A letter from Yen Hee and Choon Lim in Taiwan
Five years ago we tried to go to Orchid Island, where the Da-woo people live, located off the southeastern coast of Taiwan, for our Summer College Retreat. But due to a typhoon we couldn’t go there. We prepared for it for about a year and bought four days’ food to take with us. We went to Tai-dong harbor, but all boat schedules were canceled due to the typhoon. The next day the situation was the same. As a result we all had to return home with disappointment.
This year on 4th of July, 52 students and leaders tried again to go to the Island. It took us three hours by car from Hualien to the harbor and then another three hours by boat to the Island. This time the weather was perfect—no storm or typhoon—we couldn’t have asked for better weather. Most of students had never ridden in a boat in their lives, so we had prepared with seasick medicines. Fortunately nobody got sick. We prayed fervently this time, and God gave us an unforgettable gift.
Why do we want to go there? Not only because we want to see beautiful scenery or flying fish, but to see the people and their Christian tradition. In Taiwan the Da-woo men catch flying fish for their main source of food. Also in Taiwan this is the only place where there is no Buddhist or folk religion temple. The unusual thing about this island is that the Da-woo people are Christians. Their population is about 4,000, and there are six villages in the island and each village has a Presbyterian church. When we look at the Christian population in Taiwan (about 4 percent), this is incredible. Therefore we want to go there to do summer retreats so that our students can be challenged by their witness.
In 1951 an Ami tribe minister, Rev. En Ming-Fu, went to Orchid Island to spread the Good News. Many people believed his message, and then they built a thatched church with a big cross on the top of the church. A village man asked the minister why they had a big cross on the top of the church. He answered that it is Jesus’ cross, because he suffered and died on a cross for their sins. So the cross represents Jesus’ suffering and anguish for them. The church is the body of Jesus and the building is a meeting place for those who follow Jesus. Because of their hardships and sufferings on their island, somehow they had mutual sympathy and accepted Jesus as their Lord.
Our Summer College Retreat was held at the Yu-ren Church (which means Fisherman Church). The pastor's name is Syapen Dong, who became the first minister on Orchid Island and retired this year just before we held the retreat. His mother became one of the first believers when he was 5 years old. Because of his mother’s faith, in 1962 he went to Yu Shan Seminary in Hualien (at that time all of the students were aboriginal). He encouraged young believers to go to the seminary and then he helped them to plant new churches in each village. Now each village has its own pastor. We found out that there are a lot of non-Da-woo people on the island doing tour businesses like souvenir shops, restaurants and inns, etc. But still there is no temple. We need to pray for the island and the people to continue to keep their faith and reach out to non-Da-woo people.
To begin our new semester in September we will start with Reading the Bible with Fasting and Praying (9/25). We will read Exodus and Hebrews and then have a HACM (Hualien Aboriginal Campus Ministry) officers’ meeting. On October 15 we will have a New Student Welcoming Service and Party, and then have the Fall College Retreat (11/5-6), Special Praise Night (12/3-4 at the Bunun people church), and a Christmas Special Service and Party (12/18) at our mission center. Please pray for these programs.
We have a special announcement to make. We will have a three-months Interpretation Assignment (furlough) starting the beginning of July to the end of September in 2012. We want to visit your church to give a mission report about how God uses us to expand God’s kingdom on earth. Please let us know. We don’t now have any arranged vacation time. After receiving your invitations, we will arrange our vacation. Therefore, please contact us through Choon’s e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 886-928-637919 (cell phone).
Finally, we thank you for supporting us financially and praying for our spiritual support. Because of your support, HACM ministry has borne many fruits. (Last year eight students were baptized and this year five students were baptized. Besides this, our groups and College Students Church doubled.) Most of all, we give thanks and praises to God, who gives us grace.
Together in Mission,
Yen Hee and Choon Lim
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 153
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 205