Northwest Chinese Baptist Church Reaching Taiwanese immigrants in Phoenix

By Irene A. Harkleroad, Photos by Nancy Patton | Sep 13, 2023

Northwest Chinese Baptist Church in Phoenix has begun several outreach ministries to Taiwanese immigrants, including the church’s youth tutoring new students. Valine Lim (left), director of youth ministries at Northwest Chinese, and teens Jacob Ng and Chelsea Brand are involved in that effort.

A new high-tech operation, described as expensive, advanced and massive has come to north Phoenix and along with it an unprecedented opportunity to share the Gospel.

Recently, Northwest Chinese Baptist Church in Phoenix recognized this opportunity to minister when thousands of Taiwanese immigrants began relocating to areas around the new Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company site in north Phoenix.

Pastor Michael Lin asked the church to pray for softened hearts and for the church family to be open to God’s direction. In early 2022, both English-speaking and Mandarin-speaking leaders began brainstorming how they could serve.

On March 10, the church welcomed representatives from almost a dozen Arizona Southern Baptist churches. That day, they shared the needs, opportunities and an overview of how they are ministering to workers and families from Taiwan, some 2,000 people with many more to come.

Brian Bowman (left), pastor of Valley Life Church Tramonto in Phoenix, and Michael Lin, Chinese pastor of Northwest Chinese Baptist Church in Phoenix, were among those participating in a meeting earlier this year with leaders from other churches to talk about working together to reach the Taiwanese immigrant community. Photo by Irene A. Harkleroad

In March 2022, leaders from Northwest met with Pastor Brian Bowman from Valley Life Church Tramonto in Phoenix to talk about how they could serve the Taiwanese people.

“Valley Life had started ESL classes, and it began to snowball,” said Michael Lin, Mandarin-speaking pastor at Northwest. “We partnered with them, and now more than 90 are enrolled in ESL in our church. We went from nowhere — not knowing where to go or when to start — and now we are standing at a very critical juncture.

“This is not something Northwest can accomplish single handedly. We need to partner with those who have a kingdom mindset. God is calling so many churches together for this special reason.”

Relocation has taken its toll on the immigrants. Stress and discouragement affect many. The church’s goal is to show the love of God through building relationships and serving where needed.

Current needs include: volunteers to work with adult ESL students, youth peer tutoring, children and youth programs, and family ministries. All these gatherings serve as spiritual support groups.

Northwest offers women’s classes and seminars on practical topics — family and friends, supermarkets, healthcare, traffic, food and restaurants, travel, customs, how to find medical professionals, how insurance benefits work, family relationships, anxiety, emotional control, personal safety, and after-school programs. Child care workers are needed during most of these events. ESL and discussion leader qualifications are simple: love Jesus and speak English.

In early 2022, one of the suggestions was to provide peer tutoring to the new students.

“I asked the youth group to pray about meeting that need,” said Valine Lim, Northwest’s director of youth ministries.

Valine Lim (left), Northwest Chinese Baptist Church director of youth ministries, tutors a Taiwanese student.

“Shortly after that, Jacob Ng, who will be a high school senior in fall 2023, shared that he was a peer tutor at his school and thought it would be a great opportunity not only for us to reach the Taiwanese students but also to invite students from our schools to be tutors,” Lim said. “Our goal is to develop friendships so we can show God’s love. We are first a body of Christ, and this is an outreach.”

Ng is now lead tutor.

“I think this program really helps students in their education, adapt to our culture, and feel more comfortable during their transition into America,” he said. “It has also helped build and strengthen relationships within the youth group. It’s a team effort and we all have one goal: to spread God’s love through serving others.

“Stepping out of my comfort zone, teaching people I didn’t really know and working with a language barrier has helped me grow stronger in my relationship with God.”

Ng encourages youth groups in the Southern Baptist community to evangelize when they see an opportunity.

“A Taiwan factory is so close to our church with both Chinese and English services,” he said. “This opportunity just came to us, so we took it.”

Pastor Stephen Yee, English-speaking pastor at Northwest, sees the limitless opportunities for the proclamation of the Gospel and to make disciples of all nations.

Jacob Hing (right), from Northwest Chinese Baptist Church, tutors a Taiwanese student as part of the tutoring program developed by the Northwest Chinese youth group.

“I believe God has specifically prepared and positioned each of us and our churches to reach out to these people,” he said. “It’s not just about reaching Taiwanese people but about the unique moment we have today.

“God is bringing thousands of these people into our backyard. So, we want to love our neighbor. We want them to be safe. We want God to change lives. We would like you to partner with us here or start a ministry at your church.”

Currently only 5% of people in Taiwan are Christian. New believers who return to Taiwan will be missionaries to people and a culture they know. The impact a partnership can have for the kingdom is enormous.

Next Steps

  • Is God calling your church to send workers to partner with Northwest Chinese in reaching the Taiwanese immigrant community? Call the church at 602-938-6755.
  • Are there unreached immigrant or refugee communities near your church? Ask God to open doors for ministry.
  • In Tucson, find out about volunteer opportunities with Tucson Refugee Ministry,
  • Study the community around your church. Who are the unreached people groups? How can you connect with them?

Irene A. Harkleroad, a freelance writer living in Carefree, is a member of Black Mountain Baptist Church, Cave Creek.

Nancy Patton, a freelance photographer living in Peoria, is a member of Mountain Ridge Church, Glendale.

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