On the 'Net
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Off China's southeastern shore, the island nation of Taiwan sits suspended, bordered by the East and South China Seas and the Philippine Sea to the east. It's to this destination that David Pressgrove, Moffat County Young Life area director, has set his course.
Pressgrove will have a chance to tour the area and sample the country's sushi, a dish Pressgrove said he relishes.
"I'm excited about that," he said, smiling.
But, neither a taste for Asian cookery nor a desire to slip away to a foreign destination motivated Pressgrove's decision to take an eight-day venture to Taiwan.
Since 2006, Pressgrove has been the full-time Moffat County Young Life leader. The organization is an international and nondenominational Christian group geared toward middle and high school students.
Building relationships is central to the high school Young Life group and Wyldlife, its middle-school counterpart, Pressgrove said.
"We try to be in (students') lives as much as we can be," he said, adding, "as much as they let us."
Building relationships is also the reason Pressgrove completes a 25-hour trip to Taiwan today. There, he will work with a core group of Taiwanese Young Life leaders and help train other Christian youth workers.
Some people may call Pressgrove's journey a mission trip, he said, where members preach the Gospel in the streets.
"And there's nothing wrong with that," he said.
Still, Pressgrove's mission is different.
Pressgrove and other Colorado Young Life leaders will train the spiritual leaders who live near and work with Taiwan's citizens on a daily basis.
"I like the idea of equipping people who will be there the whole time : to reach people in the country," he said. "We'll be training the people who will say (to area residents) 'Come back next week.'"
The trip also is part of the organization's effort to support its international groups, said T.J. Dickerson, director for Young Life's Rocky Mountain West region.
Per the organization's policy, each Young Life region in the U.S. partners with an international sister group that it visits annually, Pressgrove said.
The Rocky Mountain West region, which includes all of western Colorado and Utah, partners with Taiwan. This year is the seventh year the region has sent its staff to the country, Dickerson said.
Dickerson and area directors from Delta and Aspen are accompanying Pressgrove to Taiwan. The four will help run two daylong training sessions, each expected to host about 75 to 150 Young Life volunteers and other Christian youth workers.
In between sessions, the four Colorado Young Life leaders will be working with their Taiwanese counterparts directly. Each leader will be responsible for teaching a different aspect of Young Life operations.
Pressgrove's area of expertise: Hosting weekly club meetings, where teenagers and Young Life leaders interact through games, songs and, at the end of the program, a 10 to 15-minute Bible message.
Pressgrove stressed that his trip to Taiwan doesn't mean he underestimates Young Life's work in Moffat County.
"I don't want to say that doing ministry in Taiwan is any more important than doing ministry in Craig," he said.