Taipei is now just as expensive to live in as Washington, D. C., and Tokyo and Hong Kong are more so. This hard and revolutionary fact comes from cost-of-living indexes prepared by the U. S. State Department.
The developing nations of the Third World are quickly moving into modernity and higher standards of living, and the world is now showing an economic interdependence that makes inflation, unemployment, recessions, or their opposites no longer local phenomena but worldwide conditions. My own Christian service has put me in the position of observer of these changes. Twenty-one years in India as a missionary taught me much about poverty, but a recent visit after thirteen years’ absence showed an unbelievable advance. Then twelve years in the United States as the president of a Christian college taught me much about cost accounting and a new sense of stewardship of resources in Christian service. Now, a year of post-retirement teaching in Taiwan is revealing to me the tremendous revolution going on in these advancing nations.
Through the years the missionary sending bodies have been completely conditioned by the idea that missionaries were sent to “primitive peoples” or to “underdeveloped nations,” where the powerful American dollar did wonders. This became, perhaps unconsciously, a standard factor in fund-raising and giving.
First of all, the missionary could live abroad for a pittance. The amount was so small that most churches could afford to support their own missionary, or even a family. This made the church people feel that they were doing nobly, and it also reflected glory on the missionary. By Western standards he was obviously living very sacrificially. But in the eyes of those to whom he went, he was quite a rich ...1