The words that I resonate with me the most on this trip: “When you serve, you always end up with the biggest rewards.”
It was really by God’s grace that I could be a part of MSCE this year.
I’ve been thinking of missions ever since my friend told me that she was going to Malawi this summer. I didn’t follow up with these ideas and the deadlines quickly passed before I ever came to a decision. Just as I thought that my summer was going to lazy and uneventful, God allowed me to come across a post on Facebook. It was a post on how the program was short on TAs and needed someone. After I contacted Shannon and read more about MSCE, testimonies from past TAs,I felt that there was no reason not to go, no reason not to say yes.
The weeks before camp began, I started to feel kind of worried because I saw myself as a shy baby Christian, maybe not fully equipt to serve God. But I think God was able to use me with the support and help of our team of TAs! I remember when I met them the first day in the dorms. Everyone was so incredibly nice and open to sharing their lives and supporting one another. Later as I heard their testimonies, I was so encouraged by how God brings us close to him in so many different ways. Looking back, I was also met with the hospitality of the churches we arrived at, from providing our dorms to praying for us and encouraging us. I remember asking the students on the first day of bible study about their thoughts on Chistianity. They told me that what stood out to them was the sense of unity that Christians had. I saw this to be so true during this trip!
When I think back on MSCE, I think about all the new friends I’ve made in the short week I’ve had with them. All the times we’ve had discussing presentations, scavenging through the night markets, exploring jiufen together, throwing each other into the ocean, massaging each others’ backs, brought us closer and left behind so many fun memories. On the first day we got to know each other a little bit through a light-hearted game of two truths and one lie, but as the week went on, we learned so much more about each other. On the last night, as we sat on the rooftop, each member of our team shared the one thing that we loved most about MSCE. I remember one of my teammates saying that, she didn’t think that it was possible to make friends in such a short time, in just one week. I totally thought the same, but by the end of the week, we both realized that we were wrong.
Saying goodbye was hard, but I know that if I ever come back to Taiwan, I’ll have so many people to hangout with. Something that really stood out to me was that even though a large majority of the students were not Christian, they were so open and respectful towards our faith and our testimonies. They came to bible study and praise night and they were open to our questions. For me, it was really a practice of being unashamed of the gospel and being unafraid to share about what God has given me so graciously!
During the second week at HengChun, I really got a front row seat to the love and service of the staff who work at the small hospital there. I also realized how much of a need there was. There was a small supply but a huge demand for workers to help the aging population in the rural areas. I was really moved by the service workers who joyfully drove up incredibly windy roads to meet with the elderly patients who needed help cooking, bathing, cleaning, and maybe just needed some company. It was not just a job, but it was like they were chatting and laughing with a friend. I wondered if I could ever do that.
But I think what impacted me the most were the words of the speakers that we listened to. We first listened to Dr. Chen, an opthalmologist who dedicated his life to working in HengChun. He told us the story of how he was called to work in Taiwan. During his devotions, he read the parable of the master and his three servants. The master left each of his servants with a number of talents. The first two servants multiplied their talents and the master was very happy and greatly rewarded them. But the third servant returned with exactly the same amount of talents that he was given, not one more, not one less. The master was angry. The third servant was not faithful in using the talents that the master has entrusted to him. Through this parable, Dr. Chen felt a calling to use his talents in Taiwan. I thought about this a lot because I realized that God has given each of us different gifts and talents and that we will be held accountable. I don’t want to be the third servant, and I’m still trying to hear, and not only hear but to answer to, his calling.
Before this trip, I was very uncertain of whether or not my desire to become a doctor was faithful. I’ve always felt that my desire to become a doctor was a little bit too ambitious, and somewhat self serving (to be very honest, even though I would like to help people). I felt that somehow my dream of being a physician conflicted with my faith. But during this short week, I’ve come across so many doctors who have faithfully answered God’s calling by using their skills and talents to bring the gospel and Christ’s compassion to so many people. I’ve come to realize that it will not be a matter of which career I choose, but it will be a question of where my heart is at in terms of hearing and obeying God’s voice. And I have assurance that if it is God’s will, he will make it happen. In all I do, all glory be to Christ!
— Charlotte Chan
It’s been a week since I returned to the United States from MSCE, and I’m still in awe of how much of God’s love and grace I experienced throughout this entire trip.
At first, I was a bit apprehensive because I did not know exactly what to expect. Although I was an ambivert/extrovert (as I learned through a fellow TA’s presentation), it’s been awhile (actually 8 years!) since I participated in a mission or English camp, and I wasn’t sure how well I would interact with my fellow American TAs, the faculty, and the Taiwanese medical school students. Despite growing up as a Christian, I felt unsure about my own capabilities to share, not only about my own life, but also about God and His word. Because of this, ever since I applied for this program, I began praying, and the Lord opened up so many doors for me and paved a way for me to attend MSCE. He also began preparing me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, through spiritual mentors who encouraged me, as well as my parents, who taught me Mandarin and Taiwanese phrases that they thought would be useful during MSCE. As the camp grew closer on the horizon, I began to trust that He would use even me, as insecure and weak as I was, to do His work in Taiwan.
On the first week, I was pleasantly surprised at how sweet, genuine, and God-fearing all the TAs were. Despite showing up one day later than everyone else and missing orientation and self-introductions, I was taken aback at how each and every one of them made an effort to really reach out to me and include me. Gradually, throughout the week, I began to find out more about each of them, and I was touched by their willingness to openly share with the Taiwanese students about their spiritual walk and their struggles.
It was also eye-opening to interact with pre-health students from another country. At first, i was scared that i would be perceived as “too-American” or different, and wouldn’t be able to connect with them on a deeper level. However, despite language and cultural barriers, I really saw God opening up the hearts and minds of these students to us and the Gospel message that we had to share. There was nothing more joyful than when my students decided to open up about their beliefs and ask us often-difficult and thought-provoking questions about Christianity, and I was taken aback when several students thanked me for sharing so much about the bible with them at the end of the camp. Through this, God was teaching and encouraging me that through Him, I was capable of sharing, and that I should have no trepidation or shame in doing so, and this really encouraged me as I went into the second week of MSCE.
The second week, the American TAs, faculty, and several of the Mckay Medical school students went to HengChun for the service trip at HengChun Christian Hospital. However, before we went there, several of the TAs and I got sick from a terrible case of food poisoning. Against the advice of several people, I (a broke college student) unwisely decided to not invest in health insurance, and I really thought I was going to have to tough it out. However, during that very tough first morning, I read this verse in my devotion:
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.”Matthew 6:28
Despite all my physical pain and misgivings, I knew that God was telling me that He was in control, and that my health and well-being was in His hands. I really believe that day, God sent so many angels to take care of us, whether it be through Mackay students who helped one of the TAs to the emergency room, or the faculty, who just so happened to be highly-skilled medical professionals and doctors. Through His grace and the people He provided to take care of me, I was able to make a full recovery by the first day of our service trip.
During the service trip, I struggled not only with my physical health and a constant feeling of fatigue, but also with my sense of purpose. When the faculty asked me to give a testimony in Taiwanese, I was shocked- this was a language that I only spoke with my family members, and I wasn’t even sure if I was even proficient enough at it. Nevertheless, as I laid awake at night thinking and stressing out about what to say, God really spoke to me and reassured me, yet again, that He was in control. In my devotions, I came across this verse:
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”Ephesians 2:4-5
Despite the burnout and my physical and spiritual weakness, God reminded me yet and yet again that ultimately, He was omnipotent, and that I had nothing to worry about. I learned this again and again, as i experienced the watched Christ’s love pour out of the HengChun hospital workers into serving and loving people who were literally ostracized and neglected by the rest of Taiwanese society. I saw God working through my fellow TAs and faculty as they joyfully interacted with, served, and prayed for the aboriginal children and elderly patients. And I saw Him working through me, as I finally gave my very brief (and painfully simple) testimony on the last day, and I saw both tears and laughter come out of the patients that I ministered to.
Throughout this whole trip, I was reminded of how weak and vulnerable I was, but also how powerful and loving God was, not just towards me, but also the people of Taiwan. I really saw what a great need the Taiwanese people had, not only just for some basic healthcare and necessities that I previously took for granted, but also how much they hungered to know God and His love. I was blessed to go on this trip and experience God working in so many miraculous ways, and it really inspires me to continue serving and sharing His love to others, no matter where I am.
— Lucia Lee
Taiwan is the place my father calls home. To my American-born senses, it’s both a home and a foreign country…but regardless, during MSCE God reminded me that the missions field is everywhere, both at home and abroad. To that end, I was reminded of His love for each human soul at the camp, and how He yearns to save the lost and cure the sick. Being neither a college student nor a professional in the health care field, it was an honor to be a part of the camp and to play but a small part in being an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
It was precious to share in the lives of Taiwanese students during that brief but sweet week. While it was encouraging to fellowship with believing students, it was challenging nevertheless when considering the intellectual and spiritual hurdles that many students face in their seeking of true life and salvation in Christ. No wonder Paul writes that “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing” but to those who are being saved “it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:18). Accordingly, we are saved by grace through faith, through no work or intellectual or moral merit of our own, but by God’s work entirely (Ephesians 2:8). What a gift to be used in the glorious miracle of God bringing sinners from death into life, even if the fruits cannot be seen during our brief time at camp, or even our brief time on this earth. And what a glimpse it is of Christ’s love for us to experience His heartfelt, relentless pursuit when we likewise encounter those who are still not the sheep of his fold. I continue to trust that God, who is unchangeable, unstoppable, and cannot be turned back (Job 23:13), will continue to call His children in Taiwan and in all corners of the earth by name, as He builds up for himself a body of saints to be with Him in eternity!
— Hannah Chen
It ought to be so unreachably big that you
can only see it through the eyes of
Christ by faith.
It ought to be harder than you can handle
on your own so as to make you more
dependent on God.
It ought to give you enough
disappointments to make you humble and
break your spiritual pride.
It ought to be difficult enough to make you
weep for others that you might become
It ought to have enough demanding,
insensitive, ungrateful people in it to teach
you to love like Jesus loves.
It ought to have enough impossible,
insurmountable obstacles in it to teach you
the goodness and power of God.
It ought to teach you how to love when
you’re tired, give when you’re spent, and
pray when you’re weary.
It ought to teach you how to turn your
mourning into dancing, your sadness into
joy, and your sorrow into laughter.
It ought to teach you the power and truth
of God’s word, the strength of His voice,
and the might of His commands.
It ought to teach you to love the only One
worthy of all our love; the One who became
poor that we might become right; the One
who became sin that we might become
righteousness of God.
A true ministry is the ministry
that helps you become:
like Jesus Christ
more in love with God
more in love with people.
I think these two weeks reminded me of all the things above.
— poem from Young Life ministry, contributed by Elton Xiao
Foundations of Faith
In a commonplace way, faith or trust underlies how everyone lives. We drink water for various reasons and trust that it has been safely processed. We trust the food we purchase is uncontaminated. We sometimes submit to the surgeon’s scalpel, even though we don’t have expertise in medical procedures. Every day we exercise an innate faith in someone or something. In a similar way, when you have spiritual faith you willingly accept basic ideas and act on many things you don’t understand. However, your spiritual faith doesn’t operate innately, as natural faith does. Natural trust accompanies natural birth, and spiritual trust is a direct result of spiritual birth. Hebrews 11 describes faith as “… the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:8 remind us “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Faith is a gift. It’s not something that has to be contrived or worked up. Everyone has been given a measure of faith, and that faith grows as we hear the Word of God. Best of all, the more you know His Word, the more you understand that He is a good God and rewards the people who seeks after Him. Hebrews 11:6 says “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those seek him”.
Depending on God
Faith was something I was unfamiliar with before the MSCE/Hengchun trip, as my daily life was structured and organized to the hour. Upon hearing about MSCE, I felt a strong calling from God to attend, but immediately ignored it because my summer had already been carefully planned and it coincided with my family vacation. However, after a prayerful week passed, I decided to depend on God and attend MSCE despite cutting my trip a little short.
The weeks following before the trip I started doubting if I made the right choice. I feared that I wouldn’t be able to set a good example for the students, communicate with them on a deeper level, and share the Gospel with them clearly.
As the camp began, these worries faded away when I met my cheerful and loving Taiwanese students （Go Team 2 Daniels 小朋友！）. They always worked together to solve challenges and collaborated to hit all the best places to eat when we went on a field trip. The thoroughly planned activities were great bonding moments for our group. We exchanged thoughts and built upon each other’s ideas to complete contests such as the lantern craft, scavenger hunt, and cooking contest. As we got to know each other’s personalities, the students became more comfortable with opening up during lecture and bible study discussions, even sharing their beliefs and experiences with Christianity.
The presenters, media team, activities planners, tech assistants and commanders poured so much hard work and effort into this camp. I cannot express my gratitude for all the members and faculty that made MSCE a camp that I would definitely like to return to in the future.
Where is your faith?
Following the camp, we went to the southern tip of Taiwan, Hengchun Township. Even though I had never been on a missions trip before, I was excited to have the opportunity to travel to a less privileged region of Taiwan. God further challenged my faith when one of our TA’s had an emergency situation on the way to the bullet train. In the midst of the fear and worry that we wouldn’t be able to make the train, it seemed like God was asking me “Where is your faith?” I thought that I fully trusted in God, but in reality my trust was in the things I saw, heard and felt. I felt rebuked but humbled that even though trials in life may seem stronger to us than God’s word, I can fight fear with faith that can only come from Jesus.
My memories of Hengchun are those filled with conversation and laughter from traveling around Pingtung County to visit elderly, school children and hospital patients. At Hengchun Christian Hospital, the hospital staff and volunteers demonstrated their care and love for us, especially in their hard work in planning activities for our team and making our stay as comfortable as possible. Their joy and dedication towards serving the locals motivated me to work harder. During this trip, I was able to catch a glimpse of what life is like for both the people who are serving and the people who are being served. Through this first hand experience at Hengchun, I would like to encourage everyone to think about serving on a missions trip in the future and experience the wonderful things that I was able to participate in.
— Esther Chan
I remember staying all night the day before my flight, because I was too excited to sleep. At the thought of meeting so many new people and traveling to a foreign place was enough to keep me awake. My lifelong friendship began when a cute Taiwanese student picked me up from the airport, with a handmade welcome sign with my name on it. We traveled for couple hours to get to the Mackay campus, and we got to know each other during those hours. I was astonished by how beautiful the campus was, and the next moment, Julianne and Daniel were helping me to my dorm. That night, I went to sleep with heavy fatigue, and a smile, feeling warmly welcomed.
The next day, I met the TAs and faculties that I’ve been exchanging mails with. Everyone was very nice and genuinely curious about me. I remember shaking hands with everyone with a soy bean milk in my other hand, answering their questions about Mongolia and myself. That day, we were introduced to George Mackay, who was considered as an important influencer in the region. We learned about his personal life, his dedication and contribution to Taiwan. I was very shocked that Dr. Paul was associated with George Mackay himself. We had the opening ceremony and sky lantern project in the evening. It was also a chance to introduce ourselves and break the ice. But, I don’t think there was any ice to break, because everyone was so friendly and open with each other.
The days were filled with new friendships, networking, new experience and undying curiosity for each other. I was nervous everyday till my presentation, constantly trying to perfect it for the Taiwanese students and TAs. But, in the end, everyone loved it and I enjoyed my time on stage. On average, I was asked around 40-50 questions about my life, my country and my school per day and I was more than happy to answer all of them, and grateful that they were interested that much. In return, I would also ask questions about their lives and learned a lot about both Taiwanese culture and American culture.
Everyday was a new experience and a pleasant surprise. I would start the day with Bible study and Morning Manna, both gave me so much knowledge on Christianity and changed some of my perspectives on religion. The TAs were always there to answer my questions when I was confused or there was something I didn’t understand well. The Bible study helped me to resolve my confusions on certain phrases and have quality discussions with my team. I always wondered how someone decided to become Christian and the Morning Manna answered my question fully. I listened to personal stories from TAs, stories that are very precious and interesting.
The trip to the night market was an adventure. It was my first time seeing lots of people in narrow streets, eating and buying cute things. The shops were all very pretty and the food choices were limitless. My teammates asked me what I wanted to try, and the next moment, they all brought out their phones, searching for the best shop that had that food. They all divided my time by the number of snacks I needed to try and made sure I tried all of them. I remember us huddled up in a corner, all of them circling me with different food in their hands, waiting for me to finish my previous meal. By the end of the night, I slept like a baby in the bus, with a overly full stomach.
Being born and raised in a landlocked country, visiting the beach was a whole new experience for me. I remember how it felt when the ocean wind went through my hair and waves clashed on my legs. I find it funny how I struggled to see the ending of the water, forgetting it was an ocean for a moment. Boys were throwing each other into water, girls were taking cute pictures, and I was laying on the warm sand, thankful for coming to Taiwan.
As I got on the plane, I looked back on all of my memories and felt so lucky to have the opportunity to come here, make life long friends and learn foreign cultures and have fun. I looked back on the time when I was trying to carry ping pong balls from one cup to another, during the game “Chopstick Master”. I treasure the time when we walked to our dorms with sandy feet and wet clothes after exploring the ocean. I remember the taste of the oyster pancakes and mango shaved ice that Prof. James bought us. It was a week full of surprises, new friendships and endless amount of bubble tea.
Same as the day before my flight, I was too excited to sleep this time, too. Just like the first week, the second week was full of new encounters, starting from the very clean and convenient HSR, to my very first Starbucks. The hours I spent with Elton on HSR, we talked about what we want in life, our families and what we want to accomplish in the future. The hours I spent on the bus with Anne, I asked her about the differences between Christianity and Catholicism, her perspective on feminism and equal pay and so on. Before I knew it, we were in Hengchun.
First thing that I noticed was how it was windier and cooler than Taipei and how the neighborhood was calmer and slower. We were escorted to our hotel by the hospital staff and took a rest for couple hours before we went for dinner. The dinner was full of traditional Taiwanese dishes and I liked the new flavors.
The next day, we were formally introduced to the hospital and its history, structure and how it functions. The Hengchun Christian Hospital was certainly the place of savior and happiness in Hengchun area. I was astonished by how the hospital still tries its best in the most difficult circumstances. The typhoon, staff shortage, lack of quality equipments, and it still works hard to help people. It was a place full of empathy, hope and love for their patients. It was amazing how they have worships every morning, and every staff would come. Even when there weren’t available seats in the chapel, people would sit outside the room, and still pray to their best.
We did home visitations to see the lives of patients with chronic illnesses. In teams, we would meet them, ask them questions, get to know their lives and some of the cases were very heart breaking, but I was thankful that they have Hengchun hospital social workers and friendly neighbors to help them in time of need. As a doctor, one should be able to understand and relate to someone’s pain. I tried my best to sympathize with the patients, despite the language barrier. Fortunately, Beau and the Taiwanese student Shelly interpreted Mandarin and Taiwanese for me. I think it also helped them to overcome their own language barriers, too.
The next day was more on medical side, as we went to elders center and a school to talk about alcohol intolerance and oral cancer prevention. I had the opportunity to do oral exams on people, including couple elders and a faculty member, Prof. James. Beau and I checked their oral hygiene, asked questions regarding beetle nuts and alcohol consumption. When lunch time came, I did meal service, where I handed out curry to people and with every scoop, I prayed for them. It was probably not a big deal, but it felt really rewarding when I saw people digging into their food. Afterwards, we went to a school, where we were welcomed with a performance from the children and a game to start the event. They were very generous and taught us how to do their traditional token that served as a souvenir for us.
For me, the best day was the day where we shadowed doctors and nurses in the hospital. Beau and I were assigned to the Radiology Department and we learned a lot. The doctor was very open and willing to show us everything, and answered all of our questions. She taught us how the machines and equipments operate, how she works, how she manages everything during busy days and so on. In return, we asked about her life, why she chose Radiology, and her thoughts on working in Hengchun Christian Hospital. During this time, Beau translated each and every word that it felt like I was talking to the doctor myself. We also explored other departments, including the ER, Family medicine, and Urology, and was met with the same friendly, professional people.
Another clinical experience that I liked was when we visited the Dialysis Center of the hospital. We sang songs to the patients, talked to them and Lucia generously shared her testimony. She is a very strong girl and I’m sure every patient in the room felt her sincerity. I learned about the patients lives, their routine, how many times they get dialysis and how they cope with it. I was very curious about the dialysis machine itself and I tried to figure out each and every button and tube. There were stuff that I didn’t know on the machine, and the nurses were happy to answer my questions and explain some of the complicated mechanisms.
The last, but not least, I loved the aquarium museum. It was my first time seeing so many different types of fish and marine animals. I was ecstatic, because I finally saw the animals from Finding Nemo in real life. My heart melted when the beluga whale approached us and waved its cute fins; it was truly a once in a lifetime experience. I even bought a beluga whale neck pillow for my flight.
This week was full of personal growth, trying to help people to make change. It was a challenge for some of us and a new view on quality of life. Some cases hit sensitive parts of our life, but we kept on moving, learning, and reflecting on those cases from different points of view. We talked to many elders and listened to their stories, ask their seasoned opinions on various life matters that we were yet to understand. It fired us up from the insides that we need to make a change and contribute to these mission to make someone’s life even a little bit better. We went out of our comfort zones, tried to battle those language and cultural barriers that we faced, make effort to be useful and make our stay worthwhile. It was a week that was irreplaceable, and I made the best choice of my life.
— Gua Gurbadam, special attendee from Mongolia, with generous support of Taiwan Christian Medical Association
Being part of MSCE missions was such a blessing and privilege last year in the summer of 2018. Thus, I was thrilled to be a part of the team once again in 2019. Although only one other TA that I knew returned, I was still blown away by the kindness and spiritual maturity of the new team. I honestly felt so refreshed and humbled to meet these wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ. Nearly all of them were younger than me, but they were really on fire for God and so eager to share the gospel.
The first night we spent at the MMC campus however was a bit of a struggle for me. After the day of rendezvousing together, meeting one another, settling in, prepping assignments, and worship practice, we had some time to rest before our praying meeting. So, I went up to my assigned dorm alone and took a nap. Before my alarm went off, I woke up and got scissor-locked, which is also known as sleep paralysis. For those who’ve never been scissor-locked before, you essentially become conscious of surroundings and you can open and close your eyes; but, no matter how hard you try, you can’t move your body at all. I had been scissor-locked before, but the last time was years ago. For me this time was different. I felt a great weight pressing down on my chest, I could hear this ceaseless and chilling sound, and I felt a profound sense of dread. The first word that came to mind was demon, and I was literally frozen in fear. The whole thing just felt too real to simply be my imagination. I was taught ever since childhood that if I were ever to sense a demonic presence that I should immediately call out and say, “in the name of Jesus Christ begone!” But I couldn’t even move my mouth to do so. So, all I could do was pray that God would intervene, but nevertheless this went on for what seemed like an eternity.
When it was over, I turned on the lights and sat there in silence – my heart feeling both heavy and uneasy. In all honesty I was angry with God. Isn’t He all powerful? Don’t demons tremble in His presence? Then why didn’t He intervene, especially since I’m here to serve? After a while I had to head downstairs for the prayer meeting. However, when I got there it seemed to be over. Apparently, the time had been changed to half an hour earlier. In a way I was thankful for this because I wanted to tell what had happened to the staff but didn’t quite feel ready to tell the team. I shared with Dr. James Chen and he prayed over me. One of the things he said whilst praying that stuck with me was this: “Lord we do not know why you allowed this to happen, but we trust in your perfect plan.” That brought me to tears. I felt guilty because in reality I had been angry with God not 10 minutes prior. I also realized that the experience, whether demon-involved or not, could’ve easily been a lot worse. Afterwards Dr. Chen kindly offered to let me stay the night in the staff suite so I wouldn’t be alone. When I arrived, all of the staff greeted me warmly and Auntie Margaret even shared with me a similar experience that she had had in the past. Though it was a simple gesture, I truly felt loved and cared for by God through the staff in that moment. Furthermore, I was reassured that no matter what difficulties lay ahead, the Lord would sustain us, and we would face them together.
The next day the Taiwanese students moved into the dorms with us for the camp, and so I moved back to my designated room. The difference for me this year, I think, was experience. I was already familiar with the schedule, the staff, the location, the climate, and many of the returning students. This made adapting and getting comfortable with the students a bit easier for me. Personally, I could really feel that God was giving me boldness and strength to overcome my introversion and shyness. This was crucial in order to get close to the students. After all we only had a week to spend with them. The context of the camp definitely provided tremendous help to us in this regard since most of the Taiwanese students were eager to make American friends and practice their English. However, being mostly 1st and 2nd year college students, they’re still very young, insecure, and shy as well. But, once our team showed them how friendly we were, they quickly opened up as well. A big tip I learned for this, and for any social interaction for that matter, is to show the other person that you are genuinely interested in their life and in what they have to say. Additionally, since many of the TA’s were 4 or 5 years older than the Taiwanese students, we found that bringing ourselves down to their level was very important as well, in order to eliminate that age gap.
Despite the camp only being roughly 8 days long, we would spend almost every waking moment with each other. This really opened the doors for relational evangelism. By first developing real friendships with the students we were able to earn their trust and get them to really open up about themselves. Throughout the week we had bible studies, personal testimonies, prayers times, and praise sessions. These all provided excellent opportunities to ask the students what they thought or how they felt about these activities in order to begin conversations about Christ. To our joy and delight many of the students were greatly interested to know more about God and the Bible. Given the fact that this was a Christian medical school, most if not all of the students had at least heard the name Jesus before, but many did not know the gospel story or message beforehand. Thus, through group discussions as well as individual talks we tried our best to answer their questions and encourage them to continue reading the word themselves and to ask God for answers. The campus ministry at Mackay was also an important community and resource that we would point them towards for further growth.
Another important tool that I discovered during the camp was apologetics. Given that the students were all future healthcare providers, they all had science backgrounds and logical based mindsets. As a result, many of them wanted to know how our team, consisting of doctors and future healthcare providers as well, would be able to reconcile science with our faith. By God’s grace, throughout my life I have been equipped with answers to this very question. Indeed, this was a source of doubt for me in the past as well. Today I firmly believe that science and faith are harmonious because God was the one who created all things. Although science and logic alone won’t lead to a relationship with God, they are useful tools that can be used to help point people towards Christ. Therefore, I would highly encourage all of us to study and arm ourselves so that we may always be ready to defend of our faith.
As eventful and exhausting as the camp was, our time still came and went in the blink of an eye. Hugs, cards, and tearful goodbyes were exchanged as we boarded our bus back to Taipei City. That evening the TA’s and I explored the local area, shopped, and had delicious beef noodle soup for dinner. Unfortunately, that evening turned out to be one of the worst I’ve ever had in Taiwan. That night I couldn’t fall asleep and began feeling nauseous. I would spend all night standing over a toilet bowl, throwing up all the yummy foods I had that day, and fighting a fever. I suspected I got food poisoned somewhere along the way, and my suspicion was confirmed in the morning when I heard that two other teammates had gotten sick as well. Funny thing was, many of us that didn’t get sick had eaten all the same foods. Nevertheless, in the morning our schedule dictated that we were to meet with the staff at the Taipei HSR Station so we could head south to Heng Chun for the 2nd half of our missions trip.
Gradually we made our way out and headed towards the MRT line. Along the way our teammates insisted that we three sick ones take a taxi directly to the HSR station because apparently, we all looked “awful” and “like utter crap.” So, we reluctantly accepted. In spite of this, by the time we got to the station, I felt absolutely exhausted and even began feeling nauseous again.
Upon arrival I quickly went downstairs to the bathroom to throw up. But it never came, so I went back upstairs to join the others. As I was heading up my hands began to feel numb and gradually froze altogether. My fingers were completely contorted, and the feeling was like having iron clasps around them. I was genuinely afraid that my bones would break. In a panic I quickly told Dr. Paul Cheng what was happening, and he said, “oh no, you most likely have potassium imbalance, we need to take you to the hospital.” Normally, going to the hospital would’ve been the last thing that I would want to do, especially since our train was departing soon. But nothing like this had ever happened to me before and I was truly afraid. I began hyperventilating, and then the numbness spread to my legs, and then up my chest, neck, and face. So, they put me in a wheelchair because I could no longer stand on my own. In that moment I thought “oh wow, what if this is it? What if I die today? I might never see my parents again, and they’ll be absolutely devastated if I’m taken away so suddenly.” So internally I started praying fervently that God would heal me and just let everything pass. Right in that moment, I was reminded of what Dr. James had prayed over me the previous week: “Lord we don’t know why you allowed this to happen, but we trust in your perfect plan.” Right then I was reminded that even in this crazy situation, that God was still on His throne and that He was still in control. This knowledge gave me a sense of peace, and allowed me to say, “Lord may your good and perfect will be done.”
Don’t get me wrong though, I was definitely still feeling afraid and uncertain. Dr. Jimmy Yu and one of the Taiwanese students named Steve hurriedly took me in a taxi to Mackay Memorial Hospital, which was thankfully very close by. The taxi driver recognized the emergency situation and drove us over very speedily. When we arrived, he pulled up all the way to the front door which is normally permissible only for ambulances and he even refused to take our money. May God bless his kind soul. Once inside I was tested thoroughly and shown amazing care and attention by hospital staff, Dr. Yu, Steve, and many others. After receiving some medication, an injection, and replenishing my electrolytes, the numbness in my legs and upper body seemed to fade, leaving only my hands still frozen. Several hours later I was put in bed with an IV and told to just rest. During that time another 3 people visited me including Dylan, a Taiwanese student friend who I had met during MSCE 2018 and 2 more doctors who were friends of my parents and the mission staff. After a while my hands normalized, and I was finally able to send a message to my parents. Thankfully they were also in Taiwan doing their own mission trip. Both of them came to see me and were updated by Dr. Yu and the doctors on staff.
That night I had to stay in the hospital and my mom kept watch over me. The next day I was discharged just before noon. All in all, I stayed in the hospital around 24 hours and the bill came out to around 500 US dollars without insurance. If this had happened in the US, the bill would’ve easily been more than double that. Thank God for Taiwan’s world class healthcare. Throughout this experience I could very clearly see God’s provision and feel His love through all the circumstances and people who were sent to help and encourage me. Although the situation was awful, and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, it could’ve easily been a whole lot worse. In fact, the results of my tests showed that my ion levels at the time of incident were just one unit away from cardiac arrest. JUST ONE UNIT! God was so clearly involved in this situation, and not only that, He called on so many people to love, encourage, and pray for me, including friends who had heard what had happened back in the US.
After being discharged I was taken by my dad to my Aunt’s place in Taichung. The hospital had given me strict instructions to continue my antibiotics, to eat only simple foods like porridge, and to come back immediately if nausea or diarrhea continued. Although it was only a half day journey, I could tell that I wasn’t fully recovered because by the time we boarded our train I was already feeling dizzy and lightheaded. I spent the next 5 days resting at my aunt’s house and couldn’t really do much of anything. A part of me was upset about being sidelined while the rest of the team continued on south to Heng Chun. But the other part of me was just thankful that the situation hadn’t gotten any worse and that I was now on the path to full recovery. Situations like these really make one realize just how precious good health is and how often we take it for granted. Another thought that comforted me was knowing that God was in control, and so if He didn’t intend for me to be with the team right now then so be it. Thus, I spent my time updating the many family members, friends, and mission teammates who had messaged me asking about what happened and about my current condition.
Towards the end of that week, by the grace of God, I was healthy enough to head up to Taipei in order to reunite with the team as they returned from Southern Taiwan. I was so thankful to be able to see the team again, and to thank everyone for their prayers, especially Dr. Yu and Steve who really went out of their way to take such good care of me. Best of all I got to hear about the team’s experience down south which was also a huge blessing as well. There, once again, many tears, hugs, and goodbyes were exchanged as the majority of the team split up to head home. From literally the beginning till the end of this trip, I was reminded of how good and how gracious God truly is. Sometimes we’re so blinded by worldly distractions and by our weakness that we can only see Him moving in times of crisis. But in reality, He is always active in our daily lives in ways we can’t even begin to comprehend.
— Luke Lin
This year of MSCE was a week of both old and new faces, friends, activities and games, and lessons of many kinds, but in the end, I think I come away with thankfulness and joy for the way God allowed us to be used by Him, to build the sweetest friendships with the Mackay students and share a little bit of God’s love with them.
The month before MSCE began, I felt as though my faith was being swayed. I had just moved back home from college for a gap year, and suddenly I was in between churches, job interviews and rejections, and miles instead of blocks away from friends. In a daily struggle to keep trusting in God in a season of uncomfortable transitions, I wondered if I had made the right decision to come.
And yet, despite these doubts, God in His perfect timing seemed to provide me with so many reassurances of His power, sovereignty, and care for us during the camp. Even in the days and hours leading up to the moment we’d meet our students in the Mackay auditorium, I received so many words of encouragement from fellow believers, even in waiting to board our flight with my older sister, or in meeting another returning TA on the bus ride to campus. The day before leaving, a former TA at my home church prayed for our trip, and reassured me from her own experience that God was truly in control, and that many of the doubts and fears I held (like hers from the previous year) would simply “melt away” once I arrived – and this proved to be so true, not only in meeting the open and warm TAs, but also upon meeting the incredibly sweet Team 4 students. While initially shy, slowly our team warmed up to each other through silly activities and memorable cooking contest mishaps, and we were surprised that on the last night, they wanted to stay up late together to talk about some “spiritual topic.” It was true that by myself, I didn’t have the ability or faith to do anything for these students, and at the end felt a privilege to catch a glimpse of how God might be opening their eyes to his love for each of them. It’s difficult to describe the joy I felt this year discovering that some of the students who had attended the 2017 camp as incoming freshmen were returning this year for their third time. In talking to them, I learned that each of them has such a special love for this camp, and our team could see how God has been softening some of their hearts to the gospel. While our team is only in Taiwan for a short week, God is surely always working, and I want to pray more that He’d continue to show more of Himself to these students.
Being at MSCE in my parents’ home country, there’s also nothing quite the same as reaching out to students who I feel like I could very well have turned out to be – it’s like a parallel universe in which our parents didn’t immigrate to the US, and where we didn’t have the undeserved blessing of growing up hearing the gospel! In a time of being slightly paralyzed in figuring out what God wants me to do after college, God graciously reminded me again at MSCE that my missions field is all around me, and that there are so many more ways I can be attentive to His whisper, trust Him more, and be obedient to Him.
This lesson continued into the second week as our team went to Hengchun, where the hospital serves people who in the eyes of the world are not so worthwhile to invest in. We were introduced on the first day with videos explaining the hospital’s work with elderly patients with dementia and chronic diseases, diabetes and kidney dialysis patients, and aboriginal children attending dying schools. During this week, I think our team was able to see that the Christian staff at this hospital seriously take to heart the gospel in their everyday work, laying down their lives and loving “the least of these,” as doctors shared during their morning worship services, and with that, working patiently as they went lengths to care for the hungry, invite the sick in, and visit those in need.
One memorable day for me there was being able to meet Joy, the young supervisor of the hospital lab, who Dr. Paul had, without me even asking, arranged for me to see during our team’s shadowing time with the doctors. In a similar attitude to what we learned many of the workers at this hospital have, she truly took her job as service to God and to the patients. After learning that I had been thinking about working in her exact field, she joked, “Don’t do it!” Throughout the introduction of the very small, understaffed, and under-resourced lab it became more clear how challenging it was to work there long-term, and that even though she was one of the few 10% who pass Taiwan’s difficult medical lab license test each year, she had virtually no chance of advancing in her career at Hengchun. However, she’s been there for 8 years, and hasn’t looked to work somewhere else knowing there would be no one to take her place. Despite the unglamorous nature of her daily work, we could see how attentively she still handled every single sample in the lab that morning (“What if you make a mistake in diagnosis?” “You absolutely can’t!”). Before leaving, we lastly found out that she had used her vacation time earlier this summer to go on missions in Japan. For me, meeting Joy was one of the most eye-opening days of the week, and I came away admiring her obedience and love for God, and her willingness to devote not only her entire career, but also the best years of her life, with selflessness and faithful service.
Being in Hengchun reminded me that even across an ocean, it’s the same God who loved us first and is so worthy of our praise and service towards Him. I loved one of the last morning worship services led by an elderly doctor, who spent his time explaining the “ABCs” of the gospel, how no one is ever too old to hear it again, and how the good news really does start with God, his agape love for us and his arranged plan, even before the foundation of the world. Throughout much of the week in Hengchun, surrounded by the amazing work that many of the doctors and healthcare workers do for Christ’s sake, it was a blessing to be reminded that this was a reflection of God’s unceasing, relentless love for me, and that I have no reason not to go and do likewise in sharing this love with others after I return home.
— Camille Chen