my work teaching at Morrison, through volunteering with other ministries, and through my interaction with the Chinese people and culture in daily life, I am witnessing firsthand the spiritual needs of this nation.  Many of you are already praying for my ministry in this place, so I feel compelled to share with you some of the specific spiritual strongholds in Taiwan so that you will know how to pray more effectively for this land.

Let’s begin by talking about “ghost month.”  This morning as I was leaving for church, I noticed a large tent near the entrance to my community.  I saw the same tent around this time last year and learned that it is for something called “bai-bai” (拜拜–sounds like “bye bye” in English).  Every month on the first day and the fifteenth day, the Taiwanese people do “bai-bai” by burning paper money  in large metal barrels and leaving food on tables outside their homes or businesses.  “Bai-bai” can be translated as “paying respect, worshiping, visiting, or saluting” or as “bowing with hands together.”  Boiled down to a basic definition, “bai-bai” is ancestor worship.  Though it is done regularly twice a month, there are also other special times for “bai-bai” throughout the year.  The seventh month of the lunar calendar (which began about a week ago) is called “ghost month” and this is one of those special times.

Continue reading “{Prayers for Taiwan} Bai-bai (拜拜) & Ghost Month (鬼月)”

On Wings Like Eagles

I have decided to widen my circle of prayer regarding a health issue I am facing.  For some, this post will be an update on the situation, and for others, it will be an explanation from the beginning.  Please read on…

I share this story as a request for prayer but also as an opportunity to praise God for his faithfulness; I have witnessed evidence of God’s hand in this situation in so many specific details along the way.  About a month ago, while I was home in the States for summer vacation, I found a lump on my throat.  I was standing in front of a mirror while taking some pills, and I noticed that my throat looked strange when I swallowed.  I don’t usually watch myself swallow, but I did this time because I was sharing a hotel room with my family and the bathroom was the only available place for me to be at the moment.  The fact that I found the lump on my throat while at home in the States is to me the first evidence of God’s hand. Continue reading “On Wings Like Eagles”

URGENT Prayer Request

Update (8/21/10):

I think it’s about time for an update and a whole lot of praise to the Lord!  Sawyer was discharged from the hospital on Thursday, August 12, just days after fighting for his life in the ICU.  He is still weary and recovering, but he is doing remarkably well.  He is on antibiotics to heal an infection in his hip/abdomen area, and though surgery is a possible treatment for this infection, we are praying that the antibiotics will be all that he needs.  By Sunday, August 15, Sawyer was asking to go to church–praise the Lord for this young man’s hunger for God!  LCA (Sawyer’s high school) began classes on Tuesday, August 17, but Sawyer is not back in class yet.  I believe he will attempt to go back (starting with half days) sometime next week.  His body wears out easily, so pray for stamina for Sawyer to make it through long days of school as he starts his senior year.  Continue to pray for Sawyer as he visits doctors to monitor his health and as he moves toward a full recovery.  Praise God with me for His awesome work and answer to pray in this young man’s life! Continue reading “URGENT Prayer Request”