October 16, 2009
This morning, John and I got up early and took a morning walk. Not far away from the center, we found a breakfast stand and ate breakfast. The fresh air and quiet countryside roads were very attractive for our city dwellers.
Around 7:45 a.m. Annie and Ching-Ya went with Ruth to the elementary school for the class of “Rainbow Life Education” (彩虹生命教育). The class combined singing, playing and teachings of moral behaviors and Religious (Christian) values.
Weekly Bible study was scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. every Friday morning which was intended to teach the local residents on knowing Jesus. Today, we studied Book of Matthew chapters 1 and 2.
Around 10:45 a.m. we went to visit Tongshih center (東石教會) which is north of Guogou and about 15 minutes driving. Pastor Chen, his wife and the coworkers welcomed us to the center. After a brief introduction, we asked Mrs. Chen how she accepted Jesus, met Pastor Chen and started this mission center. Then, Pastor Chen told his story and gave a brief description of Village Gospel Mission (VGM) including the church history and the current status.
Next, we had a question and answer session. Pastor Chen described the difficulties in missionary work at countryside. One of the difficulties is to find committed coworkers who are willing to stay at the countryside. Then, Pastor Chen pointed out that for a short missionary trip, a summer camp with the purpose of teaching worship band music will be very helpful in attracting youth to the church.
Joyce mentioned the importance of preparing project proposals using Saddleback PEACE program as well as the American charity organizations as the examples. We had candid exchanges on various ideas for the missionary works.
The lunch was in a seafood restaurant. The dishes were delicious. We had good table conversations. Joyce shared her story of accepting Jesus as the savior. Her marriage was on the edge of being dissolved. Amazingly, they attended a marriage camp and met Annie and John. To make a long story short, Joyce and her husband reconciled and started attending church worships. Joyce told us that Annie is the angel sent by God to restore her marriage. Because of this life conversion, Joyce became a devoted Christian and one of the leaders in Saddleback PEACE program.
After lunch, we went to 中埔 which is located near the foothill of Alisan. It is about one hour’s driving distance from Tongshih and Guogou. The sanctury of 鹿滿教會 at 中埔 has a beautiful architecture. It was designed by the Pastor.
The building has a lot of windows and the nature light flows to the whole sanctuary. The cost of the building is about NT 20 millions. 鹿滿教會 belongs to Presbyterian tradition. At present, there are 110 members.
We returned the center around 5:00 p.m. and had a quick dinner. Decorating flowers were delivered to the church one by one. These flowers were from the schools, from the teacher-parent associations and the local shops. We were overwhelmed by the warm welcome of us by the local community.Around 6:00 p.m. brother Hsieh came in and we placed the chairs in anticipating of an audience of 70 people. Around 6:40 p.m. people started coming in and soon the place was filled up. Some children were asked to seat on the pads placed on the center aisle because there was more audience than we expected and we ran out of space for the chairs.
Ruth made a short introduction and brother Hsieh led the songs for the first section of the program. The children were familiar with the first two songs and they sung loudly and joyfully. Brother Hsieh was a very good MC because of his humor and knowledge in music history and composers. After we finished the recital, the audience requested encores. Annie and Ching-Ya then sung a very cheerful and pleasant duet for the encore. Finally, Pastor Shulin prayed and gave blessing to end tonight’s music recital.
For the reception, Guogou center prepared cakes and drinks for the attendance. A few students talked to Annie and Ching-Ya on singing techniques. The school principals, teachers and parents had a good social time with us and the coworkers.