There are over 700,000 migrant workers in Taiwan, with Indonesians being the largest group, numbering around 260,000. Eighty percent of the Indonesian migrant workers are women, serving as caregivers in the homes of elderly Taiwanese. They work long hours, almost 24/7, and have very little time off. The children of the elderly usually don’t live with them, so it is hard to find a substitute for their day off.
I retired from FMWM in 2015 but remained in Kaohsiung under a VISA assignment. My friend, Dr. Wei Shin, and I, together with a couple who were former students at Holy Light Seminary, started a ministry to the Indonesian migrant workers, primarily in Kaohsiung. The ministry began in parks where the migrant workers would take their elderly employers for a breather every afternoon.
After seven years, God has honored us with many partner churches in Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and even the U.S. Five Indonesian churches from different denominations have sent eightmissionaries to minister with us. We reach out to these caregivers in the parks and communities by being their friends and family away from home. Out of necessity, the migrant workers must speak Chinese, but their heart language is still Indonesian. When Indonesian missionaries and volunteers from our partner churches gather with them in the parks, they can speak their heart language. Friendship, fun and classes all take place in the parks. We give thanks that several have become followers of Jesus and been baptized. Still, we keep a low profile since most are of a Muslim background. We want them to remain safe, both in Taiwan and when they return home after their contract is fulfilled.
The ministry has expanded to include other groups – international students, migrants working in factories, fishermen, new immigrants married to Taiwanese, and their children, second-generation Taiwanese-Indonesians. Our work with students now includes a partnership with six universities offering migrant services to students. In addition, we have also started ministering to Vietnamese and Filipino migrant workers. We praise the Lord for these opportunities!
FMWM-Asia is grateful for Susan, Wei-Shin and the Kaohsiung Indonesian ministry team. How about you? Could you be a friend to Indonesians? To Vietnamese, Filipinos or Taiwanese? Would you pray or consider serving with Kaohsiung Friends of Indonesia for a few weeks, a month, or maybe long-term service as an FMWM-Asia missionary?