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In the spring of 2012, the first two Chinese INSTE discipleship training pilot groups began in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, at the Logos Church. Kaohsiung, the second largest city in Taiwan, is located in the southern part of the island. In 2014, students from the pilot groups completed the Certificate of Ministry or Level 1 program.

In the meantime, a group of churches called Grace Ministries Churches in Taiwan became part of the Open Bible Churches family. Grace Ministries Churches are founded by people of indigenous origin. Under the leadership of their founding pastor, Rev. Victor Pan, 18 churches throughout the island in Taiwan are part of the Grace Ministries Churches network. Grace Ministries Churches are very missions minded, having begun ministries in northern Thailand, Indonesia, and China.

Abraham Lin, one of the founding elders, has recently constructed the Gerar Retreat Center in the mountains on property he owns.

Abraham Lin, one of the founding elders, has recently constructed the Gerar Retreat Center in the mountains on property he owns.

In the winter of 2015, Dr. Nick Venditti, then President of INSTE, and I visited the mother church of Grace Ministries Churches in the Daxi District of Taoyuan, Taiwan, not far from the capital city of Taipei. It was there that we saw the fruit of the original seeds from the pilot project groups for INSTE Chinese planted in Taiwan.

In the spring of 2017, Victor Pan, the field director of Open Bible Churches in Taiwan, invited me to attend the first INSTE graduation ceremony at the mother church in Daxi. Fourteen students had completed the Certificate of Ministry program. Several of those graduates now serve as pastors. The rest serve either in full-time ministry or as co-workers. Their love of God’s Word, their appreciation of INSTE, and their gracious hospitality were encouraging. They set a high standard for me to follow.

Our INSTE coordinator in Taiwan, Pastor Janet Lin, is amazing. Not only does she pastor the mother church, she also mothers two young children, directs Grace Churches’ Discipleship Training School, and trains INSTE group leaders. Currently there are around 60 INSTE students in Grace Ministries Churches.

Ricky Poon (front row, third from left) attended the first INSTE graduation in Daxi in Taiwan.

Ricky Poon (front row, third from left) attended the first INSTE graduation in the Daxi District in Taiwan.


Just recently Janet Lin informed me that in the fall, INSTE classes will begin in the Grace Church in Kaohsiung, the city where it all began. We praise God for His faithfulness. After attending the INSTE graduation ceremony and having traveled the length of the island of Taiwan, I flew to China where we have INSTE groups in four cities. Even though studying God’s Word there requires making sacrifices, the students consider it a privilege. Furthermore, they want to make it available to others in “hard-to-get-to” places.

The Gerar Retreat Center is nestled in this picturesque landscape.

The Gerar Retreat Center is nestled in this picturesque landscape.

My wife, Irene, and I were both born in China in the southern city of Guangzhou (formerly Canton) and both left Guangzhou at very young ages. I grew up in the United States and Irene in Taiwan. It was not until 2012 that we set foot in Guangzhou again to visit family. I have to confess my English is better than my Cantonese which is better than my Mandarin Chinese, the main spoken dialect in China. Yet the Lord has seen fit to open the way for me to serve the Chinese brothers and sisters through INSTE.

Much work remains. The four Level 1 books and six of the twenty-four Level 2 books have been translated into Chinese. Three books are in the translation process. We are also preparing to make the Chinese curriculum available online. I have so many more stories to share, all of which can be summed up in two words: “God’s grace.”

We are trusting the Lord to provide the people and resources needed to continue this work. No doubt our God “who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” will continue to reveal His grace to us in surprising ways.

This group is blowing their shofars to announce the dedication ceremony of the Gerar Retreat Center.

This group is blowing their shofars to announce the dedication ceremony of the Gerar Retreat Center.

About the Author

Ricky-Poon-AuthorRicky Poon is a member of the Board of Directors of Inste Global Bible College (IGBC) and IGBC’s Assistant Dean of Chinese Ministries. He also served as a member of the University of Oregon President’s Diversity Advisory Community Council.

About The Author

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