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.

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.

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.

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.