Ruth had been putting in a long day planning the children's program for our annual OMF Field Conference, so we decided to go out for supper. We are blessed with a lot of cheap places to eat within easy walking distance of our house. The choice that evening was the hot pot restaurant. As we were eating, a boy, Ray, from one of our summer camps, came up to our table to say hi. He had just arrived with his dad to eat supper too. We had never met his dad before so it was a good chance to meet his father. To be honest, we were not very impressed. He is a big man with bleached reddish long hair - rather rough looking - and he seemed to spend most of his time talking on his cell phone rather than talking with Ray. We finished our supper and said hello to Ray's dad on our way out the door.
A few weeks later, at the second potluck supper after our Saturday kids club, who should walk in the door carrying a pot of food but Ray's dad! A little while later Ray's mom also showed up with his baby sister. They had a great time talking with people and we were able to talk with both of them too. Ray's mom told us that she wants to come to church and bring the kids when we start a regular Sunday service (more on that later in the letter). She was the second parent to tell us that.
This summer was possibly our busiest summer ever. The highlights were the 2 summer day camps in July and the start of our follow up Saturday kids club in August. The club has been going well with 20+ children attending each week. We also decided to have a potluck supper once a month for the children's families. The 2 potluck suppers so far have gone really well, allowing us to get to know some of the parents much better.
Our original plan (mentioned in our last letter), was to start a weekly Saturday evening service, but after a long discussion with our coworkers we decided to wait until the end of February next year, after Chinese New Year, to start a regular worship service on Sunday. This gives us more time to prepare and to visit parents and other people we have been meeting. After seeing the success of the potluck suppers we think that this has been the right decision. (Although at tonight's men's meeting it was suggested that we start sooner due to the strong interest being expressed!)
God has also opened the door for more service in the community. These teaching opportunities allow us to get to meet more people and be more widely known in the community. We pray that our new class at a second elementary school will open the door for us to tell Bible stories there and run a summer camp there next summer.
Meanwhile we have been able to expand our Bible story telling at school #1 to 4 classes each week. We are continuing with the 2 grade 2 classes, and God has provided 2 other people to tell the stories to the grade 1 classes. We have 30 minutes every Thursday morning to tell a
story. The children will be hearing 36 stories each year. By the end of grade 2 they will have heard 72 Bible stories, getting a good overview of the Bible.
Besides starting the kids club in August, we also attended and helped with a Simply the Story (STS) training workshop in Taipei for a week. This was a very good experience and we hope to help bring it to Kaohsiung next year. Ruth has started using the STS inductive bible study approach in her women's bible studies. One lady said, "I don't know how I was studying the bible before, but I am learning so much more studying it with you!" We highly recommend Simply the Story. They run training events all over North America. For more information go to their website at www.simplythestory.org.
David has also been using the STS approach in his men's Friday night small group, and is teaching the men how to tell stories.
We had visits from our 3 older children this year and it was great to have some extended time with each of them. Stephen continues to develop his indexing business (compiling indexes for books) and has been very busy with that recently. After a year working in Taiwan, and nearly 2 years working in Singapore, Sarah is taking a year to study at Regent College. Peter is in his last semester at Emily Carr University and wondering what the future holds after December! John has been promoted to Sous Chef at the restaurant where he is working in Vancouver. We thank God for His
provision for and leading of our children as they start to make their way in life "out of the nest". They are all currently in Vancouver.
- Praise God for a good start to the Saturday program and for great conversations with a number of parents. One couple accepted a Bible from David and came back the next week with lots of questions from their reading of the first few chapters of Genesis!
- Pray for wisdom to know when to start a regular Sunday morning meeting. We are currently hearing a lot of different voices and opinions and are discussing and praying about this with our coworkers
- Praise God for the open door to tell Bible stories in one school. Pray that doors might open into other local schools. There are 5 elementary schools in our area.
- This week, October 4-8, is our annual OMF Taiwan Field Conference. Ruth is leading a short-term team from a church in the USA doing the children's program. Pray for clear communication between her and the team, and good health and energy for them all. She has put a lot of time and energy into planning the program. There will be about 30 children.
- Ask God to provide 2 short-term teams to come and help run summer camps next summer.
Thank you for your partnership with us to bring God's love into the lives of the people here in Taiwan.
With love from Taiwan,
David and Ruth