Saturday, January 28, 2012

How Great is Our God!

Today was the last day teaching the CI in Hualien. Last year my favorite place was Hualien, so it is great to be back! The kids are so needy here, both spiritually & physically. To end the CI we had parent presentation outside on the main steps to the school in Dafu. Once the kids left, we quickly cleaned up the school so we could go eat! 

We ate at a restaurant mostly run by teenagers, who haven't had the best situations while growing up. God has been changing them though, and they are learning to be hard workers! One of the guys' birthday was today, so everyone sang "Happy Birthday," and the owner bought him a birthday cake. He started crying as he told us it was the best birthday he had ever had. It sure made me think! Here was a 16-year old guy, who was grateful for just getting sung to & being given a birthday cake. It challenged me, because I realized how ungrateful I can sometimes be. 

After dinner, three of the guys who were from the same tribe sang a native song for us. We left soon after, so we could explore around the Sugar Cane Factory and get some ice cream from a stand! After exploring for a bit, we went back to the school for our last night, and ended our day by praying & singing "How Great is Our God."  

Bethany Hulley

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Majestic Mountains of Morning

This trip has been an amazing blessing and miracle from God. This whole team I have been working with has been given so many amazing opportunities that are beyond belief. While being here in Dafu we have been allowed to visit and dine with two different Aboriginal tribes. There has been amazing traditional food and gorgeous scenery. It would be impossible to have been placed with a team more suited to at least my own individual needs. We have all the strengths of leadership and support needed for teaching the children here. Life here is amazing in every aspect of the word, even if I am still trying to get used to the “cultural food”.

It was freezing when we woke up this morning but we were all so very glad to see the sun. It has been either raining or cloudy every day we have been here since Sunday and we were all so glad for the promise of warmth from the sun. When the sun promises warmth, it gives it in full force. After lunch, as we are playing games with the students out in the school’s courtyard, one by one each of us start hearing a tiny buzzing and maybe even a small pinch on our legs and arms. It’s Miskitosssss noooooooo. The suns heat had driven them out of hiding and they were out to feast. But, it just so happened we were teaching the students a lesson on endurance and it was a good time to practice it ourselves while being a good example for our young ones.

On my way to breakfast and all through this day I have been looking up at the mountains in awe and amazement, for this is truly the first day we have been able to actually see the tippy, tippy, tippy top of them because of the impending cloud cover  and, oh yes, they are tall. Imagine stepping out of our room wrapped in layers looking out of the window on the balcony and seeing the sun shining like gold on the mountain side. It is, without a doubt, one of the most amazing sights I have seen yet in my life.  We ended the day with a bunch of us gathered around the piano singing praise to our Father in Heaven. What an amazing time we have been, and are having, here. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. 

Danny Leddy 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A visit to the Ah-Mei Tribe!

Today we visited another aboriginal tribe of Taiwan. It took a little while for us to start interacting with the kids who came. We started by playing tag, then we introduced freeze tag. I had a great time - there is almost no language barrier in playing tag!

Once all the kids arrived, we began a photo scavenger hunt through the village. We all split into 5 groups, and village kids were dispersed to join each team as well. We found a dog, leaves, some leftover food, a rock shaped like Taiwan, and a police officer. Later after lunch we looked at all the pictures that each team had taken. We all laughed when each team had a picture taken with the same policeman!

The hunt ended where we had lunch. The food was very good! The way they prepared the squid was the best tasting I've had yet!

After reviewing the scavenger hunt we played a little. Some played Ninja, and a few teachers (us) played Zip-Bong. A few girls taught me how to link one leg onto another, and hop in a circle while clapping. We didn't do it very long, but I sure had fun!
Once we were finished with our activities in that building, we walked back to the first building we met at. A large shed-like building, with a concrete floor, open sides, and a metal roof. On the way there, Katie. P. and I raced with 2 of the village kids. It wasn't too far away, so it was a short sprint!

There we watched the kids do a few traditional dances. They looked like so much fun! After we watched them, they asked us to join in! We need lots of practice!! It took several tries to get the proper linking of hands & arms accomplished. After we danced together, we sang them a song to show our gratefulness.

Eventually our time with the Ah-Mei Tribe had to shift locations. We got into our van and left to have our Wisdom Search at a local restaurant. TRIED to leave, that is. David turned the key -RRRrrrrrrr.... RRRRrrrrrr = Dead Battery. Perfect. Davina jumped out to ask for a jumpstart. Since our van was a stick-shift, we all jumped out & gave it a push start down their long road! It worked! Hooray! Thank you Lord for manual transmissions!
During Wisdom Search, we divided into accountability groups, and discussed different passages and how they related to different parts of the Temple. We had some really good discussions!

We had traditional Ah-Mei food at this restaurant, which was fantastic! Sticky rice, and a dish with many different beans & grains. It was scrumptious! Everyone did really well in eating up all the food they had made for us! After several courses, the owner came out and explained the different dishes we had eaten, and some of the traditions of the Ah-Mei tribe. The food tasted even better when I found out some of the background behind the dishes.

It made for a great day to experience the hospitality of the Ah-Mei tribe.

Mary Thompson

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Killer Wasabi!

Today began with an early start at 5:55 in the morning. Wei Wei, Katie N., and Mary B., and myself all cooked breakfast this morning. We made scrambled eggs with toast for everyone. 

Later that morning, all the CI teachers had the opportunity to make banana rice at a local Aboriginal tribe - the Taroko people. As you could probably guess, the key ingredients are bananas & rice. We mixed these two items together in a bowl, wrapped them in a banana leaf, tying the ends with string. The village ladies then cooked them to perfection. 

For lunch, the tribe prepared a huge feast for us. It was during that meal that I had my first experience with "Killer Wasabi." Unknown to me at the time, was the fact that you are only supposed to use a very small amount of the sauce. I loaded up an onion with as much as I could and had the surprise of my life!!! I thought my head would explode, and that the hair in my nose would disintegrate. I fear my taste buds will never be quite the same. After my run into that killer sauce; we had the chance to hike up part of a mountain to take in the fabulous view. Although it was an amazing sight, it does not compare with my memory of that first experience with Wasabi! 

Aaron Vaughn

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Day of Traveling.

Yay! Chinese New Year's Eve!!! We got to sleep in, which was a very refreshing sleep; especially after eating a bug the night before! Haha! We packed up and had an ICIC [International Children's Institute Church] service. Then we loaded up in our bus (which is pretty big, and MUCH larger than a 15 passenger van!) and embarked on our journey to Hualien!

While on the bus we talked and talked, played some games, slept, and talked some more!! We made a couple of stops along the way so we could feel the breeze of the China Sea and the feel the Pacific Ocean on our feet. Well, at least some of us did!

We eventually stopped and had a wonderful, special dinner that was called in ahead of time by our very kind driver, John! The dinner was made up of rice chicken, cuttle fish, seaweed and a whole bunch of other stuff. We arrived safe and sound sometime after dark and got settled into the school where we are staying & teaching at this week! It was a long, but very good day!

God has really blessed me with a ton of patience to adjust to this different culture; and in learning to work with interpreters thus far! It has been amazing to see what God has done in the past week! I'm excited to see what He'll do these coming weeks!!
Lillie Elliot

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Did God Bring Me Here to Teach or to Learn?

This trip has been a big learning experience for me. I always thought I was coming to Taiwan to teach children about God, but the longer I am here, the more I realize that maybe God brought me here to learn. It has been a challenge trying to teach children that speak a different language, but it was definitely worth it all when I saw the children's faces singing for their parents at 'Parent Presentation.' God definitely knew what He was doing putting me on a team with Hannah & Bill. Hannah taught me so many new things about teaching and Bill, my interpreter, was very patient with me. I don't think I could have done it without them. I am very excited about our next CI in Hualien, and cannot wait to see what new things God is going to do in our lives! 

Annie Mae Senn

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Becoming His Masterwork

God has been working in my life this past few days as I face the challenge of teaching the children through an interpreter. It has been tough at times, but rewarding as I see them understanding what is being taught. But I first had to endure the challenges of teaching through an interpreter and use it as an opportunity to grow closer to God before I could see results as we learned yesterday in small group.
The kids in Tainan are really friendly and full of enthusiasm. I have been encouraged by the way they want to learn more about the Lord. I pray the He will give me enthusiasm and creativity as I continue to learn. We were invited to Tainan Assembly of God for lunch, where the children presented a song about the hidden hand of God in their lives as they faced difficulties; uncertainties. They told us how most of the children there have been through a lot of hardships. But we learned in class to welcome suffering so that we can grow in maturity through those situations. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that all things works together for good to to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose."

Jordan Tan

Friday, January 20, 2012

God is Love - Forever & Always

Recently, life has been very hard for me. A lot of things are changing. I was frustrated by this kind of life. So, I prayed to God and asked Him to show me His love and mercy. Although I never doubt, I still hope to see some signs or symbols.

Today, one of the girls on my team had a problem understanding what Mary was teaching since she is still too young. So I took her into the hall so I could explain it to her more, and we talked with some of the staff. When I held her hand and explained things to her, I realized how big & deep the love of God is. Even if life is hard sometimes, I have to remember that God is holding my hand. And later, when the girl looked up to me, I instantly realized that the presence of God never leaves me. All I have to do is just look up, and I'm going to see the Almighty God gently smiling at me, and saying "I love you, and I will be will here for you."

Peter Chiang 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

An Encounter with God.

Today is Wednesday, our second day of CI's in Taiwan. It has been the best day of my trip so far. The best day because God met me in so many special ways. Here are a few examples:
-During quiet time, I was really wrestling with God that He would show me how to be a good assistant, and to love the kids because He loves them. God gave me such a peace about it, and the evening went so much better than last night.
-One of our student assistants, Peggy, showed initiative and helped her teammates many times without being asked.
-I spent some extra time with one of the students, and she really responded and wanted me to help her instead of my interpreter, even with the language barrier and I didn't understand much what she said. 
-Our team leader was showing good leadership skills and keeping the kids attention. It made it easier for me to follow his example and be a good assistant.

I'm thanking God for showing Himself strong to me, and trusting many more days will go as well as it did today.

Esther Strickler 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Ni-hao! It was a fantastic day here in Tainan yesterday! We are all getting over jet lag, and are getting used to the food and eating with chopsticks. It is sometimes harder then it looks!

We had our first day of teaching yesterday, and boy what an adventure! We spent the afternoon in training, learning how to teach with an interpreter , reviewing materials, and getting everything else ready for the evening.

The kids began arriving at 6pm. Most teams started with name games and a craft. My team, Josiah & Katherine began a little different as two of our boys, Andy & Arky are rather full of energy, making it difficult to get the team lesson started. Please pray for us, and other team leaders with "special kids."

Large group was greatly enjoyed by the kids, but somewhat confusing for the leaders as it was all in Chinese.  Joy led the kids in learning the Creation Song, Psalm 8:1-2, and the all important secret CI hand signals. Tim then told the Creation story, in English, translated by Simon. The kids really enjoyed it, and so did I. We then had another small group where the kids learned their 10 Unchangeables, and did another craft. The next large group included the "Bubble Song," and a skit with "Dr. Bubble." It was a full evening, but an enjoyable one.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. "Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God." [2 Cor. 3:5]

In Christ,
Mary Bourne

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Green Tortillas & Adventures in Tainan

The first day of Taiwan met us very late in the morning after extremely long hours of traveling. Those who were not frightened at the sight of green tortillas filled with eggs and corn enjoyed a delicious new kind of breakfast.

After a quick briefing and  lunch we headed out to see some sights of Tainan. The first place was an old house with trees growing throughout, a fascinating attraction. Following this we made our way to a street market filled with all sorts of trinkets and colorful objects to catch the eye and empty the wallet. The afternoon quickly flew by as we continued to see more of the city and culture, and getting to know each other with children's games in a park. Finally we stopped at a western restaurant filled with a sea of giant stuffed animals and rainbow covered walls. To say the least the food was delicious.

Overall, the first day was a wonderful greeting to us foreigners hungry for adventure and new sights, ready to tackle a country full of smiling faces and needy hearts.

Andrew Lukachick

Tainan, the beginning!

It's been a whirlwind the past couple days, but God's faithfulness has been shown time & time again, and we're safely here in Tainan! The team has been adjusting to the time difference very well, and they all stayed awake yesterday 'til 10! :) Success!! YAY! Please continue to pray for the health of everyone as we're heading into 3 very busy weeks; and pray as we prepare this afternoon for the first night of Children's Institute, in Tainan.      

Thursday, January 12, 2012

God’s Masterwork?

The team is arriving on Sunday, and to celebrate the fact, I'm showing a sneak peek of this year's CI t-shirt.

This year, the theme of the CI is, "The Masterwork of God." We used this curriculum several years ago, and back then I chose the picture of Taiwan on the globe to show how God created the world, and acknowledge his creation of Taiwan in particular. This year, however, I really wanted to show how God's creation of this island, of this world, of this whole universe, is something intensely personal: something that was made for His masterwork, human kind. In this particular instance, especially the team that he has put together for this year. 

At first I worried if this was too audacious of a design. Is it presumptuous of me to claim that we are His masterwork, that this ministry trip is God's plan? 
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
I hope this t-shirt can be a reminder for our entire team of our purpose here, and the fact that God planned out this entire trip for us to be together to serve Him. 

Tim Chen