Monday, February 14, 2011

Ending the Happy Way

Today was amazing! After a short nights sleep, (well for me anyway) the team got together to practice a Chinese song. At 9:15 we loaded up onto the bus and headed toward church. During the service, Tim translated for us. It's funny how accustomed I have become to hearing everything in both Chinese and English. It has become almost a part of life. After the offertory our team sang "Ye Su Ai Ni" (translation: Jesus Loves You). It was so beautiful hearing the voices as well as the harmonies rise together! We stayed longer to fellowship and eat lunch. Finally, we had to say "good bye" to Simon's parents, as well as 2 of my interpreters and several others we met.

Again, the bus carried us to another destination, downtown Hsinchu. Here we were able to shop for 3 hours in the rain as well as get to enjoy the city. 4:45 found a weary group of youth headed back to the seminary. Some rested, some packed and some hung out as staff secretly decorated the cafeteria for the farewell party.

At 6:30 we were let in and were surprised by our awesome companions singing, "You are our sunshines, our only sunshines." After an awesome meal of pizza, we played several games. First, we signed big hearts for the members of the team. Then all the guys and girls separated and make lists of "10 things guys/girls like about girls/guys." Then Madelyn, Nate, David and I read them out to the group. Next, our accountability groups completed against each other on a "survival" game. Each member wrote down 1 thing they could not have survived the trip without and then using those items we had to figure out how we would survive against starvation, a typhoon, savages, and then 30 years later to leave the island.

Lastly we also had to do a rendition of "You Are My Sunshine". Our team incorporated each "staff member" into our performance. It was so much fun! Then we all shared what God taught us on this trip or what was most difficult for us with the team. Lastly we enjoyed watching an awesome slideshow that Alana put together. (Thank you girl!).

Well to top it all off, several of us pulled an all-nighter and are now preparing to leave the most awesome place on earth for--home.

Katie Reeves

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Last CI Day

Though we were all tired and sick of living out of suitcases, the last of the last children's Institute saddened us all. It honestly seems like it was years ago that we that we did the first CI in Taipei, but I loved every CI and would do it all again. It's amazing to see how far each one of us has come from week one until now, the lord has taught us all so much. I made tons of new friends from the kids, staff, teachers and not to mention the amazing interpreters! Thanks so much everybody for your prayers!

The Canadian (Ryan de Roos)

Serving God and Kids

This is my first time to come to CI. I’m so happy and excited but very nervous. Lol~ I love children so much and I want to learn more about interpreting, so I come to CI to serve children and God.

I learned about how to communicate with kids. Some kids were so shy and didn’t want to talk with teachers. But I tried to communicate with them, and I talked with them. Thank God~ He helped me a lot. And I also learned about faith during CI. I pray for God to help me have boldness and confidence in teaching the children. Today we learned about the Helmet of Salvation. I have to protect my thoughts. Sometimes I think a of not important things, so I think this class also reminded me of this.

I came to CI and learned a lot. I’m so happy. I’ll do my best to teach kids. Thank God!

Michelle Chao

Friday, February 11, 2011

Back In Taiwan!

We’re back in Taiwan where the weather is colder than Hong Kong! I’m really grateful for those long-sleeved shirts and jackets in my suitcase!

Today each teacher was given an opportunity to present a portion of a lesson of their choice to the rest of us. It was great practice for public speaking! Or, as Tim put it, a “getting rid of the fear of man” session.

During the trip, it’s easy for the lessons to become dry, predictable, stale and boring. Watching how others have illustrated the same lessons and the stories they’ve used was an excellent way to get new ideas.

God is continuing to bless the CI and the kids here. Please continue to pray for us as the trip comes to a close and we finish our last seminar.

From chilly, windy and rainy Hsinchu,
Laura Weaver

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Starting Off Grand

Being here in Hsinchu is just another reminder of God’s everlasting, non-wavering love. This being our very last week of the whole CI trip, I am so very thankful for all God has done in the children’s lives and our lives. I have met so many amazing people on this trip. But God is not done working yet! How can I express all the treasured memories made for today?

Well, we started our day with a wisdom search in 2 Samuel chapter 7 led by Simon. I was very encouraged by his testimony he shared. After wisdom search we were able to meet and fellowship with all the new interpreters! And get to know and work with our new team assignments. I’m so thankful for my awesome leader, Yvonne Chiang, and for my amazing co-workers Daniel Wright and Sylvia Chow! We began our first CI here at around 6:45pm and it started off grand.

The children started piling in, they are all so sweet and precious. Witnessing first hand how God can work in people’s lives just makes me rejoice in how big our God really is. We are half way across the world and God is still showing His mighty hand. God has really taught me a lot about having faith in Him. I’ve made so many clay men and patience pencils these past weeks that I’m pretty sure I could do it in my sleep :-) On our way out of the church where the CI is held, we all go cookies. And then we headed out to our bus to travel back to our rooms to get a somewhat restful sleep and start the day all over again in the morning! All in all it was a very successful 1st day. Praise God for His faithfulness!

In Christ’s love and mine,
Madelyn Adams

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rejoicing In The Lord

“I will praise Thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all Thy marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in Thee…” (Ps. 9:1-2a)

Today was our last day in Hong Kong, and I am rejoicing in how the Lord has been working on this trip. We’re all exhausted and several on the team are sick, but we serve an amazing God who has shown Himself strong in our weakness, and I’ve been encouraged by His faithfulness.

Our time in Hong Kong was awesome! It was great to see the Lord working in the hearts of the kids, and encouraging when several prayed to get saved. Our short time there was a wonderful opportunity to practice patience with out overly energetic kids :-) but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The kids are so cute and they always make me smile. I have many sweet memories of Hong Kong: my adorable little five year old who didn’t want to let go of me and loved to sit in my lap… how much my kids were amused when I attempted to sing the songs in Cantonese… when my sweet adopted little sister Katie ate a chicken head, brains and all :-) But like every place we’ve been, I absolutely loved all my kids, and it was so sad to have to say goodbye today.

After the CI ended today, we did some quick, last minute packing, and then rushed off to the airport to fly back to Taiwan. We start off the next seminar in Hsinchu right away tomorrow evening. I am excited that we get to teach another CI, but we are all so sad that we only have a few days left.

Please pray for all of us, that God would strengthen and heal us, so that we can finish this trip strong, and pray that God would continue His marvelous work in Hsinchu

Karissa Carlson

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

God Working in Hong Kong

Today the seminar started at 9:45. While its an early morning, I am continually amazed at how God always gives the strength that we need for every challenge!
God has been working throughout this trip, but even today it has been exciting got see what He has done! At cool down each day, I look forward to hearing what God has done that day on various teams and to hear the challenges and bring them before the Lord. We must expect God to work through these difficult children, sicknesses or whatever else for His glory. Today, it brought me great joy to see the boys and girls on my team listening intently to the message of the gospel that my wonderful assistant was sharing with them. We have prayed that God would reach the children's hearts with this message and He has been doing that here, as He has everywhere else! Praise God!
For dinner we went to a very nice restaurant and had a wonderful Chinese dinner and go to learn a few things from Tim about Hong Kong/ Chinese Tradition, which became quite hilarious at time, as always!
When we got back to the hotel, we spent some time together singing, praying and sharing. It is always a blessing to take the time to listen to the Lord, worship Him, and enjoy Him together. Our God is such an amazing and wonderful God

Bethany Reeves

Monday, February 7, 2011

First Day in Hong Kong

We started off a great day with breakfast in the staff's suite between 9:00 and 10:00 am. Getting there required elevator jumping as we were on the floor twelve and thirteen and they were on twenty two. First we had to ride the elevator down to the third floor and then take the elevatorWe started off a great day with breakfast in the staff's suite between 9:00 and 10:00 am. Getting there required elevator jumping as we were on the floor twelve and thirteen and they were on twenty two. First we had to ride the elevator down to the third floor and then take the elevator up to the the twenty second floor. But we get joy thrills from riding elevators, so this was right up our alley. (?!)
Lunch was awesome-some Korean barbecue. In addition to all the delicious food, Alana persuaded me to try sushi. The orange colored fish eggs, commonly called caviar, made me gag, but thankfully the cookies n' cream ice cream erased my taste buds memories. Sure does work wonders!
The after noon was diligently spent in teacher training sessions and craft preparation. After a lot of paper cutting, we were rewarded with getting to go shopping at the ladies' market in the evening. I am a huge fan of the reward system. It was pretty cool bargaining with the stall owners, and some of us got fun Asian style shirts and dresses. This was definitely the best thing that happened to me today! Thank you Jesus for your good gifts, and some calm before the storm of doing CI's every day this next week.
Julia Shir

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Flying to Hong Kong!

We are going to Hong Kong! Morning we have a devotion at 10am after that we going to airport and fly to Hong Kong and now we here we are ! Thank God we are safely arrive! This is my first time to be here, and the city is so beautiful! After dinner we go to a bridge and a peak in Hong Kong. It was amazing. And thanks to all the people who fetch us and thank you for your enthusiasm and generosity. We appreciate it. Tomorrow we will be start some of the preparation work. We already finish three CI's in Taiwan and this will be the fourth CI here and I'm glad that I have this opportunity to come and serve the kids and I really pray that God will use these kids and will do his amazing think here in these three days!

Janet Pang

From Hualien to Taipei

As I was brushing my teeth by the outside sink of the school in Hualien, looking at the fog covered mountain ridges and palm tree forests, I realized that today we would be leaving all this.

Hualien is very rural yet very beautiful. The kids on my team were more rowdy than my teams at Taipei and Kaohsiung but they are so loving. Some of my kids would run up and hug me then run away. They are so precious! Many of the kids on my team had never heard of Jesus. What a privilege it was for me to be able to share the gospel with them for (maybe) the first time!

The school felt empty without them, as our team packed and cleaned up I will miss my kids.

The bus ride back to Taipei was long and the scenery was beautiful. The road wound at times around the sides of the mountain so that on one side would be clifts with the ocean below and the other steep hillside. We got to go to the beach where the water aws a bright turquoise blue. It was a wonderful day for taking pictures.

Another CI was over and now there are only two more to go. Time sure does fly.

Elisa Joulfaian

Friday, February 4, 2011

Of Circumstances and Grace

If you are looking for a picture of defeat, you could just look at me. Right now, in this moment, I am defeated. Completely broken.

It’s been a while since my heart has hurt this much, but right now it does. I thought I had learned how to respond to circumstances. I thought I had figured out how to be flexible. I thought maybe, just maybe if I was at my favorite place on earth, Satan wouldn’t attack me and it would be a good trip.

Think again...

I sat in the office this morning with tears streaming down my face as I wrote that. It was true.

This morning I woke up, pushed myself off the floor of the classroom where I was sleeping and glanced at the girl beside me. She didn’t look all that different, so I smiled at her, and continued getting ready for the day. I totally missed that she had gotten sick in the night and was feeling awful. Of course my grand observation skills left me feeling like a lacking staff member, but still I headed out to start my day with the rest of the team. Even with that over my head, it seemed like it would be a great day, I had such high hopes as soon as I stepped outside and saw my favorite mountains.

I can’t help it, Hualien just holds me almost in a trance with its beauty, maybe it’s the living here before that did that to me. I can’t say that the day suddenly went down hill. I can’t even say that without a few rough things the day wouldn’t have been good. But all it took was my skirt twirling around and I was the helper in an accident that sent the story for the only large group into disarray.

Then it happened.

During the large group, my camera broke. It suddenly just stopped working. No warning, NO EXPLINATION, just stopped. My whole reason for being in Taiwan was suddenly taken away from me. Circumstances couldn’t have made me into more of a failure if they had tried.

I could go on about the bad part of the day. But it just wouldn’t do any good. I laugh now, at how I was so determined before large group, pacing back and forth saying, “Satan I refuse to let you have my joy. NOPE you’re not getting it. Just because we have to come up with a new story you can’t have my joy.” Let’s just say I said that a lot more after my camera went down.

Friends, after today all I can tell you is God’s faithfulness is what makes passionately following Him worth it. I was in Hualien, my home, I had friends who would search high and low to try and find what I needed for my camera. I had a God who gives creativity to the leaders of our team, which made the story more impacting in large group than I believe the original one would have been. The rest of the day was far from easy, but Ryan graciously gave me his camera to shoot with for the remainder of the day.

All of that was grace.

It’s now the end of the day. Our team went out to a wonderful Aboriginal restaurant for Chinese New Year Dinner. I walked away so encouraged. The food was wonderful, but the greatest encouragement was when the owner shared her testimony. This woman is passionate about her culture, but even more passionate about God. Anytime someone comes into her restaurant it’s her goal to share with them about Aboriginal culture and also who her Savior is. She has been changed from a hard somewhat harsh woman; into one of the most welcoming restaurant owners I’ve ever met.

As far as experiences go, tonight was one of the best I’ve had in Taiwan. I’ve never had the chance to help make mochi or watched New Year fireworks from an open elementary school balcony. I’ve never laughed so hard in devotions or cried so hard at circumstances.

God is good. I wouldn’t have come away from this day thinking that if I hadn’t seen God so at work in Hualien. We leave tomorrow, but what I’ve seen today tells me, God is working here. His heart is for this little part of Taiwan and no matter the attacks I’ve been part of today, His grace is still there. Always.

So, pray for us. Pray that God will contenue to work so much Satan will still want to attack. Pray that we will have the faith to see through those times, and the zeal to overcome them. Pray that we won't walk away from this trip just having fun, but that we will KNOW God has changed lives through us, and our lives through Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Much Love,
Alana Miller

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Caffeine in Our Coffee

From jumpy kids to crispy foods, to unusual amount of energy, today was filled with diverse and exciting experiences. The CI started started early in the morning with excited kids arriving as early as 8:30. I quickly tired of channeling their energy into a push-up competition, which turned out to be less than successful. Throughout the day, two cute kids would frequently give me the biggest hugs and constantly long to play games with me. To see the kid's love and sweet affection is always worth the long hours and frustration at naughty kids. It is so encouraging to see the kids go from picking at each other's name tags and chatting with their buddies to listening with unblinking eyes and eager hearts as I explained how Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins. Their curiosity for truth and longing for hope is the caffeine in our coffee that wakes us up and gets us pumped for the day. I must keep reminding myself that although I am just a crazy American, although I can only say ten phrases in Chinese, although my best work is only dirty rags, God can still use this inadequate soul for it's kingdom and glory.

In Christ Alone,
Andrew Lukachick

A Day Indescribable

There is so much to write about, but not enough words to describe it all!

Hualien is amazing! Our first CI here was AWESOME! The children are amazing. They are so sweet and they have such big hearts. When you smile at them and they smile back there is a love that just shines through them.

Before getting to Hualien we were told that the children would be a little crazier than normal. So we prayed that God would take our expectations and destroy them. When CI started and the children arrived we were blown away at how awesome the kids were. God had taken our expectations and destroyed them. One of my favorite times of the is Wisdom Search. When our whole group comes together to worship our wonderful God. It is awesome to come together in unity and praise God for His mercy and goodness to us.

In Wisdom Search we are studying the life of David, and one thing that has constantly been sticking out to me is David's dedication to God.How he lived for God and was so focused on Him. He "lived to the hilt every situation he believed to be the will of God." (Jim Elliot) It reminds me to live for God with everything I have. Hold nothing back.

I am stoked to see what the Lord has planned for the rest of this trip. He has already been so amazing. It's going to be so great there isn't a word to describe it! haha :)

Laura Jackson