A few weeks ago I was a little down about some developments (or lack of) in our work here. After a noon meal with a coworker for mutual encouragment and edification, I had originally planned on taking a few hours off for rest and rejuvenation at a local swimming pool. However, before I entered the complex, I observed the place was smaller and more crowded than I had anticipated. I wanted to relax; not be the foreigner everyone was staring at! So I hopped back on my scooter and headed down to check out an oceanside wharf about an hour away known for its pretty scenery and all its offshore fish farms.
After enjoying the scenery for a while, I took a western route closer to the sea back up to where I live. Quite unexpectedly I passed by the one and only church in the neighboring township of "Mouth-of-the-Lake". I knew there was a church there and had even looked for it before, but this was the first time I actually saw it. I believe stumbling into it that day was firmly due to the hand of God.
In previous years, I visited lots of local pastors when I was doing research for the future direction of our work. So I knew I'd definitely benefit by meeting the pastor of this church as well to hear how God had been/was at work. That Sunday, as I headed down to attend the church service, I noticed once again that the building was huge. But huge church buildings do not necessarily imply that there is life or the love of God inside.
What I discovered to my surprise was a vibrant yet small group of believers worshipping God in a part of Taiwan where very very few people do. There were many young people and children there, and the pastoral couple have a strong vision not just for local evangelism but for leading their church to reach their "Samarias" and "Ends of the Earth" for Jesus Christ. I was truly moved by the love of God I felt there that Sunday morning in the worship, preaching, and fellowship, and even more impressed when I went back the next week to see what God is doing on Sunday afternoons in their outreach to neighborhood children. I think out of all the children's events I've seen over the years here in Taiwan, this must have been the most carefully planned and executed. Furthermore, the presence of God was obvious.
(By the way, why are there so many places down here that have "lake" in the place name when in fact there are no lakes? Several hundred years ago, the situation was obviously different)