The last full week of term and the last student fellowship gathering for this school year, and so farewell to a lovely group of students ~ we’ll definitely miss you all!
Some have been members of St. John’s University Student Fellowship for the last 4 years and graduated last weekend ~ and others have been here in Taiwan for a relatively short time and are returning home to Mainland China, so we said goodbye to them all on Thursday night in Advent Church….
The theme was Cosplay (literally “Costume Play” ~ meaning dressing up and pretending to be a fictional character, usually a sci-fi, comic book, or anime character) and we certainly had some costumes – and some attitudes – to go with them!
The sketches were hilarious, take-offs of the graduating students themselves, instantly recognizable and so funny! A really great evening….
Please pray for our graduating students ~ for their lives, their faith, their futures, and for those returning home to Mainland China ~ for God’s blessing on them too!
Today St. John’s University said farewell to 6 faculty and staff who are retiring at the end of this academic year, next month in fact ~ and many of them looking far too young to retire! But several have been here for 25 years, and all are full of plans for what they’re going to do next….
Actually one of them couldn’t come today, but the other 5 were all here – plus about 100 present (and just-retired) faculty and staff, including President Chen Jean-Lien – all here saying goodbye, laden with gifts and flowers! The whole event was held in Advent Church and organized jointly by the SJU Chaplaincy and SJU Personnel Department.
There were speeches, presentations, songs from the SJU Student Fellowship, a prayer of blessing from our chaplain, and all followed by a yummy lunch…
Lots and lots of congratulations to all those retiring this semester ~ we will miss you all, but we wish you well ~ and do come back and visit us often!
Yesterday was a BIG BIG day ~ St. John’s University Graduation 2015 ~ YES!
By 10:00am everyone had gathered ~ students, professors, SJU President Chen Jean-Lien, SJU Chair of Trustees, Dr. Cecilia Koo, VIP Guests and Alumni, SJU Chaplain Rev. Lennon Chang, Bishop David J. H. Lai and a whole host of photographers, organizers and of course parents and families ~ including lots of proud grandparents, all armed with bouquets of flowers and balloons. And even several tiny pet dogs!
The procession entered the Centennial Hall to the music of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and 2 hours later the whole event ended with everyone singing Auld Lang Syne! And in-between we had speeches, performances, awards, presentations, prayers, Bible readings, Bishop Lai’s blessing, songs, and finally the throwing up of the mortar boards, and the streamers came down ~ YES!
This year the SJU Student Fellowship has maybe 5 or 6 members graduating, and it was so great to meet their parents and to wish them all well ~ many congratulations to you all!
Once a semester, the St. John’s University Chaplaincy hosts a speaker for a lunchtime event ~ and today was the day! Fr. Ramon Santacana is R. C. chaplain of Providence University, Taichung, and came to speak about Pope Francis, his life and witness. We had 40 university staff, students and church members in attendance – and for lunch too. Fr. Ramon is from Barcelona, Spain and has been in Taiwan for 25 years ~ he also shared his blog, canvascolor.blogspot.tw of his oil paintings and his recent art exhibition in Barcelona ~ clearly very talented in art as well as in his chosen subject!
Fascinating to learn about Pope Francis and especially his background in Argentina and the influence of his grandparents ~ an amazing man of God!
Been away in the UK for 7 months and so much has happened in my absence. Out in the big bad world, as usual more has changed in 7 months in Taiwan than in the UK over the whole previous 3½ years that I’d been away ha ha! In Taiwan, new buildings, new businesses, new roads, new Metro Stations, new everything keeps appearing – but in the case of people, some have left and can never be replaced!
Quite a few staff here at St. John’s University retired while I was away, including Mrs. Chao from our chaplaincy office – after 43 years! Yesterday she came back to visit us – and was warmly welcomed ~ the students sang ‘Sing Hosanna’ and presented a farewell card, and of course we all posed for a photo!
Ah, some you lose and some you gain ~ and these 2 beautiful babies are 2 of the 3 babies born recently to our church members at Advent Church, these 2 were born only 3 weeks apart, one boy, one girl. They were both in church last Sunday and posed very nicely for me! Both have similar names, one is 恩嘉 ‘En-jia’, and the other 恩音 ‘En-yin’, and the 恩’En’ character they have in common means ‘grace’. One of them is our rector’s first grandchild, and all 3 are preparing to be baptized this coming Sunday at Advent Church ~ Pentecost is coming!
Please pray for them, their parents and the baptism celebrations this Pentecost Sunday!
And a special night it was! St. John’s University Student Fellowship holds a special night of outreach every semester, and last night was it ~ YEAH!
But just in case you’re none the wiser for reading the above poster advertising the event, the main attraction was one of our good friends from Keelung, Evan, who shared his testimony ~ starting with his year of study at the London College of Fashion, then at Vidal Sassoon School of Hairdressing in London, then back to Taiwan to open his own hair salon, oh yes and Shanghai too ~ with photos of his glamorous wife and famous friends, fast cars, high fashion and life in the fast lane – at which point he realized that something was missing and yes, found faith in Christ. YES! Through his new faith, he found himself volunteering to cut children’s hair in a orphanage ~ and finding fulfillment there, realized that all he had ever really wanted in life was his father’s approval and love, which led him to know his Heavenly Father deeper, and God’s love in Jesus – and so he found true satisfaction and contentment in his life – and his relationship with his family changed too….. well, that’s a short version of what he said!
And we also had a student dance group, worship, prayer, chaplain’s blessing and all followed by refreshments – sushi, tea and fruit…..
And nearly all the chairs were full, and lots of students came along, and everyone had a good night, and many were very moved ~ Evan’s testimony was certainly very powerful.
Praying for follow up ~ and please pray for the ongoing ministry of the chaplaincy and student fellowship ~ YES!
David Li (yep we have the same surname, just a different way to write it!) is one of our former students at St. John’s University, Taiwan, and he was also an active member of our Chaplaincy student fellowship group. He graduated only a year or so ago and now with his military service all over, he’s had the chance to come to the UK to study English for 6 months. He’s landed in Stratford-upon-Avon, and guess what? Until yesterday I’d never even been there. Disgraceful, indeed. Home of William Shakespeare and all that, so thought it was about time I got myself acquainted.
So on my way up north yesterday, had an hour with David at his language school, Oxford House College over lunch. Lovely principal, teachers and staff and lively and friendly students. David clearly loves it!
I also had a spare hour to wander around ye olde worlde town of Stratford-upon-Avon, along with large numbers of tourists, all from Japan and China, all in the pouring rain. But hey, never mind, this is ye olde England, and I’m sure it rained as much in Shakespeare’s day as it did yesterday. In an hour it’s amazing how much you can see of Stratford, ye olde church where Shakespeare and his family were baptized and are buried, ye olde house where he was born and ye olde town where he hung out all day. And plenty more of the ye olde stuff, all black and white tudor style. So much history and culture, quite overwhelming. So it was a bit of a relief to buy our lunch at Greggs and get back to a bit of present-day reality!
Welcome David to Stratford-upon-Avon, and have a great time!
Saturday was THE big day! Thousands of students, parents, gowns, mortar boards, VIPs, flowers, balloons, cameras, cars – and even dogs – all here for graduation….
Very hot and very humid, stamina needed! Photos and photos and more photos. Cameras and phones everywhere. Smiles permanently fixed. Click click click all day long. More stamina needed than ever!
So nice to meet the parents of all these lovely students that we know. Some students look just exactly like their parents, and some – well you’d never know they were even related!
Ha ha, the internet was buzzing all day with posts from SJU….
Congratulations to St. John’s University and all the students on their graduation ~ and wishing them all the best as they launch forth into the big wide world….
Come back and visit us often!
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!
This morning up bright and early to take a group of lovely SJU students, all boys, plus Shu-Jing, one of our SJU chaplaincy staff – all of them on their first ever visit to Qixing Mountain, the highest in the Yang-Ming Shan Mountains…..
Foggy and full of sulphur smoke from the fumaroles – all added to the atmosphere – great weather for walking in!
Most appropriate for Easter Eve as we wait for the celebrations to start later tonight….
And back mid-afternoon in time to get ready for tonight’s Easter Vigil ~ one of the boys is to be baptized ~ YES!