About Me

My photo
Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Living Way in Taiwan

Last Saturday, Z and I barely made the 9 am train to Chiayi. I wasn't even sure it was our train, it was heading north a few minutes off and we boarded. An hour later a kind stranger in a silver SUV picked us up with welcomed AC and took us a few minutes away to the Lin-Yeh shang Social Welfare Foundation. I really didn't know what to expect except I was seeing Pastor Peter Henderson who was passing through Taiwan on his way from Singapore, bringing his youth group to Indonesia. He was visiting Phillips and Grace Chen's ministry in Taiwan. They all hail from Living Way Fellowship, which happens to be my home church in Colorado.

So I didn't know what to expect. I walked in on Peter telling a group of low income teens his testimony.Phillip was translating. Then we took a break, Peter and I chatted and I officially met Philip. I met his wife Grace in Colorado. I was home for Chinese New Year 2 years ago and she made a whole heap of dumplings knowing it was Z's favorite Taiwanese food. Phillip (who also happens to be a pastor) had just left for Taiwan to start his food bank. Grace is now in CO visiting her kids who are going to university there.

After the break, a group of volunteer ESL teachers from a church in Taichung, led by a couple from Latvia began a review followed by a craft. Z was shy at first, and spent time withe the auntie who picked us up, playing transformers. At noon the kids went home and the teachers had a meeting, Peter spoke a a few words and prayer.

I was getting hungry, so I know Z was too. We all left for some of Chiayi's infamous Turkey rice, which was excellent, served with greens, miso, I was stuffed. Then we began a 2 hour drive to Taichung, catching up with each other like old friends, Z asleep. Phillips had to get a key to the food bank from a coworker who decided to meet us at Mitzokoshi, which was insanely crowded, but we made it.

I was blown away at the progress of the food bank (under cooperation with the Red Cross) in just two years. Its located in an old movie theater in a mall that caters to Indonesian, Malay, and Filipino customers, but the food bank serves everyone. Phillip says that 2500 people are served by the food bank every month.

There were boxes of diapers, clothes, shoes, among dried and canned foods and a temperature controlled room full of rice. Peter and I both saw the potential to turn the old theater into a cafe and hostel (there wee enough small rooms.) Philip is just interested in starting several more food banks in various parts of Taiwan and to open a 2nd Hand store run by the youth he serves.

In the late afternoon we headed to Jabez church a church of aboriginal Amis tribes ministers and congregation. Z was relieved to have some playmates her age. Peter, Phillip and I were cordially invited to a family banquet in honor of the pastor's new baby granddaughter (they are a family of mostly all boys.)  Peter was given the honor of naming her English name, which he picked Sharon, as in the rose.

Father of baby Sharon making room for more food.
We were well stuffed when Phillip and Peter dropped us off at the Highspeed station. Fortunately for me, Peter bought me and Z's tickets which was convenient as it was late. I felt very fortunate to be in good company with people whose desire is to serve and love others with Grace. Like I remarked to Phillip in his food bank, "its easy to have an idea, even a great idea, but to actually do something with it, turn into a reality, wow I'm very inspired."

No comments: