Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Potter's House, Taoyuan: The British Invasion of Taiwan

The last three weeks I have been very busy with the British Invasion of Taiwan. You’re not going to read about this in the Drudge Report or see it on the news. In fact, I’m probably your only source of news on this event. The British have invaded Taiwan.

A team of Gospel Commandos from South London arrived at Chiang Kai Shek International Airport on Tuesday March 16. These people had paid their own way to travel to Taiwan in support of the Taoyuan City church. We had a busy schedule planned and intended to maximize their investment by reaching as many people as possible with the Gospel.

Wednesday morning we met for prayer and then went to the Traditional market where we outreached for several hours for the regular coffee shop and the revival that was planned for the weekend. The outreach proved to be successful as we saw visitors at the coffee house that came from the outreach.Pastor Peter Ajala taught English Wednesday night and ministered from the Bible a lesson on the parable of the soils. Four people prayed to receive Jesus that night.

The following day we met on the streets of Downtown Taoyuan in the evening for an open-air street meeting. We sang Praise and Worship songs to establish dominion and street preached gave testimonies and witnessed one-on-one in the streets. We saw 7 decisions for Jesus that night.

Friday afternoon, we were in the streets again for one-on-one witnessing and outreaching for the revival. Friday night we saw visitors and Pastor Ajala preached and we saw people getting saved.

Saturday, the Zhongli church joined us for street drama and preaching in the downtown area. One drama where the devil weighed down a victim with various sins, until Jesus showed up and took the burden on himself, literally stopped traffic in the street.
One man, who had gotten saved on Wednesday at the coffee house, joined us to outreach on Saturday.

Sunday, the revival wrapped up and the team after a day of rest left to go home. This was a huge boost for the church as we gained momentum and eagerly planned for our own street dramas and music groups. In all 26 people gave their lives to Jesus in this week and we have seen some of them return to church on their own this week. Thanks to Pastor Ajala and his team for their investment in our city and our congregation. What a blessing to be part of a fellowship where churches will partner together. We have big plans for their return November 2011.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Reaching Milestones: A Personal Note

Last week, my wife and I reached a milestone in our marriage. We celebrated our fifteen-year anniversary. This was a powerful moment for me who had given up on the idea of ever having a wife and a family. What a joy to be able to look back fifteen years and see the miracle that God did in my life. A man who had given up on life is renewed through the power of God to change lives. This is one thing that sets Christianity apart from other religions. God is not a statue or image that capriciously makes decisions about whether to bless or curse: The God that changes lives is not an idol that demands worship, but instead is a personal God who has compassion and concern for his creation. That’s why he cared enough to sacrifice his son as the remedy for our rebellion and sin.

This is why I’m excited to be able to minister in a place like Taiwan. A place where people struggle under the bondage of serving gods, that don’t know them or have any regard for their welfare. My daily prayer is that God will demonstrate his miracle power through my ministry. That people will see the compassion of God as well as his ability to change lives and fortunes. No idol can do that. No philosophy can do that. Only the God that created the universe with a word can do that.

So thanks to God for giving me a marriage that can be sustained over 15 years. Thanks to God for a wife that can put up with me day in and day out for all those years. Thanks to God for children who love and care for me. God let me be a good husband and father for many more years to come. Thank you Brenda, for your love and loyalty all these years. Thank you Elizabeth, for being an obedient and cheerful child, who is able to absorb all the changes in your life. Thank you Emily, for being a “Daddy’s Girl” who even though you struggle with certain things, you really try to overcome.

I know some of the things that have taken place recently have been an upheaval in your lives. But thanks to all three of you for allowing me to follow God’s call on my life. I love and appreciate all of you.

Eating My Way Through Taiwan: Japanese Barbeque

The Japanese Barbeque

This year we celebrated our anniversary by going to a Japanese Barbeque Restaurant. There are a number of these restaurants in Taoyuan City. The one I like to go to is maybe 5 blocks from our home. The restaurant is an “All-You-Can-Eat” place, where you cook at your table. You barbeque meats and cook Hot Pot. (See the Hot Pot post below)

You order based on three different menus of escalating prices. The prices vary based on the variety of meats that you desire. I always go with the lowest priced menu. For $299 NT Dollars (approximately $9.00 USD) per person you receive: All you can eat Beef, Pork, Chicken, To Gan (A type of Tofu), and Tian Bu La (Processed fish cake), a Hot Pot, salad, two types of desert and drinks. What a great value. Hot Pot alone costs $250 NT at a Hot Pot restaurant.

As you walk into the restaurant, the workers prepare a table for you. They put charcoal into the barbeque pit at your table and light the igniters and the charcoal begins to heat up. The barbeques usually have an exhaust hood like the hood on your cook top at home. A fan pulls the smoke up into the hood and it is vented outside of the restaurant. The problem is that most of the time the hood is between you and your guest, and it’s noisy. In this particular restaurant, the exhaust hood is built into the table. The smoke is pulled out before it leaves the barbeque. There is no conversation blocking exhaust hood in your face. You can easily talk and see the person you’re with.

After you order, the workers then go in the back and prepare your Hot Pot with all the usual ingredients: Processed Fish Cakes, Mushrooms, Cabbage, Shrimp, Duck blood (I can do without the Duck blood) and broth.
The fire is lit and the pot set on the boil. While this is happening you can go back and prepare your barbeque sauce. It’s similar to the hot pot sauce but a little sweeter with citrus slices in it. Then they begin to bring the meat… and bring the meat…and bring the meat, until you cry “Uncle” and tell them to stop.

The meat is thinly sliced and quickly barbequed. You season with salt and pepper, and then use your chopsticks to dip the meat into the “Barbeque Sauce” you made up earlier. I use the same sauce to dip my Hot Pot ingredients into. What a feast. But that’s not the end of it.

After you stop the meat flow, the workers prepare a desert that is made from a small loaf of doughy bread that is sprinkled with a sweet peanut powder and a type of sauce and heated. This is delicious when eaten hot. Our waitress warned us that if it gets cold, “You won’t want to taste it.” Then another desert is brought that consists of small doughy bars that are heated on the barbeque and then dipped into the sauce and peanut powder.

I can’t tell you the name of the restaurant because it is written in Chinese Characters and I don’t know all the characters in the name. But, if you come here I’ll make sure you get to visit this place. This place is highly recommended by Larry Beaureguard, if you know him you can ask him about it. If you’re a local it’s right across from Yang Ming Park on Changsha Road at the end of the block.

Other posts you may be interested in:

Eating My Way Through Taiwan:  A Traditional Restaurant
Eating My Way Through Taiwan:  Hot Pot