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