Monday, January 25, 2016

Telling Stories

We had a guest in the pulpit this morning, David Ullstrom.  David and his wife, Ruth, are Missionaries in Taiwan with OMF International.  They have served there since 1988.  During that time they were involved in planting new churches, starting a program to partner English teachers with OMF missionaries and Taiwan churches and, in David's case, serving as a pastor with a congregation.  Ruth taught kindergarten at Morrison Academy, an international missionary school in Taiwan.  David and Ruth are now involved in a new ministry reaching out to working class people in Qiaotou, a semi-rural district of Kaohsiung City.
  In discussing their work, David told how they had prayed for guidance in deciding where they should re-locate in Taiwan.  A short time later, they were given a free house by a non-Christian acquaintance. The question of "where?" was settled.

  Although they and their friends were eager to begin a church right away, they did not want to run ahead of God.  They began to reach out to people slowly and in in small groups.  Because of Ruth's work in schools, they were allowed to go into a school and tell Bible stories.  They weren't allowed to preach or pray or proselytize, but they could tell stories.  The children loved it.

  Telling Bible stories became the key to their mission.  They took part in summer camps, telling Bible stories. 

   They developed a three minute version of some stories so they could tell people they met on the street about Jesus in story form. One of their favourites for new hearers was the story of Zacchaeus, a rich man who knew he lacked something.  That something was Jesus.  The story resonates with many in Taiwan.

  Since story-telling has been such an effective tool for the Ullstroms, they have developed a series of cards to hand out to those who have heard the stories.  The cards contain these questions:
  1.  What did you like about this story?
  2.  Do you have any questions about the story?
  3.  What do you learn about people from this story?
  4.  What do you learn about God from this story?
  5.  What will you do this week as a result of hearing this story?
  6.  Who will you tell this story to this week?

As well as telling stories, David and Ruth seek to "show" the gospel.  One of the ways they do this is by fostering orphans.  Recently they've cared for two children who were eventually adopted into Canadian families in Edmonton. 

    As they wind up their time in Canada, they ask that we pray for them and for their vision of their work in Taiwan, as explained in this slide.

  Thank you to David and Ruth for sharing your vision and your story with Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church.

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