A letter from Yen Hee and Choon Lim in Taiwan
February 23, 2009
Dear Friends in mission,
The theme of 2009 for Hualien Aboriginal Campus Ministry (HACM) is “Catch the fire!” Every year we choose a theme, but this year we have a very special event, the tenth anniversary of the HACM, which we will celebrate on April 25 and 26, 2009. While discussing the theme, we thought about former mission workers who lived in our college ministry center. We made a display of an HACM train using cardboard. On the first cardboard representation, the engine, we put photographs of former mission workers, which was followed by our activity pictures starting with 1999, the year we planted the HACM. Train cars continue through the year 2008.
The first missionary is the Reverend Bob Montgomery. Bob designed the house and lived here for the first time in 1963. Last year he unexpectedly sent us an email from the States and said that he would come to Taiwan and visit us. He came and told the history of the house. The last mission workers who lived here were the Reverend and Mrs. Don McCall. When we wanted to go to Ethiopia as a mission workers, our mission board asked us to go to Taiwan and suggested that we meet Don, who had retired and lived in North Carolina. After we met him there and were about to leave, he said to us, “I give you my mission torch. Please go to Taiwan and serve the people.” We left there without answering. Six weeks later, when Choon went to attend a seminar at Black Mountain, a pastor told us that Don had passed away that morning. Choon went to his house and prayed with his wife and children. At that time the Holy Spirit moved Choon’s heart and he silently told God that he would go to Taiwan and serve the people. That’s why we are here now.
As we planted the HACM in Hualien, the number of college students increased, and we needed a bigger place to meet. On July 1, 2003, we moved the new mission center. Later, we found that our new space had been Don’s residence, and they had done mission work here. Even now our electric bill is in Don’s name, and the water bill is in Bob’s name. They left Taiwan, but their spirits are still here and guide us and empower us to do God’s work. That is why we decided this year’s theme is “Catch the fire!”
We are very busy preparing for the special event with the HACM’s student committee, which includes students who have graduated. We meet once a month to plans the celebration. We are going to have two days of events, including a special thanksgiving worship service, a party, and sports and games. Please pray for the committee.
We also ask you to pray for members of the Taiwanese aboriginal family who have lost their jobs in the financial crisis, which has forced many companies in Taiwan to lay off employees or impose mandatory furloughs, resulting in staggering unemployment levels throughout Taiwan, especially in the manufacturing and technology sectors. Many aboriginals who left home to work in the city are now returning to their tribal home villages. The plight of aboriginals during the highest unemployment in 30 years and the impact of the financial crisis on aboriginals merit our attention because these people are often the ones least likely to find employment. A pastor told us that his church didn’t have any young people before the crisis; now he has 20. After losing their jobs, they return to their home villages. The situation will affect our students’ ability to pay tuition and living expenses. Many will have to look for a part-time job. We pray that this crisis doesn’t last for a long time.
PC(USA)’s moderator, Bruce Reyes-Chow, visited Taiwan from February 13 to 17, 2009. As a third-generation Asian-American and a fairly young man, 39, he said that his Philippine and Chinese ancestry and his concern for Taiwan and Taiwanese-American relations were factors that prompted him to choose to visit Philippines and Taiwan on this trip. During an interview with Taiwan Church News, he said that having an Asian moderator in the PC(USA) would enable churches across the United States to see that people from different ethnic backgrounds could become leaders as well. He was accompanied by PC(USA)’s area coordinator for Asia and the Pacific, David Hudson, and the associate for peacemaking conferences, Nancy Eng MacNeill.
We are going to be on interpretation assignment from July 1 to December 31, 2009. Please let us know if you want to invite us to give mission report and see us in person. We have already received several invitations, but we especially want to visit this time those churches we have never had a chance till now. We’ll be participating in World Mission Challenge from September 22 to October 24, so we won’t be available during that period.
Grateful to you for allowing us to be in a place where God is at work.
Yen Hee and Choon Lim
The 2009 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 128