Taiwan and Japan 2003 (Scroll down for the first updates on this trip)

Posted September 29, 2003

Dearest Friends,

Today, I found myself on the steps of a Buddhist temple sharing Christ with two dear ladies who asked so many good questions. One of them had heard me speak on Saturday night and asked if she could take me sight seeing. She choose a Buddhist temple. I will give you more details later, but I was so thrilled to stand near a false god and speak of the one true God and His Son Jesus Christ! Best of all, the ladies listened and asked many more questions about faith the rest of the day. Please pray that these dear ladies come to faith!

I had a wonderful time today doing a chapel program for The Christian Academy of Japan, grades one thru five. Many were not believers and it was a good opportunity to witness to the children of the international community. Praise God for Phillip Hansen, Chris Hansen, and Megan Weemes who stood in as puppeteers. They did a great job!

I am coming home tomorrow and I cannot wait to see Mike! Please pray for me as I travel.

Love in Jesus, Linda

Posted September 27, 2003

Dearest Friends,

I am in Japan!!!!! I pray that the rest of the team has arrived at home and that they are safe. I have discovered a great food…!!!! Rice Balls with salmon, wrapped in seaweed. More, I have discovered that again God has gone ahead of me and done amazing things.

I am working with OMF (Overseas Missionary Fellowship) missionary friends, Pat and Faith Hansen. This afternoon, I gave a quick puppeteer course to their two teenage sons, Phillip and Chris. Later, we put their new skills to the test and as they helped me share in an evening program for Friendship House. This program is connected to a local church and is the first step in reaching out to non-Christians in their community. They did a great job!

In addition to tying balloons and sharing with the puppets, I told the story of Jonah and shared my testimony. Children, adults, and teenagers were present and the response was awesome! As we talked with non-Christians after the show, many good conversations were started over homemade brownies and the comments were very positive. One man spoke to me about coming to church tomorrow which would be his first time to visit a worship service. A lady, who is not a believer, even asked to take me sight seeing on Monday. She told me that she was very moved by the program tonight. Please ask the Lord to call my new friend, Fujiko, to faith.

Please continue to pray. I have two opportunities tomorrow to share a report of what we have seen God do around the world, a training opportunity, and a chapel program on Monday at Christian Academy in Japan. Then I leave for home and arrive in Atlanta on Tuesday evening.

Thank you for your faithfulness. Your prayers make a big difference. I am still surrounded by many false gods; today we passed several god shelf displays and a giant Buddha. However, many Japanese, unlike in Taiwan, simply put their trust in their money, position, and education. There is great need here for the wonderful hope of the Gospel. As I traveled on the train today, so many of the people looked so tired and hopeless.

Please pray for Japan! Love in Jesus, Linda

Posted September 25, 2003

Dearest Friends,

Tomorrow morning, Friday, we leave Taiwan. There is a 12 hour time difference from the States, so for most of you, we will begin our journey on Thursday evening. Please pray for Megan and Nola as they travel to the States and David as he returns home to England. I will travel to Japan, to work and visit with Pat and Faith Hansen, long time friends and missionaries with Overseas Mission Fellowship (OMF) for the next several days. Please pray for our time together as we examine the possibilities of equipping a puppet team in Japan.

We leave Taiwan eternally grateful to Jerry and Sandy Cole who invited us to come and have taken incredible care of all of us. More, they gave us the opportunity to share Christ with more than 9,000 children and young people in the past 2 weeks. Please continue to pray for them as they stand in a very dark place, surrounded by false gods and active demon worship. They are a sweet presence of God’s spirit.

We finished our time here, amazed at all that we have seen God do and determined to return. Physically and spiritually, it has been very difficult. However, we have seen God answer your prayers.

At one of our last shows, in the town of Gong Guan, we worked with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) missionaries and shared in a program for hundreds of elementary children. We had so many problems with equipment that had not been a problem before or since. The teachers would not help us at all. All of us could feel the oppression. Later, we found out that this town is a very traditional Hakka city which practices ancestor worship and tries to appease the evil spirits with food and money offerings. A large Buddhist temple overlooks the town where our dear friend, Li Don, spent 20 years of her life as a Buddhist nun. Today, she serves the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise God! All of these things made us very grateful for the children who came and thanked us for “the great story.”

Continue to stand with us in prayer!

Love in Jesus, Linda for Nola, David, and Megan

Posted September 24, 2003

Dearest Friends,

Today we shared in a program at a middle school. The assistant principal stood up when we finished and asked the children, “What is the point of this story?”. In unison, 350 students shouted, “Jesus… in your heart!”. A Buddhist, the lady was stunned and struggled with her response. Finally she said, “Love, it was love.” All of our Taiwanese friends were stunned. They could not believe the children’s response. Remember, this is a culture where the Gospel is new news. The children have never heard it.

Your prayers are so powerful. Please read the following list of praises.

  1. At a large university, 50 students gathered to watch the puppets and hear a Bible story. This number is important because only 5 were believers and none of our friends could believe that so many came.
  2. Kindergarten students laughed with delight at the puppet show.
  3. At a rural school, a teacher said to me in broken English, ” Your eyes…full of love. Children see face…joy. I…not understand?” As we shared, by God’s grace, she had seen her first glimpse of God’s spirit and how He changes people from the inside out.
  4. We met a lady today who prays for God to place a church in her home. Ask God to answer her prayers.
  5. In God’s providence, we met a missionary from South Africa who gave me many contacts for other countries in Africa. This answered a long time prayer.
  6. Early one morning, we shared with 1500 high school students at a flag raising ceremony. All of us could see God’s hand in the excited response of the students and teachers. Our missionary friend with YWAM (Youth With A Mission), Danny, said that many seeds were planted. Ask God to grow these small seeds in to big faith.
  7. In one day, we did four puppet shows with a very positive response at each show.
  8. Another school prepared gifts for the students, challenging them to listen better so that they could win the prizes.
  9. We watched in awe as a Buddhist school official who refused Bible story coloring books for the children suddenly change her mind.

We have four remaining puppet shows in Taiwan. Then Nola, Megan and David return home. I stop in Japan for several days to train with our friends Pat and Faith Hansen, before ruturning home on Tuesday.

Don’t stop praying!

Love in Jesus, Linda for Nola, Megan, and David

Posted September 21, 2003

Dearest Friends,

We are now in Miaoli, described by one national pastor as a Buddhist stronghold. The people in this place practice a mixture of Buddhism and Taoism which involves a lot of ancestor worship. We are working with the Hakka people group in Taiwan. In other countries, there are many Hakka Christians, but not in Taiwan where 99.8% do not believe.

Pastor Peter, whose church will receive the equipment, took us to the mountains last Friday. I was thrilled to see so many trees and open spaces. Taiwan is an extremely densely populated country and it is hard to feel that you are ever alone. Best of all, while we were in the mountains, we met Christians who were interested in having Peter’s church come and do a puppet show. Praise God!

In Chinese, we are a boo-oh-ton, which literally translates “cloth idol team.” This is the phrase that they use for puppet team.

David and I had a contest at lunch the other day. We had a pig intestine eating contest. David won when he ate 13, since I could only eat 12. Today we enjoyed traditional Hakka food when we ground our own tea, adding peanuts, sesame seeds, spices, and popped rice to the mix.

Saturday, we did 3 shows in front of a McDonald’s in extreme heat. The children and their parents came and listened anyway and many contacts were made by the local YWAM (Youth With A Mission) team. That afternoon, we trained many of their members and leaders in how to use puppet ministry to reach their children for Christ. In the evening, we had a program for around 50 children, teenagers, and adults. Ironically, this is the smallest group that we have presented a program with. We have had very large groups at many public schools, averaging 4 and sometimes 6 shows a day. Your prayers give us strength.

We have just finished a puppet show at a high school for over 1000 young people. All of us could feel God’s spirit at the school. The young people listened with complete attention. Even the teachers were amazed at how well the program went, especially since almost every person in the room was not a believer. Two brave Christian teachers risk their jobs to open the door for us.

The schools often welcome us with hand painted posters decorated with Christmas trees. When I asked why they used the symbols of Christmas, Peter told me that its always the right time for Christmas. I liked his idea and it reminded me of am important prayer request. Each Christmas season, we invite public and private school children to tour our home, see 30 Christmas trees, enjoy lunch, and have story time. Our schedule is not full. I am always thinking of the next ministry opportunity. We live 45 minutes south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, so please email us about bringing your school group. Ask God to fill this schedule.

Please stay on your knees. In our remaining 3 days in Taiwan, we will speak to several thousand children and young people about Jesus Christ. Then, on Friday, the team will return home to England and America and I will travel to Japan.

Start praying for the work in Japan today.

In Jesus, Linda for Nola, Megan, and David.

Posted September 19, 2003

We serve a great God. Over the last few days, your prayers have been especially sweet. Psalm 71:16-18 says, “I will go in the strength of the Lord… Until I declare Your strength to this generation.” The Lord gave me these verses late one night. Your prayers made these words truth in all of our lives. We are refreshed and comforted by your prayers.

Something wonderful happened this morning. A teacher from another school came to our program. Her children go to a school where we had done a program. They came home so excited that she wanted to come and see for herself. She loved the program and spent a long time talking to Pastor Peter afterwards. From her we learned that many, many of the children were going home very excited about all that they had seen and heard.

We have finished our training and our new puppet team plans to take the puppet ministry to Thailand in October. More, they already work in another Chinese country with the children. They will teach the brothers and sisters there how to reach their children for Jesus Christ. From this one place, the ministry will spread to 3 countries. More, they began to talk about going to Indonesia with their ministry. As Pastor Peter said, “Many people speak Chinese.” Praise God for their vision.

A Catholic high school gave is the opportunity to speak to around 500 of their students. This was the only program where we were completely free to tell the young people that they needed to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. In every program, we shared the Gospel, but we could not personally tell the students to believe except this one time. We trust God to call all of these children to faith. Please hold us before the throne!

Love in Jesus, Linda for Nola, Megan and David

Posted September 18, 2003

Dearest Friends,

We feel your prayers! This morning, as we began our program, many of you were meeting for prayer on Wednesday night. All of us felt stronger. Don’t stop praying!

God is answering our prayers. There is a possibility that Gino, an excellent translator from Hsin-Chu City, will be able to come with us to Maoli next week. We need his help. There is great opposition to the gospel there as it is a Buddhist stronghold. Ask God to remove all obstacles from his path so that he may come.

We have 5 shows today and I woke up unable to speak except for a whisper. After numerous cups of hot tea, I was able to do the first show. In God’s providence, David Thomson and I partnered to tell the second and third stories. I drew the pictures and he told the story, just like our puppet director James and Lynne Grant do in South Africa. It was awesome!! Today confirmed our belief that David will be able to use the puppets and storytelling to share Christ in England. Praise God! It makes no difference if one of us falls down. God always provides.

This is Megan Huddleston’s first trip out of the USA and she is doing great! Everyone is amazed that she is only 16 years old. I praise God for her parents who have placed their trust in God and sent her far away. I am especially greatful for their witness at a time when many Americans are afraid to leave the United States.

Nola Kilgore is a joy. She traveled with me last year to Ukraine and was such a blessing. She continues to have joy, no matter how difficult a time we are having. Her peace blesses all of us.

As we see doors open, we know it is your prayers. The mayor is a Buddhist, but welcomed us to this city with a meeting in his office and gifts. One principal was so thrilled with the program that he gave us a thumbs up and told us it was very powerful. More, he invited us to come again. No one here thought that high school students would enjoy the program, but the 800 who came to 2 shows today loved it. Some of the young people said that it was incredible. Everyone was thrilled. Again, we know these things happen because you pray.

Tomorrow, Friday, we finish our program in this city and move to Maoli. Please cover us in your prayers. Remember that most of these children and young people that we are speaking to have never before heard anything about Jesus Christ.

In Jesus, Linda for Nola, Megan, and David.

Posted September 17, 2003

Dearest Friends,

Please pray! We are surrounded by false gods and temples to pagan worship. Parades honoring Buddah stop traffic in the streets. Demonic activity is common place as men walk barefoot across a fire and climb ladders made of knives. Evil is not just a word; it is a presence. The principals and teachers are mostly Buddhists and will not always help us control the children. You must pray harder than you have ever prayed. Pray constantly!

Our pastor friend Peter told us that many people are controlled by evil spirits. Unemployment is a big problem. The people have no hope and often commit suicide. Those with money often use it for bad things. Prostitution is an enormous problem.

The name of this place is Hsin-Chu City which means “city of the wind”. We want to see the Wind of the Holy Spirit blow across this land. Please pray these requests:

  1. Ask God to quiet the children and thelp them to listen, even when their teachers do not encourage them.
  2. Ask God to give the Christians here boldness, many are afraid to admit they are believers.
  3. Ask God to give the Christians here who have opened the doors to the schools for us peace. Ask Him to calm their spirits and take away their worry.
  4. Ask God to protect a former Buddhist nun who is now a Christian. She has scheduled many programs for us and is at risk, though she is not worried.
  5. Ask God to refresh our bodies and give us strength. We have done 14 shows in 3 days. It is very hot and humid here and I am having difficulty with the heat. Pray for Nola, David and Megan to be strong as they move the equipment.
  6. Ask God to continue to keep us flexible, we have to constantly change our programs to adjust to different groups.
  7. Pray for the work in Maioli next week. It is more rural and very Buddhist. The Christians are very concerned, because we do not have the translators that we need. Ask Gd to provide good translators and hold open the doors.

I beg you to pray. Nothing is impossible for God!

Love In Jesus,

Linda for Nola, David and Megan

Posted September 14, 2003

Dearest Friends,

We are in Taiwan. Our 30 hour journey took us to San Francisco, Tokyo, and finally Taipei. David traveled alone to meet us from England, passing through Mongolia, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and finally Taiwan. All are safe and well.

This first week we are in the city of Hsinchu. It has population of around 400,000 people and boast a temple to the master of hell. As we left the airport, we could see many homes with a red light shining over their god shelf. Ghost month just finished here, where the gates of the dead are opened and the spirits wander the streets, accompanied by big celebrations. This is a very dark place. Pray!

We are far from home and the food reminds us of just how far away we are. The pastor today offered to arrange for us to have snake for a meal. We may be able to eat fried dried fish with peanuts and squid balls.

Corn and pineapple pizza is a popular choice. McDonalds serves corn soup for breakfast. Taiwanese fast food chains make their french fries from sweet potatoes. We were warned to watch out for what looks like a tasty lollipop. It is called a “yamixie” and is made from sticky rice mixed with duck’s blood. Yummy!

Psalm 86:10 says “For You are great, and do wondrous things; You alone are God.” Most people in Taiwan do not know the truth of these words. They worship many gods and only 3 to 4% of the population are believers. Most cities in Taiwan have a temple dedicated to the city god who protects local residents and brings good fortune. Pray against this false worship.

Others follow the teachings of Buddha, believing that all life in suffering. They hope to achieve nirvana, a place described as a state of complete freedom from greed, anger, ignorance, and various other problems. There is no nirvana, but there is Heaven. Pray that Buddhist children who come to the puppet shows will come to understand that their hope in Buddha is misplaced. Ask God to give them an understanding of His words and a desire for His Son.

Many Chinese practice Taoism. The word “tao” is literally translated “the way.” Some Taoists follow “The Way of the Heavenly Teacher”, believing and trusting in many gods, ceremonies, and special diets to prolong life and give it meaning. Increasingly, the supernatural, witchcraft, and fortune telling play a bigger role in their religion. Jesus said, in John 14:6, ” I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Ask God to deliver Taiwan’s children from this false way and show them the truth that is only found in trusting Jesus Christ as their Savior.

There is much more to write about all of the false teaching that Satan has planted in this land, but I will save the rest for other reports. By the time you receive this and prepare to go to church, we will have already finished worship. Remember that we are 12 hours ahead of you.

Please pray against the darkness. Ask God to pour His light on Taiwan’s children. Tomorrow we have 6 shows and we need you to pray.

Join the fight on your knees.

In Jesus Name, Linda for Nola, Megan, and David