Monday, July 23
In the States, the main fruits we ate were bananas, apples, oranges, and the occasional berry or melon. In Taiwan, the options have increased exponentially. Here there are star fruit, mangoes, durian, dragons' eyes, pomelo, loquat, lychees, wax apples, Buddha's head, guava, kiwi, passion fruit, pomegranate, bitter melons, and more. Our toddler has a book with pictures of more than 60 fruits. We often get fruit as a gift, sometimes from students' home orchards or from co-workers' hometowns. When this campus was created, missionaries planted papaya, plantain, pomelo, wax apples, and cherries, and sometimes our communion wine for chapel is made from these cherries by an inventive worker on campus.
The Bible has long used fruit to talk about the different gifts of the church, and here the fruit are a good metaphor for the students with whom we work: they come in all different appearances and temperaments, have different ethnic and family backgrounds, and seek to serve the church in different ways. Like the different fruits, some are sweeter, some are more sour, some have harder shells, and others bruise easily. They all take time to grow, although some bear fruit early and others require many seasons.
It has been seven years since we first attended a Taiwanese-American church in New Jersey, and the children and teens with whom we worked are now graduating from high school or college. Seminarians I met five years ago in Taiwan are now being ordained as they enter their third or fourth year of ministry. In a few months, the seminary's seniors will draw straws to determine which rural church they will serve for a few years as evangelists before starting long-term parish ministry. God gives the sun, the soil, the seeds, and the growth, and we're thankful for the church that is growing on this beautiful island nation.
- Rev. Jonathan Seitz, PC(USA) mission co-worker, Taipei, Taiwan
Let us join in prayer for:
Presbyterian Church in Taiwan: Rev. Andrew T. C. Chang, general secretary * Changhua Christian Hospital: Dr. Chi Tao Wei, superintendent * Presbyterian Bible College: Rev. Joseph Lin, principal * Rainbow Project * Taiwan Theological College and Seminary: Rev. Shang-Jen Chen, principal * Tunghai University * Yushan Theological College: Rev. Wan Chin Kao, principal
Let us pray
God of the Harvest, we thank you for the workers you call to labor with us. We pray for Taiwanese students and teachers as they seek to serve you in the cities and towns of the Beautiful Island. We thank you for your faithfulness over many generations, the careful tending of your soil, and the growth of your church. Amen.