Tag Archives: Advent

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!

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 7 🌟🕯️🎁

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day7: This is the Rev. Charles C. T. Chen 陳金地牧師 and his second son, Christopher 陳智湧教務長, Dean of Academic Affairs here at St. John’s University. We had a cake today to celebrate Charles’ 86th birthday on December 10, while Christopher celebrated his 60th birthday last month. Happy Birthday and many congratulations to them both! 🎉🥳 🎂

When I first arrived in Taiwan in January 1999, it was the two of them who met me at the airport ~ Charles was then rector of St. James’ Church, Taichung, much supported by his wife MaryJo, and just starting what would become a huge fundraising project over many years building a total of 12 churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Central Philippines. Christopher was then on holiday from his PhD studies at the University of Essex, UK, while his wife, Linda was the kindergarten principal at St. James. We have all worked very closely together for many years ~ ah, such a wonderful family!

In his retirement, Charles is still extremely active, full of energy, vision and ideas, hence his being invited to join the new diocesan Property Management Committee – and that’s why he’s here today at Advent Church, as the group visits each church in turn to assess the buildings and discuss plans for future ministry. The committee is out visiting churches every Tuesday, trying to complete them all before the end of the year. Charles and Christopher ask for prayer for good health for themselves and all the Chen family, including MaryJo, who’s also 86. Charles says he hopes to still be in good health and full of energy to celebrate his 90th birthday ~ he’s looking forward to the celebrations already!

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 6 🎄⛄🌟

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day6: This is Bishop David J. H. Lai 賴榮信主教 and his wife, Lily who we visited today at their home in Tainan. Bishop Lai retired as Bishop of Taiwan in February 2020, and really enjoys welcoming visitors to drink tea and enjoy fellowship, while Lily is out at art classes & learning new things like Nordic Walking ~ they both love being retired!

Due to the pandemic, they have not yet been able to visit their children & grandchildren in New York since they retired, but they say they are so grateful to God and to you all for your prayers for their health and well-being. Please do pray for them!