Monday, January 31, 2011

OK. So I'm going to bed tonight on a blanket on the floor in a gradeschool classroom. I have ten roommates...and there are 11 more in the next classroom. Plus all the guys down the hall... All of us girls are sharing one bathroom and shower, which is quite the interesting experience. But it's good... WE ARE IN HUALIEN!!! I guess the excitement of certain people (ahem, you know who you are...) has rubbed off on me. Plus, somehow I feel that God is going to do great things here in the lives of the kids.

Tomorrow our camp is starting. Here we are not actually doing it along with seminars, we are basically holding a three-day camp for the children. This is the first time a CI team has come to Hualien to teach. It is a very special opportunity. Especially as many of these children have little-to-no Christian background and many come from broken families, etc. But just over seven hours we need to be up, ready for the day, and done with breakfast... Plus we still have some of the craft and lesson preparation to do. The camp technically starts at 9:00, but the children will start arriving around 8:00, so we will need to be ready before then.

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I actually started writing this yesterday night in my we are done with the first day of the camp...but the privilege of writing about today has been taken by someone else...hehe. So I won't say anything about today.

A little more about yesterday though...we attended the morning service at the church that hosted the seminars and CI. I really enjoyed church, and it was cool to see some people again for the last time before leaving Kaohsiung. That was sad...but if we hadn't left, we wouldn't be here now. A couple of my CI children who attend that church saw me after church and greeted me. That made me smile. :)

As soon as we finished church and got thebus loaded, we began our bus ride. We stopped for a really late lunch at about basically it was our supper. Other than sleeping and enjoying the view outside the window, we planned for our Hualien and had some time of worship and prayer. To make a long bus ride short, we arrived in Hualien at like 9:00...It might have been after, I'm sort of forgetting now.

But no, we couldn't go straight to bed. We had to unload the bus, have some orientation, move into our classroom-dorms, set up our team rooms for camp, start preparing our crafts since we would have like no time this morning for that, get a few showers in (or several...), and then finally...bed. :)
So, it was in interesting experience. The scenery here is be-a-u-ti-ful... and being here in a more country-type, poorer place reminds me of the many times my family visited people in the countrysides of China when I was young.

I know this isn't a very eloquent post. I have had trouble finding time to do enough journaling these days...when there is so much to journal about. But thanks to all of you who are keeping up with our blog and especially those of you who have been praying for our team. We need all the prayer we can get.

Just wanted to end with this verse that came to mind last night and has been with me today too. :) Familiar...but something good to really think about again. "For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11-13.

Hannah Ruth

The Longest Day

We have just completed the longest CI day yet! We started teaching at 8:30, and finished at 6:15. It was pretty intense, but totally great, and the kids loved getting to spend the whole day with us. All the teachers were so excited for the 40 minute rest time... the kids weren't as thrilled :) Todays lessons were on freedom and the belt of truth. I think the kids got what we were trying to teach them, even though our brains were completely fried and tired! The interpreter's have been awesome with breaking the language barrier and helping out in the lessons, couldn't have done it without them! I'll personally really miss these Kaohsiung kids. This week has been a majorly positive experience, a lot of kids opened up, and that was great to see. I'm really excited to see what God has in store for us in the next couple of weeks.

Leah de Roose

Saturday, January 29, 2011

No Reserves, No Retreats, No Regrets

It's hard to believe our time with the Kaohsiung CI is coming to a close. As we have only one day left, we are working to make the most of every opportunity we have to share Christ. It is difficult to be always giving everything we have to these kids, but we are all learning to rely on God for strength.

Today started out with a late wake up and the wonderful breakfast we have enjoyed all week at the hotel. For wisdom search, the guys went to a park and enjoyed the sunshine. During the afternoon we learned about the next city we are going to, called Hualien. The people there are predominantly aboriginal and are fairly isolated from the rest of the world. We are excited about the opportunity to witness to many children who may not have a clear idea of the gospel. Tonight we focused on learning about suffering. For our skit the story of Joseph was told and a creative manner. I was the body while tow others hidden behind a curtain were my arms. The provided much amusement to the children as the three of us worked together to provide a coherent interpretations of the story. At the same time we prayed it would give them important material to think about.

This trip as been an exciting time to watch God work in every real ways. It is my goal to be treating every moment as a unique gift from God so I can leave Taiwan, as William Border said, with "No reserve, no retreats and no regrets."

Dan Wright

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day at the Beach

Two Rhemas from Proverbs 31.
Pro. 31:9 "open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy."
Pro. 31:30 "Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: But a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised."

This morning breakfast was hungrily devoured in anticipation for an exciting afternoon on the beach! We left the hotel around 10:00, rode the bus to the ferry, rode the ferry across the water to an island, and walked to the beach. Devotions consisted of a Bible trivia contest, with Hannah and Bethany Reeves tying with the most points. From there, we walked to a seafood restaurant where we adventurously tasted new foods. Of course, chopstick wars preceded the meal. For an horur or more we walked around the town and watched team members play football and ultimate frisbee on the beach. Large waves and strong winds kept everyone somewhat wet. At 13:40, we recrossed the river on the ferry and walked to the strawberry icy shop where everyone signs their names on walls and tables. The icy's were delicious. We finished quickly and boarded the bus for home. While on the bus we were serenaded by and impromptu "barber shop quartet." We arrived home in time to shower, change or freshen up and then head off to the CI. The children enjoyed watching 2 builders construct houses. Also during the evening, the battlefield of the mind was explained and we pray it will take affect on their minds.

Anna Weaver

Thursday, January 27, 2011

CI and Change in My Life

Last year, I graduated from the high school and entered the university, majoring in physics. I was excited to being able to live outside our house and to start a new life. Otherwise, I was kind of happy to have a chance to go to a new place where no people know who you were and what your background was. I had always been a “good” Christian, which means I not only went to the church every week but was also the Christian leader of our school and the leader of all high school Christian leaders of Taoyuan County. I decided to be a “normal Christian”. So, I tried my best to avoid serving God both in the church and in the college while still acted like a good Christian in front of those who knew me before. Then it was time for me to decide whether I was going to CI or not. I finally made up my mind to come because one of the pastors I respect a lot told me that I should have changed my attitude toward serving God which caused me to notice how bad my attitude was and how horrible my relationship with God was. I considered CI a good chance to adjust my attitude.
Today is the second day of CI Kaoshiung, we had this skit about Saul and how his attitude changed that caused the death of himself and his men. I suddenly realized that I was kind of like Saul. Saul was the king of Israel chosen by God while I was a Christian leader in high school chosen by God, too. Saul tried to do things by himself and I tried to stay away from God’s words. The only difference between us was God left Saul due to the wrong decisions Saul made, and I made a decision to leave God. I was shocked and was kind of afraid. I mean, I wouldn’t want to die like that! So I prayed to God and asked him to forgive my wrong decisions.
Just like what Tim always reminds us” To be wholly committed and holy committed!”, we should always remember to pause for a few seconds and ask God weather we are having the right serving attitude or not.
Thanks God for bringing me here and taught me a such important lesson. Thanks God for giving me an awesome team leader Madelyn and awesome teammate Bethany. Thanks God for giving us 8 awesome, obedient kids. Thanks God for Saul and his miserable death. And thank God, I’m Asian.

Peter Chiang

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kaohsiung's Beginnings

We're staying in a palace-like hotel right now, and after a restful morning, we came to the church for an awesome afternoon of training. Having taught the material last week, this CI is different in a way. I sorta know what's coming and I feel like I can actually learn about how to lead a team instead of just choking down material to survive in small group! We learned about managing a team and how to make the greatest emphasis in the children's lives through a life centered around Jesus. Between the right CI material we are teaching and the challenges to my life in Wisdom Search and training, I feel I am learning much more than the CI kids. But I kinda knew that would be the case when I decided to come :)

Tonight my team turned out to be very small, then one boy who came in crying lost his dinner all over the entire team station. Definitely some excitement for the evening I think I could have done without! But the children's' enthusiasm for life brings a smile to my face!

As I and my assistant and interpretor awaited our first student this evening, a little boy came stomping toward the door. A glare on his face, he yelled and fussed and said he had been dreading the CI for a long time, he was scared and he didn't even like Americans. As we listened to his excuses, we laughed and sighed with relief when we discovered that this little snake was on the neighboring team. As Timothy Chen started playing a game, he warmed up and started to inch closer. A few minutes later he began to play with him. He joined his team and started to play games with them, smiling and laughing. I realized that the little guy yelling and stomping isn't something to be thankful we could avoid, but the reason for the CI. He is our opportunity.

I'm so thankful for the challenges and opportunities this CI will offer~ I'm excited to see what God will do!

Hannah Reeves

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Genuine love

Lately I have been studying how to have genuine love. I have been meditating on 1 Corinthians 13. I asked God to give me chances to show genuine love. When you ask God something like that He gives you LOTS of chances. I did not realize how many times in a day I have the opportunity to show His love and I fail. A verse in 1 Corinthians 13 says, “Love is suffers long and is kind.” I always think I can suffer long…But can I be kind while I am suffering? In Taipei I had two active little boys. They were so cute and it was really easy to love them when they were being good. But when they wouldn’t listen it was hard to love them. Today we left Taipei. It is hard to move to a new city and get new kids. You have to learn how to love a whole new set if kids. By the end of each CI you know how to love your kids. But every week we move to a new city and get new kids. It is difficult showing love to so many different children. I am praying that God will fill me with His love, which never runs out.

Grace Lukachick

Last Day in Taipei

Yesterday was the last day of our first CI! Wow God is so good! I never thought it would be like this. I don’t think I have ever cut so much paper before. My highlight for yesterday was the parent presentation. It was awesome to see all the kids singing together.

Wow Taiwan is great! I never imagined that I could have so much fun cutting out or making crafts. (Just kidding) ;-) Anyway yesterday was our last day and was I ever busy. I got through it though, praise God. God blessed me greatly to see all the kids together at the parent presentation.

A very awesome thing happened to me last night! Not only did I get a lot of sleep I went to Taipei 101 it was great! I got some awesome cheesecake with Tim. I have to go now but I have to say one more thing. God is good!

John Schroeder

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Being Refined Through Suffering

Today we told the kids about suffering, it made me think of my life and reminded me of a lot. I spent a while trying to figure out, why is there was so much pain in my life? I'm the princess of heaven, I should't suffer from my schoolwork, the nonsensical teachers or something like that, I should only haveto play soccer, eat ice cream and use my Facebook everyday!

Why we suffer? God wants us to be happy, doesn't he?

I wanted to hold my future and control it by myself for I was afraid that my plan won't be as same as God's plan then my dreams wouldn't come true so I would become a dreamless person.

Trusting Jesus is the hardest and the easiest thing. One day, I suddenly decided to give the ownership of my future to God and offer it, because I knew if I want to be used I have to be empty. Removing th
e things that hurt the relationship between God and me, I quit my hip-hop dancing club and rock band at school, so my suffering started.

It was pretty painful to face the thing I didn't good at, especially math. To reduce my stress I spent more time with God and I did get closer to him.

I realized that the purpose of suffering is not only to draw me near to God but also to refine me more like Jesus.

Suffering is painful and filled with tears, but it's worthy because it
helped me to know that: Nothing is important but Jesus and abiding in him.

My God is so AWESOME!

Yvonne Chiang

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Of Devotions and Preparing Crafts

Today, we didn't do our devotion together. We spread into different groups and each group went to a different place to do their devotion and to eat lunch.

After lunch we had teacher training and Chinese class. We had a lot of fun learning Mandarin. At the end of the class, our teacher Grace told us a story about how she was frustrated a naughty boy on her CI team 8 years ago, and how the boy changed and received Jesus as his personal Savior. That encouraged me a lot.

After that, we were very busy preparing the crafts for today tomorrow and Sunday because we didn't have time to prepare it after that.

Of course, we had a great night teaching and doing crafts with the kids.

I thank God for giving me this opportunity to serve Him and glorify Him.

Jane Pang

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thursday 1/20/2011

Today as a team we study Samuel 18-19:This month we are going to be studying about David. After morning devotions we went and got the school ready for the Children's Institute. We had teacher training and a Chinese lesson in the afternoon. This evening we started our first of five SI's in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Our first CI is in Taipei, Taiwan it is a four day conference. We are teaching on The Armor of God. There was round 150 kids tonight. Today the children were taught about the Breastplate of Righteousness, and the Ten Unchangeables.

Bethany Hulley

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Taipei Day 1

I woke up this morning and looked out my 8th floor window to see my first view of Taipei in the daylight. I was really excited! Today was the first day of Taiwan CI training. I began the day eating breakfast with chopsticks and shortly after we had our wisdom search. We will be studying the life of David throughout the trip. After the teacher orientation we had an intro. Chinese lesson. I spent most of the time confused about why my mouth wasn't producing the same sounds as our teacher. After eating a delicious bowl of noodles and beef we went on a field trip to the International Floral Expo in Taipei. While we were there we played a game and each of us had to ask a random person how to pronounce various objects. The catch was that we had to employ our newly acquired Mandarin skills. That was a lesson in humility and respect (at least for me). Praise the LORD for our interpreters!

Speaking of interpreters, we met them tonight at supper and then had interpreters 101 class.

Well, praise God that all of us are here and being prepared for the ministry He has for us. I am confident that He is with us, even while we are recovering from jet-lag. The first CI starts tomorrow night, so pray that we will make a lasting impression of God's love on everyone around us.

Nathan Petersheim

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

CI 2011 is Here!

"Think of whatever you are doing as an adventure and watch your life change for the better."
-Wilfred A. Peterson

Today, with the team arriving in a few hours, begins the Children's Institutes for 2011! Excitement is brewing as the staff prepares, with no one having idle hands.

This is our adventure.

For the next 4 weeks our team of 32 plus a number of interpreters are setting off to see what God will do in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Yet we are not only looking at what He will do in these two countries but also in the lives of all on the team. We are looking for adventure, knowing we will find it. It is God that we trust as our guide, the One holding us close as we travel and learn.

As we take off on this journey, we are so grateful for your prayers!! It is an amazing gift when others pray for our team! Our schedule is packed so please pray for safe travel, health for our bodies, and that our minds and hearts will be ready for every twist and turn.

The seminars will take place:
Taipei from January 20-23
Kaohsiung from January 25-29
Hualien from January 31-February 2
Hong Kong from February 6-8
Hsinchu from February 9-12

We also are asking for prayers for the children we will be teaching. Right now we have 143 registered in Taipei, 82 in Kaohsiung, 75 in Hualien, 71 in Hong Kong and 59 in Hsinchu. Pray that the Lord will open their hearts to all we will be sharing and that He will pull them to Himself.

Thank you friends! We are so grateful for your prayers!