Starting in January 2016, the Taiwan Prison Ministry has increased the scope of their outreach by adding a new coworker and by stepping up their discipleship program with several activities. Sister Diep has joined the prison ministry team, which has allowed them to increase these kinds of activities:
Instead of just giving social help to the needy, the Taiwan Prison Ministry encourages inmates to study God's word.
Grant Outcome Summary
The grant supplied by Transparent Fish Fund was used to provide practical care to the neediest migrant workers at the shelter. This care is shown through providing nutritious meals, clothes, sandals, phone cards, transportation assistance, and activities.
The Taiwanese church that we support is bearing fruit not just in their prison ministry, but also in their outreach to the local Vietnamese community. On Sunday, June 12, 2016, this church baptized a 95-year-old lady.
It all started when the 95-year-old's Vietnamese caretaker became a Christian at the church a few years ago. At first, the caretaker's boss (the elderly lady's children) treated her very strictly and didn't allow her to have Sundays off. She cried out to God, as she desired to go to church on Sunday. The church also prayed fervently for her and this situation.
Three months ago, the caretaker asked her boss if she could bring their mother to the church service, with the condition that if their mother didn't like it, she would never ask again. After the first church service, the elderly lady really liked it. Despite her hearing problem and language barrier, she has not missed a church service since then.
Praise: Job Provided for Hýõng
Again, praise the Lord for his answer to our prayers. Last time Hýõng pleaded in prayer for a job. Within a few days, she found one. The experience really strengthened her trust in the Lord.
Upon leaving for the workforce, she reminded us to provide the phone number and address of the church near her factory.
Prayer Request: Healing and Jobs for New Group
Please pray for another group of workers that just arrived at the shelter. So many workers are mistreated, and as they suffer, their families back home also suffer.
For example, three men were illegally assigned to work at a big restaurant and were forced to work from 5am to 8pm with no breaks. They were paid 12,000 NTD (a little less than $400 USD).
Another example is a lady who just left the shelter to care for an elderly man. The elderly man just liked to sleep in the same room with her and took his clothes off. She couldn't take it and went back to a shelter at a different location.
Stories similar to these abound. These migrant workers not only need jobs, but far more than that, they need God to heal their hurts and wounds.
"The inmates are very impressed with our care and often send letters to express their appreciation. Currently more than a hundred inmates have been converted in prison." --Pastor Thu
Caring for Migrant Workers
Throughout the island of Taiwan, there are 5 detention centers with approximately 200 migrant workers housed in each one. Many of the workers are victims of exploitation and various kinds of abuse by brokerage agencies and employers. As a result, they willfully leave contracted jobs and find work elsewhere. Sooner or later, they get caught and are transferred to detention centers. They stay there for about 4 months while waiting for their legal documents to be recovered, and then they return to their home countries.
The Christian and Missionary Alliance goes into the detention centers to evangelize, counsel, and care for the migrant workers' basic needs. As the laborers stay at the shelter and wait for offers on new jobs, they have no source of income. The grant we have given to the Taiwan Labor Concern program enables the migrant workers to have sandals, soap bars, toothbrushes, toothpaste, towels, coffee, tea, snacks, weekly meals, telephone cards, and ferry and subway tickets. As care is shown to them in practical ways, these hurting workers have responded in attending weekly activities and church meetings.
Changed Lives in Prison
On January 5, 2016 we visited the prison in Taipei. The weather was not too cold, and after some heavy rain we had a chance to visit some prisoners with Pastor Thu. These prisoners had heard the gospel from Pastor Thu and had accepted God as their Savior. We had 20 minutes to visit these people. We started to greet each other like two strangers, but we felt like we had known each other as family. We talked and shared our stories sincerely.
Read about the life-changing stories on the mission field.