Dear beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord, peace be with you!
When I was sitting on the plane flying back to the US, I recalled how hot this summer has been and how I sweated non-stop daily; nonetheless, seeing a fruitful harvest over the summer through God’s great and amazing work in SOWIM was indeed thrilling and full of thanksgiving.
This year’s short term mission team, whether it is in Miaoli, Hualien, Taichung, or Kaohsiung, students of different age all learned about the love of Jesus Christ and the grace of salvation from the Book of Ruth. There are many students in each class, and in some classes, every single students in the class is willing to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior! For the short team members, being able to have the first-hand experience of conducting altar call and personally lead students to Christ, leading the sinner’s prayer, etc was definitely a very memorable experience. Even they have to wake up at six every day to do devotion or stay up late to do lesson planning, this is all worth it. When I see that each member was able to experience spiritual growth in their lives, and their relationship with God became more intimate after the short-term mission trip, my heart is full of gratitude and praise – Dear Lord! Your name is above all names. Your steadfast love reaches as high as the heavens, and your faithfulness extends to the clouds!
I want to share with you here a testimony of an entire family who went to Taiwan for a short term mission.
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:
When I asked the youths if any of them experienced hunger, almost all of them did. I was thankful how they trusted us and were willing to share their life story with us. Every story brought pain in their lives, but thankfully they were brought to Hualien Youth Home and were taken care by all the loving counselors, allowing them to experience God’s love so that their wounds can be healed, and continue their future path with hope since they knew that they are not alone anymore.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Taiwan Mission team member Otto Wang
My dear friends I believe you must have a story of Jesus Christ that takes place in your own life. I sincerely invite you to join SOW’s short term mission team next year. I can guarantee you, for I have personally experienced it, that your life will be greatly enriched in SOW/s short term mission trips. I look forward to doing the summer mission with you next year.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Susan Chen
Founder and Lifetime Volunteer
Spring of Water International Ministries