Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Orphan Can Be Adopted

Where can I see the power of God? During these weeks I have been asking myself this question. I have read about lots of miracles in the Scriptures such as the ten plagues, when Jesus feeds the five thousand, and so on. There were many amazing things that showed me God’s power; however, it never dawned on me that I would find it in the tears of a child.

I am pretty sure that this innocent girl, Dora, with short hair, cute small eyes, and who always wore red or pink shirts, was on my team three years ago. However, I didn’t know her situation back then. All I knew was that she needed to be controlled by medicine every day, that she didn’t pay much attention to the lesson, and that she was almost pettish all the time. This year when I saw her, I was impressed that she had changed a lot; she loved to ask for hugs or to hold hands with a sweet and bright smile on her face. I could see a positive soul in this small body.

I was overwhelmed when I heard her testimony on Sunday at church. She slowly uttered these words: “When I was five, my mom left me,” suddenly she tilted her head, feeling perplexed, “I don’t know why she left me… I think she doesn’t love me.” She paused, doing her best to hold back her tears. Hers is such a small, fragile soul, yet how great is the pain it has borne. She probably still struggles with the pain, but even in the darkest night Jesus is always there, whispering to her. As she went on we began to realize that God Himself has been taking good care of this cute, ten-year-old girl and feeding her with His love.

“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” John 14:18-19

She reminded me of the story of the five orphans that we’ve been telling during the CIs this year. Just like them she was once abandoned for some unknown reasons, but God, like the king in the story, came into her life and adopted her, wrapping her up in His arms. Sometimes I feel that my sins are too great to forgive and that everyone has abandoned me. Yet, God wants to be the faithful Father of every single person. God adopts orphans! I didn’t quite understand what that sentence meant until I saw Dora boldly holding the microphone, describing how she lives alone and keeps her little flat tidy by herself. Her Father is God indeed!

What is the biggest thing we can do for the kids during these five-day camps? Admit it: we cannot do much. God is the One that can be with them throughout their entire lives. I met Dora three years ago, and she probably has forgotten me; but, Jesus has been looking after and changing her life. We are so limited and can only do little things, but my prayer is that we will all live in God’s power as we go forward. Look at what Jesus has done for all of the kids and teachers and all people everywhere; isn’t that impressive enough? Behold, more things will be done.

Esther G. Lee

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Loving for Jesus

I wasn't able to hold my tears once I landed in Taiwan because God had made one of the biggest desires of my heart come true: come to Asia. This past couple of weeks has been beyond awesome! The people here are so nice, the food is great, the weather is perfect, and the CI's are really cool. I'm very impressed of how the whole CI has been organized and planned. We first start our day reading the word of God and worshiping Him. Later, CI leaders divide us into groups where we get to teach kids about the power of God. We also get to do crafts with the kids; it's so much fun!

This is my first CI and I can honestly say I was very nervous about meeting the kids on the first day. As I prayed throughout the day before the camp started, I asked God to use me and to do His will. The camp started and the first 2 kids (siblings) that came into the classroom stole my heart! As the week passed by, I began to get close to them. They constantly asked me for hugs and to sit them on my lap. Throughout that week I realized that in Taiwanese culture, people aren't very touchy or affectionate. Which made me think: if they aren't that affectionate, then why do these kids ask for so many hugs and so much attention? Then I remembered what I had being praying all week long before the camps started. Perhaps this is what God called me her for - to express the love He has for us.

 On the last day of camp, it was very hard to say goodbye. I gave them both the longest and strongest hug I have ever given; as I hugged the two kids, I prayed for them and I blessed them. The kids left: I know I'll probably never see them again, but they have a special place in my heart. Since I won't be there to hug them daily anymore, every night I pray and ask God to be with them.  I pray that they may be able to encounter the love of God in a whole different level.

 I've honestly been enjoying every single second I spend with the kids at CI. They are very loving and their desire to learn more about God is incredible. I'm beyond thankful with the Lord for bringing me here. I love Taiwan, I love CI, I love my leaders, and I love serving God and being part of this ministry!

Damaris Morales

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Called and Empowered

Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

Morning Quiet Time
Sometimes I’m completely stumped by God’s goodness. I keep trying to figure out a way to describe how incredible it is to be a part of this CI trip, but my words just understate how blessed I feel. Taiwan is beautiful, its people are beautiful, and I didn’t have a clue what kind of gift I was in for when I set out on this trip.

Anytime God allows me to take part in His work like this, I really struggle with feeling inadequate for the role – not in a humble way that highlights God’s strength, but an insecure way that makes me focus on myself and worry. As familiar as I am with this situation, you would think I’d recognize it immediately as an opportunity to acknowledge my weakness and ask for God’s strength, but it usually takes a series of unfortunate events to get me to that point.

Working on songs in small group
I ended the first CI evening surprised by how difficult it was to teach through a translator and how much harder it is to connect with kids when you can’t speak their language. I felt like everything I tried to do that night was a total fail (I’m actually not exaggerating, it really was pathetic) and I left a little irritated with God for setting me up for failure by sending me here. My night ended in sending some dramatic “woe is me” texts to my family, and a sad little prayer that tomorrow wouldn’t be quite as awful.

The next morning, I was reading of how Jesus selected his twelve disciples and then sent them out into the villages to heal the sick, cast out demons, and preach without him. The kind of men he chose always strikes me as interesting: fishermen, a tax collector, and a man who seemed to have his foot in his mouth more often than not. Jesus intentionally picked out a group of men who were inadequate and gave them a task outside of their own abilities, but then He gave them His power to carry it out.

That’s the way God works. If He calls, He enables. His power is there just waiting on us to ask Him for it, waiting on us to give Him the credit that He deserves.

Silliness is a universal language.
Sometimes I just need to be reminded of what I’m always telling other people – we really can’t do it in our own strength. Thankfully, the past couple of weeks have gone so much smoother than that first night! It’s been fun figuring out how to communicate in ways that don’t involve using words. It’s also fun to have seven-year-olds give you Chinese lessons . . . and then laugh at your pitiful attempts (I still don’t hear the difference between what they’re saying and I’m repeating).

We have one full day left of our CI in Tainan before we head of for our final week in Taipei. Please pray that every child would see and accept God’s love and truth before leaving tomorrow evening. We don’t want to miss any opportunity to show them Jesus, and we want to see Him finish the work that He’s already started this week.
Charity Roberts

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Blessings: From and To Him

This trip is my first time to ever be part of a CI in any way and Father has used it to stretch my horizons and broadened my level of experience in working with different ministries. It's been encouraging to me to be able to teach the kids biblical principles and character illustrated through songs, stories, crafts, (and my personal favorite) testimonies from my own life. I've been extremely blessed to be able to work with such a great team of like-minded believers that enjoy teaching the kids just as much as I do. Speaking of which, I was extremely impressed with the diligent determination, patient professionalism, and Christ-like care given the children by the interpreters last week in Hsinchu. I want to spend this time to personally thank any and every CI interpreter (both those who have interpreted in the past and those that will in the future). Your role is vital and your responsibility large. Without you, these CI's could not exist in the same way. May Father bless you richly as you abide in Him and allow the extra distractions to be cut away.

The CI staff have been inspiring to me by their annual sacrificial service. Their willingness to continue to serve and disciple the teachers and interpreters is evidence to their servant spirits and love for God and others. Each day we are exhorted to spend personal quiet time in the Word, reading and praying over the passage that we are reviewing as a group. Mark, the book that we have been studying, seems to be focused on the theme for the Taiwan CI is year: God's power and our ability to access it through faith.

Monday was our first full day in Tainan. It started off with group singing and a study of Mark chapter 6. We were then guided through visiting a few tourist highlights of the city and ending the excursion at the night market for dinner. While walking around the crowded market we were able to see some of the pain and bondage that so many of the people of the city are in. During that time the Holy Spirit prompted me to pray for the city and especially those who will be attending the Seminar and the CI.

The rich sound of waves rolling onto the beach, the sweet smell of the sea drifting in from the refreshing breeze (bathing everyone who ventured out to experience the moment), and the dazzling show of light can hardly begin to describe the majesty of the sunset moments at the Tainan beach. While we were there, I stepped away from the group and enjoyed a few moments of thanking and praising Him for allowing us to experience first hand His power and majesty through His creation. May He receive the glory for the work we are about to do these next few days.

Please pray for the health of the group, and that the hearts of the children coming would be prepared for the seed of His Word.Thank Him for the fellowship and unity that has grown and developed in the team for this year's Children's Institute.
Luke Wills

Sunday, February 1, 2015

His Might, Not Mine

What an amazing, no, awesome week it has been with the first CI week here in Hsinchu! On Tuesday, the team spent the entire day in a little town called Neiwan. We had lunch, a basic orientation and then had some free time to explore and try some the town’s special foods! Several members of the team also got to experience some the local wildlife after spending some time by the river, only to discover that they had brought back some leeches with them. :) That night we took some time and prayed at the gate of the city and asked God to bless our time with the kids and empty ourselves to be filled with Him.

This first week of teacher training was very intensive as many of the teachers where preparing to teach their very first CI. The staff had also prepared a brand new curriculum for us to teach and I didn’t realize until after the first night how stretching it was going to be for me. You see it was two years ago this month that I had the privilege of heading to Taiwan to help teach my first overseas CI. It was a great time to experience a whole new culture and to work with children, while dealing with a language barrier. God gave strength through that whole time and it went over more smoothly then I could have ever planned.

As we began our first week this year I looked forward to see what God was going to do! However, when the first night ended, it seemed like I was hitting a brick wall. I felt like I wasn’t connecting with the kids and that I was always tripping over myself while trying to teach the lesson. The next morning during my devotions the Lord showed me that had been relying more on my own abilities and not wholly on Him. I dedicated myself and my CI team to Him anew and that evening it was like a whole 180 degrees difference from the night before. It was God’s small reminder to me that I need to trust Him 100% of the time!

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Pro. 3:5-6
Nathan Corduan

Friday, January 30, 2015

Relying on His Strength

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song I will praise Him.” ~ Psalm 28:7

Growing up, I’d attended CI every year from the time I was 6 until I was 12. I've taught a handful of CI's in the States. I know all about the lessons and how they’re supposed to go - at least that's what I’d thought last year. This is my second time teaching with CI in Taiwan. I was really excited to be able to participate this year, but I was also a bit nervous as my experience with CI last year was not exactly smooth sailing. Not only did I have a few uncooperative students, but I also had a heart attitude of “I know what I’m doing” when really, I didn’t. Sure I knew all the stories, character qualities, definitions and everything, but I lacked a heart that was listening for what God would have me share. I was nervous that this year would be the same as last year - and I didn’t want it to be. Needless to say, I have spent a lot of time these past few weeks praying for this year’s CI.

Yesterday was our first day of CI. I was both excited and apprehensive! During teacher meetings, we discussed what our idea of a “10” was. (At the end of the day, if you rate the day and 1 is really bad and 10 is really amazing, what would be a 10?) I feel I have an “invisible 10” and a “visible 10.” My invisible 10 is if God is able to reach the kids in a way that sticks with them, then that is a 10. We may not necessarily see the fruit of it, it might be years from now, but if God uses something from the night to change a life, then I feel that is a 10. My visible 10 is if everything is on time, the children are well behaved, and there are no major issues by the end of the day. As I prepared to teach the first lesson, I realized I didn't know how I should present the material. I prayed for several minutes and God brought to mind examples and stories to use. The children arrived and were all quiet during the lessons. None of them seemed like the type to rebel or cause major distractions. The lesson went well, and the crafts were all done on time. My night was a 10.

At the end of the day, I sat down at the computer as it is my turn to write the blog post. I prayed “God, I don't know what to write! My team doesn't have any problem children that need extra prayers. There weren't any funny incidents that can give the folks back home a chuckle. It was just an ordinary, smooth evening.” and He replied, “Then that's what you write about. You write about how when you did things in your own strength it didn’t turn out so well as when you relied on Me for strength.” God is my strength. When my heart trusts Him and listens for His leading, He helps me. Therefore, I am filled with joy and will praise Him. Praise the Lord for being faithful to help us accomplish that which He calls us to do. The road may not always be as easy as today, but He is always there to help me along the way. Please keep all the teachers and students in your prayers. Pray for God to open the hearts and minds of the children to hear what He would have them to hear. Pray that we would have the energy to teach and would maintain good health.

Gem Martin

Monday, February 3, 2014


Having a blast at the night market!

Although the trip has been busy and stressful for me, it's also been a huge blessing! I'm so happy that God has been able to work through me and influence the lives of so many kids. One of my favorite memories occurred during the Taipei seminar. There was a boy on my team who always kept quiet and didn't like to participate much. So I was constantly praying that he would be getting something out of the lessons. As the days went on, he slowly started to open up. It was awesome to find out that he spoke English really well! After that, bonding with him became so much easier. It's amazing knowing that God's truth affects even the little ones. The evident change in his life was a huge encouragement to me! It's always incredible to see God work right before my own eyes! So I ask that you pray for him, that he might continue his spiritual growth in the Lord :)

Also, God has been teaching me so much on this trip! One of the biggest things I've been learning is to submit to Him in everything. Which honestly, has been very hard recently. Proverbs 3:5-6 says,

"Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."

This reminds me I have to have confidence and faith that he knows exactly what he's doing, even though I can't see how things are going to end up. Blind faith is a difficult thing for me, but God promises blessings to those who remain steadfast under trial (James 1:12).

Although the last few weeks have been hard, I've been trying to take every opportunity to submit to Christ, even in the hardest areas. Please pray for all the teachers and interpreters, that we would continue to submit our will and our desires to Christ.

Anna Hodges

Sunday, February 2, 2014

He is Good

It doesn't come with a boom or a bang but in the quiet stillness, there it is - an overwhelming sense of the Lord's goodness. I love coming back to Taiwan for this reason. When I hear the children's beautiful voices singing The Blessing at parent presentation, when we have worship times together as a team, when I stand on a black sand beach and look out on the pacific ocean, I can't really explain the special feeling of God's faithfulness that comes over me!

Taiwan is truly an amazing country. Not surprisingly, there are many things that make it unique but what I love the most is the children here! At our last seminar in Kaohsiung, the children would peek into the staff room and try to coax us to come out to play with them during dinner breaks. When I started an impromptu game of red light, green light with about 20 of them, they were so enthusiastic that I got knocked over and the chair I was sitting on broke! I can't think of anywhere else where the children are more innocent, more curious about us, and more eager to learn. They have a special place in my heart!

Six sets of sisters on the beach in Hualien

This year, we have had a pretty tight schedule with few days of rest. It has been such a blessing to see everyone still cheerful and willing to serve despite that. Another challenge has been having a smaller team of teachers and on top of that having teachers become sick! Everyone has been doing double duty. We are so thankful, though, that most have since gotten better.

Tomorrow, we'll be flying to Hong Kong! It's going to be exciting to be in a new country that most of us have not visited before. We will be working with a different culture and kids from a different background. The schedule for the Children's Institute here will also be longer than usual. Pray for stamina for the teachers, pray that communication barriers will be broken down and pray that we would be focused on giving God glory in everything!

Jolynn Tan

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Final Stretch

Well it's just about time to board another plane heading across the water to Hong Kong!! The past 3 CIs have been full and fabulous! God has shed His blessings upon this trip. I have very much enjoyed my time working with the amazing team of teachers and teaching the adorable children. The kids have been full of energy and excitement which fueled our creative juices in teaching. :) During this trip I have been learning to see and appreciate all the little blessings God brings my way daily. Last week in Kaohsiung I had a few rather energetic children on my team; I found so much joy in spending some one-on-one time with them during sessions. One little girl in particular had a short attention span which provided lots of one-on-one time between me and her. She knew very little English, and I seriously lack in the Chinese department; however, we had many laughs learning new English and Chinese words.

After the Kaohsiung seminar we spent a few days in the mountains of Hualien. We visited the Faith Hope Love Boys Home. It was such a blessing to be able to spend some time playing games with the boys and enjoying celebrating Chinese New Year with them eating hot pot! The last day in Hualin we were able to go to the beach. The Pacific Ocean was incredibly beautiful surrounded by the mountains. I was in awe of the beauty of God's creation! The ride back to Taipei was long and winding, but we managed to pass the time with some bus fun. :) The break has been refreshing and rejuvenating. Now our bags are packed and we're ready to finish strong in Hong Kong! ;)

A few prayer points for this week:
~Safety in travels
~Continued health and strength
~Energy to finish strong
~Open hearts and minds for the children and for each of us as well

Abbi Bergeron

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Father's Love

On the last day of the Kaoshiung CI, I asked God to show me His love. I wanted to see His love in a new way. I wanted to feel theoverwhelming joy of His love. I knew if I asked Him to show me He would. I was excited to see the way in which He desired to love me that day. After my prayer, I went about my day nearly forgetting about my request. As the end of the day drew near, I felt the prompting of God to share my journey to freedom with my kids. I didn't want to. I thought sharing the story of Christ would be more powerful than the story of my life, but I decided to obey His voice.

Who should I take a picture of?

As I began to share, I felt Christ use my mouth to speak to the children. When I finished sharing, all the children were wide eyed. A few of them were even in tears. A handful of them prayed to receive Christ as their Lord. Once I was finished, my assistant took the children to the next event and I stayed back to talk to one girl. This little girl looked petrified. She told me she was afraid she was sinking into a pit without God. I shared with her the hope and freedom Christ gives. I then asked her if she wanted this freedom. She eagerly said yes and we then prayed. As soon as we finished, the fear vanished from her eyes and a laugh escaped her mouth. The girl was free! I have never seen that dramatic of a transformation. It was the most beautiful thing.

At the end of the night, God reminded me of my prayer. Tears whelmed in my eyes as I realized God had used little me to bring freedom to multiple people in on night. It was at that moment that I felt the power if His love. The answer to my simple prayer has left my heart full of joy. Please be in prayer for the team as we rest in beautiful Haulian and celebrate Chinese New Year tomorrow. Also, please pray for my children who received Christ. Taiwan is a very dark country, and they can easily be led away from their new relationship with Christ.

Grace Lukachick

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

God Is Faithful

Today we finished the Kaohsiung CI! I just joined the CI team this week, and because I had little time to prepare, today was filled with last-minute prayers of desperation, because I didn't know what to teach, and God's ever-faithful, always incredible provision. For example, I was cutting out crafts up until the very last minute before lunch, and I still had no idea how to teach the very first small group lesson on Ownership. On the way to lunch, an idea popped into my head and I could hardly eat fast enough! A wordless book, stenciled on the back so that I could cut out the shape of a person as my translator and I crammed the story of creation, the fall, Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and our salvation into a few simple sentences while cutting out the man and turning the pages. The kids listened, spellbound, and I was hardly less amazed at the lesson that God was literally giving to me as fast as we could teach it.

Parent Presentation for the Kaohsiung seminar

Throughout the day, my team kept losing people. We started children three short due to families beginning early Chinese New Year celebrations. Another child was moved to a different team, and then my assistant was needed on yet another team to replace a teacher who became sick at the last minute. As I watched the team dwindle, my first response was to ask "God, is this my fault? Are you taking people away because I'm not right with you or something?" But as we continued to teach our kids God gave me a peace that He was putting each person where they needed to be, to hear what He wanted them to hear. Even when my translator or I were called away and the team was left with only one adult to work with ten kids, every circumstance continued to work perfectly with the timing and the lessons. God can work with anything and anyone, never doubt it!

My great mosquito hunters!

After the kids finished the presentation for the parents of what they had learned, I had my team back in our station, and the children were all going absolutely crazy. It was the last small group lesson, and I had been trying to prepare for it all day, but could not come up with any ideas. The topic was "success," the craft was a jewel, and I was clueless. So, (praying continually!) we called the team to order and I said the first thing that came into my head. "Who was the most successful man in the Bible?" Without any preparation beforehand, I found myself telling the story of Job from a perspective that I had never before considered, and tying it in with the truth from Jeremiah: "let the one who glories, glory in this: that he understands and knows Me, the living God." The kids listened. They really listened. And once again I stand in awe at God's perfect, timely provision for even the simplest requests. Please pray for the team, that we will stay at Jesus' feet and remember to wait on our God for every word, every thought, and every need. We praise Him, because He is faithful. Thank you Jesus!

Kelli Davis

Sunday, January 26, 2014

From Student To Teacher

Parent Presentation for the Taipei Children's Institute

When I was a little boy I participated in Children's Institute and really enjoyed it. As I got older, I didn't really know why I enjoyed CI so much. I couldn't figure it out. But having been able to work with CI again this year, for the first time in many years, I have finally realized why I enjoyed it so much. It's because here the atmosphere is full of love.

Innocent children come here to learn. The teachers have a great responsibility, and always do their very best to help the kids understand the principles that are taught. But so many things are not in our control. One second, a child will be smiling at you, the next time you look, they are in tears. It's always hard working with children, because there are so many problem we as teachers and leaders have to deal with. But thank God, He is always there to help us understand and give us wisdom to solve each issue that arises. Through working with the CI team this year, I learned once again how important it is to be resilient and flexible.

I thank God that he put such a cute group of kids on my team this last week. Please keep them in your prayers, that the seeds that were planted in their hearts while here at CI will continue to grow. Also, we had some amazing testimonies of at least 6 kids giving their lives to Jesus at the seminar in Taipei, so please pray for them as well, that they will begin to learn more what it means to be like Jesus. Finally, Kaohsiung's seminar is beginning tomorrow, and will be a whirlwind seminar, so please for the the teachers and assistants, that God will give them enough strength, wisdom, and creativity to make it another successful week.

Tony Huang