三一神學院的第四學期 （邱慕天代禱信五） 2009/02/01
Prayer request from Mu-tien (Tim): Fourth semester in TEDS (V)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
First of all, Bonne Année à la Nouvel An Chinoise (French: Happy Chinese New Year)! This is Mu-tien’s fifth prayer letter about his study in Trinity. This spring semester of 2009, which is my fourth semester, has been starting two weeks. Last week our Chinese Student Association on campus held a dinner event in celebration of the year of the ox. As much as I enjoy this privileged fellowship overseas, there is also my warmest wish of a blissful year for each of you.
It has been four months since last time I updated myself with this prayer letter. Much progress and changes have taken place, which I have always in mind to share with you.
- Last time I mentioned the baggage loss on the part of airline company in August, and now, praise the God, the poor bag has been found— after its two months of wandering between the US continent and Mexico land. Everything is kept in despite the worn-out surface of the suitcase. I am tremendously thankful to have my books and my computer hard drive found. They meant a dear sum (of replacement fee) and immense time of research respectively to me. Also here is my gratitude for you who have lifted this matter into your prayer.
- These days I have finished my part in the translation of the Greek textbook Greek Grammar beyond the Basics from English to Chinese. Our Greek professor and the publisher will take turn to do the rest of proofreading and editing. May God look after them and bless the ministry to be beneficial to Chinese-speaking seminaries and churches.
In the latter half of November, 2008 I went to Boston for the annual national conference of SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) alone. It attracted thousands of biblical scholars, nationalwide and worldwide. As an insignificant attendant, my horizon was broadened a lot. Dr. Ellen Davis and Dr. Richard Hays in particular impressed me with their innovative theology from a robust interpretation of the Scripture. The time I spent in conversation with Bishop N. T. Wright and Bibleworks executives also proves to be very unforgettable as they have shown their willingness to listen to a Taiwanese theological voice.
My 10 day-sojourn in Boston would not be made possible if it is not through the hospitality of good brothers and sisters. Terry Lin, a good friend of mine, generously opened her house in Boston; James & Sydney Hsu received me into their apartment in GCTS (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary）and took me around; Duane Chang of GCTS has treated me with meals. Thanks especially to them, I had a very resourceful Boston trip.
- The grades of fall semester 2008 have been sent to me. In reward for my effort, there is much progress. I am expecting more improvement in this year, though.
- For now my ministry involvement in the local church (North Shore Chinese Christian Church) is threefold: Adult Sunday School teaching, Bible Study cell group helping-out (two groups. One of them is in starting-up phase and I direct the developing plan and teach Bible lessons), and occasional Sunday service leading. I am hoping to switch my ministry emphasis to meeting the discipleship need of the small group and take a leave from the Sunday school teacher role in next season, as my limited time only allows me one ministry focus at a time. Our group has recently welcomed a couple new comers— we call them religious investigators, so please pray for their spirituality, as well as that the Holy Spirit stirs their heart and enables my evangelistic preach.
This semester I selected 15 credit hours that consisted of 8 courses:
Biblical Theology & Interpretation (3)
Foundations of Evangelism (2)
Formation Group (0)
Philosophical Issues in Religious Pluralism (3)
Christianity in the Non-Western world (3)
Preaching from the New Testament (1)
Technology and Culture (3)
Field Education: Discipleship (0)
Dr. Graeme Cole
Dr. Richard Cook
Dr. Yao-hwa Sung
Dr. Harold Netland
Dr. Richard Cook
Dr. Dana Harris
Dr. Ben Mitchell
Dr. Philip Sell
Some of these classes are those I have to repeat. I will be more attentive to the details this time. Those with number greater than 7000 are advanced courses and require more spontaneous reading and presentations. Time management therefore remains an important topic. Life pressure and irregular sleeping hours has caused my hair loss and affected my immune system (hence constant nose bleeding). My teeth do not feel well these days, either. For my physical health issues you prayer would be tremendously appreciated.
The global market downturn seems to have stricken every region in the world. My yearly expense at Trinity amounts to $24,000. My family paid the most part of it for me, as working outside the campus is not possible for me. I have spent most of my free time in local church ministry, and translation of N. T. Wright’s work from English to Chinese will advance on part-time basis only for 3-4 consecutive years— nonetheless it is my sole source of income. I could and should keep my faith in God’s sufficient provision as I am walking on His way.
According to my understanding of God’s calling for my life, it can be put into three phases:
Short range (1-3 years)
- Build up and maintain a good relationship with local churches in Chicago. Train and equip lay church leaders with biblical knowledge and personal piety.
- Reach out Chinese new immigrants in our local community. Share gospel with them, bring them first into small group, and then churches.
- In seminary and ministry place, grow in spirituality and intelligence; network and explore available spiritual recourses.
- Dedicate myself in theological writing and transmitting Western theological thoughts in hopes that more Chinese Christian intellectuals would follow up and that our society will ultimately benefit from it.
Mid range (3-8 years)
- Jump into PhD studies, specializing in "political theology", "ecclesial ethics", and "theological hermeneutics and epistemology".
- Secure an itinerary pulpit. With a Christocentric emphasis I hope to raise the church’s consciousness of contemporary issues, hence prepare for its revival.
- Introduce schools of theological thoughts from the global Christian world, the Americas and the Europe. Facilitate a forum dedicated to interdisciplinary dialogue between Christian faith and the maturing Chinese awareness.
Long range (8-20 years)
- Integrate Taiwan, China, and oversea Chinese missions with systematized theological education. Based on a Christian university, a new generation of servant-leaders, Christian policymakers, and workplace missionaries will be equipped to serve.
- Adapt mass media tools and technology of communication as vehicles for the dynamic exchange of Christian scholarship and Mandarin churches. This will hopefully make a significant step towards ecumenism on the part of global Chinese Christians.
- Proclaim the gospel of Jesus as a lifetime vocation: Take deep roots and cultivate local Christian church and community, with the four ministry foci on preaching, teaching, writing, and publishing.
If you identify these goals as where God is directing your vision and if you are willing to give financial support to Mu-tien ministry and theological training while he is in Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, please measure your capacity to give as the Holy Spirit would have you to:
- write a payable check in US dollars to the order of NYTEC (New York Theological Education Center)
- On the Memo place, write "for the use of seminary financial aid only’ (You can also specify the donor’s will by putting in another note with my name on it.)
- Then send it to NYTEC 35-10 Linden Place, Flushing, NY 11354. The full amount will be allocated my student account solely to offset my tuition bill.
- You will receive a receipt for tax-reduction (if it is convenient for you to notify me, I would also be able to crosscheck for a reference).
My contact information is as follows. While your prayer alone would be highly appreciated, I will be greatly encouraged if you would pay a visit or subscribe to my blog. This cyber-space now hosts articles in Chinese, English, and French. It serves as the base for my mission to take initial roots and sprout.
Phone: 847.317.6549 (dorm); 626.841.1372 (cell)
Address: 2065, Half Day Rd. #D-160, Deerfield, IL, 60015, USA
May God’s grace be abounded in you in this time of the New Year
Mu-tien (Tim) &
Parents (Justin & Catherine Chiou)
The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ –Matt 25:40
group photo with Chinese Student Association @ Trinity (Mu-tien is on rightmost in the front line)