Catching Up with Mark

I recently had my annual dinner with Mark and I realize that I have not posted his last two newsletters.

Here is my annual picture with Mark:


As usual we had a good meal and heard his sob story about how he HAS to go visit Australia for a 2nd time this year! I know, tragic!

Here is his May Newsletter:

The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121:8

This is the Bible verse that greets everyone as you enter campus via the main steps. It is a reminder that God is always with us, no matter where we go. It especially applies to this month’s newsletter featuring CMS’ graduation, and I pray that it will be a reminder for you in your everyday life as well.

Outdoor Worship

On Sunday May 29, Salvation Lutheran Church joined up with Glorious Grace Lutheran Church (a church from a nearby county), to have an outdoor worship service in Ji-Ji, Taiwan. The day featured a service outdoors with Pastor John Wan of Glorious Grace giving the message. In addition to the worship service, we traveled to a playground area with old military equipment, a historic train station and shopping district, and a few sites with information on Taiwan’s environment and endemic creatures.

First, this was a really neat opportunity to travel and interact with fellow church members in a setting outside of the regular worship service. It also was an outreach event to get some of the parents and families who don’t attend Sunday worship, to join us for the day. This worked as there were a couple families that send children to the Saturday Kids Camp, but do not attend worship.

Secondly, it was also good to connect with another Lutheran Church. Glorious Grace had participated in two other activities with our church this semester. One was the LCMS/CELC Winter Youth Camp in the end of February (see my last newsletter for more information). A second was the CELC’s Central-Southern District gathering, held in March at Concordia Middle School. Seeing some of the youth and adults for a third time, helped me became more comfortable in my interactions with them. But even more importantly, it helped the youth of the two churches interact and continue to build on relationships that have been steadily growing over the last couple of months.

Praise God for this opportunity for the two churches to get, I hope that it will especially help the youth stay connected with each other. They are can encourage each other and relate to each other in an island where less then 10% of the people are Christian.
Check out our Team Taiwan website for this video from outdoor worship. In the video, Cherry (from Glorious Grace) leads us in singing a song to help learn the books of the New Testament (in Chinese of course J ).

http://sites.cmsh.cyc.edu.tw/foreignenglish/video/outdoor-worship-2011

CMS Graduation
This last weekend was graduation day at Concordia Middle School. I am always proud of my students and the hard work and dedication they put into finishing high school, especially with the high pressure testing that takes place here in Taiwan. I love congratulating them, signing their yearbooks, and talking with them about what universities they will attend and what they want to study in college. I’m always excited to see former students graduate and move onto the challenges and opportunities that will come in college. This is especially true in Taiwan, where the freedoms and new environment of college can often help students who were interested in Christianity explore it more. Many of them are removed from the family pressure of ancestor worship or local folk religion. I have heard several stories of students who were non-Christians in high school, but went to college and came to faith. A great example is a former student of mine named Bill, who graduated three years ago and now comes back to CMS to lead Bible small groups for 8th grade students (see Sept. 2009 newsletter).

Psalm 121:8 is on a sign near the front of our school, and is a reminder to all who enter that the Lord is with them as they come and go. As the students leave high school, I always pray that my students will remember the love of Jesus that they learned about here at CMS. Please help me in praying for them as well.

Another Alumni Story

A good story about an aluni growing in faith happened this last month. I met a former CMS student named Jackie, who I had often saw at activities sponsored by the Religion Department, during his time at CMS. A few weeks ago, Jackie was back on campus helping to give information to the graduating Seniors about practical tips for transitioning to college. Before his presentation, I had the chance to catch-up with him and he told me that he is thinking about becoming a pastor. I was really excited for this because, while Jackie was a Christian in high school, it is encouraging to see God put this on his heart as he looks toward his vocation. I asked Jackie for a little more of his faith story, and he shared with me that his father is a second generation Christian and that his immediate family is all Christian. They attend the Quaker church here in Chia-Yi. Jackie is not sure if God is calling him to the ministry, but he is praying about it, and I told him that I would pray as well and ask people in America to pray with us.

Teachers Needed

We are still looking for teachers for the elementary portion of our school. If you know anyone who is even a little interested, please email me. I’d love to give them some more information.

It’s Prayer Time
1. Pray for God to raise up more teachers to teach at CELA in the fall.
2. Pray for all of the students who will be leaving CMS this year. Pray they will continue to learn about God.
3. Pray for Jackie as he considers being a pastor.
4. Pray for the youth of the China Evangelical Lutheran Church (CELC), that they would continue to be strengthened in faith and relationships formed at the church activities would be maintained.
God bless,

Mark

View the original PDF.

Here is Mark’s June Newsletter:

Back in the US
It’s good to be back in the United States of America, and to celebrate our country’s independence and freedoms. I made it back stateside on Saturday June 25, after a long but uneventful trip. When I come back, I am often asked how long the trip takes. Well, I timed it out from the moment I stepped out of my door in Taiwan to the time I arrived at my parents house in Des Moines, totally travel time was just under 28 hours. I know have already seen some of you, and will be seeing more of you during my time in the US. I look forward to that.

For my June newsletter, I would like to share with you the following article I wrote a few weeks ago for the Asia Ablaze Newsletter. It focuses on how Concordia Middle School shared God’s love in support of the LCMS school in Joplin, Missouri. A team of teachers over in Taiwan worked together with students and faculty at the school to lend a helping hand for their fellow Christians here in America. I specifically helped by having my 10th grade students write letters, and by coordinating the financial gifts with CMS’ principal, dean of the Religion Department, and fellow missionary Beka House.

CMS Helps Christians in Joplin, MO
On May 22nd , a powerful tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri and devastated the community, including Martin Luther School. On hearing about the disaster, the administrators and students of Concordia Middle School (CMS) and Concordia English Language Academy (CELA) in Chia-Yi Taiwan, worked to give back and help their fellow Lutheran educators and students.

School. Several classes, decided to write letters of encouragement to families who lost houses, property, and friends. At CELA, over a 160 students in grades 3-6 took time in their classes make cards and letters to help encourage the people.
At CMS, 30 tenth grade students practiced their English and became educated on the situation through reading a news article on the disaster. They then proceeded to write letters of encouragement for the people at Martin Luther School. When asked about the situation in Joplin, tenth grader Rita Chen reflected, “I think it’s miserable, and I feel sorry for them. I hope they can get the help they need.” When asked about writing the letters, she went on to say, “I think it’s a great honor that I can actually help them, to give them comfort.”
Finally, Concordia Middle School also offered financial support to help get the people of Joplin back on their feet. On June 8, Rick Hong, Dean of the CMS Religion Department presented $1,000 (US) on behalf of CMS to be used to help the people of Martin Luther School. Taiwan GEO missionary Rebekah House will work with Martin Luther Principal Jeremy Schamber to use that money to buy gift cards and to get those gift cards and letters of encouragement to families in need.

Praise God for the willingness of the CMS and CELA students and administrators to support the people of Joplin. Please continue to pray for the people of Joplin as they recover from this horrible incident. May God comfort them, heal them, and work through this terrible event to bring more people closer to Jesus.

Teachers Needed
We are still looking for teachers for the elementary portion of our school. If you know anyone who is even a little interested, please email me. I’d love to give them some more information.

It’s Prayer Time
1. Praise God for the time to relax, recharge, and meet with family, friends, and supporters.
2. Pray for all of the students who will be leaving CMS this year. Pray they will continue to learn about God.
3. Pray for Salvation Lutheran Church summer activities. The church will be continuing a Friday evening summer program in the month of July. This will be led by Ben and Amy Riley, and Pastor Alex. Pray also for the continued youth activities and the summer youth camp that will be led by the China Evangelical Lutheran Church (CELC).
4. Pray for God to raise up more American elementary teachers to come to our school.
I have seen some of you already and look forward to seeing more of you in the coming weeks.

God’s peace,

Mark

View the Original PDF.