Chinese Taiwanese relations - It was interesting to hear some of the political views of some of the people as we traveled. We could always get a laugh or a smile out of James by saying, "silly Chinese" every time we passed a tour buss. These busses were everywhere. Taiwan used to limit the number of Chinese tourists per year but this year they stopped the limit. Every "tourist attraction" we were surrounded. There were certainly some Taiwanese who were not pleased with how the boarders in China have been opened more and more to the world. Now businesses and others interested in humanitarian issues have left Taiwan for China. It is the popular place to be now and Taiwan is suffering. James told us there are now a higher percentage of Christians in China than in Taiwan.
Leaving closer than ever to having Young Life Taiwan- We were able to make some good contacts and encourage a good number of youth ministry workers in Taiwan but we felt our biggest purpose was to help Yi-Ping talk through the idea of coming on staff with YL. She is strongly considering it. We probably prayed with her a dozen times about her future. I think she's a little scared about the uncertainty of fund raising and establishing a strong committee. That's what we all are unsure about at times. One exciting option that we discussed was the opportunity for one of the Young Life College ministries in our region to host three weeks of Young Life camps every summer. Although that might make Young Life look like a camping-only ministry we would work hard to make sure we weren't just bussing kids in without leaders from their community.
Camping ministry- We spoke to a church in Hualien that has a youth staff of six members. They showed us their camp video from last summer. We then showed them a camp video from Lost Canyon. Even though we spent most of the day talking about contact work and walking alongside kids in their everyday lives, the ministry people at this church were most curious about camp. We wished maybe that we didn't show the camp video because we came away with the impression that they thought we were only about camp. It's easy to show those videos and we certainly pride ourselves and put in a lot of work for camp, but without time at home with our young friends Young Life wouldn't be impacting youths in the way it has for the last 60 years.
Our famous airport sightings - We saw Clyde Drexler in the Tokyo Airport and spoke to him for a little bit. He was flying back to his home in Houston. For what it's worth we sat next to the roadies for a German rock band called GammaRay. Their Web site calls them the leaders in German heavy metal. They were flying on what is called a "world pass" which I think they have a certain time period to fly anywhere in the world. They were flying from Tokyo to Guatemala during the time we were with them.
Missed opportunity - One of my dad's memories from Taiwan when he stopped there during his time in the Navy was a place called "snake alley." It is a street where the vendors sell snakes and different parts of the snake. The delicacy there is cobra heart. They kill the cobra and eat the heart while it's still beating. I wanted to go see the street but we forgot on the last night to make the request.
Overall thoughts - People have asked me, "how was your trip" and it's hard to put three cities, nine churches, 15 meetings and endless meals in a one or two sentence summary. If I had to I would say that we always felt busy and we always felt like we were eating. Overall we were blessed to teach, but more importantly encourage, some great people with great hearts. Taiwan is a nation in need of the Word of God and I hope we can continue to return every year and keep helping Christians there in their efforts.