Taiwan Church News
July 3－9, 2017
Awaken to Local context: I Love Taiwan Mission Camp
Participating in the two-week mission in Taiwan, Foreign Christian Youth expand the vision of Taiwanese Youth in terms of Ecumenism through mutual learning and sharing.
"I Love Taiwan Mission Camp"gathers youth from all over the world. After being dispatched to serve in local churches for 12 days, overseas youth assemble again to share their learning experiences.
Reported by LIN Wang-ting / Translated by TSENG Wei-Chung and CHANG Yu-Tz
Thy name* is a Japanese animation’s name released in 2016 which is also the theme of 2017 I Love Taiwan Mission Camp (ILT). Through the practice of re-thinking “Who am I,” participants reflect on Taiwan’s value and identification. The Orientation program is held in Kaohsiung Branch, Telecommunication Training Institute of Chunghwa Telecom Co. During the three-day Orientation, participants gather together to know more about Taiwan and equip themselves for mission in the following 12 days in local churches.
*Despite the fact that the Japanese animation is titled Your Name, the ILT camp is named Thy Name, both of which are translated from the same phrase “你的名字” in Mandarin.
In 1999 while TKC(Tâi-oân Ki-tok Tiún-lό Kàu-hōe Chheng-liân Thoân-khè, PCT youth fellowship) held the Taiwan Youth Convention in its 50th anniversary, they recognized that Taiwan churches needed to have more connections with ecumenical movements. Accordingly, in 2002, I Love Taiwan Mission Camp was firstly launched by Rev. LYIM Hong-Tiong, who is also the present General Secretary of PCT. Until now, in 2017, it is the 15th year of the project. In this year, 120 participants and staff, who are mostly students and youth, show the vigor and unity of Christian youth. The secretary of Youth Ministry Committee and Higher Education Committee (SCM), Evangelist LEE Hsin-Jen(LÍ, SÌN-JÎN), denotes that “The program is not all about English language. We also try to find a more comfortable way to communicate with participants from non-English spoken countries and those with some difficulties in hearing. It is indeed a challenge for ILT staff but is also an opportunity for us to create a more inclusive environment for all participants.”
Speaking of the evangelism in Taiwan, it is diversified in cultures such as indigenous, urban or rural area, industrialized or natural districts, etc. This diversity attracts lots of participants to participate in the Camp. Evangelist LEE also mentions about some participants from Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Hanover. He adds, since this year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, he will also visit Germany with the EYEP (Ecumenical Youth Exchange Program) youth delegates during 20th to 30th July.
On the first day of Orientation, Rev. David Alexander, a scholar in Tainan Theological College and Seminary, preaches in the opening worship. He expresses that his self-transformation of mission work is like the transformation of Saul in Acts. Rev. Alexander reminds us not to be conceited and use our stereotypes to fit in a new environment, because “things you don’t beware of are exactly things you need to learn and change.” Therefore, Rev. Alexander encourages participants to go into the world like the dandelions spreading their seeds everywhere. It’s a precious lesson given by God for us to learn.
A friendly match of dodgeball follows the opening worship. Evangelist LEE says, “on the one hand, dodgeball is relatively common in both Japanese and Taiwanese communities. On the other hand, for participants from other countries, the game would be a good opportunity for them to get closer to the context of Japanese and Taiwanese communities.” Later on, in the afternoon, the issue discussion session “Turn, mini gear” is a routine program in ILT program in recent years. Rev. Cheng, Chun-Ping (GP) comments that “It helps participants understand Taiwan’s cultures and current situation, and to further establish a broad consensus of the common values toward the country.” Besides, Evangelist LEE expects the mission camp would encourage youth to fulfill their goal from the grass-roots level.
The ILT staff arranges participants to serve at PCT Head Quarter as well as 13 local churches and 1 organization, including ShihLin Church of Taipei Presbytery, ChuiSiong Church of Chiayi Presbytery, Ecumenical Department of East-Amis Presbytery, William Sia Memorial Camp, etc. for mission works during the following 12 days after the Orientation. Then, the Debriefing will be held from 12th to 15th July in which many programs such as Dynamic Performance, Exhibition, Cultural Night, Reflection on Christian Faith, etc. help participants to observe their changes and to learn more from each another.