Guogou Center Visit – February 2 through February 5, 2010

Routines were back on Tuesday (2/2), most of which were after-school tutoring. Pastor Shulin and I went to Budai Fishing Market to buy goods for gifts. Along the way, we shared on the visions of Gospel in the countryside.

Wednesday (2/3), I gave a lecture to the students in the Middle School. The topic is “How do you prepare for the challenges in your life?”

I compared my youth days with theirs and pointed out the differences – “Speed” and “Constant Changes”. Today, the speeds on everything are doubled, tripled, and even tens and thousands faster than 50 years ago. I was traveling in cart moved by cattle in my childhood in the countryside. It took me two days to arrive at Ohio by air plane (overnight stay at Tokyo). I used punched card deck to run my computer program overnight for my Master’s thesis. Now, we travel in automobiles between towns. It takes 10 to 15 hours in air to travel between Taiwan and US cities. We run the computer programs in our homes using our Person Computers. Today, everything in the world is changing. We are unable to predict what will happen in the coming years, even months ahead.

With these two conditions, I encouraged them to use time wisely, learn diligently in school and get knowledge from the Web (Google search) quickly. I used my life experience beginning from dealing with materials in the laboratory and ending in leading people in corporations to encourage them in loving their families, their friends and their neighbors. And I encouraged them to travel around to widen their world view.

Thursday (2/4) is a busy day. In the morning, I shared the small group Leadership Training with the coworkers and friends from Budai Church. We discussed the ways to start the small groups. For the care and prayer services, I mentioned the on-going Support Group Leader Training at Saddleback Church. In Saddleback Church, there are constantly around 1,800 people per month in need of helps in emotional and physical health but only with 118 Support Groups available to provide the services. In Gougou and Budai area, there are many people need helps and this is a field that we can serve. However, we need prayers to get God’s guidance and the training in building our skills.

In the afternoon, the pastor and members of Budai Church came back after lunch to observe Guogou’s after-school tutoring. In the meantime, Rev. Yuan from Far East Broadcasting came to visit Guogou center in observing the after-school tutoring, too. He represented SCC and told us that they are helping the aboriginal children in the remote villages of Pintung County. Ruth, Shui-Jao and Shulin shared their experience with Rev. Yuan and provided him with many valuable information and advices.

Later, a brother from a San Jose Chinese church visited the center. Their church is planning a mission trip to Taiwan villages with a team of 30 members (including children and youth) to provide English classes and music recitals. They want to learn from the center so that they can better prepare for the mission trip.

During dinner time, brother Huang from Donshih center came to visit me because Ruth told him that I am leaving on the weekend. We had a short and warm chattering on our missionary works.

On Friday (2/5) morning, I left around 6:00 am to Irlin, Chunghwa County in handling a personal matter. I took the bus to Chiayi city and boarded the Train to Yuan-Lin and then took the bus to Irlin. It took me four hours one way for the trip. Here, I learned the difference between the Cities and countryside in Taiwan. Without a personal automobile, it will take long time in travelling around the countryside. Even with the automobile, it still takes long traveling time because of the road conditions.

Back to the center around 3:30 pm from the trip, I joined the party with the elementary school children to welcome the coming Chinese New Year and the winter-break. In the evening, I joined the dinner party with the middle school youth in Taibao.

Saturday (2/6) morning, I requested a meeting with Ruth and the coworkers to share my observations for the three weeks stay as well as to discuss the need of the center and to prepare the next missionary trip. We had candid exchanges on our findings and warm receptions on our opinions. The need for a long-term committed English teaching staff is obvious. Searching a teacher (or teachers) from the local communities is decided. We from America can also help in organizing an intensive course, e.g. two weeks. The piano and guitar lessons should be continued and the students need to be encouraged to practice more. The Jazz drum class will be started with the help from Mr. Wang. The small groups will be started in both Guogou and Budai if this is God’s will. The care and prayer ministry is God’s calling and the coworkers and church members are willing to be trained. The music recital is a good way to draw people from the community. We decided to plan a recital for a larger audience using the school auditorium during the next mission trip.

Ruth shared her opinions on “Short Missions” with me. Though some people regard the “Short Missions” as ineffective, Ruth thinks differently. She mentioned a few points:

  1. The “Short Mission” visit does plant the seeds on the children, the youth and the community. The seeds will grow.
  2. We should look for the long term and not look for the quick result, i.e., to count how many people converted and get baptized after the “Short Mission”.
  3. The “Short Mission” visit does open the eyes and raise the view-scope of the local church.
  4. The “Short Mission” visit creates the interactions between the outside and the local community.
  5. The “Short Mission” visit inspires the local church to continue the missionary.
With these in mind, I am more committed in the future missionary trips.

Sunday (2/7) after the worship service, I bid good bye to the friends and the coworkers. This is a memorable three weeks in my life. I learned more on how Guogou center operated and I made more friends from the community. Most important, I found God’s calling on serving those people that were hurt and need help in healing. As Ruth shared, we walk a small step each time and God will guide us.

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