Saturday, January 31, 2009

His Power, My Weakness

“My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9a)

Saturday was our first full day of teaching. Most of the team had colds or coughs and everyone was tired. Our strength that we had at the beginning of the trip was fast running out and God had many opportunities to show His strength through our weakness.

One such instance stood out to me very clearly. All week the whole team had been praying for our kids that we could be able to reach out to them and to connect to the team. I had also been praying for my personal team that God would give Joy Clark, our translator, Tom, and I wisdom on how to build a relationship with the kids and how to draw them out.

In preparation for Saturday, I don’t actually recall giving to God the issue of how to relate to the children, but at some point I yielded it to Him in my spirit. Well, God loves to show Himself strong when we get out of the way! That day God provided opportunities to connect with the kids, especially the older students. God really opened our hearts and the hearts of the kids on our team and gave us the ability to reach out and connect with them.

“Most gladly will I rather glory in my affliction that the power of Christ might rest upon me.” (2 Cor 12:9b)

Laura Weaver

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Different Chinese Language

It is the second day in HK.

Everything seemed to be better than the first day. It’s quite different here in HK, to me especially. When we’re in Taiwan, I can understand both Mandarin and English, and I’m happy about that. But here in HK, people speak Cantonese. I feet so lost. I used to be an interpreter. However, this week, apparently, I can’t interpret. I become a teacher. And of course, I have to speak English. Now I get to kind of understand how the American teachers feel. (Uh…um…not exactly…oh well, they’re using their first language while I’m using my second language.) This is the first time in my life to work with an interpreter. It’s sort of interesting. I have to say, interpreters are so very important to the whole seminar. And the quality of interpreters can decide the efficiency of the seminar.

Today we talked about authority. This is an important lesson for kids and would help their parents a lot if they can learn this principle well. We made a crown as a craft. I told them that the crown represented authority and we had to let our authority wear the crown rather than us. And then I challenged them to give the crown to their parents to show their acknowledgement of their parents’ authority. It was really interesting that some of the kids kind of wanted to keep the crowns because they thought the crowns were beautiful. And…ha! Abraham, a naughty kid on our team, was the first one who gave his crown to his mother and made her wear it. That was cool.

Simon Yeh

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's All about Love

Good Night!

Today we started the CI in Hong Kong! This afternoon in teacher training, Jerry thought on how to love the children. The lesson was very good and brought our focus back to the children, our purpose for being here.

This message spoke to me and cut right to my heart. I have been asking the Lord to give me a loving heart for these children. Even the verse the Lord gave me in my quiet time this morning was on loving people.

The chapter that we discussed was 1 Corinthians 13. Jerry emphasized how it didn’t matter if all we did try to do was a big huge terrible mess. It didn’t matter if all we did was perfectly put together nothing went wrong and everything fell into place perfectly. If we don’t love these children we missed the point. It’s all in vain. It’s all a waste.

Well, tonight didn’t start out very good. I didn’t think I got the point across. Everything was pretty much a mess. Were the children listening at all?

Test 1: Rebekah, do you love these children?
Answer: Lord, only through You am I able to have these children. Everything seemed to go wrong, but in the end they know the answer to al the questions I asked. I believe tonight You were glorified in my weakness and helped me love the children and see them through Your eyes even when things didn’t always go right. Thank you, Lord, for Your help.

Rebekah Fisher

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hello, Hong Kong!

After all the stress and responsibilities of the Kaohsiung CI, it was nice to switch gears to "vacation mode." Vacation mode meant we could dress more casual, take more pictures and eat interesting food from every food stand (that is if you are Tim). This day of site-seeing began with a delicious brunch at a restaurant in Hong Kong. (the name of this restaurant can be supplied by the aforesaid Tim =P) The first thing I noticed about the restaurant was the round tables with glass lazy susan turntables in the center. On these turn tables were tea pots of hot water and a big bowl both for sterilizing our dishes. Sterilizing one's own dishes became a tradition in Hong Kong after the SARS scare, many people wanted to make sure they would not get sick so they insisted on cleaning their own dishes. After washing our dishes, the waitresses brought us tea and began filling the table with little foods, which we shared with everyone at our table. The Chinese, Hong Kongian and Taiwanese people at my table had a "wonderful" way of not telling me what I was eating until after i tried it. Does anyone like fish eggs? I did, until i found out what they were. =(

After eating we took the ferry over to Llama Island. From there we walked past shops, restaurants, temples and banana trees to the beach. The beach was beautiful and we all enjoyed relaxing in the sunshine (pictures to follow =))

Like among energetic young people is never boring and today was no exception. One of the girls got a kick out of planting her barking dog alarm clock into the backpack of one of her unsuspecting teammates, Simon. It was perfect! The alarm clock went off during role call and everyone was staring at Simon's barking backpack. He was chagrinned. After that it was a big game among the CI team to slip the alarm clock into the bag/bag pack of anyone who was not paying attention. It definitely kept people on their toes.

We finished the wonderful day at the ladies market, which ironically is opened to all regardless of gender. It was a lot like the night market at Kaohsiung, except that it required a lot more bargaining. The prices were usually jacked up two or three times the actual worth of the items. It took some real skills to get anything at a good price. Some of us were better at it then others. I personally am going to have to wok on it or else I'll have Bethany or Jerry or David bargain for me.

Patricia Keller

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Two Cities

My day began as any good day should, with extra sleep. The night before I had packed and repacked, so after the much needed rest, I thought the third time might be the charm. Afterward I made my way down to our group wisdom search, which was led by our fearless leader Tim Chen. He shared with us his thoughts about God as Jehovah before splitting us into smaller groups for more in-depth study.

Since this was our last free day in Taipei, we decided to catch not only our breaths, but some of the sights of the city as well. Our adventure began with a thrilling MRT ride and less then thrilling walk, when at last we reached our destination; Taipei 101! Having mastered the streets of Taiwan, the conquering heroes (as I like to think of myself) greatly anticipated our hard earned reward of lunch. Personally, I went straight for the fried rice and noodles. I followed that with the most delicious strawberry smoothie. It was made from fresh strawberries and needless to say I will probably be having sweet dreams about that smoothie for quite some time, but I digress.

Our stomachs were full and our minds were ready for more action. So, we did what any normal group of tourists would do in the world's tallest building... (pause for dramatic effect)...went looking for the basement! Going to the lowest point in the tallest building is not for the faint of heart, but we were not daunted by such obstacles.

A few minutes, a lot of laughs, and some memorable pictures later we rushed back to the hotel. We loaded up the bus and said our momentary goodbyes to that amazing city. At the airport we regrouped with Simon, Tiffany, and Angel. While mentally preparing for the flight, my nose kindly informed me of a nearby Subway restaurant. A sub sandwich and cookies had never tasted so good.

We arrived in Hong Kong and got a few glimpses of the city on our bus ride to the hostel. Once there we got our roommate assignments. For the third straight time David and I were roommates; this time joined by Simon. Tired and happy it is time to turn in. I can't wait for all that God has planned for us tomorrow.

Skyler Davenport

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

Today we celebrated Chinese New Year! :) We began the day with a trip to Starbucks, well, some of us, at least, before devotions. We talked about the Holiness of God and how to live a holy life wholly dedicated to God.

After devotions we had a time to get ready and then we were off on a shopping adventure in Damshui! :) The girls jumped on the MRT for a 30 minute ride while the boys went bike-riding somewhere.

Our MRT ride involved talking, picture taking, and sight-seeing out of the windows. :) When we arrived in Damshui we split up in groups and went on a shopping spree! :)

We had fun jumping from shop to shop while enjoying different foods along the way. Fried octopus or squid (Sophia wasn’t sure which it was), boiled birds eggs, dumplings, candied strawberries and cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, and deep fried sweet potatoes, were some of the foods I tried. Most of it was really good especially the sweet potatoes! They were amazing!! The boiled birds egg and candied tomato were not so good. :P

So we spent the afternoon shopping, talking, walking and taking pictures. It drizzled on us some but I found it refreshing. :) After shopping we met back up and hopped on the MRT to head back to Taipei.

We began packing for Hong Kong when we got back to the hotel. After some packing, we headed to the Chen’s apartment for a pizza dinner. :) I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated pizza so much. :) We also enjoyed fruit and soup.

We then played some games and enjoyed felloshipping and singing together. We learned a Chinese New Year song and another song based on Psalm 103, in Chinese, of course.:) That was fun! :)

We headed back to the hotel and packed some more, weighed our suitcases and packed in props wherever they would fit. :) Eventually, we ended our exciting and adventure-filled day by going to sleep to the sound of fireworks. :)

I’m so glad that I have been a part of this CI team! Not only is God doing wonders in the kids’ lives, but I know He is working in each of our hearts as well. Learning more about the many names of God has been enlightening. God is doing wonders here and I am excited He has chosen to use us as His servants! I’m looking forward to seeing him do many great things here in Taiwan and in Hong Kong.

Abigail Bergeron

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Taiwan/China, Past & Present

Beep Beep! Beep Beep! I fumbled around in the dark trying to find the off button on my alarm clock. Stumbling out of bed, I glanced outside the window. Yep, another cold day. Similar to the 50 degree weather we encountered upon arrival in Taipei, much contrast to the summer-like weather in Kaohsiung. But still, for us northerners, the weather is more like autumn weather. Anyways, enough about the weather, the team all met downstairs in the lobby a short time later. Not the nicest hotel, but with a Starbucks right across the street (literally!) I can’t complain!

Then we all walked to “Friendship Presbyterian Church.” The whole service was in Chinese, which was very....interesting. :) During the singing, they sang hymns that I knew, only in a different language. It was interesting for me to think though, about how one day in the Heaven, all nations will worship God together. And what a glorious sight THAT will be! After service, we walked to a Sababas, a Mediterranean place, really cute, small, and amazing food.

Then back to the hotel, where we all changed before going to the National Palace Museum, a museum about the history and culture of Taiwan. And with my homeschooled, be proud of me. I got brochures for my portfolio!  We then took the MRT back to the hotel, which me & Caroline had much fun on. A very fun, almost subway like thing...only a LOT cleaner!

Then everyone just hung out for a while, before journeying to the Taipei IBLP office. Then we had the traditional “hotpot” dinner, watched some fireworks...Oh, did I mention today is Chinese New Year’s Eve? Haha. So we pretty much just chilled... played some games, sang some songs...and of course wished many people a happy new years. I’m looking forward to tomorrow when everyone will say to me “gong shi”, which basically means “Congratulations. You made it through the night! The monster didn’t eat you!” LOL.

Oh yeah, and my end of the dinner table had a pepper eating contest. I was in the lead, after eating 7 peppers, making myself cry for quite a while (because of the peppers, not the victory!) But then some people just can’t take defeat. So...I’m not really sure who won, maybe a tie between Caroline & Skyler? All I know is that David definitely lost!

Anyways, in conclusion, please continue to pray for us. Pray for health, pray for safety, and praise God for amazing work He has already done in not only the kids’ lives, but also my own. It never ceases to amaze me how I come here to teach children, but in turn always end up learning more myself than I could ever teach. Thank you for your prayers.

Bethany Heath

Saturday, January 24, 2009

One Down, Two to Go!

Today was our last seminar day in Kaohsiung. We went to the church in the morning at 8:00 AM... During my last small group, I was reviewing God’s Names that we had learned the past few days, and I realized how short a time that I have, and how much I really want to impact these kids’ lives. Though the kids were a little bit too hyper on the last day, I really felt it was a good ending for us and a good start for the kids when they go back home.

As the kids went home, we wrapped up really quickly, had lunch together, and got on the bus to Taipei. It was sad to say goodbye to the interpreters on the bus, especially when I saw Kathy crying; I felt so sad. During our 5 hours bus ride, I sat in the front the entire time, because I was afraid to get car sick, but I could hear everyone chatting and singing in the back. Though I couldn’t join them, I enjoyed the happy atmosphere in the bus!

We arrived in Taipei and are looking forward to getting some rest. Hope that in the coming two weeks, I can learn more from God.

Sophia Chen

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ni Hao-- Hello!

Today is our last full day in Kaohsiung, and our last night teaching the CI.

We had a Chinese Lesson, then had teacher training on ownership and freedom with the plan of salvation and the freedom of sin! Most of the leaders were nervous about the night because the importance of the message.

We had a prayer before the children got to the church, we all got on our knees and asked God to bless the building and all that entered, and that the children would have an open heart to the words of Christ.

When we taught our lesson on freedom we were going to the have the children raise their hand if they wanted to receive Jesus as their Savior. Instead the Lord worked it differently. When each child came to Sophia Chen, our leader, with their craft, she personally asked every child. The way that God worked is still amazing to me. All 12 of our children received Jesus as their personal Savior!

I know that God was and is in control! As we prepare for the other CI’s, please pray God will do mighty things in the children’s lives as He is doing in my own life!!

Thank you for your prayer for all of us, the children and the CI in general!

Jayme Hierholzer

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Here Comes a Local!

After my alarm clock rang, a new day began. At 9:30, we had Bible reading called “Wisdom Search”. Tim shared with us about Elyon, the Most High.

After Wisdom Search, we were going to the beach! We took a ferry, and a view there was so beautiful. When we got to our destination, the first thing we were going to do was eating seafood for lunch. Tim said to foreign teachers “We won’t give you extremely strange food. Unfortunately, it will be extremely strange for you!” we had a great time during the lunch. They were so brave to try those dishes!

After we finished our lunch, we went to the beach! The view there was so lovely! The sun was shinning, and you could feel the cool water over your feet. We took a lot of great pictures there. It’s fun! After playing on the beach, I went shopping with Carrie. We ate some special desert.

At 1:30, we took a ferry back. And we began preparing the lesson “Suffering”. Alaina, Carline and I prayed together, hoping God could give us strength because we could do nothing without Him.

We had 12 children. All of them were so cute. We had two crafts, one of them was called “Love Stickers”. Children draw their sticker, and gave them to anyone who they wanted to show their love to. I got some beautiful stickers they were so sweet.

Being one of them in CI, I truly saw the character that we taught tonight—Love.

Joy Liao
(Interpreter from Taiwan)

A Tropical Winter Day

I have loved so many things about this trip that it would be impossible to pick a favorite. But so far, today has held the most surprises. Following yet another amazing breakfast, Tim led us in a Wisdom Search that I found particularly applicable to my life. But that can be saved for another blog.

After Wisdom Search, it was time to depart for the much anticipated beach trip. We boarded a shuttle decked to the nines in blue t-shirts and flip flops. A short ride later, we were at the ferry on our way to the island of Chijing. After disembarking, Tim led the way to a seafood restaurant where you could see your food laid out on the tables before you went in. I made a decision to eat at least one of everything that was served. The first course was shrimp, which, when shelled, was very good. You will have to ask Skyler how they taste with the shell… Typically you are supposed to bite off the head, but one of our interpreters assured me that eating the head was quite normal and proceeded to prove to me that he thought it was. So I followed his example. It really wasn’t too bad. Although I can’t really say I have had worse. The next few courses consisted of squid, minnow, clam, fish, fried oyster, and fried fish. All were in their original form with the exception of the fried foods and even the fried fish had eyes that watched us.

After stuffing ourselves, we walked to the beach. The first thing I thought of was all of my friends and family in PA who were walking around in snow and ice while I was burying my feet in the hot sand. The next hour or so consisted of jumping, running, wading, and dropping people in the water, all of which provided many moments of mirth. For the rest of the afternoon, we perused the shops and drank milk tea. After gathering up the rest of our blue-clad friends, we boarded the ferry and returned to Kaohsiung.

We arrived to the church with not much time to prepare but miraculously had written our lessons, prepared our crafts, and were closing in prayer just as the first of our kids began to arrive. The night also held a few surprises for me. I made friends with one of the children who we had prayed for the night before and the one guy on our team who seemed to have trouble adjusting began to come out of his shell. All in all it proved to be a most exciting day. Just one of many that we have had and will have in the weeks to come!

David Rowe

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Names of God 101

I woke up early this morning well so I thought. It was 8:00 and I was not so excited about the day. This was the second Day of the seminar which means the most fun. Today I had to teach my accountability team about Adonai.

For those who don’t know what an accountability team is they are the teacher and translators from America and Taiwan. I was very nervous as I taught my team about Adonai , but God gave me the words to say. My lesson turned out very good and I thank God for allowing me to share how He is my Lord and Adonai over my life.

God has already taught me so much and it has only been 3 days I am so excited about what God is going to do.

Please pray for us that we would have strength to make it to the end this journey and that God would continue to use us for His glory. We shall keep you updated for the days to come.

God bless.

David Lukachick

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reflections on the Day

I awoke with one thought in my mind: “I’m on the good side of the hotel! Life is good!” Yes, I find my self once again in the most fabulous hotel in Kaohsiung. My room, on the 37th floor, looks out towards the ocean. I’m not sure I’ve actually seen the ocean yet, but it’s there…I know because I saw it once last year… ;-)

The day stretched out before me with promise—today the CI would begin. Breakfast at this amazing hotel is no less then you would expect: amazing! (that is for all you parents who are afraid your kids are only eating stewed dog and fried squid) After a cheese omelet, a bowl of granola, and 4 cups of coffee I’m ready for anything!

Devotions, led by Tim Chen (our Most Excellent Team Leader) was based on Ex. 4-5 and made us think about Moses, and his response to God’s direction.

Directly after our study we headed out to the church to prepare for the evening. Set up consisted of watching Jerry (our Kind of Excellent Materials Guy ;-) and his minions run around and move things back and forth. Quite a good time if you ask me!

We had Mexican for lunch! Can you believe it! We come all the way to Taiwan-ready to experience any number of horrors in the cuisine world, and they feed us Mexican! Ah, life is good! I love this! :)

Then the real work began: teacher training. For this we have to actually use our brains…by now jet lag is beginning to kick in a little and our eye lids are drooping…but Rachel (our Most Excellent Teacher Trainer) did a wonderful job of keeping us interested and focused. At the end of training we were set loose to prepare, and then eat dinner. I had spicy chicken!, At least they told me it was chicken… (once again, the running log of our food is to set all parents minds at ease…)

6 o’clock came…show time! The kids start to arrive…freak out time! My team got two kids…and then none. The team next to us got about 38 kids, and still we only had two! I was beginning to worry…especially when my only two kids appeared to be much more interested in killing each other then coloring in their oh-so-cool books of remembrance…finally I decided to begin the lesson. Like clockwork, as soon as I started to teach, the rest of my eleven kids showed up—successfully causing chaos every time a new child entered the room. The lesson was on Elohim, God our Creator. I love this name of God, and enjoyed teaching about it, even though it was in 10 second increments.

By the end of the seminar, as the kids were being picked up by Mom or Dad, I was totally exhausted. Chasing small children will be a sport at the 2010 Olympics, I’m sure. It was a good night, it had tough moments, but God was in it all, and I can’t ask for more then that.

Please be praying for us. Wisdom is always needed, as is patience and enthusiasm…but the most necessary component is love. Pray that God’s love would shine brightly in each of our lives, that we would love the annoying as well as the adorable, that we would see these kids as God sees them. I couldn’t ask for more then that.

Tired yet excited about the days to come, I fell into my bed at about midnight. Glancing out at the beautiful skyline etched against the night sky, I was again struck by gratefulness—happy to be back in this land I love, thankful to be chosen by God to be a part of the 2009 CI team.

From the Most Excellent Group,
Nomes (Naomi Kallberg)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Start of Something New

We arrived in Kaohsiung at 3:30am, Sunday morning. A bed has never felt so good.

After a great breakfast, the group walked to the church where we will be doing the CI. We had our own worship service and Tim talked about the love of God.

We spent the afternoon at the Outdoor Café soaking up the sun and learning how to play Chinese get-to-know-you games.

In our accountability groups, we went on a prayer walk around the city. The lesson that God taught me was that if I was willing to look, I could see His face everywhere and spread his love to the people that He brings into my life.

For dinner, we went to this little place with good food, but I was more sleepy than hungry and I found it hard to pay attention. :)

After dinner, we spent time at the night market. If you have ever been to Mexico, it’s a lot the same...lots of people and lots of shops. Thanks for your prayers.

Alaina Carmen

Saturday, January 17, 2009

In the Beginning...

Today was a very special day, the day that the 2009 Taiwan/Hong Kong CI team joined together.

The CI workers already in Taiwan finished a full day of office work and packing up seminar materials. The part of the team from North America finished an incredibly long flight and safely arrived at the airport.

It was nice to have some time to talk and get to know one another. Later that night (or morning if you would call it), we worked as a team to unload the boxes of materials into the church, and we got the job done quickly and well!

Finally, we arrived at the hotel and most of us were 120% ready to sleep. Despite several minor inconveniences (such as the keys not working or light switches in hard-to-find places), we went straight to bed, hoping that we would have as little of the “unavoidable” jet lag syndrome tomorrow. Did we succeed? Well, we will find out on tomorrow’s blog post!

Hannah Huang

Friday, January 9, 2009

A new year of CIs

The CIs will be starting up again in a few weeks, so it is time for us to start up the blog again. The following is our seminar schedule for this year.

Kaohsiung, Taiwan

January 19-24
Hong Kong
January 29-February 1
Taipei, Taiwan
February 3-7

We would appreciate your prayers for us in Taiwan and Hong Kong as we are busy getting ready for the next few weeks. If you have any thoughts about any of our posts, you can feel free to comment. Facebook users can use their login on our blog as well.

Let's see what God does this year!

Tim Chen