John McCall (PCUSA) – May 2015 Update

Taipei, Taiwan

Dear Friends,

Sunday afternoon, May 17, 2015, I had the privilege of offering words of blessing to one of my former students who was being installed as the senior pastor of one of the larger Taipei churches. It was an interesting service because it included a celebration of the retiring pastor and the installation of the new pastor. The retiring pastor and the new pastor have served together for the past five months as a kind of bridge time.

One of the many blessings of having been in Taiwan for so long is to see so many of my former students moving into leadership positions where they are making a significant difference in this land. Since the service was hosted by the presbytery, there were many of my former students there. It was fun to catch up with some whom I haven't seen for a while. It was also fun to see how their children have grown.

The new pastor, Way-lwun, is a humble and grace-filled man. His wife is also a pastor and serves as a chaplain at one of the branches of the Presbyterian Hospital in Taipei. Way-lwun is active in a pastor-peer group which sometimes meets in my home. He is very caring and supportive of his fellow pastors, so I am delighted that the Hoping (which means peace in Mandarin) Church has called him as their lead pastor.

Because of the fullness of really two different services being combined, the service lasted over two hours. I spoke toward the end. After worship many pictures were taken, and then there was a reception. After the reception, a number of us were invited to a banquet at a local restaurant. The banquet lasted about three hours so it was a full afternoon. The traditional banquets here have many courses, and no one is in a hurry. There are a lot of stories and several speeches. We ate roasted duck, fish, crab, liver, chicken soup (with a whole chicken in every bowl on every table), pork and ended with a sweet soup and fresh fruit.

The fruit this time of year is wonderful. Every Wednesday when I take the train to south Taiwan to a city called Tainan to teach at the seminary there, I first go to a road-side fruit stand where an older woman makes delicious mango ice shakes. I take one with me to class (the classroom has no air conditioning, and it is hot now), so the mango ice keeps me cooler as I lecture. I pray for the students in that class every Wednesday morning before taking the high speed rail south, that God will give them and me energy in that heat. So far, so good!

As I returned home, I gave thanks once again for the privilege of accompanying these seminary students and pastors. As I mentor them and encourage them, they then mentor and encourage many others. It is really grace to be part of this enlarging circle of Christ’s love.

Please pray for the seminary students who will be graduating next month and begin their ministries, and for pastors like Way-lwun who will face many challenges as he begins this new opportunity.  
Warmest blessings, 

John McCall

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