Taiwan (MNN) — Bad news concerning the economy in Taiwan is usually blamed at this time of year on the "Ghost Month."
In the period, this year from August 17 to September 15, ancestors' spirits are thought to come out from the lower realm. Things that go awry are blamed on the hauntings. Residents cut back on splurges and vacations, so the economy also takes a hit.
Even so, experts find it hard to pin the nation's economic woes on the deceased. In July, unemployment rose to 4.31%–the highest since last August–and the youth unemployment rate hovers at 12.96%.
Jeremy and Ruth Hsu are in Taiwan with The Evangelical Alliance Mission, or TEAM. They say the impact of the sour economy is spreading emotionally and spiritually. They write, "There is a growing pessimism due to the poor economy. But we trust that God is loosening the heart soil."
Of those who claim Christianity in Taiwan, many have a faith that remains dormant. There is a shortage of pastors, Christian workers, and youth ministers. The local church tends to be reticent in trying new things and somewhat withdrawn, but Christianity is well-known for its service to society and active care for people in need.
TEAM is helping the church in Taiwan to become a vibrant, reproducing church by assisting churches to plant daughter churches, by developing youth through camping, in-school clubs, and training youth leaders, and by mentoring young Christian leaders through an apprentice training strategy.
Pray for God's help in knowing how to support and encourage TEAM Ministry Initiative Leaders like Jeremy and Ruth. They add, "Please pray for God to send workers into this harvest, especially for the least-reached urban poor of Taiwan. It has been slow and trying for us, but God is with us. Please pray for our endurance and for the Gospel hope to dawn in many hearts."