I had the opportunity to spend two weeks in Taiwan in July 2013. When the opportunity came this past summer to return to the same part of that country for three weeks, I honestly wasn’t sure if I would go. I had a lot of doubt, especially regarding raising the money. But the Lord was quick to show me He wanted me there. He provided all the money I needed in only two months! Needless to say, the doubt vanished.
Some may say it’s a strange way for a college student to spend her summer vacations, but I was drawn back to Taiwan—especially to the children.
A typical day in Taiwan started around 7:00 a.m. Our team met every morning for Bible study and prayer. Then we had a quick breakfast before being picked up by members of the churches we were working with and transported to the elementary schools where the first sessions of summer camp were held.
Each member of our team, or “foreign teachers,” was assigned to a classroom. From 8:00 a.m. until noon we sang songs, helped with crafts, learned skits, and talked as much about Jesus as we could without intimidating these elementary-age kids who, for the most part, knew only Buddhism or atheism. At the end of each week, we put on a performance for the parents to show them all the songs, skits, and stories their children had learned. The pastor would then present the gospel to the parents. After the morning camp, the sweet people from the church prepared lunch for us.
The afternoon sessions ran from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. We held camp for kids ages 11 to 16. We read the Bible, performed silly skits, sang songs, and played lots of games. These sessions were a time for our team to really pour into these teenagers. Many of the kids from last year returned this summer. It was an enormous blessing to see seeds that were planted a year ago come to fruition. We built new relationships and continued old ones. Having the previous relationships opened up a way for us to share the gospel, and we even had the opportunity to be a part of nine teenagers coming to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! It was definitely a tear-filled and joy-filled time for us.
During our second week there, we had the opportunity to go to an orphanage where most of the children are HIV/AIDS-positive. It was an enormous blessing to love on and pray over these children—some as young as three weeks old.
The evenings were filled with adventure! Our friends from the churches took us to experience a little bit of Taiwan. We went to the night market, explored different cities, and we definitely experimented with a lot of interesting foods.
I was recently asked what I would tell someone who is interested in taking a short-term mission trip but may not know where to start.
I’d simply say this: First things first…prayer…lots and lots and LOTS of prayer. Cover the entire situation and your desire to go in prayer.
Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them….”
As believers, we are commanded to make disciples. Whether that means on the other side of the world or in your neighborhood, we are all commanded to go.
Take the responsibility that you have been given seriously and put it into practice by first living missionally right where you are. And if obeying that command means carrying it out in China, or Australia, or India, or wherever, then that’s what He has for you so run ferociously after it!
* Emily Morris is the daughter of ICR Director of Donor Relations Henry Morris IV, the granddaughter of ICR CEO Dr. Henry M. Morris III, and the great-granddaughter of ICR founder Dr. Henry Morris. She works part-time at ICR and attends Criswell College in Dallas, Texas.