Today the two initiatives were to go to an American church in Taiwan and then meet with a Korean who lives in Taipei who works with YWAM (Youth With a Mission). The Korean’s name is Chris and he is a surfer. He reaches out to kids who are surfers. Unfortunately, Chris was sick and canceled his meeting with us. So that opened up our Sunday to some free time. The following are some thoughts from the day as well as a summary of what we did. I will post links to you tube videos of some of those adventures.
Best run of the year
I haven’t been able to sleep well so Sunday morning I woke up early and went for a run I Taipei. I followed the MRT (the massive rail transit) the entire run. It is elevated so there are sidewalks underneath. It was around six a.m. and a town of six million was quiet and calm. I was surprised. The city is also very clean. Yi-Ping said that a big job sector is keeping the city clean. The run was peaceful and probably the best of 2010 for me. That might also speak to my lack of consistency in training this year, but it was just a beautiful relaxing morning with some humidity. I’m not normal, but I appreciate humidity when I run because sweating makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something.
Make a joyful noise We attended T.I.C. (taiwan international church). We attended this church when I visited two years ago. Their worship was not up to the standards of an American church with the drummer, bassist, pianist and leader all possessing different tempos at times. But as Luke reminded me, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” is our commandment. They were certainly being joyful and once I removed my cynicism I was able to worship with our friends. Below is a link to the worship.
Meeting long-term missionaries Joe and Ann Lyle are professors at Christ College in Taipei. They’ve been teaching in Taipei as Presbyterian Missionaries since 1991. They took us to lunch after the church service. The special connection we have with them is that Ann was Yi-Ping’s teacher in college. Yi-Ping said she hadn’t seen them in two years. Joe and Ann’s children attended the American school where the church service was held. Ann said that it might be the most expensive school in Taiwan. It had the feel of an American magnet school for the arts. The art displayed on the walls was made by talented youth. Joe and Ann said that Taiwan has struggled since China started to open up its borders to the world. Businesses have left Taiwan and ex-patriots for China. This has hurt the Taiwanese economy and reduced the numbers of Americans in the country.
Tea for five After lunch we went up into the mountains to a Japanese-style tea house. We sat with James and Yi-Ping for two hours drinking tea and talking about the future of Young Life in Taiwan. I was the “tea master.” The tea process entailed about eight steps, including pouring the tea from a shot glass-esque cup into a tea cup and then sniffing the shot glass. TJ offered to pick up the bill for the tea and was surprised that it was about $40 for tea, pistachios and some small little tea cakes. Below the tea house was a hot-springs fed lake. Yi-ping said that Taiwanese go to the pools but close aren’t optional. Despite my rally call for some naked hot springs action, I was overruled, actually ignored. Here a couple of links to our tea making process tea videos - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vPVaQ-L8lA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCDj_yW2_RM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVaY1ZqTEKA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnX_5eXHVC4
Supermarket After a stop at a pineapple cake store to buy the local specialty (it was definitely a tourist attraction because there were Chinese all over) we stopped at a supermarket.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcF4LG3c4ds http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc1tRL62RXQ (links for pineapple market)
The selection there was enormous. We sampled all that we could. The store also sold alcohol and we had a shot of vodka, a sample of beer and a sample of wine. Not something you see at the states. This is where people who argue that countries with relaxed drinking laws have fewer issues. I won’t enter into the debate but do know that there is a lot of alcoholism among the aboriginal tribes in the country. I didn’t ask our hosts about alcohol issues in the cities.
Massage Chris’ loss was our gain as Yi-Ping booked a 40-minute foot massage in the early evening to make up for the time we didn’t spend with Chris. It was painful at times, but well worth it. My bed is hard and I’ve had a hard time sleeping. The cost was about $20.
Korean food leads to conversation 10-years in the making. We went to dinner at a Korean barbeque restaurant. They have the grill set up in the middle of the table. It cooks right in front of you. After the dinner we had the most significant conversation we’ve had this trip. Yi-Ping is at a place in her job with a Christian relief agency that if changes aren’t made she wants to find something else. That something else could be a staff position with Young Life. This would be huge for what we’ve been doing here in Taiwan. If she went on staff it would be a culmination of all the work TJ has done the last 10 years. Yi-Ping’s hesitations are that she would be starting from scratch. That is a natural hesitation for anybody starting a ministry. She was encouraged through our conversation. We will probably talk about it more.
Ice cream finishes the night We finished the night with some Taiwan ice cream. The ice cream is more like shaved ice and fruit. There is one scoop of ice cream in the dish.