Thursday, May 3, 2012

Leaving with two bangs

Well, the entire trip it never rained on us! That was a blessing. But you have to read the rest of this blog to figure out why this entry is entitled "leaving with a bang."

Here is a parting shot with Bishop Lai at the Chapel in the diocesan headquarters:

and with Mrs. Lai at lunch:

The first bang: We left Diocesan headquarters and headed to the airport. A member of Bishop Lai's staff was driving Bishop Lai's car when we were rear ended on the freeway. We made sure the driver was okay. You see, a car had cut into the lane in front of us causing our driver to slam on his brakes. While we barely touched the car in front of us, one car hit us from behind, and then another car hit that car and we were hit again. The airbags didn't deploy.

Joshua Ng got out of the car as we were late getting to the airport and flagged down a cab (in the middle of the free), who had to park in front of the car that had caused this problem. Joshua rushed to get the bags transferred, having me sit in the car to make sure the driver didn't take off. The driver kept saying we had too many bags (we knew that), but we got them all into the cab. We said goodbye to Bishop's staff member and we raced to the airport. We got all the bags out (so we thought), and the cab driver drove off. Joshua realized his backpack with his passport was in the backseat of the cab and took off running after the cab. He caught up to it, banged on
the trunk and the driver stopped. That was the second bang. Ada says God doesn't want us to leave.

We are now waiting at the gate, a bit sore but grateful that no one was hurt more than just being sore in any of the cars. We are also grateful for this time in Asia, and for being on our way home.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tai Chung

We took the train from Taipei to Tai Chung, which took approximately one hour. We were greeted at the train station by the Rector of St. James's Church, the Rev. Philip Lin and an ordinand Joseph Ho who has started a mission south of Tai Chung -- Church of the Living Star. The Rector Emeritus, the Rev. Dr. Charles Chen met us and actually gave us the tour, thinking that the Rector's English isn't very good, but it is. Fr. Philip's English teacher Warren teaches at the school and was confirmed at All Saints Pasadena.

St. James has a kindergarten with 330 students. It also has an after school program with 130 students, and an adult education language program offering classes in English, Japanese and Spanish. They also have a counseling center on site.

The kindergarten program not only has turtles and fish, but an amazing butterfly garden and a "touch and smell" garden. Here's some images from the kindergarten:

So nice!:

The turtles are from Brazil, we were told:

A poster with sample pictures of the butterflies in the butterfly garden for the children to study before they enter the garden:

And the entry to the butterfly garden and the garden itself follows:

A butterfly that looks like a dried leaf:

The children learn about the lifecycle butterflies? Here is caterpillar:

The touch and smell garden and the playground:

The church has an average Sunday attendance of approximately 80 people at two services. One service is in English, the other service is offered in Mandarin. There are two multistoried buildings, one which has the rectory and a hostel, the other a series of classrooms and meeting rooms. Here are some photos of the church and various rooms:

New conference room:

View from the hostel:

We went to lunch together, then we said goodbye to the Chen's (Mrs. chen gave us tea and a snack at the hostel and accompanied us with Fr. Chen to lunch). We then headed to Sun Moon lake with Philip and Joseph. It is a little over an hour from Tai Chung, but you feel as though you are in a different world. The drive up was beautiful. Here are some pictures from different places we stopped around the lake:

And a few shots of the front of a temple along the way.

To realize that although you are in Taiwan you are with your brother and sister clergy of TEC made this last leg of our trip more meaningful. Bp. Lai is a member, of course, of our House of Bishops. The voice of this Diocese is important in Asia, and I'm so grateful that we were able to visit Taiwan!

We are headed back to Taipei a little earlier than we had initially planned. The last time we will pack for this trip is this evening. Tomorrow we will spend the late morning and early afternoon with Bp. Lai before heading to the airport for our 5:00 flight to Haneda, then our midnight flight to Los Angeles. We leave Thursday at 5:00 in afternoon and return to Los Angeles on Thursday at 6:00 in the evening thanks to the 13 hour difference in time. Tonight we need as much rest as we can get!

This has been an incredible journey, an amazing learning experience, and we have made many contacts and new friends. As long as my iPad holds up (the cracks are getting larger and the glass flakes bother me), I will try to post tomorrow. If not I will post a reflection on the trip when I get home.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Tai Chung, Taiwan

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Got in last night to our hotel, and woke to a beautiful morning. The hotel is situated across from the Taipei Railway Station.

Well, it started out as a beautiful morning until I dropped my iPad on a stone floor. Now I have hairline cracks throughout the screen. At least functionality isn't affected right now!
Went to the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Taipei. The Rector, Lily Chang and the Associate Rector Herbert Barker greeted us warmly. Fr. Barker is from the Diocese of San Diego and is following a dream to work in China. He is in charge of the English congregation. He served for 30 years first as an Army chaplain and then he transferred to the Navy. He has served in Japan and Korea before coming here. He also teaches philosophy at the college level.
Mo. Lily and then Bishop Lai told us there are currently a total of 18 priests in the diocese, 4 of whom are women.
Lily volunteered to take us shopping for handicrafts. Good thing there is not too much room left in my suitcase!
There is preschool through kindergarten at Good Shepherd, with a total of 140 students currently enrolled. Here are some pictures of the church and school:

Mo. Lily took us to the National Museum. It was very crowded and the streets were very crowded today because it is May 1st--Labor Day here. It was a gift to be able to go there today, because it brought together missing pieces of our trip. Today's visit to the National Museum put the missing pieces of the puzzle together for me. Chang Kai Shek in 1949 took the treasures that were from the Forbidden City and brought them to Taiwan. The contents of the virtually empty Forbidden City in Beijing are on display at the National Museum in Taipei.
It was not on our agenda today to go with Lily. It was not on her agenda to take us, but the Holy Spirit lead the way. I would have missed this important link in Chinese history had Lily not offered to take us shopping. She took us to the museum, and her hospitality is something I will never forget! While we were not able to take pictures within the museum, here are some outside shots:

Lily is a deputy to General Convention this year. I look forward to introducing her to members of the Episcopal Asian Ministry group, and to deputation from Los Angeles.
Lily took us to lunch at the most amazing place, which uses tea in the bulk of the cooking. Ten Ren Cha for Tea. Here is the page from the menu (which was quite extensive) that we ordered from:

Here is a picture of Lily in the private room that just happened to be open, and where she got us into, along with other pictures from lunch including the view from the room:

We then went to visit St. John's Cathedral, and we were greeted by the Dean, Samuel Lin. They have a kindergarten there with 70 students.

Bishop Lai's Cathedra:

The side of the Cathedral, and Lily's car!

Afterwards, as we were headed to see Bishop Lai, Lily told us she is working on a DMin through Virginia Seminary with our own Alexandra Conrads!
In addition, today is the 1st anniversary of her congregation planting a new congregation about 50 minutes by car south of Taipei in Chung Li.
We met Bishop Lai in his office and shared some wonderful tea and conversation. Bishop Lai told me there are 18 congregations in the diocese, with the farthest away being more than 5 hours by car.

We are headed to dinner now, and the conversation will continue. I am so humbled by the incredible hospitality we have received all during the this trip. To be with my brother Bishop from TEC is a wonderful ending to our trip. Tomorrow we will take the train to Tai Chung. Can't wait!
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Location:Taipei, Tiawan.