Category Archives: Faith

Advent Word, Day 7 ‘believe’

Day 7: #believe #相信 Saturday December 5

‘Mary was the first to believe in her son, and in that sense was the first Christian. And in believing, she said yes to God. “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be with me according to your word.” So we are called to believe and trust in God’s promises, and to say yes, when he calls us’.



譚媽媽 & 鄭媽媽, Tan Mama and Cheng Mama, 2 wonderful ladies who long ago said YES to God, and continue to say YES to Him every day!

I took this photo last night at an Advent celebration and gathering for Advent Church ~ these 2 ladies are just so lovely!

Advent Word Global Advent Calendar 2015!

Advent Word is a really great Global Advent Calendar project!  I love it!

It’s run by the Anglican Communion and the brothers of The Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE), based in Boston, USA.  The brothers write a daily meditation on an Advent theme – with a photo – which they post to social media, and we respond with an image of our own and the hashtag #AdventWord plus the hashtag for the appropriate theme for the day…. it works best on Instagram, and shared to Facebook, partly because the Instagram filters are so good, and make the photos look really special!

This project was launched last year in Advent 2014, and I loved it!  Now this year, the Diocese of Taiwan has been helping out a bit, and our good friend at St. James’ Church, Taichung, Jerry Liang has kindly translated all the daily meditations into Mandarin Chinese, and these are now posted on the Advent Word website each day along with other languages too ~ check it all out here!

My humble contributions so far (without the Instagram filters of course!), as follows:

Day 1: #Wake Up #覺醒 Advent Sunday, November 29

‘Look clearly and honestly at your life – and take action. Now. For now is the time to waken out of sleep. That is the watchman’s trumpet call – the clarion call of Advent. Now is the time for you – a choice to be made, a decision to be taken’.



Above photo taken in the park opposite St. Peter’s Church, Chiayi last weekend!

Day 2: #Proclaim #宣告 Monday November 30

‘John boldly asserts that Christ—the very Word of God–is the light and life of all people. In our personal lives, seeing truth, speaking truth as best we can, is essential to the dawn of light and life’.



Above photo also taken in the park opposite St. Peter’s Church, Chiayi last weekend!

Day 3: #Give #給予 Tuesday December 1

‘What is your treasure, what is it you value most and feel you have to have to live? Maybe it is money, maybe it is time, maybe it is knowledge, maybe it is love that needs to be squandered on those who have none, who lack hope and need help. Are you being challenged at this time to give all that you have?’



Mrs. Grace Chien 簡師母 lights the first Advent Candle at St.Peter’s Church, ‪Chiayi‬‬ on ‪Advent Sunday‬ 2015. She and Bishop John C.T. Chien 簡啟聰主教 [1940-2013] have given their whole lives in faithful Christian service. An amazing witness! ‪Thanks be to God‬!

Day 4: #Forgive #寬恕 Wednesday December 2

‘This is the promise of God: not that he will make life simpler but that God will save us, and salve us and heal us and forgive us from all that is broken and diseased in us’.



God forgive us for our obsession with convenience and ‘instantness’, help us this ‪‎Advent‬ to patiently wait for your coming….

Day 5: #Repent #悔改 Thursday December 3

‘In Advent, we are called to more clearly engage the subject of God’s judgment; we are challenged to realize that we have sinned and are in need of God’s forgiveness. God’s judgment is his love and his truth. If we would hook into God’s love, we must walk through the door of repentance and forgiveness’.



Above photo was taken at the chapel at the diocesan office in Taipei ~ the wood carving was done by Bishop Lai himself!

Day 6: #Worship #崇拜 Friday December 4

‘In this season, we not only contemplate, but we worship the One who came, but who is still here. The One who is to come, but who is here already. Time present, time past, time future—three layers of time, bound magically together, bound so deliciously together in the vision of Christ’.



Above photo taken at St. John’s University Library on our Advent Walkabout on Tuesday!

Do join up and take part if you can – it’s very meaningful and of course great fun!

Cinemas refuse to show Church of England advert featuring Lord’s Prayer | The Guardian

You must check this out – watch the ‘Just Pray’ video and then read the articles on the BBC and Guardian websites – and find out why it’s being banned as an advert in British cinemas at Christmas, links given below…..

The irony of a prayer that Jesus taught us being banned as we prepare to celebrate his birth…

The Church of England says it is “disappointed and bewildered” by the refusal of leading UK cinemas to show an advert featuring the Lord’s Prayer.

Source: Lord’s Prayer cinema ad snub ‘bewilders’ Church of England – BBC News

Church of England says it is bewildered by leading chains’ stance on advert that was intended to play before new Star Wars film

Source: Cinemas refuse to show Church of England advert featuring Lord’s Prayer | World news | The Guardian

2015年台灣普世豐盛生命協會感恩餐會 GLEC Thanksgiving Dinner ~ and we were there!

Not only were we there, but so was Dr. Doris Brougham 彭蒙惠, possibly Taiwan’s best-known missionary and English teacher – famous for her Studio Classroom English classes through ORTV, and for her trumpet playing and very lively personality.  She’s now 89, and has been in Taiwan since 1951, and is still dancing, singing, playing her trumpet and sharing her faith.   Amazing!  Her music group, Heavenly Melody 天韻 led the worship and she joined in with her trumpet, ah it was wonderful!

And so it was that we had a very entertaining, challenging and of course, a very moving evening!

During this past summer, a group of 16 students and leaders from St. John’s University Student Fellowship and Advent Church took part in an overseas mission trip, organized by the father of one of our students, Rev. Francis Shih, who helps to run the Taiwan branch of GLEC, known in Chinese as 普世豐盛生命協會.   The initials stand for ‘Global Life Enrichment Center’ ~ their original vision was to share the Gospel with post-Communist nations, now expanded to include all sorts of ministry in all sorts of places….

So last night was their annual Taipei Thanksgiving Dinner; in the last few weeks they had also held similar events in Taichung and Kaohsiung.  Our group was invited, and as we had 2 tables, the extra places were filled with student fellowship and church members.  GLEC also especially wanted mission workers to attend, so I went too, and we were given a round of applause at the end for our service to Taiwan!  We joined 300+ others, from churches and mission organizations all over Taiwan.  The banquet was held in a restaurant usually used for wedding receptions, so hopefully the restaurant staff had a pleasant surprise – the waiters certainly enjoyed joining in with some of the action worship songs!


As mentioned in the invitation card above, this year Taiwan is celebrating 2 special 150th anniversaries: the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Gospel in Taiwan (and the founding of the Taiwan Presbyterian Church), and the 150th anniversary of the founding of the China Inland Mission (now OMF) by Hudson Taylor.  Thanksgiving for these anniversaries was very much part of last night’s event……

The first Presbyterian Missionary to Taiwan was James Laidlaw Maxwell, and extracts of his Wikipedia entry are copied here….

James Laidlaw Maxwell Senior ( Chinese: 馬雅各; born 18 March 1836 in Scotland – March 1921) was the first Presbyterian missionary to Formosa (Qing-era Taiwan). He served with the English Presbyterian Mission.

Maxwell studied medicine and took his degree at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He worked in London at Brompton Hospital and at the Birmingham General Hospital. He was an elder in the Broad Street Presbyterian Church before being sent to Taiwan by the Presbyterian Church of England (now within the United Reformed Church) in 1864. He donated a small printing press to the church which was later used to print the Taiwan Church News.

On 16 June 1865, he established the first Presbyterian church in Taiwan, this date now celebrated by the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan as its anniversary. First his mission centred in the then-capital Taiwan Fu (now Tainan City); in 1868 he moved near Qijin (now part of Kaohsiung) where his work, both medical and missionary, became more welcomed. In early 1872 he advised Canadian Presbyterian missionary pioneer George Leslie Mackay to start his work in northern Taiwan, near Tamsui.

He married Mary Anne Goodall (died January 1918) of Handsworth on 7 April 1868 in Hong Kong. They had two sons, John Preston and James Laidlaw Jnr, both of whom later also became medical missionaries. He retired in London in 1885 where he formed and became the first secretary of the Medical Missionary Association. He and his sons oversaw the construction of Sin-lâu Hospital in Tainan, the first western-style hospital in Taiwan. The younger J. L. Maxwell served in the Tainan hospital from 1900 to 1923, during Taiwan’s Japanese era.

James Laidlaw Maxwell was followed soon after by other famous missionaries, most notably Thomas Barclay and George Leslie Mackay. The UK connection is immense, and was mentioned in the opening speech by the GLEC pastor with the challenge that the UK has greatly changed since 1865 ~ and now we need to take on that responsibility ourselves and to go out and share the Gospel around the world….

And so to last night’s Thanksgiving Dinner…. worship, prayers, speeches, testimonies, songs and then a time for the offering (let’s face it, fund-raising for mission is a practical necessity!), and then the food and all 10 courses – it was very delicious!

And finally we had to have a group photo, and fortunately, dear Doris came to join us ~ her Studio Classroom has a mobile app for smart phones, and she delighted in showing our students how to find it.  Not many 89-year-olds are quite so smart when it comes to finding their way around smart phones!

And here we all are ~ a special memento of a great evening!


Notice how smartly dressed our students are ~ no shorts, no flip flops and not even any T-shirts in sight.  Not easy to accomplish, but hey, well worth it, ha ha!

In thanksgiving to Almighty God for 150 years of mission in Taiwan ~ and here’s to the next 150 ~ YES!

The Rock Cafe 磐石咖啡館: You just must GO!

If you’re anywhere in the Tamsui (Danshui) 淡水 area of Taipei, and you haven’t been to the Rock Cafe, then you have to go.  Honestly, GO!  It’s such a great place!

The Rock is a outreach ministry of YWAM Taipei offering ‘English. Coffee. Truth.’ A great combination!  It’s really the top 2 floors above some shops in the main night shopping street of Tamsui, and is open every weekday evening for free English conversation, helped along with free coffee, and staffed by YWAM workers and volunteers, young people from all over the world.

Last night we took our St. John’s University Chaplaincy ‘Relaxed English’ Student Group down there to check it all out ~ actually it’s so famous that most students have already heard of it, and quite a few have been there.  I like to go once every semester to introduce it to our student group, and encourage them to go there on their own.  For our first-year students, it always helps to go somewhere new in a group ~ and so we did just that….

12 students, 4 groups of 3, and chat chat chat all evening. I left after an hour, but the students continued on for hours after that – clearly enjoying themselves and learning lots of English, making new friends and have deep conversations…

The Rock really is a huge asset, a great blessing for us all ~ and a wonderful place to go anytime, but especially on one of Tamsui’s many many cold and wet evenings in early autumn!

And do check out their facebook page here, pray for The Rock ministry, and for all our students. It’s such a great way to practice English and learn about the Christian faith!