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3140 Edition
April 30-May 6, 2012
Church Ministry News

 

Indigenous Taiwanese youth shares love and the gospel in Myanmar

 

Reported by Sam Lee

Translated by Tsai Sheng-hsin

 

Lumaf Tamapima, a youth from Bunun Presbytery, has long been devoted to rescue and mission work in the refugee camps along the border between China and Myanmar. In spite of the possible danger of being in that region, he revisited some of these camps again on April 10-27, 2012 to deliver food and medicine. Kachin people face hardships and dangers presently mainly because they are facing brutal suppression from the ruling military junta. Refugees in the border camps are suffering from serious infectious diseases such as malaria; however, the food, water, and medical support accessible to them are sadly insufficient for their needs.

 

Five years ago, Lumaf Tamapima received training provided by “Minorities for Christ International”, a group established by an American interfaith organization. Since then, he has served as a volunteer and traveled to places like Yunnan, in China, to assist in sharing the Gospel and providing missionary training sessions to the local indigenous youths. Since 2011, Lumaf Tamapima has also been visiting refugees in camps along the China and Myanmar border to help the Kachin people there.

 

Lumaf Tamapima said that when Myanmar declared independence from Britain in 1947, General Aung San, Aung San Suu Kyi’s father, agreed to make the Kachin State an autonomous region. Unfortunately, General Aung San was then assassinated and a military junta took control of the country. After a 20-year civil war, the military junta agreed to a cease-fire; however, it renewed its suppression of the Kachin people again last October.

 

This April, Lumaf Tamapima walked from southwest China to these refugee camps to deliver relief materials, share the gospel, and provide spiritual support. He said that for the past 100 years, many Kachin people have accepted the gospel and become Christians. However, after the breakdown of negotiations between the Kachin state and the military junta, the military junta has used “Myanmar is a Buddhist country” as an excuse to slaughter Kachin people. As a result, most Kachin men have gone to the front lines to fight the military junta; therefore, most missionaries stay in the camps to look after the elderly, women, and children. Sometimes, these missionaries also need to go to the front lines to pray with the soldiers.

 

From his trips to these centers, Lumaf Tamapima has witnessed the death of a lot of refugees due to the lack of proper medical treatment. Though Aung San Suu Kyi and her party recently won a landslide victory in a by-election, the country is still under the military junta’s control. Therefore, Lumaf Tamapima hopes that more and more people can give Myanmar a helping hand; he also prays that the war will end soon and the country can  finally enjoy some peace.

 

 
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3140 Edition
April 30-May 6, 2012
Headline News

“Happy Walk” encourages people to rethink the value of family

Reported by Chen Wei-chien

Translated by Tsai Sheng-hsin

Eight cities in Taiwan (Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Hualien) recently hosted a “Happy Walk” march as a way to promote and support happier and healthier families. Churches in Taichung also used this opportunity to encourage participators in the Taichung session to spend time reaching out to minority groups and their families.

The 2012 “Vibrant Taiwan, Happy Family” walk, organized by Taiwan Happy Family Alliance and World Vision Taiwan, took place on April 29th. Rev. Fong Lung-si, from Taiwan Happy Family Alliance, said that the theme for this year is “keeping promises”. He explained that families should first work together in faithfully keeping their promises with God. Then, couples should keep promises with each other; parents and children should also keep promises with each other and build mutual trust from these things. Happy families are formed as result of promise-keeping.

The total number of participants for the Taichung session was more than 11,000, and most of them were from Taichung and Changhua areas. Linnei Presbyterian Church from Chiayi Presbytery also sent about 60 church members to join the event. Rev. Feng Tung-chiang, the pastor of Linnei Church, said that the event’s emphasis on both keeping promises and being faithful are very important, especially for young people nowadays. Rev. Chao Keh-ping, the pastor of Mong-An Presbyterian Church in Taichung, also pointed out that churches should be positive models when it comes to healthy families, especially in an era when more and more families are disintegrating.

Yen Shu-chen, director of World Vision Central Taiwan Office, indicated that the high divorce rate in Taiwan has led to the breakdown of families in Taiwanese society. As a result, more and more children cannot receive proper care from their own families. Through hosting this tour annually, she hopes that more and more people can be encouraged to rethink the meaning of family and care more about their children.

 
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3139 Edition
April 23-29, 2012
Headline News

Housing Justice Attacked by the Tiger Hiding Behind the Urban Renewal Act

Reported by Chiou Kuo-rong
Translated by Tsai Sheng-hsin

The Wenlin Yuan Urban Renewal Project has not only revealed some shortcomings of the Urban Renewal Act, but also made the people in Taiwan think seriously about housing justice. On April 19, 2012, Kuo Kuan-chun, who represents the Taiwan Alliance for Victims of Urban Renewal, held an urban renewal symposium at Shihlin Presbyterian Church.
“From the Wenlin Yuan Urban Renewal Project, it may be seen that current urban renewal projects have been undertaken for the benefit of construction companies, and not for the benefit of residents. The renewal of urban functions, improvement of living environment, and improvement of public interest should be achieved as promised in accordance with the Urban Renewal Act,” Kuo said.   
Kuo indicated that the meaning of urban renewal should be the activation of old communities as well as helping residents have a place to live. However, seeing the situation of the Wenlin Yuan project, Kuo sadly wondered about the purpose of urban renewal projects and whether these projects were designed and implemented for the sake of resident or for the interest of construction companies?
The symposium was co-hosted by the Original Culture Society. Chen Sheng-de, elder of Shihlin Presbyterian Church as well as executive committee member of the Society, talked about the pressure that a certain company had given the residents in the Shihlin urban renewal project.  He alleged that this company even threatened residents that unless they signed an urban renewal project agreement letter, their land would be changed into a park project. Afraid of losing everything, the residents had no choice but to sign the agreement letter.
Lin Chi-sheng, President of the Original Culture Society, stated that their major concern now is housing justice because, in addition to the Wang family, there are 36 other households that are victims of the Wenlin Yuan project.  These families also need assistance to solve their housing issue.

 


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