Friday, August 22, 2008

July 18, 2008: Rock My Dream

Rock My Dream: a perfect example of Taiwan’s attempt to use English to be cool! The conference we helped at was in a fairly large church an hour train ride from Taipei. The train ride was a bit hilarious. We didn’t have assigned seats so some of the group had to stand for a while. Brian was feeling a little silly and kept joking around really loud and hanging off the handrails. I think most of the train thought he was pretty funny although we reminded him that he’s representing all African-Americans to these Taiwanese people! One of the guys was laughing so hard; Ai-Hua told us he was on his phone explaining to a friend how crazy this guy was!

We stayed on the floor at the church the first night crammed into a room. They put Brian in a room that was literally on the roof; you had to walk on the roof to get there! After a cockroach attack, he crammed into the room too. We all woke up a little sick the next morning and soon my throat was crazy red and swollen! The church was really kind and let us sleep in and even brought us throat drops!

As we walked in the first session, we were attacked by the most energetic, crazy peppy girl I have ever met! She was so excited to use her English. “My name is Kevin, I’m female Kevin though, not the male name.” She made us laugh so much. Her eyes would be huge as she would talk to us about random things using her textbook English.

This conference has been running for 17 years. There are about 70 middle schoolers and 70 high school and college students that help out. They go all out with this thing. The theme, ‘Rock My Dream’, really never made sense to me, but they had big fancy signs and gave us all T-Shirts. At the main sessions they would pretend like they were filming a TV show or something and had big cut out boxed that looked like video cameras. The worship team seriously rocked out and had trendy costumes the first night.

We had been invited to this conference by Cherie (shofar lady as we affectionately called) that we had met during our time with the aborigines in Lalashan. The pastor of the conference wasn’t too sure that he could host four Americans, but he changed his mind after seeing the article that was written about Pastor Alvin and us running the conference in Lalashan. The article mentioned that I was a dancer and that Brian was related to Michael Redd, the Olympic basketball player. The picture was of me showing some of the kids a dance.

We spent most of the conference confused about what we were supposed to do. We just smiled and talked to kids. They were thrilled to practice their English. We helped played some games, and again had no idea what was going on. They made Brian (or ‘Brain’ as they had accidentally printed on his name badge) participate in a game where they saw who could throw a shoe the farthest. We each had a chance to give a twenty-minute talk to the large group. I talked about how I was like a sheep: that I had gone astray (Is. 53:6), My Shepherd had found me (Mt 18:11-13), that I follow him and know his voice (Jn 10:27) and one of my favorite verses: “He tends his flock like a shepherd; gathers the lambs in his arms 
and carries them close to his heart” –Is 40:11. Adriana and Brian really wowed the crowd and delivered the perfect message that the students needed to hear.

The pastors were really thankful that we had come. We got to set an example of putting faith into action and just love people. We encouraged them to make a difference in their middle & high schools and colleges. They really got the vision we were hoping to share of starting local and moving east to China and beyond. The pastors were touched as we prayed for them before we went.

That wrapped up our time of service in Taiwan. And we were exhausted. We had given it all to the people we worked with. I had made a lot of friends and learned a lot about Taiwan. I learned more Chinese in my short time in Taiwan than the whole time I was in China because I was surrounded by and living with the people. I’m really going to miss these people.

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