A letter from Yen Hee and Choon Lim in Taiwan
On Choon’s birthday, January 30, we held a Winter College Retreat in Sin-Ju Province, southwest of Taipei. We went to Smangus, a village of Tayal people and also called “God’s village.” From Hualien it took seven hours to get there—four hours by train and three hours by bus. Our goal was to learn their culture and Christian life in the village because we heard that they live like the first Christian community life in the Acts.
The four days and three nights retreat went by very quickly because we were so interested to learn about their Christian lives. There is a Presbyterian church in the village and most of the people go to the church. There are 28 families there. Their unique thing is that all those who work in their village get the same salary, about US$450 per month for male and US$500 for female (similar to matriarchal society), and also the salaries of young people and old people are the same. It is a faith community and they share everything together as a big family. Their income source is tourism. So together they have built inns (they can hold about 400 guests at one time) and they have managed them together. Tourists go there to see big junipers; for example, the tree in the picture in this report is the width of 18 people holding hands around it and in height, 20.5 meters.
Three elders of the church gave us an introduction to Smangus and their testimonies. Our 60 students all received a big challenge, not only by their faith but also by their Christian life, their godly and humble lives. Every morning we gathered in the hall and had a brief message from an elder and then prayed for the daily work. After that everyone divided into small groups to do their work such as cleaning the inns, outside yardwork, working in the kitchen or farmland, etc. At nighttime we had a praise and worship time. This retreat truly helped our students know how to manage their land and how to walk with the Lord in their daily life. I believe this retreat also helped them to equip a future leader of their aboriginal villages and churches.
Our theme for 2012 is “Cling to God.” During this unpredictable year with earthquake, storms, floods, and wars, etc., we want our students to hold on to God in their school life as well as in our programs. So after the retreat we held a fasting, reading the Bible, and prayer meeting right before our spring semester began. In March we will participate in a Gospel Song Contest and in May we will do a12-Hour Worship and a 24-Hour Prayer as we did last year (students want to do again). In June we will have the Graduation Worship Service and graduation trip.
Please continue to pray for our activities as you have faithfully supported us. Without you, we can’t do all these programs. Finally, we thank you for serving God in becoming a channel of blessing.
In Mission together,
Yen Hee and Choon
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 205