Village Gospel Mission — 11/10/09 to 11/11/09

Mature Camp (From November 10 to November 15, 2009)

This week from November 10 to 15, I attended the Mature Camp held by Village Gospel Mission (VGM) at Tongshih village, Chiayi County, Taiwan. The purpose of this training camp is to get familiar with the missionary works of VGM, tour four other centers besides Tongshih and propose personal mission.  

On November 10, I departed Taipei by HSR and arrived at Chiayi. Paul Ling from VGM took six of us by van to Tongshih. After settled down our luggage, received the briefing and distributed the work load, we went to shop for the groceries of the whole week. Sister Pon was elected as the kitchen coördinator and the team cooked a nice meal. After enjoyed the dinner and rest, our group of 15 plus Pastor Chen and Paul Ling gathered together to share our backgrounds which helped us to know each other.

Next morning, we started early. Actually, I almost had no sleep because of noises and the new environment. The breakfast had many varieties. Then, Pastor Chen led the Bible study. He shared his study method – to read a complete chapter quickly and come back to read the details. We studied and shared I- Samuel, chapter 1 through 7. Praying and worshiping was after the Bible study.

Around 9:40 a.m. we left in two vans to visit four VGM centers. The first one is Guogou center 過溝福音中心 which is only minutes away from Tongshih center and which I have visited twice, in June and October this year. Ruth and the coworkers welcomed us and Ruth gave us a briefing and a Power Point slide show of the activities. Ms. Chen answered many questions about the after-school tutoring. The group was very impressed with the facilities and the well-organized programs.

 

Next, we visited 蒜頭 center which is east of Guogou center. We had the “Bando” box lunch meeting to save time. The center has two locations and one is managed by Pastor Wu while the other is managed by Mrs. Wu. There were a few member baptized in the last year. The difficulties of operating the center is that there is not enough coworkers to handle the after school tutoring. They rely on the volunteers to fill the vacuüm. And they have standardized teaching materials for the volunteers. Many of the member families are well educated and this is an exception of the VGM centers.

 
We then traveled to 長治福音中心 which is located in Pindong county, hours south of Chiayi. This center is the newest one and is managed by three young coworkers. One of them left Texas to this village. The villagers are mostly Hakka. They are very conservative and worship of ancestor is a must and cannot be ignored. Traditionally, they emphasized education and therefore, there are a few commercial tutoring centers around. One way to attract the villagers to come is to have concurrent parents-children English classes. They took nominal fees to encourage the children to attend and to avoid suspicions from the villagers on their intention. The villagers were very curious about visitors from abroad (USA) because they were eager to learn the new things. The coworkers mentioned that they need help. The best helping team came from a church missionary team from Fong Yuan (Taizhong County). The team was so self-sufficient that they required little or no interference from the center. The coworkers are young (in the front row of the photo below) and they desired to have mature people in the 30 – 50 years for help.
 

The last center we visit is 麟洛福音中心which is different from the other centers that it is a church and does not have after school tutoring. The center is managed by Pastor Wen (溫盡滿) and the center is one of the oldest centers. The villagers are also mostly Hakka. Pastor Wen came from the village and she emphasized the importance of story telling and touching the family in Gospel mission.
 

In the way back to Tongshih, we lost directions near Putze. With some efforts, we reached our destination at the Historical market to enjoy the traditional Taiwanese spring roll and ice-fruit bar. In the night, we shared our impressions of the different centers and discussed the missionary programs and directions with question and answer session.

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