Last December, a group of my friends from various communities came together to go back to my hometown and sow the seeds of the gospel. Taiwan has always been a special place in my heart and ever since July 2015, a desire was planted in my heart to bring the gospel to this hard ground and hence without much hesitance, I went ahead to organise and put together this trip. It’s the first time that I’m doing this, planning a trip and I remember contacting so many various organisations and wanting to do various stuff but God eventually led us to partner with a local church in Hengchun that showed us so much hospitality and love which I’m so thankful for! There was also an elementary school that is 5 minutes walk away from my house so we decided to invade the school with our programmes – not knowing at all what to expect.
As I prepared for the trip, I felt inadequate and lost at certain times, just scrambling to get things together. There was school to study for and Y2S1 was mad for most of us as well but our team – comprising of people that were completely new towards each other, came together right after Finals, exactly 1 week before our trip and tried to come up with presentable programmes for our trip.
This is my japalang team, as I would call it and we proudly call ourselves Hengchun Hustlers. By the grace of God, this team came together and learnt from each other. There was my favourite couple Domillian who demonstrated excellence in delivery of service and showing me how God uses couples to love the others around them, Sixuan who was just willing, supportive and always having a heart of thanksgiving, Grace who was always ready to offer me ideas, her availability and her patience with little ones, Richard my brother whom I was so proud and thankful to see him grow and play with the little ones, and always readily voicing out his takeaways, and Jomo the oldest in the team who also was very dedicated to whatever ideas that we had and ensuring that everything turned out fine.
We interacted with lots of children and having children who lived in the same village made everything so much easier. Every night, without fail, they would show up at our doorsteps and made us entertain them. They were truly so endearing. But lots of these children, as we later learn, came from unhealthy family backgrounds. Often, in the countryside, the parents have to leave homes to work in the cities, leaving the kids with the grandparents, what we call 隔代教养 in Chinese, or lots of stories about parents marrying early and divorcing eventually, or the issue of vices like gambling and drugs. Some of the children we met had stories like this and it was largely a vicious cycle in the countryside, with poor family planning, resources and children eventually becoming like their parents if not cared for properly. This is the situation of this little village/town. Such were the strongholds in this place, neglect, divorce, broken families, idolatry and lies.
But one thing I know for sure, on the second day of the trip as we went for a walk around, the Lord dropped this in my heart ” These friends, all of you here, will be a light for me in the darkness” and I loved that! I remember feeling so helpless in July 2015 when I was the only Christian praying, and fast forward December 2o16, I’ve got 6 other pals with me, declaring worship and praise in this little land, praying and breaking chains. I truly believed that the worship we bring is beginning to tear down the principalities and strongholds in this place.
We went to Shanhai Elementary School for a 2 day programme of games teaching English and sharing the value of love and appreciating someone through a Rudolph skit. We were a little scared and not sure what to expect of the kids but things turned out fine. Most importantly, this is what God has promised and assured us with,
“Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, I will help you speak and will teach you what to say”
So glad that we get to be mouthpieces for God and this was shared in a morning devotion one of the days and as I later read, confirmed what I wrote in my diary on the 26th of September 2016 : “I am not even equipped to lead this trip but I’m doing it. *listed out Exodus 4:10-12* ” God speaks.
And we also went to a daycare centre in Checheng under a church, using dioaramas and little games to bring across the idea of creation and the God that seeks and finds. Love how the kids were so creative!
In addition, we also went to spend a day with the kids who live in Sheding National Park, some of the kids who also lacked proper homes and warmth in their families. But it was so encouraging to be able to sing praises with them, teaching them the ukelele and guitar, and our lovely Rudolph craft. All these were possible because there was one Christian lady whom we know by the name of Huiwen 阿姨 who has been faithfully reaching out to the kids right where she lived! She gathers them at her house and has been showing love to them, and telling them about God and the mighty things He has done. The way she displayed “love your neighbour as yourself” and what it means to bring Christ back into your homes, into your communities!
As we interacted with so many children, my heart is filled with hope for this generation, as we pray for them to rise up into warriors of faith, as the older generation labour in prayer and ministry for this land, the younger ones will see it to fruition. My hometown may be hard ground but relationships have been established, especially with the younger ones and I thank God for that! I pray that each time I go back again, more seeds will be sowed and that they will fall on good soil. We are so encouraged by the Christians there, mostly the older ones, who faithfully serve the church and the people around them.
I remember one evening where a few of us spent some time just enjoying the magnificent, gentle and beautiful pink/purple streaks across the sky during the sunset, we were prompted to pray for these children and as we opened our eyes, we were treated to a sky full of stars at just 6:30pm in the evening, something unusual but reassuring to me.
so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky
Which was exactly what was shared the next morning for devotion. I believe this is what is the intended purpose for the children, to believe and shine for Christ amidst the darkness. Such is the promise and intention of our Heavenly Father. This is only the beginning, but I’m believing for so much more in this land 🙂
The next half of the trip, I got the chance to serve in YWAM Taipei with Yunying over the Christmas week and later went back to Hengchun to spend the last week with my grandma and family! (I’ve got so much to share about what I learnt in YWAM also but that will be for another day) And that was when these little kids keep coming back. They came over right after school to do their homework and we spent time playing with them.
妤安，宏銘，品瑜，雯玲，育婷，世凱，Terry. Because relationships have been built, I can pray better for them by name 🙂 More than anything else, I’m so thankful to catch a glimpse of what is is like to live life amongst the children and having them call me 老师. That gives me so much encouragement to one day be able to do this, to teach in the countryside and minister to kids. It’s simple things like them coming to you and just spending hours with you. I think I could do this for a long while, to see them grow 🙂
Thank you Yunying, for so willingly jumping onboard this with me and accepting my weaknesses and flaws, loving me as I am in this trip and the days before and ahead HAHA. And seeing you with the burning desire to share Christ with anyone when the chance arises, gives me courage to do so when the need arises 🙂
At the end of this December, I’m just glad and blessed to have my friends come and share love with my own family and in my hometown and to be the God-given blessing they are. Even as I dread this coming new semester and my mind is already trying to plan the next trip back, I remember that I have to bring the lessons learnt back here and bring it back to right where I am – in my school, family, church, wherever.
To be intentional, available, and daring to trust God for His faithfulness and far greater than we can ever imagine goodness.
We don’t even have to try and You came. You are a miracle-working God.
p.s.: trip video almost done and so much more to say, but this got to do for now!
I’ll be back! Till then, Y2S2 let’s go!