Tag Archives: Faith

A Summer in Sedbergh….

A Summer in Sedbergh – and quite some summer!  Tourists galore soaking up the sunshine, browsing in the bookshops and hiking up the Howgills, while the locals are enjoying the summer weather walking their dogs, and smiling at increased trade in the town…

Meanwhile I’m busy sorting, clearing, packing and driving up almost daily to the Sedbergh Charity Shop to offload box after box of all sorts of wonderful stuff, now all on display inside the shop and outside on the street.  If you’re up this way, do come and check it all out – there’s some great bargains on offer!  The not-so-wonderful things are now all crammed into the recycling bins, also in Sedbergh, and the rest – the rubbish, well, that’s all piled high in the dustbins kindly lent to us by our lovely neighbours.  And lovely neighbours they all are, full of encouragement and support when we need it most.  And all of them full of praise for our newly cleaned-out and almost empty garage!

So far, 9 full-carloads of stuff sent to charity and/or recycling, and more to go, yippee!

Yep, the people are great, and Sedbergh is beautiful, especially on a sunny day!  Notice photos of our other neighbours, the cows and sheep, who keep us entertained with all their escapades in the field across the road…

At Bishop Lai’s request, to share with his Quaker friends in Taiwan, I’ve been to check out the history of the Quakers, who kind of started in this area around Sedbergh…

Fox’s Pulpit on Firbank Fell, where George Fox preached to the multitudes in 1652 is very important in their history….

As is Brigflatts, the second-oldest Quaker Meeting House in the country… wow, what history!

Thanks for all your prayers and support, so far so good, and it’s all happening!

St. John’s University Student Fellowship 送舊 YA!

Saying goodbye is never easy, and every year as graduation nears, so we get ready to say congratulations and goodbye to another group of lovely students ~ this year the Chaplaincy Student Fellowship is saying goodbye to more than 20 of their group who graduate this weekend….

Delighted that many have become Christians during their 4 years here, some were already Christians when they came but quite a few have yet to make any decision – praying for them all!

Last night was the farewell 送舊 event, the students in years 1-3 saying goodbye to the graduating students in year 4 with a posh meal, entertainment, DVD of everyone saying goodbye and wishing them well (not just any old boring DVD, they’d spent hours filming around the campus and inviting people to take part) ~ then year 4 responded with their own farewell video (filmed in the church) and songs and presentation gift of a camera… older students from former years came by to bring their congratulations, then the graduating students were led around the campus and back in with eyes closed to a candlelit church for songs and prayer and gifts and photos and then cake…

Congratulations, best wishes, prayers and blessings to them all!

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St. James Church, Taichung 飛揚(肥羊)小組!

飛揚小組 is one of the 5 small cell-groups at St. James’ Church, Taichung ~ and all 5 have delightful names.  Just think, this group could well be called the Wednesday Evening Cell group, after all that’s when they usually meet ~ but that would be so boring and unimaginative.  Instead it is called 飛揚 Fei-Yang, which in a Christian context is often used to mean something like ‘Flying everywhere to share the Gospel’….

Cell groups have gone from strength to strength at St. James, a wonderful way of growing the church, and sharing and deepening faith.  In this group are several who have been baptized very recently and are now preparing for confirmation.  Occasionally they gather at the home of one of their members for tea and sharing and dinner.  Last Saturday was one of those fun days ~ and somehow I found myself there too….

With all this eating, some suggest the group could be renamed 肥羊 rather than 飛揚 – both are pronounced Fei-Yang (only a tone apart); perhaps appropriately 肥羊 means ‘Fat Sheep’ ha ha ha!

Such a fun time had by all!

Taizé Day at Good Shepherd Church….

Good Shepherd Church, Taipei hosted its first Taizé Day on Saturday ~ a whole day from 9:00am to 7:00pm….. and it was wonderful!

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Morning, midday and evening prayer times were the highlight, with talks and sharing in-between, including 3 young people who’ve recently been to Taizé sharing their experiences…. plus Brother Lucas, a real live Taizé brother from Hong Kong.  More than 150 came along, including some participants who came specially all the way from central and southern Taiwan…

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Most appropriate that this should take place right in the middle of Lent, and right in the middle of a growing political crisis with student protesters occupying the Legislature in Taipei ~ we pray that justice and peace may prevail…

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What is amazing about Taizé is that it’s so ecumenical that all Christian denominations are welcome to receive Holy Communion, and all churches participated on Saturday – Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant.  Everyone receiving Communion together in the same service is such a wonderful witness!

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The Taipei Taizé Team did a great job ~ here they are, with Brother Lucas in the middle…

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Next year is the 75th anniversary of the Taizé Community – and here’s to the next 75!

Asia CMS is well and truly launched ~ YES YES YES!

Malaysia Truly Asia ~ YES!  Happens to be the location of our newly launched Asia CMS office and home base…. and what a great choice eh?  Blue skies, sun, sea, smiles and so much more ~ YES YES YES!

Off we all went to celebrate this long-awaited great event with a very magnificent and rather amazing Launch Dinner last Saturday in Kuala Lumpur….. (For the official and highly-recommended CMS version of what really happened at the Launch Dinner, click here…)

Then followed 4 fun days down on the coast in Port Dickson for a big CMS gathering at the beautiful new Methodist Centre….

Oh yes and mustn’t forget the few hours of sightseeing on arrival ~ to the KL Tower on Friday afternoon, and the 2 cathedrals on the Saturday morning…. So happy!

Laughed and laughed all week with /at (yep I admit it, it was mostly ‘at’!) lots of old friends, made lots of lovely new friends and drank a ton of coffee with condensed milk…

Bearing in mind that this was all happening while Malaysia and the rest of the world’s been facing the growing crisis of the missing Malaysian Airlines plane MH 370~ perhaps a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of the message we seek to proclaim….

And so to the big event itself ~ and in case you’re wondering, we were encouraged to wear the national dress of our home or adopted country ~ hence the wonderful outfits on display…. Just forget the boring old UK, with its total lack of national dress and imagination ha ha! Instead concentrate on the variety of beautiful outfits and even more beautiful people who were there….

Enjoy the small (well, only 8o+, out of a possible 1,000 or more!) selection of photos below, roughly in chronological order….

Smiles, smiles, smiles – lots of happy people!

Please pray, support and seek to get involved in Asia CMS ~ it’s the happening place to be!

鄭啟璋弟兄追思禮拜….RIP 鄭伯伯

49 years!  49 years of praying ~ that truly shows some dedication and perseverance…

That’s how long Mrs. Cheng prayed for her husband before he finally decided to become a Christian.  This family sure has an amazing testimony!

On Saturday we gathered at Advent Church for the funeral of the man we knew as 鄭伯伯 Mr. (Uncle) Cheng, who died on New Year’s Eve at the age of 90.  His son and family have long been members of our church while Mrs. Cheng always went along to the Presbyterian Church in Tamsui, near their home, and would come with her son here once a year on Mother’s Day.  But never with Mr. Cheng!

Until 4 years ago, that is!  In 2009, aged 86, Mr. Cheng made a radical decision – to become a Christian and be baptized.  A whole new beginning for him and his family!

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Mr. Cheng came from Mainland China to Taiwan alone at the age of 27, and after years of study became a professor of P. E. at TamKang University in Tamsui.  Aged 36 he married Mrs. Cheng.  She has a very long Christian heritage as a 3rd generation Christian from the Chen family of Xindian (the other end of Taipei) where her grandfather was Presbyterian pastor, one of the original students of Rev. George L. Mackay……

And so there followed 49 long years of prayer for her husband to come to faith……

In 2009 Mr. Cheng was in hospital, very ill.  One of Mrs. Cheng’s relatives, a pastor, visited him, and asked him a simple question about what would happen to him after his death. Mr. Cheng was deeply challenged and troubled by that question, and knew he could no longer put off making a decision.  When he came home from hospital, still very weak, he called our rector (who had been visiting him for several years and sharing the Gospel), who came to the house and baptized him.

Amazingly, Mr. Cheng recovered from that illness.  In fact, he lived on for another 4 years, became a very committed Christian; and whenever his health allowed, he was always in our church on a Sunday with his wife beside him.

We give thanks to God for Mr. Cheng’s testimony, his wife’s faithfulness in prayer over the years, and for all the family ~ God certainly works in amazing ways!