During my two weeks at Miaoli and Hualien, God opened my eyes to a world that I had not experienced before. I got sick just one day before the short-term mission began. With sinus pressure, a runny nose, and constant coughing holding me down, I had to find my strength in God in order to keep going throughout the day. Lesson planning was normally an easy task, but doing it while being sick and organizing each day’s lesson for our team members felt like a real burden. Somehow God made His presence known throughout each moment of every day, especially when I was wearing thin. God’s grace to me was a constant reminder for me to lead the team in grace, and when the team functioned cohesively, the classroom, the students, and each day’s events were pleasant and fun.
It’s amazing, because what started and felt like a big negative was turned around to be a positive and used by God to open my eyes to His love and grace in action. The effects of ministering in this way became especially apparent on the day of the alter call. Through my less-than-adequate mandarin skills, I was able to communicate the love of Jesus to the kids. They understood who He was and why He was important in their lives, and their response to want to believe in Jesus was overwhelming. God’s presence during the altar call at Hualien was particularly strong. All of our team and the students gathered in a circle to share our thoughts and feelings over the week, and through each person’s testimony we could see how God’s love was noticeable among us. After each person’s sharing, I offered to pray for that person, and as I laid hands on the one being prayed for I could sense God’s love for that individual. In that moment I could only pray through my tears because I couldn’t even form words.
Encountering God during my week at Miaoli proved to me that spiritual warfare is real, but at the same time, God’s grace and unfailing faithfulness proved to me that His victory is not only real, but overwhelmingly reliable and trustworthy.
——2017 Team member Daniel Chang
With the genuine invitation from sister Ching Chung, we decided to go on our first short-term mission trip as a family. At first, we were just thinking about having me(dad) bring Alvin (younger son) since I always wanted to do something meaningful together with his son and it will be more difficult to achieve this goal once Alvin graduate from high school and leave for college later. Then Vega (mom) also tried to invite Alan (the elder son) who is not a believer to join us as well, and to their surprise, he decided to join. Therefore, the entire family was able to go on this mission trip together. Before the trip, I was worried about their two sons whether they are able to connect with the youths in the Hualien Youth Home since both of his sons attend International school. However, as soon as they met, the two sons were proactive about making friends with the local youths. Even just on the first day, I already saw a few youths always follow my sons around, including when they were eating. Lesson preparation was definitely a challenge. Even we taught children Sunday school at church, teaching bible lessons five days in a row was not easy. With the help of Daniel and Rio, along with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we had some new ideas everyday. Among the five days, besides having lessons in the classroom and some great sharings outdoor, we were also able to arrange a lot of activities both indoor and outdoor. We even had a BBQ by the river during the last evening, allowing the teachers to cook with the students together, which marked a perfect ending for the trip.
There were quite a lot of touching moments from this mission trip:
2. On the last day, Daniel did the altar call using a very special style. He first let the youth share their thought from the past week in the camp, then Daniel prayed for each of the youths. We can truly felt the Holy Spirit is working among them as one of the youths actually wanted to be missionary for China. Even only four to five youths accepted Christ, we believed that a lot of them felt the love of Jesus and the joy from above.
3. Alan, my older son, shared the following thought on Instagram: “All of a sudden, I participated in a short-term mission trip for the first time. I heard a lot of stories, saw a lot of regret, but also saw a lot of glory in Hualien Youth Home. At first, I worried that my “hate the world mentality” will affect them, but was actually healed right away. I think sympathy is cheap as it is a perspective of looking down from above. However, what we need as human being is being understood. Therefore, when someone actually looks at us from the same level, we would actually feel cared for. One of the youths actually cried in the restroom on the night before we left because he really missed us. Then his roommate called Alan, hoping he can comfort that youth.
4. Alvin, my younger son, thought that life was not easy for those kids in Hualien Youth Home. However, even they had so much unfortunate experience during their childhood, they were still able to face the issue bravely and strive for a better future.
5. Vega, my wife, missed everyone as they were leaving. Faces of each youth always appear in her head, and hopes to see how those kids are doing, just like how she misses her own kids. Finally, I want to end with a quote from John Piper and a sharing from one of the youths: If you are truly interested in other people’s story and cared for them, then they would be willing to open their heart and listen to your story, which is the story of Christ.
— 2017 Team member Otto Wang and his family