After years of planning to visit Taiwan Village Gospel centers, I had the opportunity to travel to Guogou village (Chiayi county) this June. It is both an exciting event and an eye-opening experience. The mission is not only to proclaim the Gospel but also to serve the local village. I visited Guogou center (過溝福音中心) from 6/3 to 6/5. There were so many activities in this three-day trip that I am so tired coming back to Taipei. Ruth is a talented manager with a grand vision. The missionary is not confined within Village Gospel and the social services will expand out into the non-believers when her NPO get started soon. Ruth started activities that are considered more “inclusive”. The current missionary works including:
- After school tutoring of grade 1-6 and middle school students.
- Life education for grade 1-2 at two schools.
- Health dancing for women.
- Women’s study group including Bible study and Art crafts.
- Men’s Bible study.
There are ~20 elementary school students and ~15 middle school students. I enjoyed tutoring them. These students are selected from the poor families. There are other students want to get into the program but were turned away because of limited resources. Due to the time limit, I did not have opportunities to see the Church worship and youth group as well as family visits and counseling.
Ruth introduced me to the Principals and teachers of Guogou middle school and one of the elementary school. The relationships with local schools are excellent. The schools appreciated very much the helps from VG. We exchanged some observations, ideas and visions of the future activities.
On Thursday, we traveled to Dongshih (東石) center. Pastor Chen (in charge of VG) took us to Dapi (mission by a Korean pastor) for the joint pray meeting of the nearby 5 VG centers. It is an excellent prayer meeting with filling of the Holy Spirit. There are two sisters from US attending also. Pastor Wu (蒜頭, Suan-Tou center) suggested that we attend the November Mature Camp (壯年體驗營, one week) to further learn the VG activities.
Guogou center has two adjacent houses (each 3 stories). I slept in one room that has three twin beds and one single bed plus extra space that can easily accommodate 6-8 adults. Ruth told me once they housed 60 persons. Coworkers include Junior pastor Shulin, helpers Shuie (Snow) Jao and Yuay (Moon) Sun. They desperately needs older coworkers for family visits and counseling. I met one musician came back from Austria (Mr. Hsieh, 3 years older than me, graduated from Taipei Art and Music College and was once assistant conductor of Provincial Symphony Orchestra) in Man’s bible study. However, they still need pianist for Sunday worship and choir teachers for the kids.
Ruth gave me a tour of Guogou and Budai (布袋). There are fish ponds, oyster field, salt field, vegetable gardens and rice field. The sea-food are excellent and inexpensive. The fish market is full of varieties of fish.
Taibao (high speed railroad station located) is a modern city with so many residential housing (high non-occupant rate due to excess construction). Some are built in western styles. It is 25 minutes driving from Guogou. Chang-Gung hospital (run by Formosa Plastics) a large complex, also in Taibao.
Village Gospel mission in Taiwan is a difficult task. Here, I see hopes as Ruth expanded Guogou’s activities to include more social services to non-believers. Saddleback’s seeker style definitely applied to her vision.