And this year, even more lovely people came than usual, and lots of smiling VIPs came too ~ here they all are last Saturday at the St. James’ Charity Bazaar!
Every year on the Saturday before Mother’s Day weekend, St. James’ Preschool and Language Institute hold a great fiesta, bazaar, fair, extravaganza all rolled into one. And every year they raise a lot of money for charity. And every year the charity is different. This year there are 2 charities, Wulai District Fu-shan Presbyterian Church 烏來福山教會outreach to local children and young people of the Atayal Tribe in the mountains south of Taipei, and Nantou Renai Township Chung-Yuan Sacred Heart R. C. Church 耶穌聖心堂 after-school classes for local children and families of the Seediq Tribe. Both very worthy causes!
We were especially honoured to welcome Rev. Lin Ching-Tai 林慶台牧師 (Nolay Piho), who is the pastor at Wulai Fushan Church, and who played the main character, Mona Rudao (莫那•魯道) in the film, ‘Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale‘ (賽德克•巴萊) in 2011. On Saturday, he came with his wife and daughter, gave a wonderful talk about his life and faith, and also sold and signed copies of his book. In fact he sold the last copy to our good friends, Yasmin and her family from Germany – and her husband promises to read it!
We also welcomed Fr. Mbwi Khohi, 高福南神父, CICM (originally from the Congo) and Seediq members of the church in Nantou, and also musicians from Nantun R. C. Church, Taichung who gave a great concert as part of the morning’s events. Wonderful!
And outside in the playground area, we had performances from the St. James children and others – singing and dancing, drums, taekwondo and a choir from a local high school. All watched by our VIPs, Rev. Charles C. T. Chen and his wife, MaryJo, Rev. Sam Cheng, Rev. Lily Chang, Churchwarden Mr. Samuel Chen and his wife, Ms. Luanne Chiu, Supervisor of St. James’ Preschool and Language Institute. Bishop Lai and Mrs. Lily Lai came specially from Taipei. So did Rev. Philip’s Lin wife, Linda and family. So did I. After welcome speeches, each person hit the big drum on the stage and put their offering envelope in the box. Meanwhile around the playground were stalls selling all sorts of yummy things, games for children, balloons, a rummage stall, and in the classrooms, there were art activities, story-telling, hair-cutting and tons of other stuff. Far too much for me to get around and see ha ha!
The teachers did a great job, planning and preparing for months, and all looking very bright and cheerful in their yellow T-shirts ～ and helped by the church youth group members, parents and friends!
One of the highlights was the mountain pig, also from Nantou – roasted on a spit outside, they’d started roasting at 6:00am! Next to them was our good friends and their mountain pig sausage stall ~ Ya-ya and her husband had come down from Chungli, Taoyuan. Her sister is Feng-Mei, one of our former teachers, and I last met Ya-Ya and her husband selling sausages at the Lantern Festival in Taoyuan a few months ago. As you’ll see in the photos, they attracted more and more people as the morning went on, until finally there was a line of about 10 people all waiting for their sausages. Non-stop all morning ~ and I also bought 10 for everyone to try – delish!
And it was all over by lunchtime! Thanking God for a wonderful day, good weather and lots of support from all the children and their families. So far we’ve reached over NT$ 450,000 (almost US$ 14,000, almost £9,600!) and money is still coming in – and will continue to do so all week. An amazing total so far ~ thanks be to Almighty God!
And as the event is held to celebrate Mother’s Day ~ wishing you all a very Happy Mother’s Day for next Sunday too!
PS May 16, 2016: The final total of the amount raised has just been announced: NT$ 546,770.00 (about US$ 16,744 or £11,652!), and the money will be split equally between the 2 charities. Thanks be to God again and again!