Day 6: 7.8.18 Worship, Acupuncture, and Baisha beach.

Sunday, the Lord’s day and the second to last day of camp! I think everyone was feeling pretty tired at this point in the week so it was a real blessing to have a somewhat lighter Sunday schedule. In the morning we had our Sunday service in the gym which included more worship through music as well as the message delivered by Prof. Margaret who inventively compared the super hero narrative to the Gospel narrative. What similarities does Jesus share with popular icons such as Captain America, Spiderman, and Black Panther? What ways is Jesus different from said heroes?

After the Sunday service, we all quickly headed back to the International Conference Hall for an introduction and sampling of Chinese Medicine, specifically acupuncture! The prospect of piercing one’s self with needles can sound pretty frightening, but thankfully the needles used for acupuncture are pretty thin so you don’t end up feeling too much at all. There were three acupuncture points that we tried: in the hand between the thumb and the index finger, in the forearm near where the forearm meets the tricep, and in the leg just a bit above the ankle. Most of the acupuncture was self-administered. Many said that they mostly just felt a bit numb, but Justin, one half of the team 2 TAs, started to feel dizzy with a kind of loud ringing in the ears. Thankfully the professionals knew what to do to fix things. Moral of the story: please be careful before you go poking yourself.

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Another highlight of Sunday was our mini day-trip to Baisha Bay. It was a scorcher that day so everyone was happy to fight the heat by cooling down in Taiwan’s waters. There’s something that’s just so fun about wading in water with a large group of friends! We also had one of those giant inflatable unicorn raft things which everyone took turns riding the waves on. But probably my favorite thing was when the sophomores individually ambushed freshmen/TAs and group hoisted them into the water. The only thing that we probably should’ve done though was to make a PSA beforehand about taking your glasses off before going into the water or at least to be extra careful to keep your glasses on. We had like 7-8 eyepiece casualties I think. Thankfully a few of them were actually found and fished out, but the rest I guess will just have to be content to contribute to the fulfillment of Revelation 15:2’s glassy sea!

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Lastly, we ended our day with movie night. Our feature film was Inception (2010). It’s basically about a team of special agents who travel into the sub-consciousness of a rising businessman with the mission of planting an idea/motivation into his mind. It’s a very action-packed adventure with a lot of clever twists and turns, but I think by the end of it everyone was pretty tired out from all the events of the day.

Overall, Sunday, the Lord’s day, at MSCE was filled with so many blessings from God, the great Creator of all good things, superheroes, acupuncture, and Baisha Bay included!

–contributed by Brandon Ung,  2017-18 MSCE TA

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Day 2: 7.4.18 First Full Day

Hello friends!

Thank you so much for your patience. This week has been a blur of exciting games, deep conversation, and late nights in prayer. It’s been difficult finding time to keep up with the blog, but more updates from the other TA’s are on the way!

With such a quite night in Taipei, It’s hard to believe that people are setting off fireworks across the world. Last fourth of July, I remember comforting my dog in a pillow fort six thousand miles east of here. Today I’m at Mackay Medical College chasing students with green plastic taped to their backs.

We started the morning with MSCE 2018’s first Bible study asking the question, “What does the Bible say about God?” We were both astonished and encouraged by the number of students that decided to come. Praying that attendance stays high throughout the camp!

After Bible Study we rushed off to a classroom for breakfast (choice of burgers, scallion pancakes, or crust less sandwiches) and were blessed by Luke, Christine, and Naomi’s testimonies. Despite bleary eyes around the room (we don’t have mattresses or pillows and the beds are super hard!), our first Morning Manna* felt extremely special. There was a mixed atmosphere of comfort, vulnerability, and prayerfulness that I’m so glad we got to start our first full day of MSCE with.

The rest of the day was a bit of a blur. Barbara gave a presentation on nutrition, Ariana and I talked about the diversity of food in America**, Justin shared about American food trends, and Brandon and Alex lead us through a series of workouts while exploring fitness trends in America. After a short break, the Taiwanese students presented lectures on John Leahy, the potential of artificial intelligence, and one of the students talked about her experience in a marching band.

In the afternoon, Christy and Ariana taught us how to separate plasma from blood samples using a paperfuge. Who knew 20 cents worth of paper and string could make a 125,000 rpm hand powered centrifuge!

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Later, teams competed to make the most effective paperfuge by separating a mixture of corn starch and water. I’m tempted to try this in lab with microfuge tubes.

After dinner the Taiwanese students organized FUN NIGHT where groups competed in different team games. We ended the night with a wild game where students ran around the building trying to rip colored plastic off of the backs of other players. We played the game twice and I lost miserably in both games.***

Overall, it was an incredibly satisfying day. From sharing my faith at Bible study to crawling around on all fours at fun night, this first day of MSCE has been an amazing experience. Sharing our lives with the medical school students here in Taiwan has been remarkably life-giving. I am struck by the friendliness of the students here, and their receptiveness to the gospel. Even though I’ve only known the other TA’s for two days, I know that I’ve already made lifelong friends. Extremely excited to see what the rest of the week has in store for us!


It was Naomi’s birthday today!! Faculty surprised us with a gorgeous fruit cake, so we had a little celebration back in the team room. (Top row from left to right: Joyce, Zoe, Brandon, Justin. Middle Row: Emily, Christy, Alex, Christine, Lily. Bottom Row: Shannon, Naomi, Ariana, Kevin.

*The time we call the testimonies

**Funny story — technology completely fell through on Ariana and I during our presentation. We had trouble opening our Powerpoint on Google Slides, and then the projector turned off. We ended up presenting without pictures while projector screens randomly descended and ascended behind us… James had us switch rooms after that mess.

*** The Taiwanese students made the losing teams imitate a skunk (and later a horse) as punishment.

–contributed by Kevin Zhou, 2018 MSCE TA and Blog master

MSCE 2017 Day 6

Hello friends! Time has really flown by, and it’s hard to believe that our Friday at camp has come and gone. Praise God for another day filled with fun, laughter, and good conversations.

In our fourth Bible study of the camp, we dived into the attributes of Jesus Christ. It is so encouraging to see students return day after day to Bible study, regardless of their spiritual background. During morning manna, we heard Anthony, Shirley, and Amy share their stories of experiencing God’s power and goodness in their lives. Whether helping them overcome shyness or freeing them from other people’s perceptions, God clearly worked in their lives! Before the session ended, Mackay’s chaplain Amber encouraged the students to take a step toward the Lord in prayer if they were ready, and we were able to have a time of prayer.

Onto the day’s activities, we had some engaging presentations on the American college experience. Amy and Kaitlyn gave some comprehensive insights into the application process as well as the typical day in the life of a college student, followed by Shirley’s presentation on community college in the US, a topic quite new to the Taiwanese students! Following the camp’s tradition, we then split into three sessions based on the programs at MMC: one for medicine, one for nursing, and one for speech language pathology/audiology, with a special bonus of music therapy included.

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Our lunch today was a bento box consisting of a giant slab of pork, along with some refreshing lemon ai-yu jelly. It was delicious as always [at least to the American TAs] J . Like yesterday, we were able to join our switched-up team to eat together, and it was fun to further our friendships with these newer faces! For the afternoon, we had workshop time again, and our groups rotated through some more interesting presentations by the Taiwanese students. We learned and discussed space travel, celebrity viewpoints on controversial topics, climate change and health, and legalization of marijuana, then listened to a short and interactive faculty lecture on Asian alcohol flushing.

Next was our mini-field trip to Baisha Bay!! For some of us, it was our very first time going to a beach in Taiwan. We played a lot of different games in the water, waded through jellyfish (accidentally), took a lot of jumping pictures, and got dirty from the salty water and sand!

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After dinner, we ended the tiring day with a relaxing movie night, where we watched the Imitation Game. At the end of the day, we really thank God our continued relationships with each student, and for each student that has boldly shared with us their thoughts about Christianity, their questions, even their doubts and struggles. It has been so encouraging to see God working even in small ways and to see Him gently prodding the hearts of these students. We are so ready to sleep tonight, but at the same time we are also excited to trust God in these last few days and to spend more time with these students we have come to truly love!

Written by Camille Chen and Angela Fu

MSCE 2017 Day 5

Today we took a break from the typical Bible study and Morning Manna routine to connect with the students through their stomachs! As in, after breakfast, we spent a good part of the morning combing the streets of the downtown area of Sanzhi district for fresh, local ingredients for a much-anticipated cooking contest in the afternoon. Each group was given two different Taiwanese dishes to collect ingredients for and eventually cook. The dishes ranged from three-color eggs to sweet and sour pork to seafood pancakes. With a given budget, we scoured outdoor street markets as well as air-conditioned grocery stores for everything we needed to make our assigned Taiwanese food.

 

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Angela calls the moves as the students tear up the floor

 

When everyone returned to campus, Angela, along with Cindy, Jonathan, and Anthony, led a lively line dancing activity for all the students. The students’ hard work learning the line dances was eventually rewarded with the entertainment of seeing all the TAs (try to) perform a line dance to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” in front of everyone.

After lunch, portable stoves were lighted, pots and pans came out of the cafeteria kitchen, and the cooking extravaganza began. Each team worked diligently to cook their dishes to perfection in hopes of earning the most votes at dinner. Some were more eager than others about cooking but everyone pitched in, whether it be frying fish in a pan, separating egg white from egg yolks, or washing dishes during clean-up. It was a team effort. Finally, at dinner we sat down to enjoy the food and vote on our favorite dishes. At the end of the day, Team 2’s seafood pancakes took home first place and Team 4’s sweet soup took second. All the food was amazing though!

 

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Team 2 on the hunt for the gold; their seafood pancakes were amazing

 

Praise Night followed, and we enjoyed worship sessions led by the both the Taiwanese students and the American TAs. Any remaining language barriers broke down as we worshipped the Lord in both Chinese and English as truly one body. For some students, this would be their first experience with Christian worship. The Holy Spirit was evident throughout Praise Night as hands were raised in worship and hearts were poured out in song. Pastor Tim Wang, who shepherds a church in Taichung, then delivered a powerful message on the character of God. As with the past few days, we watched with awe as God planted seeds of love in the hearts of the students before our eyes. We look forward to the blessings ahead in the precious few days we have left with the students.

Written by Ariana Gruber and Jonathan Pang

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Our TA band led worship in both English and Chinese

 

MSCE 2017 Day 4

This morning, we started off with a powerful message: the gospel. Jeff explained about God’s grace and how God loves us so much that He sent His one and only son to die for all our sins and raised him from the dead, so that we could become children of God. It was a privilege to share and discuss the foundation of our faith with the Taiwanese students. After, Ariana, Jeff, and Winifred shared their stories of how God has changed their lives during Morning Manna. We were blessed by their emotional and personal testimonies that showed us how God works for His own good in each person in different ways.

Then, since today was the halfway point of our camp, we celebrated by switching up our schedule and going extended field trip! We started by going to the beautiful Yehliu Geopark, surrounded by the mountains and the ocean, in Wanli District, New Taipei. With umbrellas and water bottles in hand, we explored the unique rock formations and discovered that famous Queen’s head formation was smaller than expected.

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Team 4 at Yehliu Geopark

Afterwards, we hopped on our bus and sang karaoke until reaching our destination: The National Palace Museum. We were introduced to many ancient artifacts including pottery, jade and bronze items, calligraphy, and paintings. It was truly a reminder of how God provided for people even hundreds of years ago by providing them with the materials, creativity, and intelligence to craft these things.

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Team 4 with Confucius at National Palace Museum

Our last, and most anticipated, spot was the Shilin Night market. Surrounded by swarms of food, faces, and merchandise, we didn’t know where to start. Many teams enjoyed tasting different Taiwanese street food including stinky tofu, sausages, oyster omelets, icy desserts, and a variety of drinks. Everyone seemed thoroughly and happily stuffed.

We are also excited to share that by God’s grace, one of the Taiwanese students has accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior! Please pray that she would continue to learn to love Christ and live for him everyday. Also, please continue praying that the Lord would use us to bring the Taiwanese students to salvation and that we would not become prideful, but instead direct all the praise and glory to God.

Written by Amy Lee and Winifred Tung

MSCE 2017 Day 3

Today was the second day with our wonderful MSCE students! Already they seemed more comfortable talking in English and are gradually opening up! The morning began with our daily Bible study where we discussed God’s holiness (Leviticus 19:1-2) and Man’s sinfulness (Romans 3:23, 6:23, Matthew 5:43-48).  It was encouraging to see some new students attend.  While we ate our Morning Manna breakfast of rice tamales (糰)and steamed buns (饅頭), TAs Camille, Stacy, and Tony shared wonderful testimonies of how God transformed their lives and continues to work through them! Several students said they were touched by the sharing time.

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TA Tony sharing his personal testimony!

Afterwards, Mackay Medical College (MMC) students taught about Taiwanese Food & Travel, Taiwan Culture & Language, Medical Humanities, and Women’s Rights and we got to sample peanut candies from two different Taiwan islands. Afterwards, TAs Camille and Amy led a role-playing language activity challenging the students to practice their negotiation skills.

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TAs Camille (left) and Amy (right) listening to a pair of students reenact their role-playing practice!

In the afternoon, two MMC students presented on Taiwan Sign Language (different than American Sign Language) and taught us how to motion a few words like hello! TAs Winifred and Ariana led a hilarious game of Balderdash where each team tried to guess the correct definition of silly vocabulary words. Some of them included “smellfungus,” “hootenanny,” and “fartlek.” Strangely enough, these were actual words!

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Taiwanese students teaching us Taiwan Sign Language

 

 

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TAs Winifred (left) and Ariana (right) explaining the rules of the game, Balderdash.

 

After dinner, we had a Sports Night! The MMC students put our bodies to the test with pushups, situps, and running! Following the game, we played their version of dodgeball. Our evening concluded with TAs Jonathan and Jeff leading us in the American classic “Capture the Flag.” The students had a blast!

The highlight of the night was finding out that one of the students accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! We praise God for His perfect sovereignty in orchestrating everything according to the kind intentions of His will.

Please pray for the students to continue seeking after the Truth, the opportunities to share about Jesus Christ, and for our ongoing strength!

To God alone be the glory,
Anthony & Sherry

MSCE 2017 Day 2

Today was our first full day with our students! We started the morning with a Bible study session, optional for the students but a good handful showed up! The TAs had the opportunity share some basics of the Bible with the students, many of whom have never attended a Bible study before. Then during breakfast, also known as “Morning Manna,” three TAs (Jonathan, Cindy, & Ellie) shared their personal testimonies – later some of the students approached them and acknowledged that they identified with their stories, which sparked spiritual conversations – it’s amazing to see our awesome God working in the lives of these students! Following this time, we listened to three presentations by Dr. Jason and three lovely TAs (Cindy, Ellie, & Jeff) emphasizing the importance of EXERCISE! After, the students led some thought-invoking discussions about social topics (movies, pop culture, economics) and we had the opportunity to share our thoughts from American and Christian perspectives.

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TA Ellie shares during “Morning Manna” – her testimony sparked a conversation with her roommate, who identified with many parts of Ellie’s story.

After lunch, two TAs led a language activity, which was engaging for every team and also helped to practice some of the students’ vocabulary. Each team had to take pictures of an action word they had picked from a given letter, which led to many interesting photos. Afterwards, some of the NDMC (National Defense Medical Center) gave some presentations on various aspects of Taiwan, such as the Taiwan National Health Insurance, the climate, and labor rights. It was eye-opening to see the various differences between Taiwan and the United States. Then after dinner, we had a fun night with 8 different activities and one big group activity at the end.

 

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TA Jeff teach partner stretching with the help of his enthusiastic assistant, Dr. James – and it sure stretched us (pun intended)!

 

Throughout the day, we were grateful for the God-given little opportunities here and there to engage in conversation with our roommates and students – may God continue to give us wisdom and the words to say, to work in the hearts of these students and grow their curiosity for Jesus, and to watch over this camp as we move along this week!

Written by Cindy Wu and Kaitlyn Shih

 

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Team 2 acting out “shock” for the language activity – would you have guessed correctly?

 

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Students from NDMC demonstrate how to carry a wounded person, an integral part of their training as military doctors.