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Earthquake calls for urgent response with gospel, Taiwanese students say

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–The destructive earthquake that hit Taiwan has created an opportunity for Christians to share their faith in Jesus in an area of the world steeped in false religion, according to Taiwanese students at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Sept. 21 earthquake, which has killed more than 2,000 people in central Taiwan, with as many or more still believed to be trapped in the debris, underscored the island nation’s need for the gospel, said Angy Lin, a master of arts in Christian education student who has family and friends in Taiwan.
More than just physical needs must be met, Lin said, in a country where Christians make up only a very small percentage of the population and most of Taiwan’s citizens adhere to Buddhism, Taoism or folklore religions.
“It’s really a spiritual battle,” she said.
The pervasiveness of these religions is easily seen in the small nation where “there’s a temple around every street corner in Taiwan,” Lin said.
With Buddhist organizations in the United States already sending funds and aid to the 100,000 people made homeless in Taiwan, Christians here need to pray “for an opening of people’s hearts, for missionaries and churches to be active in ministering to people,” Lin said.
Jill Mao, a second-semester master of divinity student, agreed the needs in Taiwan are of eternal dimensions and warned that time is critical.
There is a window to minister to those in Taiwan, Mao said, and the need to do so is now. “It’s a great opportunity for us,” she said. “I think Christians should be awake in this situation.”
While Buddhists are already moving to help, Christians need to take action quickly, she added.
“We can give them spiritual help,” said Mao, whose family lives near the area of the earthquake but was not hurt. “We can pray for their salvation.”
Albert Hung, a master of arts in marriage and family counseling student, said God will help Christians witness and “help the people in Taiwan to see God and to have an open heart to the gospel.”
“We are afraid that the Buddhists will draw more men to their false idols,” said Hung, agreeing that the predominance of Eastern religions on the island makes for a great need for the gospel.
He urged Christians in the United States to pray for the churches in Taiwan, so that they receive “power to effectively share the gospel.”
“Keep praying that there will be an openness to hear the gospel,” Lin said.
Even a disaster like this, Mao said, can be used by God to show that he is in control and that he is the only God. “We need to have faith in him,” she said.
All three said their family and friends were doing all right. Lin said that trying to find out the status of her friends, including Southwestern graduate Sara Grim, has not been easy because the earthquake knocked out power in Taichung, Taiwan’s third-largest city and the most directly affected by the quake. Telephone lines, she said, have been overwhelmed by people from overseas trying to call.
However, Lin said, she has been keeping up with the news about the quake by reading Chinese newspapers on the Internet.
The earthquake that hit Taiwan was the second-deadliest in its history and has been followed by powerful aftershocks.

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  • Cory J. Hailey