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Building Bridges in Taiwan

Francois Dick

Building Bridges in Taiwan is a non profit organization comprised of missionaries and volunteers from The Family International. The Christmas season of 2008 was a very busy time for our volunteers as we conducted seven shows in an orphanage, several different hospitals throughout the Taipei and Taichung counties, and a home for the elderly.

Our program was conducted in Chinese and included a clown show and our children singing Christmas songs. During the clown show the participants were asked to find and indentify a large card named “The king of hearts” using enlarged card playing cards. Our clown and MC then introduced Jesus as the King of Hearts, and all were invited to receive Jesus into their hearts through a simple prayer. Most of the participants gladly prayed with us.

At the end of each show we distributed the beautiful Chinese Christmas Activated magazine to all those attending. Following is a brief rundown of our seven Christmas programs.

Taoyuan Jen Ai Charity House

November 24th was the date of our first performance at the Taoyuan Ji Ai home for the elderly. After the show, the children were able to distribute Activated magazines and tracts to the patients and staff. In fact, our magazines were distributed throughout the building’s offices as well, spreading the message ofChristmas into many lives in this rarely visited area of Taiwan.

Taoyuan Veteran’s Hospital

The following day, we visited the psychiatric ward atTaoyuan Veteran’s Hospital. The interactive clown performance helped to generate a touch of camaraderie between the patients and the performers. The patients were especially touched by our children’s distribution of Activated magazines and homemade cards. Our youngest daughter (age five), carefully spent hours making personal Christmas cards with a note saying “Merry Christmas”. Some of the people were close to tears from the affection of a little child’s drawing for them. Several of the patients stood up to thank us for coming and sharing the Christmas message.

The patients conducted a straw vote about our visit and told us we were the best show they’d had seen so far. The main therapist who moderated the event mentioned that we were the first group to come that didn’t look down at the patients but rather interacted with them and made them happy. We acknowledged that it is God’s love that motivates us to bring happiness to them.

Chang Gung Hospital

On December 2nd, we visited the children’s wing of the Chang Gung Hospital in Taipei County. This hospital specializes in children with cancer and heart disease. Twenty members of Family International Taiwan volunteers from Taoyuan and Taipei Centers coordinated two concurrent shows on the 7th and 11th floors of the building.

Afterwards, we split into smaller teams armed with guitars, balloons, toys and children’s Activated books. We branched out into the other four floors, moving from room to room visiting the parents and sick children. The children were all very thankful to receive our gifts of toys and books along with their favorite balloon.

The hospital administration commented that we were very thoughtful in our preparations of the toys and storybooks. We were able to construct boxes of gifts of Activated storybooks and magazines with toys for the cancer patients who we could not see due to their condition. The hospital social worker staff asked to come again later and visit adult patients as well.

Hong Hua Orphanage

On December 7th, we visited the Hong Hua Ophanage, which houses around 80 children. After the show, all the children lined up to receive balloons and the Activated Christmas activity magazine.

Two years ago there were relatively fewer children, but it seems that more and more children in Taiwan are arriving at these centers to escape abusive or negligent situations. The children are well cared for in this facility – they call the Director “Baba” (father). We regularly donate clothes, kitchenware or other needs to this orphanage.

Yang Ming Hospital

December 16th found us at the Yang Ming Hosptial in Taipei City. The event was held on the first floor of the hospital where close to a hundred patients, nurses and caregivers gathered to watch. Two Family International centers from Taoyuan and Taipei cities combined their shows with two singing groups, a dance troupe and a clown show.

After the main presentation, where nearly fifty persons prayed the salvation prayer, we split up to bring Activated magazines, activity books and Grandpa Jake Christmas storybooks to patients. On the children’s floor we weren’t able to visit room to room, but instead the nurses asked parents to bring their children to the activity room. Several children and parents came to listen to our Christmas caroling and receive the Activated products and toys.

Some kids looked a little down due to their sickness, but it didn’t take much to cheer them up with our carols while the rest of us spent time getting to know the children and parents.

Taoyuan General Hospital

The very next day we visited the Taoyuan General Hospital in Taoyuan City. The sick children were extremely attentive, and the atmosphere was warm and cheerful. The nurses said they would see to it that children in other rooms not able to come would receive the books and activity magazines too. The clowns and music were a real hit with the children and the mothers were so thankful that we had come to visit their sick little ones.

Cardinal Tien Catholic Hospital

Next, we visited the Cardinal Tien Hospital in Taipei County. The audience loved the performance and was excited we came. Later, we were able to visit another social worker who promised to give our Activated books to the children that we were unable to visit. When she saw the children’s activity books and the Grandpa Jake story book, she raved about how exciting the books would be for the children.

There is a very large wall mural of Jesus feeding themultitudes in the main foyer. The painting encouraged us about our mission and commission to do as Jesus told Peter--“Feed My sheep” (John 21:16)

We’d like to thank Activated Ministries in U.S.A. for donating the Chinese Christmas Activated Magazines that were distributed at each of our shows to many, many children, sick, and elderly. The magazines brought a clear message to encouragement to those who received them and helped to enhance the quality of each of our visits. It’s a joy to be able to give such a high-quality magazine to those who are physically and spiritually in need of comfort during the Christmas season