All posts by Catherine Lee

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 17 🔔❄️🎄

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day17: This is Ming-Chuan 銘傳, senior warden of Advent Church, and his lovely wife, Meng-Zhen 孟蓁. This evening they welcomed 30 of us from Advent Church, including 12 from the St. John’s University Student Fellowship, to their home for an Advent Service followed by a delicious meal. The cold wind was howling outside, but inside it was so warm and cosy. They are just so hospitable and kind!

Ming-Chuan is a former police officer, and Meng-Zhen recently retired from her work in a busy hospital, and despite some serious ongoing health challenges these past 2 years, they both continue to faithfully serve in Advent Church. They really love our student fellowship group and are always finding ways to help them feel more and more part of the church community, like this evening’s meal at their home. Yes, we all love them so much ~ and please do pray for them both!

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 16 ⛄⛪🔔

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day16: This is Jasmine Yu 游珮琪主任, our good friend in charge of the local junior high school, Xian-Xiao (branch of Zheng-De Junior High School 正德國中賢孝校區). Xian-Xiao is so close that their pupils walk through the St. John’s University campus each day to get there, so we see them all often. There’s 85 children in the school, aged 12-15. Small is beautiful ~ they are so well cared for! The school specializes in giving the children all sorts of opportunities to discover what kind of career they might like in the future, with chances to learn everything from cooking to horticulture, electronics to hair-styling. They’re all very lovely and welcoming ~ we go there regularly for different classes, and we’re really looking forward to going next week to wish them all a Merry Christmas! 🎄🎅🏽🎶

With so many responsibilities, Jasmine is very very busy and her weekends are often full of school activities, but she tries hard to fit in the Sunday service at Advent Church ~ where she was baptized on Christmas Eve 2017, the first Christian in her immediate family, the second in her extended family; she brought about 20 family members along to witness her baptism that day! For many years, she has kindly invited me to go hiking some of Taiwan’s famous 100 Peaks (Baiyue 百岳) with her family, such a great experience. Please pray for her, her family and all in Xian-Xiao Junior High School!

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 15 👼🌟⛄

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day15: This is Dr. Huang Hung-Pin 黃宏斌校長, President of St. John’s University (SJU), Taipei since August 1, 2020. Previous to this position, he served as professor in the National Taiwan University (NTU) Department of Bioenvironmental Systems Engineering, Taipei. President Huang was here at SJU today to open the SJU Christmas Charity Bazaar, run by the SJU Chaplaincy, helped by members of Advent Church and SJU ~ and it went really well!

There are many challenges facing SJU; the priorities are to stabilize the financial situation, increase student enrollment and improve academic standards, so President Huang really has his work cut out for the next few years. He’s very very busy and needs great wisdom, good health and lots of energy. Please pray for him!

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 14 🎄🎁👼

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day14: This is Jing-Huei 靜慧 (left) and Jin-Luan 金鑾 (right), who keep Advent Church running smoothly from morning to night! Both have their birthdays this week, and we celebrated today ~ thanks to Jin-Luan for sharing her yummy chocolate birthday cake with us all. Happy Birthday to these 2 Lovely Ladies! 🥳🎂🎈

Jing-Huei works for Advent Church in charge of the office, while Jin-Luan works for St. John’s University (SJU) in charge of Advent Church cleaning, which is mostly done very early in the morning before 8:00am. She’s always leaving just as we’re arriving, off to clean other parts of the SJU campus, part of a small team who do a wonderful job, working long hours in all kinds of terrible weather ~ but always cheerful! Please pray for them both, for their health and strength, their families and their work in Advent Church. We value them both so much! 🥳

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 13 🕯️🎅🏽🎄

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day13: This is Min-Wen 敏文 from Malaysia, 4th (and final) year student at St. John’s University (SJU), who’s about to graduate next summer in Industrial Engineering (IE). We’re going to miss her so much! She admits that originally she had no interest in IE, but a scholarship was on offer, and she took it – and has really made the most of it since then. She also applied for the SJU Chaplaincy’s meal coupon scheme for students facing financial hardship. Through her dedication and hard work, she has since received a number of awards and scholarships, and consistently scores the highest grades in her class. Many congratulations! 🥇🎓🏆

Min-Wen’s home church is the Joyous Glorious Community Church, Sitiawan, Perak, W. Malaysia, and she still regularly attends their weekly online prayer meeting. Last year she served as chair of the SJU Student Fellowship; this year she’s the worship leader, sharing her amazing gifts of singing and dancing. She’s very talented! Sadly, Min-Wen’s father died just after her last visit home for Chinese New Year 2020, and she hasn’t been able to go home since then due to the pandemic. Like many of our Malaysian students, she longs to go home to visit her family this coming Chinese New Year, but that’s out of the question too.

Now, as Min-Wen prepares to graduate, she faces many questions about her future, whether to stay in Taiwan or return home, to study for a Master’s Degree or find a job ~ if a degree then what and where, and if a job, then what job to look for? If our overseas students stay on in Taiwan, they need a job that offers a residence permit, often easier said than done. Most are torn between their family at home and the better job opportunities they say there are in Taiwan. Malaysia’s loss is certainly Taiwan’s gain – many are excellent students. It’s a very uncertain time for them all. Please pray for Min-Wen and others in her situation, that God will lead them as they prepare for the future.

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 12 ❄️🎄🕯️

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day12: This is Huei-Ling 惠苓 (left) and Shu-Jing 淑靖 (right) who are the best of friends and for the first time ever, they were both serving together at this morning’s Advent Church service. They both work for the Bishop of Taiwan, Lennon Yuan-Rung Chang, Huei-Ling in the diocesan office in Taipei, Shu-Jing in St. John’s University (SJU), where Bishop Chang is the chair of the board. Until this year, Shu-Jing was on the staff of the SJU Chaplaincy, she’s also a qualified Japanese teacher, skills put to good use in our companion diocesan partnership with Osaka. And they both came with me to India at Chinese New Year 2017 ~ we had a such a great time together!

Their birthdays are both in March, one year apart. They both became Christians at university, the first (and so far only) one in their families ~ Huei-Ling was a student here at SJU and baptized in Advent Church, while Shu-Jing moved here looking for a quiet place to write her MA Thesis, and so joined Advent Church; she and her husband Jian-Chiang were married here in 2018. They ask for your prayers for their work, as they’re both extremely busy, often running from one place to another – there’s always so much to do!

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 11 🌟🕯️❄️

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day11: This is Hong-Chi 鴻琦 and his wife, Jin-Zhu 錦珠, much-loved members of Advent Church who run a Japanese Ramen Noodle Restaurant 味滿食堂 in the Carrefour Supermarket Complex in Tamsui. Their faith is very much part of their lives – see the cross on the back wall of the restaurant? And of course, the food is delicious and the service always first-class!

Like many restaurant owners locally, they’ve been badly hit this year by the pandemic, forced to close completely during Taiwan’s Level 3 Restrictions from May to August, then open for takeaway only, then fully open, but then closed again for a week with local restrictions. They’re now back to being fully open, and customers have returned, but it’s not easy running a business with so much uncertainty, and staff are proving hard to recruit. Weekends are particularly busy, and as a result, they have not yet been able to come back to attend Advent Church Sunday services. We miss them! Please pray for them, their family and the restaurant. And if you’re in the area, do go ~ their ramen noodles are so ‘oishii’ ~ very yummy!

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 10 🎄🎁🌟

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day10: This is Bishop Lennon Yuan-Rung Chang 張員榮主教 who became Bishop of Taiwan in February 2020, just as the pandemic was starting. Taiwan’s strict border controls mean that he hasn’t left Taiwan since then, but instead has been able to concentrate his time and energy into leading the diocese, and serving as chair of St. John’s University (SJU) Board of Trustees.

If he has any free time, he spends it with his wife and family, his 3 very lively grandsons ensure that life is never boring! Please pray for him, his family and all in SJU & the Taiwan Episcopal Church.

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 9 ⛄🎅🎄

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day9: This is Shiao-Chien 澤倩 with the regular members of our Advent Church Community English Class, meeting today for our ‘Happy Ending’ Christmas Gathering, along with their families and friends. 🥳 Although I plan the classes, Shiao-Chien is our real leader ~ she’s also the one who gave me this Advent Calendar, it’s a rare find in Taiwan! 🥳 Spot the 3 members of the Tan family standing at the back, they kindly hosted the party, and we also visited their 7 beautiful mini horses 🐴 who live together with a flock of very noisy geese!

Our classes last for 10 weeks per semester, meeting on Thursday afternoons, and the group has a nice mix of Christians and non-Christians ~ the atmosphere is light and fun! We’ve all become friends over the months and years, and welcome new members to join at any time. In each class, we have 45 minutes for a Bible Story – so far we’ve done all Jesus’ parables, now we’re working through the miracles, one by one. Then for the next 45 minutes, we go around the world, country by country, sharing about the food, culture, festivals, music, art, dance etc of each one, this semester covering Oman, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Morocco, S. Africa, Malaysia & Germany. 🌏🌍🌎 We’ve all learned a lot and tried some delicious food, especially from Oman, Spain and Mexico! Thanks to Shiao-Chien and all the group ~ and please pray for them all!

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 8 🎁🎄⛄

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day8: This is Tze-Wi 芷薇, our colleague at St. John’s University (SJU) Chaplaincy, Taipei; she and Yi-Ting 依婷 are both sponsored by the Taiwan Episcopal Church. Both are very talented & creative, and have put their skills to good use designing the Advent Church section of the diocesan website, it’s much admired by all our other churches! Together they organize all the many chaplaincy activities, and there’s always lots to do; coming up next is the SJU & Advent Church Christmas Bazaar, this year in aid of SOS Children Village in Chungli. Life is busy, busy, busy!

Tze-Wi is from Pahang, Malaysia and graduated 2 years ago from SJU in Creative Design. Her classmate & boyfriend, Jin-Ching brought her along to the SJU Student Fellowship, later she made a faith commitment and was baptized just after graduation. Now her younger sister is also a student at SJU too, in her second year of Multimedia Design. In all the busyness of Advent and Christmas, please pray for Tze-Wi, her family, boyfriend and all in the SJU Chaplaincy!