Prayer Lanters

Today was our guided tour of Taiwan. We went to the coast to look at rock formations and did some hiking in over a hundred degree heat.

Our tour guide took us to a very cool village to release prayer lanterns. We wrote prayers and blessings for the Taiwanese people as well as prayers for our new friends at the Grace Place Church. It was a very meaningful experience.

Our last stop on the tour was the grand hotel. It was very impressive.

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.

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!!

First Day Again

Today was the first official day we worked with the VBS team from California. Most of our team woke up around 5:00 am to prepare breakfast at the Grace Place for everybody. We know the day will be rush because we have two VBS in one day.  Morning VBS in the elementary school, afternoon VBS at the Grace Place.  It will be a hectic schedule, but we learned how to accommodate with the California VBS team as we went along.

The students at the elementary school were shy and some sat alone in classrooms during the breaks.  I notice one of the student was not very enthusiastic or motivated to participate in our activities. However, through the power of God I was able to speak to him in Chinese, and we quickly grew attached to each other. The most comforting prize for me today was when the same little boy brought his sister to the after school program, and he immediately recognized me and gave me a hug. I saw my reflection as I became a better Christian through the connections I made with others, just like Jesus promised his disciples to make them fishers of men.

Before we came on this trip, we knew there will be difficulties ahead with language barriers and connection with others.  We also knew that things will be more hectic when another team is involved.  It was much easier when we were in control with our own lesson plans. We have to adjust to the leadership of the other team.

Please continue to pray for our energy levels, that we will not be deteriorated but rather more focused on helping the students. Throughout the first week in Puzih, we made many great connections with students and peers. I was so surprised to see some of students who were willing to skip class for church, and others who was willing to spend their free time to help us prepare lessons for the next day. We thank God for opening the heart of these students to allow for connections. Please pray for their spiritual relationship with God as they grow.  Please pray for our two team to work smoothly to glorify His name.

Farewell’s & Hello’s

Relaxing At The Beach

Our day began with a quick trip to the beach in Taiwan, where we played in the fountains and took a well needed rest. Auntie May was very curious about the seafood in the cost, so Pastor James was kind enough to take us to a local Oyster farm that is owned by one of the Grace Place Church members. While there, we saw the in’s and out’s of their shucking operation and got to learn a little bit about their family business.

After our short day trip, we traveled back to Puzi for lunch and greeted the mission team from California. Their team had already spent a week in Taiwan teaching their program to more than 70 students.

Bye Aaron and Candace!

While we exchanged greetings, our team said our farewells to Aaron and Candace. They left for Taipei and will be returning to the States soon! We miss them very much and we pray that God gives them safe travels.

…Aaron and Candace’s Day In Taipei

Aaron and Candace kidnapped Sarah (our translator from the summer camp) and took her on an adventure around Taipei for the day. They started at the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial.

They were able to fit in a little bit of exercise at the memorial 😉

After the memorial, they took the subway to the Shilling Night Market. (Praise that they didn’t get lost!)

Aaron and Candace tried all kids of foods and fruits at the night market, and even got to try the famous shaved ice.

Thank You Sarah for all your hard work this week and for showing Aaron and Candace around Taipei. They both are very thankful for the STM team and are proud of their hard work (they miss the team already). They will be praying for them as the the STM team continues their mission in Taiwan.

…Back To The Action: Settling In

We then helped the California team settle down and prep for this weeks upcoming lessons. Later in the afternoon, our team visited the Joy House. The Joy House is located in a low income area that is open to children every Saturday. Usually, the children in the neighborhood (in elementary and middle school) come for games, sewing lessons, a biblical story and snacks. Since the neighborhood is relatively older and more traditional, they speak Taiwanese. Their stories were told in Taiwanese and our team was intrigued by the language. We saw the difference in their living styles because the neighborhood had less financial access to modern-day necessities. Although our visit was short, we were able to connect with the children and we were reluctant to leave.

Night Market!

We ended our night at the Chaiyi night market and standing in line for marinated duck, fried dough, oyster omelets and papaya milk.

Keep us in your prayers as we will lead the Sunday worship at the Grace Place! Please also pray for our energy and cooperation with the other team.

Last Day, But Not Goodbye

Train Station: Round 2

This morning, we went to the train station again. As some of us were setting up our singing area, the others went around the station handing out pamphlets about the gospel and encouraging them to listen to us sing. We were blessed that many people at the station were listening. Some even took videos! This helped create an introduction for us more easily share the gospel with them. Some of Taiwanese teenagers from our camp even joined us and experienced spreading the gospel to others.

Last Day of Summer Camp

Although the past week was difficult with the language barrier, we were able to build strong friendships and bonds with the students. Each night the some kids purposely stay late just to play games and hang out with us. One of the students even went out of her way to teach us how to make Omelet Rice for lunch.
For the last day of our summer camp, the students created a mural for the church as a memento of the things we did together. We bonded while reminiscing about some of the more fun activities. We concluded our lessons with the gospel, using the chair skit to explain how only through Jesus we are able to be rescued from our sins. We also helped them make gospel bracelets and explained the meaning behind each of the 5 colors.

After our lesson plan, we played a couple of water balloon tossing games and ended up in a water balloon fight. Drenched as we were, we all had fun and wished we could’ve spent more time together. To end to the camp, we signed each other’s shirt as a sweet memory of our past week.

Prayer Requests

With another week coming, we ask you to pray that we will be able to maintain our health and safety as we continue to walk the path God has set us on. Please pray for us to connect with the new Mission Team and the new kids we will be teaching. We also ask that you pray for all the teens that have come to know Christ or desire to follow him that their spiritual relationship with God will continue to grow.

The Power of God Stirring

Day four of teaching, we began the day with visiting the National Palace Museum. It contained much of China’s treasures saved from the communist revolution and snippets of the Japanese and Korean cultures. We saw the lifestyle of the Taiwanese person through the scrolls, textiles, statues and ceramics. We ended our short trip with dumplings and wanton for lunch.

One thirty and we began playing games to start our daily lesson. Students grew very comfortable with our youth team and by today were very assertive as compared with the first couple of days. We bonded over our shared interests, and discovered our mutual passion for Korean music. Many shy students attempted holding conversations with us in English. We were able to help with their English, and they taught us useful Chinese phrases. At the end of the fourth day, more and more kids wanted to linger after the session so we even exchanged contacts and our social media.

We can see the power of God stirring like dust on the ground, as our two groups of people from different countries walk together. The language barrier was no longer a concern because we shared the language of love, and it was all made possible with God! We are saddened to come so quickly to the last days with these students, but we pray the presence of God through our youth team has made a change in their hearts. Tomorrow will be the last day we see these students, and we pray we are able to give all that God has called for us, to make even one student drawn to him.

Please pray for these students as we end our journey with them tomorrow. We also pray our session of evangelism at the train station to be well and that our voices can attract the interest of the public. It will be difficult to approach strangers, but we pray for God to strengthen our faith so we can overcome our cognitive fears to be closer with him. To be able to sing with these Taiwanese students is a blessing and a miraculous work of God to our youth mission. Please pray all will be well for these students’ last day, and that this may become a new beginning on their spiritual journey.

What A Day!

Train Station Evangelism

Wednesday: What a day! Today we went to the High Speed Rail Train Station in the morning and it went extremely well. We combined with some of the youth from the Grace Place Church and even though we did some Chinese songs, we still sung them to our fullest abilities. For many of us it was just the first time we’ve sang in public and we were surprised at what we were doing in that moment. But as the time moved on, we started to get comfortable and crowds started to form. While playing the Cajon, I could see the people record us and see people who were interested in what we were doing. It felt that what we were doing had an influence on the people who were at the train station. This task couldn’t have been accomplished if it wasn’t for the support from the Grace Place Church and setting up the opportunity. Passing out the bracelets and tracts were a bit difficult with the language barrier but we had to put that aside and place our faith in God that the people at the station would read it.

Rec Day

After the Train Station we headed back to the Grace Place and started our Rec. day. We played a bunch of games which helped us bond with the kids. They were also able to loosen up and play with each other more. Overall we were able to hang out, know the kids better, and take a break from all the teaching.

Hot Pot In Hot Weather

Dinner was AMAZING. We had hotpot buffet and there were so many options. It filled all of us to the max and we were so satisfied by the meal. Many things went well but prayer is still needed.

Prayers Needed

We are using so much energy and getting drained means that our health also gets damaged so please pray for our health. There are also many kids at the Grace Place that are still shy and pray that we can have stronger relationships with them. Many kids aren’t believers yet but are very close to becoming one so we wish that we can help them build a relationship with God. There are three kids in particular (Maggie, Wingo, and Tina) who are non-believers or who have never been to church before. However, all three stayed with us throughout the station and summer camp and have been very eager to connect with us and even learn more about our purpose here. Please keep us, and these three youths, in your prayers as we attempt to introduce Christ into their lives.

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.