3 Years, 3 Months, only 3 Weeks More

—by Eliza Askins

Three years ago, we pulled up our roots as a family of 7 after parting with many possessions, saying goodbye to family and friends. Within the first year away, we welcomed a baby, made new friends, and enjoyed visits from our family. After calling Hong Kong home for two years, our family of 8 once again purged possessions, said goodbye to friends, and pulled up the roots. Easter Sunday we started placing our possessions in a new place, met our first new Taiwanese friends, and planted seeds anticipating them to take root. For a year we grew.

Three months ago, while our roots were not severed, they were temporarily transplanted “home” for home service. We have received very warm welcomes. Many people have provided for our needs of housing, transportation, meals, and clean laundry. Thank you to the friends and family in all three countries for caring for us. Thanks be to God for His provisions.

As I stood in front of the mirror the 3 weeks into home service preparing for church, another presentation, I paused. I really looked at me. I stood in Texas but wore an Indian outfit. I took a bite of a banana, turning up my nose because it wasn’t as sweet as those I’ve eaten for the past 3 years. I scurried my children out the door to a large van with ample seatbelts and car seats, unlike having to wait for a bus in the heat or downpour in Taiwan. Then my husband drove us to church instead of a taxi driver. And, as always, the Lord has kept us safe whether it was my husband or a stranger behind the wheel. And finally, we stepped into a sanctuary and joined other Lutherans in chorus and worship. 

I look back on the 3 months we’ve been in the states wondering where the time has gone, and still eagerly anticipating time with family and friends we haven’t seen in 3 years. These months have been a time of growth and memories. We’ve learned to love and live in Christ’s grace and forgiveness. There have been many smiles and some tears. And still there are more to come. The time seemed so long, and now it has not been enough to catch up 3 years away from family. But, the Lord has granted us wilder full memories. 

At the end of the day, the good and the bad of any place is minuscule. The Lord watches over all keeping us in His care, feeding us, supporting us through brothers and sisters in the faith. The fruits, the clothes, the cars, the buildings, none of that matters . . . it is being rooted in the body of Christ that does matter now and for all eternity. 

So Much Traveling . . .

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The last three months have passed in a blink, it seems. In this newsletter, Eliza talks about how things seem to have passed so quickly during our time here in the USA. I also share a bit about what this journey has meant for us.
First, I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get this newsletter out. The struggles of being on the road, scheduling visits, doing presentations, and spending time with family and friends has taken more time than we expected. However, we’ve had a little down time over the last week, so here’s the June 2019 newsletter. 
Pastors and secretaries, please print and share this newsletter where your congregation members can see it. Everyone else, please forward or share this newsletter. When you share this newsletter, you help expand our network and build support. 
For many of you, this will be the first newsletter you’ve received. Please read and enjoy. Please send let me know if you have any questions. 

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Thank you again for your prayers and support.

In Christ, 
—the Askins Family


Please consider supporting our work. Through donors like you, we’re able to continue to share Christ and him crucified to the people of Asia.

Sharing the Work of PNG

This last February, I had the great privilege to travel with the Communications team from St. Louis to Papua New Guinea. I worked there with Erik Lunsford and Kevin Armbrust to chronicle the work our missionaries and partners are doing there.

When you get a chance, make sure you check out the story now published at Lutherans Engage. Take a special note of the video recorded and produced by yours truly, with the help of both Erik and Kevin.

Enjoy.

– Rev. Roy S. Askins

I’m having way too much fun in the back of a truck with a camera. Photo by Erik Lunsford.

I’m having way too much fun in the back of a truck with a camera. Photo by Erik Lunsford.

Askins in Asia March and April 2019 Newsletter

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Careful Caring

Greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wow! It's been way too long since I last wrote a newsletter. And, it's in the middle of April already. So, this newsletter combines March and April. In today's article, I talk about the Careful Caring done by LCMS missionaries in the Philippines. Eliza shares some of the thoughts swirling through our heads as we prepare to travel to the USA for home service.

For even more of those thoughts, watch this video. (And subscribe to the channel for more.)

As always, please download the newsletter, print, and distribute far and wide. If printing is not your thing, please forward this email to anyone who might be interested.


Thank you for your support.

— The Askins Family


Consider supporting the Askins in Asia as we proclaim the message of Christ and him crucified for the world. Through donors like you, the LCMS has sent us to do this work.

Askins in Asia January 2019 Newsletter

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Reviewing the Past; Looking to the Future

The new year provides an opportunity for review of the past and reflection on the future. This month's newsletter shares the experiences of the past year and looks ahead to the events yet to come. 

Thank you for your support and encouragement over the last year as we went through significant changes. As we look back, we are amazed at how much we've grown and the new opportunities Christ has given us to share the Gospel. 

As always, forward this email. Print it. Share it. Your sharing this newsletter is one of our greatest assets. Thank you. 

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Thank you for your support.

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Please consider donating to support our work. Through your support, we are able to share the message of Christ throughout the Asia region. Thank you.

Askins in Asia September Newsletter

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Together in Christ

The last two months have provided our family with the opportunity to serve the entire region. I talk about that in my newsletter article this week. Eliza discusses whether grass is greener or the moon is rounder. And you have the opportunity to hear about it all. Please let us know if you have any questions.

In Christ,

Rev. Roy S. Askins

Download the Newsletter

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For Your Prayers and Support

I’m currently traveling in the United States raising support for our work. I’m in California this week, and then Boston and North and South Carolina toward the end of October. Please keep Eliza and the children in your prayers as I travel.

It’s also a great time to sign up for additional support, if you’re able. Through your support, we can continue to proclaim the message of Christ and him crucified in Asia and support those who do the same. Please follow the link below to offer that support now. Thank you.

Repentance and Combating Violence Against Women and Children

Repentance and Combating Violence Against Women and Children

In recent history, Papua New Guinea declared a National Day of Repentance. As Luther noted, the entire Christian life is one of repentance. This year, LCMS Missionaries in Papua New Guinea are speaking out against Sanguma or accusation-based violence against women and children in PNG. LCMS Missionary to PNG, Anton Lutz, joins us to talk about it.

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Askins in Asia July Newsletter

Askins in Asia July Newsletter

Last month, Jo Heidorn and I had the opportunity to interview Binghui. He's a former gang member turned horticulturist. He's a member of the Lutheran preaching station in Hsinchu Taiwan. I provide a short summary of his story in newsletter this month. Look for more on the LCMS Asia podcast.

Eliza continues to settle into life here in Chiayi. She's learning Chinese, and with the children, taking every opportunity to share Christ's love with those around us. She explain more in her article.

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What Can a Missionary Advocate Do For You?

Mr. Eng from North Carolina arranged this meal with Lutherans from All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Mr. Eng from North Carolina arranged this meal with Lutherans from All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Let Me Introduce Mr. Eggert

Mr. Doug Eggert

Mr. Doug Eggert

Meet Mr. Doug Eggert. Sometime in 2016, we received information about a church that wanted to learn more about our work and potentially sponsor the Askins in Asia. I proposed a Zoom chat, and we were introduced to Mr. Eggert.

While, I don’t think Mr. Eggert has been given any official title at Immanuel Lutheran Church, he has served as our advocate. We organized the first Zoom chat through Mr. Eggert. We did a test run of the Zoom chat with him. He has organized subsequent video chats. He records videos of school children singing happy birthday to our children.

Mr. Eggert continues to advocate for us with the pastor and people of Immanuel Lutheran Church. The people of Immanuel are eager to support us, and Mr. Eggert works to shepherd their zeal in the right direction.

In other words, he has served as our Missionary Advocate to the Lutherans of Simpsonville, South Carolina.

Another Missionary Called

You just received a call from a missionary. He wants to visit your church and present about his work in foreign lands. Now, you’ve recently read articles about the LCMS’s Network Supported Missionary model, and you know that missionaries return home on a regular basis for Home Service to reconnect with supporters.

But you also know that preparing for a missionary visit takes work. The congregation has to be asked and notified. You've got to make sure people show up for the presentation and have all the necessary information. During his presentation, the missionary will probably ask the church to support him.

This means that the work does not stop after the missionary visits. You will have further conversations about support. You have to keep the missionary before the congregation regularly in prayers and conversations lest parishioners forget about him and why you’re supporting him.

On the one hand, you want to support him. You can’t imagine the difficulty of traveling to raise support for your work. On the other hand, you’re not keen to add more work to your plate or other church leaders.

Appoint a Missionary Advocate

If the work of supporting a missionary seems daunting to you, consider appointing a Mr. Eggert. You might call this person a Missionary Propagandist, though Missionary Advocate might work better. If you have an evangelism or missions board, they might already be doing some of these functions, but there’s value in having a dedicated person fulfilling this role.

A missionary advocate (MA) will have organizational skills so that important deadlines do not get missed or forgotten. An MA delights in hearing about and supporting the international mission of the church (some international experience helps). Finally, passion is a plus.

The missionary advocate might keep your missionary before the congregation in a number of ways. The advocate might*:

  • Act as the main contact for the missionary
  • Help organize and prepare for the missionary to visit
  • Make sure announcements about the visit make it into the bulletin
  • Share announcements about the missionary on Sunday morning
  • Ensures the newsletters get printed and distributed to the congregation
  • Reminds the congregation and congregational members to pray for the missionary regularly
  • Advocates for the missionary in congregational meetings
  • Helps organize fundraisers and support projects
  • Maintains regular contact with missionary and facilitates video calls with the congregation, if possible
  • Can you think of anything I missed? Let me know.

A missionary advocate helps prevent missionary support from falling through the cracks of a vigorous congregational life. Incidentally, it might be worthwhile to consider sending the missionary advocate to visit your missionary in the field after a couple of years as a thank you.

The Takeaway

A missionary advocate can provide a great way to support a missionary without adding another task to the plate of the pastor, secretary, or missions board.

I’m currently working on a packet of information for Missionary Advocates on the many ways your congregation can support a missionary. In the meantime, subscribe to the Askins in Asia newsletter to get more information about supporting a missionary from my blog here.


* Please adapt this list to meet the local needs of your congregation. I very much doubt a Missionary Advocate will be able to do everything on this list; it simply provides a list of possibilities.

Catechism for Life: Pless Teaches in Taiwan

Catechism for Life: Pless Teaches in Taiwan

Luther’s Small Catechism guides the Christian life. Prof. John T. Pless from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana shared this message with Lutheran pastors and laity in Taiwan. He and Dr. Michael Paul, missionary to Taiwan, also distributed free copies of his book Handling the Word of Truth which was recently translated into Mandarin.

Read More

Askins in Asia April 2018 Newsletter

The children getting Goat Milk from a new friend in Taiwan. 

The children getting Goat Milk from a new friend in Taiwan. 

So Much to Say . . .

He is risen! Blessed Easter to you all! The last eight weeks since our previous newsletter have been filled with adventure, surprise, sorrow, joy, and much more. You'll hear about some of those things in the newsletter linked below.

However, I want to share some other important announcements:

First, I'm writing to you from a new location. I've included a picture of the address below. Don't worry, you can still write the address in English, and it will make it to us . . . hopefully. While we have moved, but we're still transitioning. We have taken on a fairly significant load of Chinese instruction; we're also learning a lot about Taiwanese food and culture.

Second, I want to share our home service plans. Usually, every other year, LCMS missionaries return to the USA to reconnect with donors and shore up support for the next two years. We should have returned this Spring; however, our move prevented us.

Here's the plan: I will return to the states for a short home service this October while Eliza and the children will remain in Taiwan to finish language instruction. I will visit those places where we have support, but it's more difficult or expensive for the entire family to visit (mostly along the East and West coasts). Then, in the Spring of 2019, the entire family will return to primarily those places where it's easier for us to travel.

So, in light of this announcement, three other notes:

  1. Please stay tuned at the website for more information on Home Service. I have a series of posts that will discuss home service and how you can support missionaries on home service.
  2. Please let me know if you'd like me to visit in October. Once again, I'll be primarily on the East and West coasts for this trip.
  3. Finally, if you're in Texas, Colorado, or the midwest, please mark your calendars for a visit from the Askins Clan in the Spring of 2019!

Finally, please watch this website and our Facebook page for more stories about work in Asia. Here's one you will enjoy:
Once Broken; Now Healing
As always, thank you for your support. Through your prayers and support, we have been able to support the proclamation of the Gospel throughout Asia. Please download this month's newsletter and share it. Post in your narthex. Forward this email to friends. We appreciate it.

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Blessed Resurrection of our Lord to you all.

— the Askins


Our New Address

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Don't worry. You can still write the address in English and your mail will get to us! 

Thank you for your support.