Double-edged 真理報雙語版

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A bilingual and bicultural Christian young adults blog //////////////// 青年華裔基督徒的博客

Taiwan Part II: The Public Declaration

Iris | Chinese Translation: Ingrid

It was a cloudy Sunday afternoon, and I was sitting at a restaurant with my friends, waiting for our take-out orders. We were planning to take our lunch to the beach, where we can hang out until the baptism later that day. I looked across the table at my friend Cindy*. She had just graduated from senior high school, and today she was going to be baptized in the ocean. Her face showed a mixture of excitement and nervousness, and she was very quiet, as if trying to contain all the emotions within herself.

At the beach, the church members and friend and families of those who were being baptized sat around the picnic tables. This bilingual church was currently without a pastor, so one of the church leaders chaired the service. It rained earlier, and the air was cool with a breeze coming from the ocean. Under the shades of the palm trees, we sat facing the ocean with the waves lapping the seashore and sang praises to our mighty God. After a time of worship, we walked down to the seashore, where the church leader baptized the three new members of the church in the warm water. It was a beautiful scene.

At my church in Vancouver, we often encourage our youths to be baptized when they firmly decide to follow Jesus. Baptism Sundays always involved lots of pictures, flowers, and presents. One fellow sister once said that baptisms at our church were almost as glamorous as weddings! However, what I saw last Sunday was different. The ceremony was very simple, yet it carried so much weight. This public declaration of faith is very costly to the Taiwanese. They have chosen a road which many do not have the courage to take in Taiwan. Being Christians, they refuse to participate in idol worship with their families and friends (a communal idol worship event is held once a month, and many Taiwanese offer up incense every morning). Also, Taiwanese Christians are seen as unfilial children because they refuse to offer incense to their ancestors. Lastly, baptism also has a notion of permanence – once you are baptized, there’s no going back. There have been cases where parents have severed the link they have with their children because of their decision to follow Jesus. Due to the strong opposition from their families, many Taiwanese Christians have been baptized discreetly, without their family’s knowledge until after the incident.

Cindy is only an eighteen-year-old girl, and this was a huge step for her. In the days leading up to her baptism, she was greatly burdened with the explosive reactions from her family. Her sister was firm in refusing to attend her baptism, and her mother decided the night before that she would not attend either. The only reason she was allowed to be baptized was because her father, who is also Christian. Very quickly, the family was split into two sides. Cindy had foreseen this and knew this would happen. Even after she had counted the cost, she was still convinced that Jesus had more to offer, despite the hardship and opposition that awaits her.

Baptism is not to be taken lightly. In our comfortable, religiously-tolerant society, we often forget that following Christ is costly. Would we, like James and John from Matthew 4, and like many of the Taiwanese Christians, leave our families for Jesus? Let us learn from these fellow brothers and sisters – to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily!

Iris currently resides in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, where she is a Partner of OMF (Overseas Missionary Fellowship), doing missionary work and working as an English teacher.
*Names have been changed for privacy purposes.

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Filed under: Personal Story, , , , ,

One Response

  1. sharon says:

    Thanks for sharing, Iris.
    Praying for you and the new Family members.

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Welcome

"Double-edged"is bilingual blog in affiliation with Truth Monthly, a Chinese Christian monthly print publication based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

This blog features mostly original writings as well as comics, poetry, and other works of art by local Christian young adults.

For more information or to submit your own writing, please email tm.double.edged@gmail.com

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