This is what usually what the Filipino OFWs would call their short-lived “love affairs” in this part of the world. I felt this is what i had here when God said i needed to serve and visit the community of Singles, Handmaids and Servants here for just 10 days.
What a way to start my year of mission and be here in Taiwan for 10 days. Being a Latin American missionary, it brought excitement to go and see how different mission life can be in Taiwan since this served as my first Asian mission, apart from doing it in my homeland, Philippines. My first stop was in Taipei and had the opportunity to meet the community there. They started their covenant orientation with a powerful worship led by Kuya Jun Caramat, and his wife, Ate Emma gave a talk one of the talks for CR. Country servants Roseanne and Ronald Huan were there too to welcome members and leaders.
I rode a train going to Tanzih, Taichung, Taiwan to meet with the Singles, Handmaids and Servants there. Immediately upon arrival we all met and had a service meeting for the 3-day CLS.
Most of our facilitators were nervous because it will be their first time to serve. A lot of them too were raising their worries of the possible few numbers of participants that might arrive the next day for the CLS. The service team who welcomed me were faces of Filipino brethren who were thirsty of God’s grace for this “work” and most of them are really here to improve the kind of life they have left in the Philippines. Not mentioning the kind of sacrifice they are enduring being away from their families and loved ones.
The first day of CLS started and we were all surprised of forty-seven participants who came! From a lot of different factories and or companies in Taichung, Taiwan, I saw a lot of familiar faces… faces of all Filipinos with all these question on their minds, what is CLS all about? What will this require from us? Our vibrant music ministry headed by a brother servant started to play and teach some songs and i guessed that really broke the ice. We had Fr. Joy Tajunera gave the first talk. He is the Filipino parish priest of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish in Tanzih. This church was our same venue for the 3-day CLS. The whole day first module has been very exciting and full of revelations for a lot of our participants. The 2nd talk was given by Sis Jhen from SFL and I gave the 3rd talk for the day.
Second day came and we were more surprised when fifty-two participants came. The Lord never ceases to really surprise us when we work for Him. Bro Mike from Servants gave talk 4 and i gave talks 5 and 6. To prepare them for the next day’s baptism and praisefest we ended the day with me giving them the tongues workshop and worship workshop. The Lord allowed all of us to experienced His greatness by hearing the different gifts of the Holy Spirit and upon hearing all of them sing praises during the tongues and worship workshop, we all knew then that the Lord really planned for all of us to be in this place, at that particular moment to worship and just give praises to Him. He planned all of this!
On the third day and last day of the CLS, we all gathered as one and prepared for the baptism, talk beforehand given by Fr. Joy and last 2 talks, given by Ate Emma and Kuya Jun Caramat. The whole baptism went peaceful and yet very solemn and prayerful for all the participants and the service team as well. I remember the prayer warriors never ceased to pray the rosary. Towards the end of the whole day session, we ended it up with a very powerful praisefest led by one of the brothers from SFL, Bro. Marlon. We had our graduation and the presentation of talents per group.
God once again reigned in this place. He showed all of us that the 3-day CLS is not a short-term love affair with HIM. In fact, it is the start of a better and far beautiful life for all our brothers and sisters in this place. Taiwan’s image for Filipinos that labelled them of having a short term forbidden love affair now gave them hope that they can actually changed their ways and how they are being looked at when they work here. Now our members are the ones who sings and serves in weekly Sunday masses here. They are very much involve in the parish work and service. The newly graduate members now has assignments also as to where they can be placed in serving the church.
This is my short “Taiwan love affair!” Short but full of beautiful memories from our brothers and sisters who really understand the real meaning of how to endure and sacrifice. My short lived love affair in this place made me see that our Filipino brothers and sisters are the great messengers of Christ here through the community CFC-FFL. The Lord provided for all the things we needed during the 3-day CLS and for the teambuilding and planning we had beforehand. Our community in Tanzih, Taichung, Taiwan chose life in this part of the world by choosing God and serving Him now! We will continue to bring Christ and experience Him wherever we will be for we always believe this is HIS work and not ours. With this, i can openly say that my OFW brothers and sisters in Taiwan made me love more my God and experience what does it really mean to endure and choose life for God. For all of this, i continue to praise and worship our God and definitely from now on i will always have special prayers for all our OFW brothers and sisters all over the world. God reigns!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28