Taiwan Wrap Up

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We’ve been back in the US for only three days, but already the trip seems like a distant past. And yet, when I look back at the pictures, it feels like it was just yesterday.

I’ve been diligent in making sure that I was sleeping according to US time, but last night the time difference finally caught up to me. I was at staff meeting at church, and was pretty much useless and non-awake. I probably should’ve just stayed at home.

I’m thankful for this trip, for the many opportunities that we’ve had to serve, but even more importantly, for the challenges that we faced, both on a team and personal level, that’s forced us to grow and mature.

Here’s a wrap up of our last few days in Taiwan:

Glowing!

Kelly glows when she reads the Bible.

Sharing from Lincoln

Lincoln sharing during Bible study!

Sharing from Frank

Frank sharing his thoughts with us.

Founder of Bread of Life

We had dinner Wednesday evening at an exclusive club at the Grand Hotel, courtesy of Dr. Yeh. We had the privilege of meeting with Pastor Chou, founder of the Bread of Life church. Unfortunately the lighting was not favorable, and my camera did not have flash.

On the way to Dr. Yeh's small group meeting!

Here we are, on the way to the MRT to get to Dr Yeh’s small group meeting, where we would be playing for worship for their gospel outreach meeting.

I don't know what to say.

And here we are, on the MRT, on the way back, after the meeting. According to Alice, there was a record turnout of new visitors. At least 10 people came to Christ that day. Amen!

Jeiji had a lot of thoughts.

Here’s Jeiji at Bible study.

More Bible study!

The rest of the group.

Worship with Friendship Presbyterian Church!

Here we are at Friendship Presbyterian Church, worshiping with the College fellowship!

Johnathan singing his heart out.

Johnathan giving it his all.

Blurry hands!

Jeiji playing so fast his hands were a blur.

Breakfast at N.Y. Bagel

Saturday morning, brother Nicolas invited us out to breakfast, and then to his house for a time of worship with his family. Here we are before the mountains of food was brought out to us.

That's Nicolas, in the middle!

That’s Nicolas in the middle, our host for Saturday!

The Last Web Conference

While the other meeting was going on at Nicolas’ house, I had to step out to host the Friday night Potter’s House meeting. I was the only one attending from Taiwan.

Diane, our awesome host!

Here’s Alice with Diane, our awesome host in Taipei! She let the Wu family plus Kelly invade her house for two weeks. God bless her!

And that about wraps up our trip to Taiwan. Please pray for Johnathan, who’s still in Taiwan visiting with his father’s family.

Frog Legs, Yum!

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Greetings from Taipei, again! We’re now into our last week in Taiwan. One thing that happens when you go on an extended missions trip and have to live with people is that your true colors start to show. We’ve been blessed through some circumstances to understand what it really means to show brotherly love, and to understand just how difficult it can be to be of one mind, and to put others above ourselves.

The last two Friday night sessions (Saturday morning for us) have been real blessings, because we get to see faces of those we love back home, and also because we get to have fellowship through some pretty cool technology. We were originally going to use Adobe’s Connect, but the first week in Taiwan, we got an email that the server was going to be down for maintenance on Friday night, so last minute we switched over to Cisco WebEx. Much thanks to Jeremy for keeping up with the sudden last minute changes and for being the tech guy stateside who’s been making sure our sessions go well.

Web Conference

Here’s Johnathan, starting off the sharing on Philippians Ch. 1.

Kelly, a natural teacher

Here’s Kelly, telling us something obvious, obviously.

Pre-Concert Dinner

That Saturday night was the concert at Change Life Church in Taipei. Here we are with some of the members who took us out to dinner before the concert.

Sound Check

Here we are during sound check. The concert itself was such a blessing – Change Life Church was using the concert as an event to invite friends, and there was an altar call at the end – quite a few people came forward to accept Christ. Praise God!!

Bus Schedule... no English!

Here we are Monday afternoon, trying to figure out which bus to take to get to Friendship Presbyterian Church for the afternoon Bible study.

Bible Study at Friendship Presbyterian Church

Lincoln, Frank and Nick joined us for Bible study through Philippians!

Tim at ATB Music

Here we are at ATB Music. Josh is jamming with Tim, the guy who’s been helping us. When we determined that my Telecaster Deluxe was truly lost for good, we decided to rent a guitar for Arthur, and Tim was the guy who helped us out. I would love to support Tim and buy something here, but… music equipment prices are really high in Taiwan. We musicians in the US have no idea how good we have it.

Love's Like A Hurricane

Two days in a row now, the rain has come pouring down right when we need to head out to Bible study. Today, we were honored to have Big Bird with us.

Second day of Bible study at FPC!

Here we are, we made it through the downpour!

Ribbit.

I’ve missed this. Frog legs. Yum! Diane (our gracious host) made it for us after the boys left. MrE and Ziggy had been really looking forward to tasting it. Kudos to Kelly for trying it! Bet you’re all wishing you’d all come along on this trip now, huh?

Goodbye Alishan, Hello Taipei.

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It is sometime after 3AM here in Taiwan. I’ve spent the last three hours sorting and uploading photos. I hope this post will be coherent.

First Taiwan Concert!

Sunday night at Alishan we put on our first official concert in Taiwan. The Tsou tribe went out door to door to invite people to come.

Church elders!

About 2/3 of the way into the set, some of the elders at the church came up to sing, and wow. They sure can sing.

Morning Devotion.

I’ve lost track of which morning this is. But we try our best to start each morning meditating on the Word of God.

Morning Devotion. In Taipei.

And here is our first morning devotion time in Taipei!

MRT

Here in Taipei, if you don’t have a car or a scooter, you got around on the Metro Rail Taipei, or MRT. Very similar to the BART. Except that there are four or five different lines that cross at different points, so if you wanted to get anywhere, most likely you were changing lines every so often. We’ve become very intimate with the MRT system.

Lunch with Dr. Yeh's family

We had the privilege of meeting up with Dr. Yeh, and had lunch with his family at the Grand Palace hotel. He took us on a tour of an outdoor garden and an escape tunnel (both restricted areas).

Worship at Dr. Yeh's small group

Dr. Yeh started a small group back in January 2011. The group now has over 70 regular members.

Reading from Genesis

They’re aiming for 100 members by the end of 2011…

Attentive attendees.

…and 1000 members by the end of 2012.

Practice at Dr. Yeh's small group.

We’ve been invited to play at the next meeting of the small group. Here we are, practicing.

James Young, drummer extraordinaire and film scorer

The gentleman who owns the company which hosts the small group is Mr. James Young. We met him, and found out his amazing life story. Professional drummer by the age of 15, endorsed by Pearl Drums (with his own line of drum sticks), scored over 600 films (one of which was Jurassic Park, during which he met Steven Spielberg). Oh, and a EE major and owner of a solar energy company, to boot.

Another morning devotion time.

Another morning devotion time. Hopefully with all these morning devotion photos, you’ll come to understand just how important it is to us to start the day with God’s Word.

Change Life Church, Taipei

Here we are at Change Life Church in Taipei, where we will be performing our second concert in Taiwan on Saturday, July 23rd.

Rehearsal at Change Life Church

We had a wonderful time rehearsing at Change Life tonight, accompanied by some awesome sound techs who made the night go by so much easier.

While we were rehearsing, the small groups at the church went out to hand out invitations to the concert. We spoke to the pastor, who is expecting at least 300 people to come to the concert, possibly up to 500. Please pray that all those who do not know Christ who come to the concert would be blessed, and that they would receiving Christ as their Savior. Pray that God would work through us.

Treehouse

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This is our first real downtime since getting to Taiwan. We’re still up in Alishan, and right now I’m sitting in a tree house away for some peace and quiet. No, actually, I’m sitting up in the tree house because Avai, the tribal chief, told us this is where we’d get the best wireless connection. 🙂

Just to recap on the last few days: Thursday night, we had a blast with the talent show at the camp. The kids and teachers alike are superbly gifted! I was one of the judges, and I spent the whole time either laughing, or in shock, or just plain trying to understand the jokes in Chinese. But all in good fun!

Good musicians!

Arthur made quite an impression with his guitar soloing. He met several other talented musicians at the camp.

Fourth Day Morning Devotions

Even though we were tired, we knew we had to start the day off right.

Friday morning we had a debrief and sharing, followed by the closing ceremony. Unfortunately, because we had to make a mad dash to Jiayi to make it up the mountain before it got dark, we had to leave right away. We missed the group pictures at the end, and mad dashed it to the train station.

Waiting for the Train

Waiting at the Tainan station.

Wild Boar Barbeque!

When we got up to the village, we were welcomed with wild boar barbeque. They had just killed the boar that morning. Yum! I think I need to teach them how to make boar bacon. Boarcon?

Treehouse

I’m currently sitting in this treehouse as I post. Technically not a treehouse.

First night's worship

Right after dinner, we were told we’d be leading worship. Very short notice. I was stressed, mostly because I wasn’t able to get the Macbook Pro display working for projecting lyrics. But it was a good lesson to learn – “in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

Saturday Morning Devotions

Of course, the next morning, we read Philippians 4:1-8 for our devotions. How timely!

Kids' Program

Alice was in charge of the Kids’s Program for one morning.

Kelly and Joy in Action!

Kelly and Joy stepped right up and helped with leading the older kids’ class.

Cultural Exchange

The youths up here sing REALLY well. They put up a performance for the folks back home via web conference.

Jeiji giving drum lessons.

A few of the older kids wanted drum lessons. Jeiji kindly obliged.

Tribal dance?

One of the older girls from the village showed everyone a dance.

Guitar lessons

Here’s Arthur, giving guitar lessons. When I took the picture, he was explaining vibrato.

Sunday morning we joined the church here in the village for their Sunday service, and Songs of the Redeemed was given the privilege of leading 30 minutes of worship. It was a blessed time for us, and we hope it was a blessing for everyone else, too.

This afternoon, as I mentioned in the beginning of the post, we finally have some time to relax. Tonight at 8pm, we’ll be giving a concert for anyone in the village who’s interested in attending. Be there or be square!

Up in the Mountains

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Quick update.

We left the English camp in a hurry on Friday after the closing ceremony, and made like a bee to the train station, up to Jiayi, then were transported up to the village in Alishan where we will be staying for two days.

Right now it’s 10:30AM here, 7:30PM in the States, and I’m trying to set up our web conferencing session so we can lead the Friday night group back home. More update later.

Has it really only been three days?

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Time has been flying.

Thank you all for your prayers – we were able to get a good night’s rest, and everyone woke up feeling more refreshed and ready to work. 🙂

Preach it, Brother John!

Because of a misunderstanding about the schedule, we didn’t have morning devotion time yesterday. (I need to point out that it’s no coincidence that we skipped devotions yesterday and ended the day feeling so drained, but did devotions today and are faring much better.) So this morning, we met at 5:30AM to have some time to reflect on God’s Word before we went off to work. We read Philippians 2:1-17 – very appropriate for today. God really spoke to me in the morning, and He convicted me at lunchtime about esteeming others better than myself.

He Turned My Mo(u)rning into Dancing

Can you imagine getting all the students and helpers into the dining hall at 6:30AM? Well, the Irvine team did it. Kudos to them for mustering up so much energy so early in the morning!

Human Chain

Before lunchtime, we had another gathering to sing some songs. This time the songs were in Chinese, and I didn’t know them, but.. the Spirit was moving in our midst. During the second song, we were encouraged to give out 10 free hugs to people. (One of the students gave me a bear hug and LIFTED ME OFF THE GROUND. Wow.) Several of the students were moved to tears, and the teachers had a chance to pull them aside and share with them one on one. I don’t know if it was to console them or encourage them, but nevertheless, God is giving us ample opportunities to share His love.

Showing Our Natural Beauty

There was a lot of excitement and commotion after lunch. Many group pictures being taken. I can see that in these three short days, many bonds have been formed and much love has been shared. Pray for us, that we would really be an open channel of God’s love to the students.