A Great Ending

First, we would like to thank everyone for the opportunity you all have given us to go onto this mission trip

Today was our final day teaching at the VBS. It is sad that this will be the last time we are going to see these adorable children. We will greatly miss playing and dancing with them as our daily routine. Even though we couldn’t talk to some of them directly, we still created such strong bonds.

It was a very eye opening experience to see a different culture through these kids. Usually when you learn a second language growing up, you forget most of what you learn when you get older and rarely use it. But during our camps, these kids focused on their second language (English) and some of them even remember enough to talk to us. We were amazed with one child, who really wanted to learn English and took the initiative to talk to us. We had many types of conversations with him that we never could have imaged. This really allowed us to bond with the kids at a different level. Rather than a formal teacher – student relationship, we formed helper – student relationships. We formed friendships.
All of us had a chance to see how God was working through, and in us. With Him, we could go beyond our limitations for the last day. Even though many of us were tired, we were able to push on and finish with a bang. The church even gave us a grand farewell dinner with lots of delicious food. We are so thankful for all that they have provided for us and could not be more grateful for them.

As tomorrow comes around the corner, we will also be saying goodbye to the other mission team, so we pray for good health for everyone. As a new week begins, please also pray for a safe journey and that we will not forget what we’ve done during these two weeks. Many of the kids were also not Christian so please pray that the legacy left behind from us can begin a new path towards God for them.

Reflection As We Near The End

Memorial Stones

This morning we had a devotion about memorial stones. It is important that we remember God’s faith yesterday, so that we can continue to have faith in Him tomorrow. Sometimes, we might not see God answer our prayers immediately. We should remember how He answered our previous prayers and have faith that He will do the same again. Tomorrow is the last day with the kids and the other mission team. All of us from CFBC are reflecting on the past two weeks and finding our own “memorial stone” to bring back home.

All About the Kids

At the elementary school, all of us have been getting closer to the students as well as each other. There are no words that describe how happy we feel when a person who was a complete stranger a week ago, comes up to us and greets us first! As the days progress, we have been getting more involved, leading crafts, telling stories, and making friends. The last day is quickly approaching, so we have to make the most of the time we have left. It has been a great experience helping out another mission team and learning about their teaching styles as well as their lessons.

Michelle really loves her mango’s, and Sammi really loves her food

Meeting the Host’s Family

We are so grateful for our wonderful host. Today we were especially lucky to be able to meet Ting Ma Ma’s daughter. She was very kind to us and even invited us to dinner. Everyone was so happy that a couple kids from last week were able to join us. The food was delicious and it was quite fun blowing tissues at each other.


Break Day

Fun At The Pool

It has nearly been two weeks of sharing and teaching the gospel in Taiwan. After these last few days we were tired, exhausted, and in need of a break. Fortunately, Pastor James was kind enough to drive us to a water park for a much needed fun and relaxing time. We enjoyed ourselves by swimming in the wave pools, hot tubs, jacuzzi, slides, and by playing volleyball. We are so grateful to have such compassionate, understanding, and generous hosts at The Grace Place.

Learning Together

After three days of collaborating with the Arthur’s STM team, we feel more comfortable with the other team’s teaching method, and working with them overall. We find so much excitement while teaching and playing with the kids.
The projects today at the school were focused on sharing Jesus’s life story, from birth to death. Even though we were assigned to assist the other team during craft projects, we were each given the opportunity to share about Jesus and teach a craft project. For the sake of our health, we took different break times during the day.

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Prayer Requests

We ask everyone to please pray that we will have enough energy every day, and continue to focus on our goal of sharing the gospel. Thank you for your previous prayers because we have continuously been able to see our impact on the people around us and see God work everyday in our lives.

Little Kids. Ya Gotta Love Them.

Amidst all the chaos of teaching VBS and adjusting to the new schedule, we are blessed to see how children DO reflect a little slice of Heaven.
group pic with kids 02

Large Blessings In Small Children

Today is day 2 of VBS, but day 17 of our time in Taiwan. It is crazy how time has flown by. With this new VBS curriculum, and a new California STM team to work with, it takes a special kind of person to be able to function at 5:20 a.m. in the morning, and stay alive through 10 p.m. To say the least, we are all pretty exhausted.

However, it is a blessing that the kids we are working with are so polite, even if they are little rascals sometimes. They are the ones asking us questions, and going out of their way to explain jokes we can’t understand because they’re in Chinese. They’ve even told some of our team how beautiful we are out of the blue. There was even a nine-year-old that gave Siena a massage, and then volunteered to massage all the other adults.

Seeing God Working

We’re thankful to God for a growing spirit of cooperation and understanding between the two STM groups. As Debbie Dodd said it is a “meshing of talents.” And, that’s a truth I see in this group from CFBC. It’s a total cliche on mission trips when people return to say, “We saw so much growth ‘here,’ or ‘there,'” but we’re starting to get it now. Not only are we changing the lives of the people here by introducing them to The Grace Place and adding them on Facebook, these people are also changing our lives.

The amazing network of creative energy, utter kindness, and flexibility to numerous changes, has personally showed me what Jesus is like on an earthly level. Especially when pretty much the entirety of our group does not speak the local language here. It is so amazing to see with my own eyes the ways of communication God has supplemented us with through this past week. God works through anyone and recognizing that when the time comes, is one of the most exciting parts of being on this journey with Christ.

Prayer Requests

We ask that you pray for one of the kids from the summer camp, Wingo. Pray that someone–perhaps Pastor James from The Grace Place–is able to work with and mentor him as he grows in his relationship with Christ. Also please pray that a youth group can be made at this church so there can be a place for many of these ‘unchurched’ kids to come together in fellowship. Also, thank God that we have leaders that are observant and caring, and understand the power of rest and restoration; we’re taking the afternoon off tomorrow to swim and sleep!!

Building Bridges

This morning, Ariane shared a devotion from Mathew 7:14. She reminded us that following God is a difficult path. We have to take a step out of our comfort zones and leave our “luggage” behind. However for the people who walk this path they will find eternal life with God at the end.

Although the path of following Jesus to do missions here in Taiwan may be difficult at times, having other people walking with me has made it easier. Having the rest of the mission team support me as I put down my luggage has helped me walk through the hurdles on this narrow path.

After our morning devotions and breakfast we went back to the cram school for the second and final time. To our delightful surprise, the kids were very excited to see us again! we were able to build stronger relationships, and even gained some Facebook friends 🙂

Our lessons we presented today were about Portland. The main emphasis was on the connection between the “City of Bridges” and our special bridge, Jesus, who is the only way across the chasm of sin that separates us from God. The kids were very receptive to our message especially the older high schoolers. We invited them to come to Grace place on Sunday, and a few said they would! After the presentation, they were give toothpicks, skewers, and marsh mellows to build bridges of their own. Everyone had a lot of fun.

We taught the same lessons at the Grace Place summer camp that we used at the Cram School. The main lesson of the day was on Portland, but our focus was on strengthening our connection with the kids. The kids were also less shy and were able to bond with each other as well as with the STM team.

Please pray that we will continue to build stronger bonds and feel more comfortable around each other. Many times we had to improvise or adapt last minute. Even so, nothing has gone horribly wrong! We have had plenty of time to prepare, rest and have fun. In order to be productive, we used our free time to practice worship songs for the upcoming days. Thank the Lord, even though we were all tired, we were capable of practicing, presenting,and smiling through it. After dinner, we went up to the church roof to watch the gorgeous sunset God had created.

Tomorrow, we will be going to the train stations. We ask that you pray for us as we share our testimony with strangers and that God will prepare their hearts for our message.

First Day of Cram School & Summer Camp!

Although we’re not all used to early mornings, it’s become part of our daily schedule here. Thank the Lord that our jet-lag is pretty non-existent, everyone is healthy, and no one has gotten lost yet. It’s easy to get lost in the newness of each day, and to forget that God had already known about all these things—like the mishap with our missing luggage—but the simple things, like a ‘thank you’ from the new kids that we met today, bring things back into perspective.

Update: The MIA luggage arrived!

However, because it was plastic the bag broke, but all of our supplies are still intact. (Auntie May was especially glad to see the anti-itch cream—she’s the only reason why the rest of us aren’t getting bitten. 🙂

Teaching & Learning Opportunity

We really didn’t know what to expect going into the cram school to teach this morning. (Actually, to be honest, we’re probably learning more than the Taiwan kids!). The program is called Cram School for good reason—the Taiwanese kids were saying that they do it because it helps them with their subject-based tests during the normal school season. Plus, their parents make them do it. We learned a lot about the differences between the American and Taiwan school systems. Like schools in Europe, it’s the teachers that move around classrooms, not the students. And, most actually attend and all-girls or all-boys school, so it’s interesting when they ask us, “Do you have a boyfriend?!” It’s a lot of learning for both sides; for us it’s slowing down our fast-paced English and understanding cultural differences in classroom environments.

We want to give thanks to the Grace Place Church family for treating us to such a variety of scrumptious foods: dragon fruit, fresh mangos, bagged seaweed soup, shaved ice, etc. Most of all we are thankful for your uplifting support. The spiritual intimacy of our 11-member STM group seems to be stretching in sooo many different ways. We ask that you continue to pray for us, because we feel the strength of your prayers.

Taiwanese Braised Pork with Rice…Yumm

Last Sunday we hosted one of our mission trip fundraising efforts in true CFBC fashion, with a luncheon! My mother always said, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…hasn’t helped me yet but it certainly helped with our church congregation.

We wanted to bring a little cultural awareness to our Hong Kong based community, as well as prepare our stomachs for their own upcoming adventure, so we chose to cook and serve a traditional Taiwanese Braised Pork over Rice dish (Lu Rou Fan). It certainly was popular among our congregation, since we saw people going back for seconds and thirds.

Auntie Bev getting two bowls of braised pork

Overall the event was a success! With a turnout of over 60 people, we were able to raise around $870. It was a team and family effort with the parents of our team lending their wonderful cooking skills, and the youth fellowship contributing their superb pan frying and cleaning abilities. It certainly was a sight to behold.