Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Nannette's ministry to families

While Milton was busily engaged in the music culture of Taiwan, Nannette pondered what her ministry would be when our children became more independent, and eventually leave the island for college in the US. She did not have to ponder long, for God began opening doors for her. As our two MK's studied at the Taipei American School, Nannette often visited the campus, befriending some of the teachers and becoming acquainted with the school and its objectives. On one of our stateside assignments, she enrolled in the Social Work program of study at Southwestern Baptist Seminary.
She focused on Family Counseling, later graduating from the Seminary and completing the requirements for certification as a social worker in Texas
This training opened up many opportunities to minister to the expat and Chinese communities.
She was encouraged to run for the TAS school board, and was elected, much to the consternation of some missionaries associated with Morrison School system. When TAS was seeking a new high school principal, she was involved in the selection process. Later, Taipei International Church set up a ministry to the expat community called "Gateway." Later, a counseling center was established in connection with Gateway, a non-profit ministry for the expatriate community. It was named appropriately "Community Services Center" and Nannette was approved as one of the first counselors.
In addition to her ministry in the expat community, doors opened up for her within the missionary community as well. Because of her training and skills in counseling, she was often asked to travel to other Asian countries to assist with the needs of missionaries there. She was also called upon as a Bible teacher and speaker in Taiwan and in other Asian settings.

Although she was told she was not the first choice by our Administrator, she was asked to assume the position of Coordinator of the Language Orientation Center for our Baptist Mission. To her credit, she worked under some unique pressures from within our own mission. The Center actually had three locations, one each in Taipei, Taichung and in Kaohsiung, and was charged with the responsibility for preparing new missionaries to minister in Mandarin, Taiwanese and Hakka languages.
The main center was in Taipei, where we were living at the time, but the branches in the other cities demanded attention also, so Nannette frequently traveled down-island to deal with some of the unique challenges each center faced. Though separated by distance, she still had the full responsibility for teachers and curriculum for each location, a fact that some of the missionaries tended to forget or ignore. She also was responsible to the Mission Administrator, who in turn was subject to the Area Director and ultimately the International Mission Board. When guidelines were handed down from the Board through the Area Director and the Administrator, it was Nannette's responsibility to see that they were adhered to, much to the dismay and disagreement by some of our missionaries, old and new alike.
It did not help that the Assistant Director (who was Chinese) understood that she had earlier been promised the position of Director. However, our Administrator preferred to work with missionary personnel, thus creating friction between the Director and Assistant from the beginning. Also, another missionary had aspirations to assume the position but was not chosen adding to the intrigue associated with LOC It was to Nannette's credit that she was able to handle the pressures from the IMB as well as from within our Taiwan Baptist Missionary community, while assisting her husband with a new church start and assisting with counseling at the Community Services Center. She would credit her faith in God and the strength and wisdom that the Holy Spirit supplied that sustained her during her three year tenure at LOC.

Finally, the pressures began to take their toll, and she decided that it was time to relinquish her role as Director. She will never get the credit she deserves for guiding LOC through some very productive but challenging times, but her husband and others know the outstanding leadership she provided during those times, and many new missionaries received excellent training in language and culture due to her perseverance and skills as a leader.
When we were asked to assume responsibility for a new work in the gated community known as Long Shan Lin, located on the outskirts of Taipei, we moved there to begin the last phase of our ministry in Taiwan. But that story is reserved for the next post. Stay tuned!!!

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