This past week when I was navigating narrow country roads in search of a short cut, I discovered a deserted Catholic church compound only 10 minutes or so from my house. It is not the first abandoned Catholic church building I have stumbled across in Yunlin County that apparently closed long long ago. There was one a little further south of here I discovered with coworkers a few years ago, and there is also a former Catholic church building in my town that opens only for child care. Then there's the tiny Presbyterian church not too far away that is essentially dead as well. Coastal Yunlin County... graveyard for churches. Why? Were they just buildings erected with foreign funds? I wonder if there was ever any life in these places, and if so, what led to their demise.
A friend of mine in a neighboring church wrote in her blog yesterday (rough translation from Chinese is mine, without consulting a dictionary and taking the liberty to move a few sentences around from top to bottom): "I want to be like Peter, to say to people, silver and gold have I none, but in the name of Jesus I give you healing and freedom... The reason the apostles had so much power to proclaim the gospel is because they were watered/filled with the Holy Spirit, waited on the Holy Spirit... Why do we say the Good News is difficult to pass along?" (italics added-- that's what people say about this area all the time)
"... Jesus is the Son of the eternal God. The more we know God, the more power from Jesus we are able to wield. What is the power we have in Christ? It is the power of God Himself. The closer we move toward God the more power we have. The more we know God's Holy Spirit, the more intimate we are with Him, the more sensitive we are to His working, the better we are able to discern God's will and leading. "
May this kind of intimacy with Jesus and recognition of how and where God's Spirit is at work not only prevent the death of future church communities in this area, but lead to mass movement of people to Jesus Christ in coastal Yunlin County. For to whom else may we go? You have the words of eternal life.