Gratitude for new friends in the Diocese of Taiwan

I’ve spent a week in Taiwan meeting the faithful and gracious Episcopalians in mission and ministry in this far-flung diocese of our church.

The Rt. Rev. David Lai and his staff exceeded all of my expectations for hospitality, making sure that I was never lost or wanting in this land where I can’t speak the language nor even begin to comprehend the Chinese characters that look more like art than an alphabet to these western eyes.

With Sally, Bruce, and Kay, my colleagues from Church Pension Group, and Peter, my colleagues on the DFMS Church Center staff in Asian Ministries, we engaged in Safeguarding God’s Children training for the clergy, staff, and volunteers in teaching and formation ministries for the 18 congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of Taiwan.

Sally and I were completely dependent upon the translation skills of our new friend Amy, and we did our best to help contextualize the training for this eastern culture. Our students were incredibly attentive, sincere, gracious, and helpful. The Taiwanese people care a great deal for their children and experienced the training  as hopeful and helpful to their many ministries.

I have grown immeasurably as a Christian and a global citizen having made this trip. Although the food and the culture are vastly different from my western and heavily Scandinavian influenced cultural context, the people are warm, gracious, encouraging, and profoundly faithful to the Gospel.

I have a newfound appreciation for tea. I am still not a big fan of raw fish. But my new friends helped me try everything that was new and rewarded me with a tender, juicy, New York Strip steak on the eve of my departure, with abundant gifts of tea.

My belly is full and my heart is overflowing with gratitude for my new friends in Christ. many thanks to Bishop Lai and the people of Taiwan. I hope to return to learn more of your faithful ways in the world. Godspeed!

Bronwyn

Photos from the trip are on the EpiscoYouth Flickr account.

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