Inside Story

Drinking With Villagers

By Koo Mingji

The villagers in rural northern Taiwan didn’t seem interested in Bible studies. Many worshiped at one of the two Christian churches in the village, while others spent their time drinking alcohol. The churchgoers shunned the drinkers.

What could I do?

I resolved to follow Jesus’ example and befriend the drinkers. “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me’ ” (Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 143).

I decided to drink with the villagers. After all, Paul declared, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (NKJV) in his powerful description of how to be an effective missionary in 1 Corinthians 9:19–23.

The drinkers didn’t have a problem drinking together. They wanted to drink with me. But I gave them tea instead of alcohol. After drinking copious amounts of tea, they didn’t have any room left for alcohol. Gradually, they stopped drinking alcohol and began to study the Bible with me. A few months passed, and two former drinkers gave their hearts to Jesus and were baptized in August 2019.

Tragedy struck six months later. One of the newly baptized Seventh-day Adventists, a young man, fell ill and died. His death hit me hard, and I cried out to God, “Why?”

Shortly after the funeral, the mother and brother of the deceased young man unexpectedly came to me and asked for Bible studies. Then other villagers followed their lead. In late 2020, they and other villagers flocked to a one-day health fair organized by the health ministries department of the Adventist Church in Taiwan. The day after the fair, five villagers were baptized.

God has infinite mercy and compassion, and He has prepared a way of salvation for every person on earth. The Lord says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways” (Isaiah 55:8, NKJV). All glory belongs to Jehovah God!

This mission story illustrates the following components of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s “I Will Go” strategic plan: Mission Objective Number 1, “To revive the concept of worldwide mission and sacrifice for mission as a way of life involving not only pastors, but every church member, young and old, in the joy of witnessing for Christ and making disciples” through “increased number of church members participating in both personal and public evangelistic outreach initiatives with a goal of Total Member Involvement (TMI)” (KPI 1.1); and Spiritual Growth Objective Number 5, “To disciple individuals and families into Spirit-filled lives.” Learn more about the strategic plan at IWillGo2020.org.

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Further Thought