Unfamiliar surroundings and an equally unfamiliar language were no barriers for this blogger’s first ever mission trip as he made his way to Tainan, Taiwan.
By Clinton Dixon
This was my first ever mission trip and I had little or no idea what to expect. I had little understanding of the local language, culture or food of the country I was about to land in but I knew that if God had wanted me here He would make a way for me. As the plane touched down in Taipei, the ground temperature had more in common with my age (38) than any weather pattern I knew.
From plane to high speed train we travelled in 200kph silence through the sparse Taiwanese countryside and within 50 minutes we arrived at our destination of Tainan. Our mission team was to help Pastor Yan Guang Ming of Tainan’s Rhema Harvest Church in running a youth camp for 120 youth aged 18 to 25. Our team’s task was to serve in the areas of events co-ordination, sharing of personal testimonies during ministry time and also to encourage and bond with the camp participants. Over half of the group were not saved so I felt very privileged to be able to speak into the lives of all these eager young people.
The following morning after we arrived in Tainan we were all bundled off to a camp site in the Tainan countryside where we would stay for the next three days. The campers had been organized into various zones and teams to compete against each other for the overall champion title. All our day-time events were held against a lush, picturesque backdrop, in 34 degrees of relentless heat, no less.
I was stationed at a downhill toboggan event where teams raced their toboggans down a steep slope while carrying cups of water to empty at the bottom of the hill. Another event involved everyone trying to complete an orienteering course around the camp perimeter. The idea was that you were to accrue points at each station and the one with the highest points won. I vividly remember running through the thick grass and towering trees in the stifling heat thinking how amazing it was that a small town boy from New Zealand could end up doing something like this.
Each night, Pastor Yan shared the gospel. All throughout praise and worship I felt God’s tangible presence as the Holy Spirit moved through the service. Over the course of the camp, 49 young people gave their lives to Jesus.
The message of Christ is a universal one and I witnessed this first-hand on this mission trip. The Holy Spirit ministers to the broken human condition and people make their decision for Christ. There is no greater sight than seeing the miracle of salvation and on this mission trip I was blessed to be a part of miracle after miracle.