It has been just over one year since we arrived back in Taiwan and moved to Qiaotou - about a 15 minute drive from where we used to live, and a completely new community for us. As many of you know, we moved here because of the generous offer by a Taiwanese friend of a house to live in rent free. Qiaoutou was, in fact, one of the areas that we were considering moving to, so God's answer to prayer for guidance on where to move seemed very clear!
As we moved here the only person we knew was our friend's mother, who lives down the street around the corner from us. Within a few weeks of arriving, however, through the introductions of friends who don't live here, we had met 2 Christian families who have become coworkers with us here. Another family, Bo and Elaine Li, moved back to Kaohsiung in November to work with us and "test the waters" concerning future long term ministry.
These 3 families have been a great blessing to us as we serve God together here and meet together weekly for a meal and to pray for each other and the community.
It has been a delight to see Bo not only telling Bible stories at a local school with us each week, but also telling them to many people he has met where he and Elaine live. God has really encouraged him in this, particularly with a security guard in his building praying to trust in Christ and growing in his faith over the last 3 months or so (mentioned in our last email update). We are thrilled that, after much prayer and consideration, Bo has now decided to begin studying full time at the seminary here to prepare to be a pastor. It is so encouraging to see Bo and Elaine respond to God's call on their lives, especially as they have 2 young children and Bo has left a good job in the business world.
NOTE: Elaine is from Abbotsford, B.C. She first came to Taiwan over 10 years ago as an English teaching OMF Partner. She met Bo in the English church that the Partners started here. Bo is Taiwanese from Kaohsiung. Their very cute children are age 2 and 4 years old.
Speaking of children, our foster boy, Jamie, finally went to Canada with his new parents on June 13th. He was with us for almost 8 months, and yes, we miss him! His parents stayed with us for 6 days to give them and Jamie time to get to know each other. We are thankful that he has such good parents and we look forward to visiting them in Canada in the future.
Other recent events here were the baptism of Granny Lau, followed by her promotion to heaven and memorial service about 1 month later. Ruth has been having Bible study with Granny Lau's daughter and another lady, Michelle, since last year. They had been praying for Granny Lau, but she had many reasons for not believing. Then, faced with late stage cancer, when Ruth and Michelle visited and talked with her she prayed to trust in Christ. One week later she told her daughter that she wanted to be baptized and I (David) had the privilege of baptizing her while she lay in bed at home. Her body was weak, but her mind was very clear. The Lord blessed her with dreams of angels and great peace in her last few weeks. The dramatic change from fear to peace made a big impression on her 4 children and many grandchildren, and was the main theme of the message I gave at her memorial service.
Looking forward to the summer here, we have a team of 5 young people arriving next week from the USA on 7/2, to help us run 2 week long English day camps. The camps will be from 9am-4pm, Monday to Friday at a local school from 7/7-11, and then at a local farm from 7/14-18. There are 46 children registered for the first camp and 47 for the second camp, so it will be a busy time! Praise God that in addition to the 5 students from a church in the USA we also have 5 students coming from One Heart Church in Kaohsiung, where we served many years ago as it was getting started. We also have several people helping from a church in Gangshan.
One year ago we knew one person in Qiaotou, and now we have many people helping to put on 2 camps for almost 100 children in our community. It has been exciting to see God opening doors into the community and we are looking forward to see what He will do as we follow up from the camps later this summer.
We covet your prayers as we welcome the team next week and prepare for and run the camps.
Highlights for prayer:
1. Pray for Bo and Elaine as Bo prepares to start full time seminary studies in September.
2. Pray for Jamie settling in with his family in Canada - and for his new parents too. He is a very active little boy!
3. Pray for Granny Lau's extended family. Some are Christian, but many are not.
4. Pray for the 2 summer camps July 7-11, 14-18 - for the teachers/helpers, and for the children and their families.
With love from Taiwan,
David and Ruth