Our Last Day

Our last full day in Taiwan. We took advantage of the metro transit (we’re getting pretty good at it)and venture out to the underground shopping mall. Our mission was to eat at the famous Ding Tie Fung restaurant in the Maokong Gondola.
 
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We couldn’t think of a more prefect way to end our trip, than with the best sunset ever! The bright red sunset liked the Chinese salty egg yoke.

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.
 

Memorials and More Night Markets

In extreme heat, we walked from our Airbnb to the Chang Kai Shek Memorial. It took us more than 30 minutes, because we got lost on the way, but it was well worth it.


We were very proud of ourselves for being able to navigate the transit system. We were able to take the metro train back to our Airbnb and to the Shilin night market.
 

Sun Moon Lake

We toured Sun Moon Lake today before heading up to Taipei. Our driver picked us up promptly at 9am with his fancy 9 passenger bus. It was the most comfortable ride we have had so far.


In order to fully appreciate the beautiful lake, we took a boat ride across the vast lake. It was lots of fun.

We end the trip with a bike ride around part of the lake.

Taichung Exploration

Today was our first real day by ourselves. We took a 1 hour and 15 minute train ride from Chaiyi to Taichung. The air conditioned train cars were a great escape from the heat.


We found a delicious Korean restaurant for lunch.

Then off to the mall! It was so big and so fancy.
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We ended our day with some ice cream from a popular ice cream shop.
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Ali-Shan (Mountain) and Fun!

We had a wonderful trip up to Ali-shan, but it made up miss home. The weather
on the mountain side was beautiful today. Similar to the Portland’s summer season. A little rain and a bit of sunshine. It was very refreshing from the intense heat we’ve experienced over the past couple of weeks.

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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.

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.
 
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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.
 
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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.

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.