John McCall (PCUSA) - November 2013 Update
I left the seminary where I live high above the city of Taipei and waited for a bus to take me to the subway station. I was leaving for two days of preaching in an aboriginal presbytery. I took a train to a city in the center of the island where an aboriginal friend/pastor/artist and his wife and son picked me up. I got to know this couple twelve years ago. When I met Pastor Lai and his wife, he told me a dream he had had a few months before. In his dream he was walking in his village when he saw a box. When he bent to look in the box, he heard a voice from heaven which said, "this baby is a gift for you and your wife." Pastor Lai and his wife, Ya-ya had been married for ten years but had been unable to have children. When he looked in the box, he saw a baby and three Mandarin characters (Ma Yueh-han), my Mandarin name and the only name I am known by in Taiwan. We had not met before, and he had not heard my name, but when he saw that I was coming to lead a course for pastors in his presbytery twelve years ago, he wanted to meet me and ask me about his dream. Taiwanese Christians seem to dream more, or at least remember their dreams more, than American Christians. So, I listened to his dream but was unable to interpret the meaning. I prayed for them and told them that I would keep praying for them. Four days later, Pastor Lai called me to tell that Ya-ya was pregnant. I told him that I would keep praying. Ya-ya delivered a son, whom they named "I-chi" ("after all, wonderful") and named me I-chi's godfather. I-chi is a sixth grader now who loves track, drawing, and playing guitar at church.
The services at the church where I was preaching are quite lively. Many of the members face huge challenges in life. The worship is different from traditional Presbyterian worship but is like much of the worship in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Two of the young people in the praise band had lost their fathers to tragic accidents. As I watched these youth, and others who were dealing with all kinds of tragedy, expressing their grief and hope in worship, I pondered at how we are able to express with honesty all of life's good and bad experiences to God. On Saturday, we saw a beautiful rainbow stretching from the sky deep into the valley below. Pastor Lai has a rainbow in his art as a sign of God's promise to the aboriginals of Taiwan and to the peoples of the world as they/we face great challenges. So, may the rainbow be a sign of hope to you. What a privilege it is to walk with folks who notice the rainbow and hold on to God's promise in the midst of huge challenges. They call me back to a faith which trusts and hopes.
Amount needed in 2014
The Outreach Foundation seeks to raise a minimum of $10,000 for support funds and $5,000 for ministry funds for John McCall.