« September 2010 | Main | November 2010 »

October 2010

Wesleyan Quadrilateral in Chinese

No. I do not want to spurt out this very technical theological term in Mandarin Chinese. It is hard enough explaining it in English, how much more in Chinese. No. I am not going to exegete the nuances of this methodology. I just want to mention that my students here at Holy Light Theological Seminary wanted to know more. A one-hour lecture is not enough. I have to remind myself that this is merely an introduction to this theological concept.

I just got done with my class in Theology. The students started asking too many questions. I had to stop them and refrain myself from solving all their queries. My job for tonight was to introduce the concept and trust that the students themselves will apply it to their daily study and reflection on God's word. No. Nothing profound happened tonight. It was just a little spark of enthusiasm. It was just one theological term out of the many that these students are studying. More will come but for tonight we tried to comprehend the implications of the use of Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience in the process of theological reflection, or what we call the Wesleyan Quadrilateral method. Thank you John Wesley, and our gratitude to Albert C. Outler.

Another Saturday

"Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere." We sing this on a Saturday morning to motivate our children, especially, our five and a half year-old son, Jacob, to join all of us to do house chores. They clean up the recreation room (which also doubles as our guest room) and tidy up their toys and books, Sarah cleans the living room and mostly all the inside of the house, and I go outside and bring some order to what is our small "yard" and fix the branches and plants around the house. I need to do a little bit more today since the coming of Megi (also called Juan in the Philippines), a super typhoon coming from the Philippines that caused some road destruction in the Yialin county area. As of now, here in Kaohsiung, we are okay.

Saturday is also a time when I go to the Art Museum Park nearby and run (or jog, when my knees give me problems) for an hour. This is my time alone with God. Armed with my iShuffle and some acoustic Christian (contemporary) music of David Crowder, Jars of Clay, Todd Agnew, Sanctus Real, and others, I commune with my God. For now, what stands out for me is the song "Whatever You're Doing," by Sanctus Real. God is truly working in my life, although for so many times, I feel it is chaotic, but God's peace is there. "But, I am giving in to something heavenly."

"Please, please, Papa." Jacob says this to beg me to allow him to watch video games or TV programs on our PC. We usually let the children watch for a couple of hours on Saturdays, after they do their chores. They prefer to watch Wonder Pets, Backyardigans, and the educational program of Alpha Blocks. Jacob does very well following the reading exercises from this BBC program. At times he repeats some lines from the Alpha Blocks episodes complete with the British English accent and idiomatic expressions. Sarah and I smile whenever he does this. I hear the piano downstairs. Carmen must be practicing.

I must go now and run and listen to God through this set of songs on my MP3 player. Step by step He leads me, and I will follow my God Almighty all the days of my life. I am sure Rich Mullins is smiling now up there in heaven as he sees me writing this line from one of his song "Step By Step."

Last Sunday at Daliao

Last Sunday, we went to a Shangshie Free Methodist Church at Daliao. The whole family did. I spoke at its morning service and also its afternoon youth group fellowship. Whenever we go to a new church, I always try to keep an eye on the children and how they respond to the people and their general feelings to the whole church atmosphere. I noticed Jacob, when he was being introduced to the people, he started showing off some dance moves. He just felt so comfortable with the people around him. Also, Carmen started to play with some of the children. Both of them felt so relaxed. It was a welcome sight to see these kids getting attuned to a new setting.

I shared about missions and challenged the people to get more involved with missions work. It was a little bit of "preaching to the choir" since this local church are so involved with local missions both here in Kaohsiung and Pingtung. I tried to emphasize the need for cross-cultural missions work. I challenged them to join the seminary's short-term missions trip to Cambodia this coming January 2011. Six of them raised their hands indicating their desire to participate in this trip. Praise God for this group's willingness to consider joining us. Pastor Chen gave his blessings. It was encouraging.

Last Monday, we, the Cambodia Missions Team, had our first group meeting. I shared a little background about Cambodia and the Free Methodist work in Phom Phen. Six students were there. We probably would end up with eight people from the seminary and another eight from three different Free Methodist local churches. When we talked about the cost of the whole 8-day trip, most of the students felt a little anxious. I could understand their dilemma. They are students and do not have a lot of money. We reminded ourselves of the need to pray and to ask God for His provisions. Jehovah Jireh is our Provider.

Intercession (Make it a habit.)

Pray for missions work around the world. Make it a habit to interceed for people who are out in the front lines encountering God's grace and love. Find time to pray. Actually, it is better when you interrupt your day for the sake of a prayer for God's work.

Here in seminary, we do our little part to pray for global missions work. Every day, except for Wednesday when we have our SMF meeting, we pause for an hour and pray for different missionaries and for the many cross cultural concerns. From 2:30-3:30 PM, three to five students meet and do nothing but pray for missions work. We pray for FM missionaries scattered around the world. We pray for God's intervention in the problem of human trafficking in Europe and other countries. We pray for the Village Gospel Mission here in Taiwan. We pray for the miners in Chile. We pray and worship our God who is a missionary God.

Can you join us? Can you pause for a little prayer? Can you organize in groups of two or three and petition the Lord of the Harvest to break out into our world for the salvation of many?

Sweet, Sweet Time

Last night, it was the first time I gave a devotions from God's word without using a single English word. I was so elated! I asked the students if they understood me, and they all said they did. I was so happy. My very first time.

Here in seminary, when I teach, I use both English and Chinese. I try very hard to use less English and more Chinese. In one of my classes, I use the services of an interpreter, mainly because my lectures there are too technical, too sophisticated for my level of Chinese learning. I am hoping that by the end of this school year, I will be able to give my lectures all in Mandarin Chinese.

So, meanwhile, I revel in the thought of last night. I remember the joy I felt and the wonder in my students' eyes listening to the exposition of God's word. Praise be to our God from whom all blessing flow!

Students on the Move

Today, we, the Students Missions Fellowship (SMF), met for the first time this school year. It was very encouraging to see a lot of support. I know many prayers are behing the faces of these students. They have come to participate in God's missionary work. Midday at 1:00 P.M. on a Wednesday is not a good time for a meeting but they came out of their own volition and expecting new things from God. Next week, one of our own missionary student from Korea will speak to the group. This picture below gives more detail.

Student Missions Fellowship  - Oct 13 - 2010

Watching the World Go By

I am getting ready to gobble up some Vietnamese (fast) food. The cook is frantically whiping out some dishes for the nine of us, her only customer for this lunch hour. Smells good! She is bringing me my noodles. The rest of the gang members have to wait. This is a small restaurant located about a block away from the seminary. It is managed by a Vietnamese lady. Actually, she is the cook and her Taiwananese mother in-law is the owner of the store. At least that is how I see it from my angle. The Vietnamese cook is doing all the hard work. We have heard about this little eating place from another student and we thought we will check it out. This is a common sight here in Kaohsiung, little business places owned by a Taiwanese family but powered by the know-how of foreign workers or Asian spouses, mostly Vietnamese wives.

"It was the first time for him to hear the word 'Jesus,' " Donna shares to the group. "He has never opened a Bible nor heard of a Christian church." We are starting to share about our time of evangelism and going around the neighborhood of the seminary talking to the many offices and stores in the area. This is our Tuesday Small Group meeting and we have decided to spend it on sharing the gospel to strangers in our locality. I am not surprised to hear Donna describe her encounter. There are still a lot of people here in Taiwan who has never heard the story of Jesus. Donna continues her explanation. We are done with our lunch and from the corner of my eye I could see the Vietnamese lady sitting on an adjacent table listening to our conversation. I pray for God's grace to illumine her so she would see Jesus' salvation. We continue our sharing and go around the table taking turns. Hueyan, a retired army captain, who has decided to be in seminary during his retirement years, shares about his encounter with a group of military people. Sean, a Korean student, humors everyone with his funny exchange with a store owner. I could not hear half of the story so I missed the punch line. Everyone is laughing while I am left behind with my usual puzzled look on my face. This is quite common. The group's Filipino-American teacher with his confused expresssion is a common sight around our gathering.

We are getting ready to leave. I hear two of the ladies talking to the Vietnamese cook. They are giving her some Christian literature published in the Vietnamese language. This should be good for her. Maybe, next time, I will bring Sarah here for lunch and we can talk to this Vietnamese lady. Slowly, we are building relationship with our Asian neighbors living here in Taiwan. We said our goodbyes and I started walking out the street alleys with a prayer in my heart. "You should care for the foreigners among you, for you were foreigners in Egypt" (Deuteronomy 10:19).

What a Fun Class!

A lot of yelling. Students cheering on their fellow classmates. Sophia reading out loud and overcoming her fear of mispronouncing English words. Tonight's class is a fun class. It is very encouraging!

The last two weeks had been very busy. I was swamp with teaching duties. I had to review and rewrite all of my course syllabi, all three of them, because I later found out that the level of the students was not what I had in mind. I had to make some changes so that I could be relevant to each student. On top of that, I had two weekends of stress because of the damage done around the house with the coming of typhoon Fanapi. It was only last weekend that I felt like I had rested and spent time relaxing on a Saturday and Sunday. I went out biking with Carmen and spent time playing dominoes (setting up dominoes) with Jacob.

Today's class was fun. I praise the Lord for giving me this joy of teaching. God is good.