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A Life Which Speaks Volumes

A Letter from John McCall, serving in Taiwan

September 2020

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Dear Friends,

About eight years ago one of my students at the seminary asked if I would be willing to go with him to visit a young Indigenous man at the hospital. He had been badly injured in a motorcycle accident and was unable to walk. So, Sunday afternoon after preaching at a Taipei church, the student and his wife picked me up and we went to one of the main hospitals to visit the young man.

When we arrived at his hospital room, the bed was empty. His roommate told us that a group of folks from his village on the East Coast were visiting him and they were outside in front of the hospital. We went back outside and saw about twenty people gathered under a big tree with this young man in a wheelchair sitting in the middle.

My student introduced me to Nag Yaw and his family, as well as all the folks visiting from his village church. Immediately, I noticed the light in Nag Yaw’s eyes and his infectious smile. He shared about his accident and the past difficult month of rehabilitation. He had been a gifted baseball player and now would never walk again. When Taiwanese aboriginals visit in the hospital, they always sing together. I knew a wonderful song from Nag Yaw’s Amis tribe which we sang together under the spreading banyan tree. Each person added a verse to the song as we went around the big circle.

I then prayed for Nag Yaw, that somehow God could use this tragedy and allow Nag Yaw to be a blessing to others. I left that setting and didn’t know if I would see him again.

In 2011 when I had just returned to Taiwan after serving Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, I was walking on the seminary campus and heard someone call my Amis tribal name. When I turned around there was Nag Yaw rolling toward me in his wheelchair. I was delighted to see him and asked him what he was doing at the seminary. He told me he was a new student in our Master of Divinity program. He then said that he had never forgotten the prayer that I prayed for him, and he was enrolled as a seminary student so he could become a blessing to others.

I had the privilege of teaching Nag Yaw in several courses during his time at the seminary. When I would see him rolling his wheelchair up a fairly steep hill, knowing that his life was not easy, he always had a broad smile and never complained. He had learned to drive a car again and swam at a local pool each week.

When he graduated, he began serving at a large Presbyterian hospital in Taipei. He is truly a blessing to many of the patients whom he visits each week. They know that he has overcome tremendous difficulties and yet is now seeking to comfort and encourage others. A gang leader was one of the recent patients whom he regularly visited. This patient was going to have to have his legs amputated and was very depressed. Nag Yaw prayed that somehow God would save his legs, and a week later the doctor told the patient that they would not have to do the amputation. The gang leader was then open to hearing more about the God whom Nag Yaw serves.

Last week Nag Yaw and his wonderful and supportive wife, Chen Song, invited me to their home for dinner. Chen Song is on staff at a local church, and they host a weekly small group at their first-floor apartment. We also talked about Nag Yaw’s future ordination, which has not been an easy road. He is experiencing some nerve pain from the accident but continues to trust God with his future.

As he drove me back to my home on the seminary campus, I told him how grateful I was to meet him many years before and to see the way that he is a blessing to so many, including me. When I get tired and face challenges, I think of Nag Yaw who embodies joy and hope.

Thank you for your concern, prayers, and support in these challenging times. I continue to pray for the U.S. and the world that God’s healing and protection will surround you and those whom you love.


John McCall

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