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3149 Edition
July 2-8, 2012
General Assembly News

2012 “I Love Taiwan Mission Camp” begins

Reported by Sam Lee

Written by Lydia Ma

PCT’s annual “I Love Taiwan Mission Camp” (ILT) began on June 27, 2012 as 47 youths from 11 countries from around the world came to Taiwan and joined 94 Taiwanese youths in Taipei at Wesley Grove in Yangmingshan. This is the 10th time that the PCT’s Youth Ministry Committee has sponsored such a camp, which is scheduled to take place from June 27 until July 14.

The main purpose of ILT is to help youths understand Taiwan and the PCT better. For this reason, seminar topics include an introduction of the PCT as a church, the development of Taiwanese democracy, PCT’s efforts in promoting a nuclear-free country and advancing human rights, and more. After attending seminars and lectures, participants will be sent to various local churches or Christian organizations to serve. After 2 weeks, they will reconvene to share their experiences at a debriefing session.

The theme of this year’s ILT camp is “Experience Taiwan, Experience Love”. The Youth Ministry Committee Secretary, Etan Pavavalung, told Taiwan Church News that he hoped to use this theme to help youths understand that “Taiwan is a beautiful and indispensable part of the world”. To help them understand Taiwan’s past and present, the Youth Ministry Committee arranged for them to see the award-winning documentary film “Hand-in-Hand”. The protagonist of this film, Tien Meng-shu, was also invited to speak to the youths about the price people paid for democracy and freedom in Taiwan.

One of the main messages that church leaders wanted to convey to these youths was that “becoming a good Christian youth starts with being a good servant”. For this reason, all participating youths were sent to help out at various local churches and Christian organizations as part of the camp. The purpose of this stint is to let them see the real Taiwan and help them learn how to share the Gospel through their acts of service and in accordance to the 6 dimensions of PCT’s evangelistic ministries.

Beginning on July 1, all participating youths will be sent to 21 churches and Christian organizations across Taiwan to help out in summer camps, English camps, community services, and environmental clean-up missions, etc. They will reconvene on July 11 at Presbyterian Bible College in Hsinchu to share their experiences at a final debriefing meeting.

The PCT’s ILT camp has been so popular and successful in recent years that the Council of World Missions East Asia Region recently spearheaded its own “I Love Asia Mission Camp” using PCT’s ILT as a model

 

Photo by Sam Lee

 
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3148 Edition
June 25-July 1, 2012
Church Ministry News

Muzha Presbyterian Church's outreach among new immigrant families lauded as transformational

Reported by Simon Lin

Written by Lydia Ma

Just as people at Muzha Presbyterian Church in Kaohsiung were busy making steamed rice dumplings in time for Dragon Boat Festival, more than 30 women from the church’s “Ruth Fellowship” showcased their wonderful culinary skills by presenting Indonesian and Vietnamese rice dumplings for the congregation to taste. This fellowship’s members are new immigrants and women and they are sometimes known as foreign brides in Taiwan.

Muzha Church established an association in 2008 in an attempt to combine community outreach with community development. The purpose of this association is to partner with government organizations in reaching out and caring for marginalized families while promoting organic farming and using farming to help solve poverty among local residents.

Muzha Church’s pastor, Rev. Huang Hsi-hsun said that there had been a significant increase of immigrants in Neimen District, perhaps as many as 300 new “foreign brides”. Because these women face many cultural and linguistic barriers upon their arrival to Taiwan, their lives are very challenging. In addition, their husbands’ are often unemployed or from a poor family, and this means that helping their new families make ends meet is one of their priorities and challenges. For this reason, Muzha Church also began to offer after-school tutoring programs for children from these families as a means to help them.

To help these new families find employment and tend to their emotional needs, the church also began a ministry called “Good News Farm for Women”, which consists of planting organic vegetables on a plot of land. This farm is tended by new immigrant families and also open to local residents who are willing to sponsor a portion of the land and collaborate with these families.

According to Huang, this farm offers local residents opportunities to engage with new immigrant families, which goes a long way in getting rid of prejudices and stereotypes. The women often go to the market together every week to sell their produce. As they get to know one another more, they also encourage and comfort one another. Many immigrant women have expressed that the farm has been a source of happiness for them and their lives have been transformed by attending church.

According to reports, residents from other townships have marveled at how well new immigrants from Neimen have adjusted to their new lives and they have also noticed that these women are also very good-natured. These new immigrant women are also taking part in another church ministry that delivers food to seniors who live alone and they have now become integral members of the church.

Commenting on the church’s ministry and outreach to new immigrants, Rev. Huang said, “Evangelism ought to be more than telling people “May God bless you and provide food and clothing for you”, without further efforts in helping such people.” He elaborated that the church doesn’t exist for itself in a vacuum, but must exist to benefit local communities. He added that reaching out to “the least of these” in any community is the church’s responsibility.

Photo by Simon Lin

 
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3148 Edition
June 25-July 1, 2012
General Assembly News

PCT General Secretary visits Taiwanese churches in Hawaii

Reported by Sam Lee

Written by Lydia Ma

PCT General Secretary Andrew Chang visited various Taiwanese Presbyterian churches in Hawaii at the end of June 2012. His visit to Hawaii also included attendance at the Asia-Pacific Natural Hazard Conference 2012 from June 27 until June 29, which took place at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. One of the conference’s keynote speakers was a PCT elder, Chen Yi-leng, who presented his research thesis using various examples from typhoons, floods, and rainy seasons in Taiwan.

Chang was welcomed by local Taiwanese churches in Hawaii on June 25 and spoke at length with elders and members from these churches on PCT’s “One-leads-One” movement as well as PCT’s recent anti-price hike movement. He later reported that Taiwanese churches in Hawaii are very concerned about evangelistic ministries in Taiwan as well as the current political situation in Taiwan. There are also quite a few distinguished Taiwanese professionals residing in Hawaii in government and non-government sectors.

The objective of the Asia-Pacific Natural Hazard Conference 2012 is to promote closer ties and foster future research collaborations between Taiwan and Hawaii concerning natural disasters. For this reason, the University of Hawaii and the National Science Council in Taiwan were the hosts of this conference.

There was also a great deal of discussion on problems relating to nuclear energy and many scholars shared their thoughts on this issue based on how nuclear plants would affect earthquake and tsunami prone regions in Asia-Pacific. They also analyzed at length the state of nuclear power plants in Taiwan with hopes that it would contribute to better policies and response mechanisms.

 


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