Tikka’s Story

By Tim and Penny Iverson, serving among the working class in Taiwan

At an incredibly early hour, the phone jangled in our ears. Struggling to understand through the fog of sleep, I (Tim) listened as a taxi driver explained that he had an Indonesian woman at the airport who insisted that she was coming to work for us.

“Huh?!” was all I could muster. Early in the morning, Mandarin Chinese is not my strong suit. Finally coming to some kind of comprehension, I told the driver to bring her down, a three hour-and very expensive-trip. But this story really began two months before.

Divine Appointment

A visiting Alliance pastor, Rev. Rob Douglas, had accompanied us to a restaurant, where an Indonesian woman named Tikka was working. Since Rob is an MK from Indonesia, he spoke with her briefly. We gave her our card, telling us to call if she ever needed anything.

Two months later, while we waited for Tikka to arrive at our home, Penny and I had a strong sense that God was bringing Tikka to us.

Thousands of workers come to Taiwan from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Their agencies hire them with a three year contract, and they are placed in factories, construction work, as care-givers, and in various other jobs. Although Taiwan’s government is trying to establish safeguards for the immigrants’ protection, still there are many cases of abuse and unfair treatment.  In Tikka’s case, this included not being paid in 10 months, having to eat table scraps to survive, and being forcibly taken to the airport to be sent back to Indonesia against her will, before her contract had expired.

A Desperate Move

At the airport, Tikka was checked in and ready to board, but she didn’t want to leave. So she left the airport, hailed a taxi, and pulled out our business card.

As we pieced together Tikka’s story, we really didn’t know what to do. We were concerned that Tikka was now considered an illegal and in danger of being sent to a detention center. We decided it was best to take her to a pastor friend who had more experience dealing with these kinds of situations.

Tikka had come to us as her only shred of hope, and as we comforted her and tried through language barriers to explain what we needed to do, she was obviously frightened, confused, and embarrassed. Penny asked her if she could pray to our God, Jesus, on her behalf, and Tikka quickly agreed. Before Tikka and I left, she turned to Penny again with sorrowful eyes and asked her to pray. With a breaking heart, Penny let her go, but God was watching over Tikka.

As Tikka and I started out, the Holy Spirit prompted me to take a detour to the home of Sally, our Indonesian friend, who is a believer. Soon there were three Indonesian women comforting Tikka. After hearing her story, they called the immigration office. The immigration worker told the women that the office was aware of problems with the agency that had hired Tikka and would look into the situation. Now, Tikka could not be reported as an illegal runaway.  


That afternoon, the immigration official came to our home. The employment agency will be dealt with, and Tikka will be placed in another job. Sally and Lena, another believer, have offered Tikka a place to stay until things are worked out. These women have provided Tikka with comfort, a safe refuge, and even some of their own clothes.

After Tikka was moved to a government shelter, we visited her and learned that she had decided to become a Christian. We have seen God’s hand in this all along, and we also found out that she’d had other Christian influences in her life before this.

We received word recently that Tikka is fine in the shelter where she is living and had a job interview that will allow her to remain in Taiwan. But the real matter for prayer is that a couple in our town applied to have Tikka come and work for them as a caregiver for the man’s mother. Please ask that this might be God’s will for Tikka.

We praise God for protecting Tikka in the midst of her troubles and for bringing her to us. “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing” (Deuteronomy 10:18).

Please pray

  • that God will provide the right employer for Tikka in our town. Pray that Tikka can remain in our area, within reach of Christians who love her
  • that God would protect Tikka and continue to provide Christians to encourage her and help her grow
  • for those ministering to foreign contract workers in Taiwan. Pray specifically for Thu and Hanh Nguyen, C&MA missionaries ministering to Vietnamese workers in northern Taiwan, and for an Alliance ministry to Thai people in Taipei.
  • Although our ministry focus is to working-class Taiwanese, during the past three years, God has brought a number of Indonesians into our lives; most are married to Taiwanese men. We will soon begin meeting with two other Indonesian women, Lily and another Lena, who desire to study the Bible and walk with Jesus. Pray for them to faithfully follow Christ.

What You Can Do

Donate now to Alliance Great Commission Ministries to ensure that our worldwide team of workers, including Tim and Penny, can continue to faithfully serve the Lord.


Get Involved...


We cannot “Live the Call Together” unless prayer is central to all we do.
Pray with us »


Is God calling you to service? We’re here to help you connect your passion with God’s purpose.
Serve with The Alliance »


Help build Christ’s Church by supporting the ministry and workers of The Alliance.
Give today »