For the past four years, NOCBC has led a team to conduct two weeks of VBS in the eastern province of Hualien, Taiwan. The team serves at the Faith, Hope, and Love Youth Academy for the first week of VBS. This academy is home to 40 boys, ages 8-18, who have either been orphaned or abandoned or have been sent there by Taiwan’s juvenile court system.
During this first week, the team brings the message of VBS to the boys at the academy. A team in New Orleans and Taipei worked diligently to translate all Bible lessons, as well as music, into Mandarin in order to make the lessons understandable and applicable to the students there.
In addition to teaching VBS sessions, the team provides a sense of family and love to kids who have rarely felt this kind of acceptance before. The kids look forward to the summer team for weeks before they arrive. The week is full of laughter, teasing, water balloons, music, and, most importantly, a Gospel that is real and applicable in situations that most of us cannot even imagine.
For the second week of VBS, the team serves at a local elementary school in a small village. Months before the team’s arrival, a local pastor visited the school and invited the children to join this week-long camp. Additionally, the team hosts a day-long door to door invitation program on the weekend before VBS begins. As the week progresses, children start to learn familiar VBS songs and dances. They begin to speak English with their American teachers.
The week is also filled with laughter and water balloons, but the best part is hearing the children ask how they can know this God and Jesus we teach them about. When we go shopping at the local 7-11 or sit down in a restaurant for dinner, children in the town run in to give us hugs because they have had so much fun at our VBS.
Because our team has served in this region for more than four years, the people in these areas, who are largely trapped in local religions or long-held traditional beliefs are willing to shake our hands, hug us, and offer us a cup of tea. Through these relationships, team members are able to share Christ in ways that go far beyond the children at VBS.
For information about how to be involved in future mission trips and planning, please contact Kim Lawler, English director for NOCBC at NOCBC.firstname.lastname@example.org. (Don’t worry, proficiency in Mandarin is not a requirement!)