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A New Perspective

A New Perspective

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After Yi Lo obtained his master of theology degree at Western Theological Seminary in Michigan in 2018, the Taiwan native set his sights on obtaining a doctorate in intercultural studies while still in the United States.

On an internet search, Lo came upon Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri. Lo, a Presbyterian minister in Taiwan since his teenage years, had never heard of the Assemblies of God. Less than 5 percent of Taiwan’s 23 million residents are Christian (there are only 20 AG churches and 1,747 adherents in the Asian island country). Lo, a member of the Atayal — one of 30 tribal groups in the nation — lived in a village of 800 people, Quri.

AGTS accepted Lo’s application in 2019. But when Taiwanese Presbyterian denominational tribal leaders — who had sponsored his postgraduate educational endeavors — learned of his intention to attend a Pentecostal institution rather than a Reformed one, they canceled his scholarship. Short of the needed funds, Lo prayed about whether to return to Taiwan.

Shortly afterward, Lo received a phone call from an acquaintance, a physician in Taiwan who had heard of his dilemma through a colleague. The doctor, who attends a Presbyterian church, explained that he had deposited some funds into Lo’s bank account. Lo thanked the donor, but because he didn’t know the physician well, believed the contribution to be only a nominal amount.

Then Lo’s financial institution phoned and said he needed to come sign for the deposit in person and to bring a form of identification because of its size. When he arrived, the amount of the contribution — $30,000 — stunned him.

“Immediately I cried,” says Lo, who is on track to finish his studies at AGTS by the end of next year. Even though he served as a pastor in Taiwan, Lo says he has gained a new level of faith at the seminary.

“God has totally opened my eyes and changed my perspective on Him,” says Lo, 31. “I had never experienced the person and work of the Holy Spirit before.”

Lo says God has used professors, curriculum, and cohorts as a pathway to new encounters, including visions of Jesus and hearing the audible voice of the Lord.

“I have felt His divine power,” says Lo, who spoke no English before arriving in the U.S. in 2017. “God is reshaping me.”

As he studies at AGTS, Lo attends the bilingual services of Springfield Chinese Church, where he occasionally preaches and serves on the worship team.

Already Lo has received an invitation to teach at a Presbyterian seminary once he returns to Quri. He is unsure whether he will accept the offer. But he is certain he wants to help those in his denomination recognize the Holy Spirit.

“In my own tradition, we view the Bible as a moral reference guide,” Lo says. “I’ve come to realize it is really the Living Word to transform us.”

Lo’s grandfather Behuy Yobaw became the first Christian in the village in 1948. Lo’s father, Taru Behuy, is a retired Presbyterian pastor.

While enrolled in the seminary, Lo is conducting research into the history of his tribe’s encounter with the Pentecostal movement in 1972 — and how members can effectively recapture that Pentecostal experience. The Atayal are a Taiwanese indigenous people, comprising around 16 percent of the nation’s population. Some have never been exposed to Christianity.

Lo says AGTS adjunct professor Valerie A. Rance helped him understand spiritual warfare, which he never recognized before.

“I believe Yi will be key to bringing people in his tribal group not only to salvation, but also into being discipled,” says Rance. “He has such a sharp mind and tender heart toward the Spirit. He is engaging in all the concepts of missiology that he is being taught.”

Rance’s husband, DeLonn L. Rance, served as director of AGTS Intercultural Doctoral Studies when Lo began the program. The couple simultaneously serve as Assemblies of God World Missions regional trainers and as AGTS faculty members.

“Yi has been sent by tribal elders to be equipped and to come back and lead,” says DeLonn, 60. “He will be key to finding the full expression of Pentecost hinted at during the revival in that region many years ago.”

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