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2012 Q4
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Taiwan Church News
3175 Edition
December 31, 2012 - January 6, 2013
Church Ministry News

“Free Fishpond Evangelistic Restaurant” becomes local church’s outreach breakthrough

Reported by Simon Lin

Written by Lydia Ma

Kaishan Holiness Church in west-central Tainan is situated in a spiritual “combat zone” because there are many local shrines in that part of the city. Though the church is also located very near some elementary schools, it has been unable to attract young people. Furthermore, the church’s neighbors usually keep their distance. This predicament has persisted for some time, resulting in an aging church as the number of youths in the church diminishes. However, the opening of “Free Fishpond Evangelistic Restaurant” at the church in recent months has brought a ray of hope that nearby residents might hear the Gospel and come to church.

The story of this restaurant began in early 2012 when a Christian couple who were church deacons and who owned a restaurant decided that they wanted to change career paths. After much prayer, they decided to donate all of their cooking equipment to the church. After the church received this gift, it remodeled its ground floor and transformed it into a small restaurant. “Free Fishpond Evangelistic Restaurant” opened in April of 2012.

One of the most unique aspects of this restaurant is that the meals have no marked price. Instead, customers are invited to give a voluntary contribution. This unique way of doing business has created a stir and inspired many curious customers to come and see. Amazingly, neighbors and elementary school teachers and students are now coming to the restaurant and the church without extra effort from the church to invite them.

The restaurant is run by a team of church volunteers who prepare meals. These volunteers work in shifts while the pastor and his wife, Rev. Huang En-heng and Ms. Chen Yun-hsian, serve customers. The restaurant’s interior design includes a lot of biblical symbols and codes made from mosaic tiles. These symbols have created many opportunities to share the Gospel as customers sometimes inquire about the meaning of symbols such as “70X7” and “Α” and “Ω”. Whenever customers ask about these 3 signs, volunteers respond that “70x7” refers to Jesus’ teaching that people should always forgive others because God is always willing to forgive, save, and love them unconditionally. Whenever customers ask about the meaning of “Α” and “Ω”, they learn about God being the beginning and the end.

Huang added that every table in the restaurant has a blank name card for customers to fill in their name and contact information so that the church can get to know them better via email. Those who fill out these cards will receive inspirational Christian articles from time to time and those who decline are given a copy of Keng-sim evangelistic brochure. Huang reported that the restaurant has been able to reach out to an average of 3 people every day. Furthermore, about 600 people have filled out name cards and half of them are not Christians. The restaurant has also become a great place for Christians to gather for fellowship or lead friends to Christ.

This is a snapshot of Free Fishpond Evangelistic Restaurant located in Tainan.

Photo by Simon Lin


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Taiwan Church News
3175 Edition
December 31, 2012 - January 6, 2013
Headline News

“Looking ahead to 2013: Concert and Prayer” underscores promoting God’s justice and protecting national sovereignty

Reported by Lin Yi-ying

Written by Lydia Ma

“By Pacific’s western shore, beauteous isle, is our green Taiwan. Once suffered under alien rule, free at last to be its own. Here’s the basis of our nation: four diverse groups in unity, come to offer all their varied skills, for the good of all and a world at peace.” This refrain from the popular song “Taiwan the Formosa” was sung by more than 1,000 people on December 29, 2012 at the start of a prayer and music gathering called “Looking ahead to 2013: Concert and Prayer” at Shuang-Lien Presbyterian Church. After singing some songs, the keynote speaker of the event, Twu Shiing-jer, gave a brief presentation titled “It’s not about ‘cannot’, it’s about ‘will not’ and ‘dare not’”.

“People in Taiwan characterize 2012 as an anxious year at the individual and national level. As for 2013, not only have the national health care plan premium, energy price, and fuel price increased, the Ma administration also plans to place surtax on energy. The only thing that hasn’t increased is wages!” said Twu, who is currently the CEO of Taiwan United Nations Alliance. He added to his litany of worrisome incidents a controversy that occurred during the International Conference on Diabetes in Japan. The host of the conference had labeled Taiwanese representatives as representing “Taiwan, China”. After Taiwanese representatives protested and petitioned to the host, the latter changed the designation to “Taiwan” and reprinted its conference manuals. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan (MOFA) did not offer any help to Taiwanese representatives throughout the whole incident. Tu concluded that the MOFA had the ability to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty then, but it didn’t have the will or the guts to do so.

Taipei Presbytery Church and Society Division Director Li Chuan-yi preached a sermon titled “Passion” at this gathering. He referenced Jesus’ conversation with Pilate in John 18:33-38 to highlight that Jesus’ goal while he was on earth was to bring God’s peace and righteousness and compassion to this world. Though Jesus faced a corrupt political system and a world that persecuted him, he didn’t seek to escape such circumstances. Instead, he faced these earthly powers head on and accepted the challenges brought by an oppressive regime.

Various choirs performed at this gathering and two other speakers – Tsai Ting-kuei from Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan and Wang Mei-hsiu from Taiwan Rescue Action Alliance - were also invited to speak. Wang said that Japanese people have a custom of planting many trees in the aftermath a tragedy because tree planning conveys strength, hope, and rebirth. She encouraged Taiwanese to persevere despite the Ma administration’s incompetence and listed a few citizen movements in the past few years that inspired the masses. She urged people to keep fighting until the very end and until they see victory and a new Taiwan.

A choir performs atLooking ahead to 2013: Concert and Prayer”.

Photo by Lin Yi-ying


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Taiwan Church News
3175 Edition
December 31, 2012 - January 6, 2013
Headline News

Tainan Presbytery reaches out to homeless by delivering warm food and red envelopes in Tainan Park

Reported by Chen Yi-hsuan

Written by Lydia Ma

The weather in Tainan on the last Sunday of 2012 was barely 10 degrees Celsius. For this reason, pastors from a few churches and their parishioners went out to distribute warm food and red envelopes to homeless folks who live near Tainan Park. During this outreach event, Tainan Presbytery Church and Society Division coordinator, Rev. Sung Hsin-hsi, shared various short messages and encouraged homeless people to not give up. He also told them that “Jesus came to reconcile people to God”.

This outreach sponsored by Tainan Presbytery, Tainan City Government, and Tainan City Loves Taiwan Association took place on December 30, 2012 around 3:00 p.m. More than a dozen parishioners and pastors took part, including the worship team from Renhe Presbyterian Church. The worship team sang a few songs and its pastor, Rev. Sung, shared a few brief messages between these songs. The performances and messages lasted approximately 1 hour.

Several church staff members, pastors, and parishioners wearing green vests with the logo “PCT Social Outreach” were at the scene to help register names and distribute food. The food on that day included noodles, chicken drumsticks, and various kinds of warm food. Though the weather was very cold, those who were homeless still stood in line in an orderly fashion to receive their portion of warm food and their own red envelope. Staff serving the meal also told each person who came to receive food that Jesus loved them. This was another example of churches sharing Christ’s love with others in a tangible manner.

Rev. Sung later said that the presbytery had asked Tainan’s Grace Home Church (a Christian organization that reaches out to homeless people) to spread the word about this outreach event. It had originally prepared 500 portions of meals and red envelopes to distribute and planned to donate any leftover portions to Grace Home so that the latter could distribute these to people in need. Keenly aware that homelessness is not a problem that can be solved with simply one outreach event, Sung hopes that similar outreach events can be held every year from now on.

Tainan Presbytery members distribute warm food to homeless folks at Tainan Park.

Photo by Chen Yi-hsuan

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Taiwan Church News
3175 Edition
December 31, 2012 - January 6, 2013

Editorial: Prospects for 2013

Translated by Lydia Ma

The UK publication The Economist published an article in November 2012 titled “Ma the Bumbler”. Just below this title, it described President Ma as a “former heart-throb” who had “lost his shine”. The publication went on to argue that, “five years on, and despite being handily re-elected ten months ago, much has changed. In particular, popular satisfaction with Mr. Ma has plummeted, to a record low of 13%, according to the TVBS Poll Centre. The country appears to agree on one thing: Mr. Ma is an ineffectual bumbler.”

Such a critique is indeed an accurate description of Taiwanese people’s feelings in the past 4 to 5 years. People are protesting because their lives are hopeless and they are suffering. They are also protesting because wage levels have regressed by 14 years, millions are unemployed, the price of housing has soared, and the Misery Index in Taiwan continues to climb. People are alarmed that they can’t find a way out and they fear that they won’t make it. The Ma administration has now left a legacy in history books as an ignorant, incompetent, and unresponsive government.

How should churches share the Good News in face of our current social and national circumstances? First, we must “repent”. Repentance was the central theme of the message preached by John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. They both proclaimed that people must repent of their sins because the Kingdom of Heaven was near. Repentance means that we make a U-turn from the sinful lives we used to live, return to God, make a fresh start, and live a life of righteousness and justice by faith in God.

Repentance begins with every one of us. In the past year, we have had a few appointed CEOs who refused to step down when their terms expired. They forgot that they were stewards and began to act as if they owned the PCT organizations they were entrusted to manage. Their actions caused God’s name to be defamed among non-Christians and Jesus no doubt wept over these incidents. We must learn from these incidents and encourage one another to fear God and honor God’s name in all that we do at church and in our workplace and society. If we want to stand firm and be witness to this world, we must prove by the way we live that we have repented of our sins and turned to God.

We must also repent of things that we aren’t doing though we should be doing them. Some examples include reading the Bible, praying, tithing, loving others, and sharing the Gospel. Christians have social responsibilities too and this means that we should ask ourselves whether we are standing in solidarity with hurting people “through love and suffering” at a time when our society is in great turmoil. Our churches should engage with society and reach out to suffering people around us instead of being cold and uncaring. We should emulate Presbyterians in the 1970s – they were fearless and active in making our country a better place. In this manner, they proclaimed God’s mercy and kindness and became a sign of hope during dark times.

This is the 3rd year since the inception of the “One-leads-One, New Doubling Movement”. Many of our churches have gone outside their church walls and reached out to their local communities by meeting the needs of their neighbors. It is our prayer that every Christian who serves in this way will put on his spiritual armor and pray often to God for wisdom. We must pray for new perspectives, new ways to do things, wisdom in undertaking social and government reforms, and courage to preach the mystery of the Gospel. It is our responsibility to build a country that is true, good, and lovely, as well as a country filled with faith, hope, and love. We must lead our churches and Taiwanese to walk justly, love mercy, and humbly walk with God.

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Taiwan Church News
3175 Edition
December 31, 2012 - January 6, 2013
Headline News

The Top 10 Taiwan Church News Posts of 2012 – Part Two

Reported by staff reporters

Translated by Lydia Ma

As Taiwan Church News looks back on 2012, there were many touching stories and ministries in the past year within the PCT for which we are especially grateful to God. To remember these PCT events and ministries, we would like to take our readers down memory lane and review some of the highlights of 2012.

However, Taiwan also faced many challenges in 2012 and Taiwan Church News has reported many stories to highlight these darker moments. Much of our coverage is a reflection of the PCT, which is a church “rooted in this land, identifying with all its inhabitants” and a church which has been entrusted to take care of its homeland and the world. For these reasons, we felt compelled to compile a second set of “Top 10 Posts” relating to stories that have affected Taiwanese society at large.

Without further due, here are our top 10 Taiwan headlines for 2012 in no particular order:

1. Concern for former President Chen Shui-bian’s human rights: Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan and Taiwan Justice Action Church held a cross-country march from November to December to call for the release of former President Chen Shui-bian so that he could receive medical attention. They also called for the dismissal and replacement of all the members of the Special Investigation Division, the resignation of the Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu and Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming, and the approval of a bill to establish a jury system. A prayer meeting was held on Ketagalan Boulevard on the night of December 8. The 2 organizations also “caroled” in front of the Presidential Palace, the Department of Justice, and Presidential Residence on December 24.

2. Freedom Lane named in memory of Cheng Nan-jung: 2012 marked the 25th anniversary since the lifting of Martial Law in Taiwan. However, 23 years ago, democracy activist Cheng Nan-jung set himself on fire to avoid arrest and died. To remember him, the small alley in Taipei where Cheng died was renamed “Freedom Lane”. Taipei Mayor, Hau Lung-pin was present at the unveiling ceremony. Ironically, freedom of the press and freedom of speech were compromised a few weeks later with the merger of Want-Want China Times Group and the China Network Systems.

3. Monopolization of the media: The acquisition China Network Systems and Next Media Group by Want-Want China Times in 2012 caused mayor controversy and concern in Taiwan. People had much to feel nervous about, as one major conglomerate headed by media magnate Tsai Eng-meng, will now control most of the media networks. Tsai has openly supported the repressive regime in China and has interfered many times with the reporting and editing of news stories in Taiwan. In response to these two acquisitions approved by the government, many protests broke out throughout Taiwan. Protestors included college students, professors, media associations, etc.

4. Siraya indigenous peoples fight for name rectification through cross-country campaign: Big and small demonstrations have taken place since 2009 to raise awareness on the plight of Sirayans to obtain government recognition of their indigenous identity. Though their latest appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court on August 9, Sirayans are determined to keep fighting for their rights. To raise awareness about their plight and shore up support, they embarked on a nationwide campaign in November using a campaign vehicle. The vehicle moved at a speed of 20 km/hr and had loudspeakers able to project their message. Other activities, including concerts and seminars, were also held in the aftermath of the court’s decision.

5. Indigenous villages in Taoyuan marginalized as the city is upgraded to a special municipality: The Ministry of the Interior approved a bill that would make Taoyuan County a Special Municipality (directly controlled municipality) beginning in 2013. This change has raised a lot of concern in indigenous villages because former townships with elected officials would henceforth be downgraded into regions with appointed officials. Indigenous groups became worried that the change would threaten their rights and privileges and self-autonomy and force them to live under the tyranny of the majority.

6. Taiwanese protest against nuclear energy: In the aftermath of the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan, the number of people in Taiwan opposed to nuclear energy rose. People’s fears proved to be well-founded as news about problems in a few nuclear power plants in Taiwan became headline news in 2012. Furthermore, all 4 of Taiwan’s nuclear plants were included in the Wall Street Journal’s list of the 14 most dangerous nuclear plants in the world. Tens of thousands of people across Taiwan took part in a rally on March 11, 2012 to express their opposition to nuclear energy. President Ma’s statement that “no person” had opposed Taiwan’s nuclear policies gave rise to the popular slogan “I am a person and I oppose nuclear energy”.

7. Alangyi granted protection through special designation: Just before the Lunar New Year of 2012, people concerned about the preservation of Alangyi Ancient Trail received a great new year’s gift: On January 20, Pingtung County passed a legislation that would henceforth make the area between Hsuhai and Guanyi Cape as a “Nature Reserve”. This new status meant that the ancient trail and the last remaining natural coastline in Taiwan would not be destroyed by attempts to extend Highway 26, which would cut through the ancient trail. The PCT was one of the groups advocating for the preservation of Alangyi and PCT Associate General Secretary Lyim Hong-tiong said that Alangyi Trail is ecologically and culturally priceless, which should be preserved for future generations to enjoy. He also suggested that local churches across Taiwan take their congregations there for an ecological exposure tour.

8. Illegal construction of Meiliwan Resort draws controversy: The Meiliwan controversy began 9 years ago when Taitung County partnered with the Miramar Group to build a beachfront resort hotel in Shanyuan Bay to boost the local economy. However, procedural laws and environmental impact assessment requirements were breached during the construction phase of the resort, prompting public outcry. Not only was the size of resort purposely under-reported, the resort also infringed on indigenous peoples’ lands. The environmental evaluation committee determined upon review that the Meiliwan Resort was illegal. However, Taitung County removed some members of the committee who opposed the project and replaced them with their own people. The Supreme Court ruled in January 2012 that Taitung County had illegally issued building permits and construction should be halted before an environmental impact assessment is passed. However, Taitung County interpreted this as a sign to go ahead with construction as long as an assessment is later added. The Supreme Court ruled in November 2012 that the resort was an illegal building and ordered the Ministry of the Interior to demolish it. However, during a closed-door meeting between Pingtung County and the MOI on December 22, a conditional permission was granted though the terms and conditions discussed were not substantial. Environmental activists have vowed to take action to protect Shanyuan Bay.

9. Government and corporations collude in Wenlin Urban Renewal Project: The Wenlin Urban Renewal Project was a major controversy in 2012. The incident prompted Taiwanese people to re-examine the Urban Renewal Act. In late March, Taipei City demolished the Wang family’s home on behalf of developers because the family refused to be included among neighbors who had agreed to be part of the Wenlin Project. The incident drew more than 1,000 police officers to the scene as many people had come forward to support the Wang family. It was apparent from this incident that the government was not monitoring developers when it came to urban renewal, but rather, acquiescing to them.

10. Priests and nuns protest rezoning and requisitioning of half of the land belonging to a Catholic Church in Taichung: For the first time in the history of the Catholic Church in Taiwan, clergy and parishioners took to the streets. Their protest stemmed from a land requisition and consolidation plan in Nantun District by Taichung City as part of an Urban Renewal Plan. The plan would force a local Catholic Church to lose half of its land. PCT Taichung Presbytery also came out to support the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church was demolished in December 2012.


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