It seems like the Gospel is in tough soil when it comes to the Asian continent.
Besides the exception of South Korea, most of Asia is squarely in the realm of "unreached". Whole regions have gone without a missionary for centuries or never had one at all. Yet, there exists communities in the West where there are five churches on a two kilometer stretch of highway. It's an embarrassment of riches really.
However, that's not the topic of this post. This post is specifically about the reality on the ground in Asia.
As I've explored Taipei over the last two and a half months some things have stood out to me. There are a voluminous amount of temples in Taiwan. Buddhist temples, Taoist temples, Confucian temples, and several story mega-malls and department stores. Wait, department stores are considered temples? Not by most people, no. However, I can't help but see them as such.
Materialism is more rampant here than in the West. The latest fashions, trends, and gadgets all at your fingertips. It's easy to see why so many fall into the trap of thinking that better and more stuff will fulfill them. It's the lie that's plastered on every wall, subway car, and billboard. If you let it, it can start to infect the way you think.
In Asia, there three camps of non-believers. Below I have detailed them and given ways to pray for them:
1. The Nones: These people couldn't care less about religion. At best, religion is just not important to them. At worst, religion is a foolish superstition reserved for the least educated among society and the elderly. Materialism is the god of the Nones. The stuff you have is how you determine your success or happiness in life. Unfortunately, most of them will have to be humbled to see the truth. Pray that humility takes hold and that they start seeking answers to life's big questions.
2. The Syncretists: Syncretism is the combining of beliefs, ideologies, and doctrines from multiple religious faiths and practices. Hinduism is, by its very nature, syncretistic. The unbelievers who fall into this camp are eager to speak about matters of faith, at first. Soon after a relationship is formed and it becomes clear that you are interested in seeing them convert to Christianity they no longer wish to be friends with you. These are arguably the toughest soil for the Gospel to take root in. Pray that the Lord reveals himself through the Scriptures translated into their native tongue and for patient, loving missionaries to keep reaching out to them.
3. The Anti-Christs: No, these aren't the end times figures of Revelation. Rather, these are the elements of Asian culture and society that are vehemently against the spread of Christianity. Whether this be the governmental authorities, radical religious groups, or nationalists who view Christianity as a "western religion" these people will stop at nothing to ensure the halt of the advancement of the Gospel. Violence and extortion are their weapons of choice. Pray for Paul-like conversions among this group. Pray that the persecutors would become brethren. Also, pray for the strength to endure for our brothers and sisters going through persecution.
This post is already longer than planned. Let me end it by saying this:
The gospel will not reach the Unreached of Asia unless we take it there. The Kingdom will have worshippers from EVERY tribe and nation, Asia included. Let's work hard to reach those who need the gospel most.
That's all for now travelers.
May the Lord bless you and keep you,
may He make His face shine upon you,
and may He give you peace.
See ya next time!