John McCall - January 2019 Update
Several months ago, a friend who is one of the program secretaries at the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan national office asked me if I would be willing to visit his daughter's elementary school before Christmas to share the Christmas story with the students there. Even though only four percent of Taiwanese are Christian, it is a very tolerant culture here toward all religions. So, I was not surprised that the school was willing to have me come.
This pastor and his wife, who is also a pastor, have four children, which is double the norm for families in Taiwan. Their eldest is a first grader at this school and the youngest is just a year old.
On a brilliantly clear and comfortable December day, I took a city bus down the mountain from the seminary where I live, and my friend picked me up to take me to the school. We were greeted by the dean of students and then by the principal.
We walked to the second floor where there was a big gym. A tennis net was set up in the middle of the gym, and the PE teacher was teaching second graders how to play tennis. I had prepared a power point with a variety of pictures of the nativity. The dean helped me get set up.
The students filed in, and I smiled as they bounded into the gym with joy. They sat on the floor with their class many wearing face masks, which either means they have a cold or their parents don't want them to get a cold. There were about 100 students from first to fourth grade.
The principal welcomed me and gave me a certificate of thanks for coming. I then began my forty minutes of sharing the meaning of Christmas. As I was arriving, some of the PTA members were setting up a Christmas tree on the stage of the gym. You see Christmas decorations all over Taipei. One evening as I took a bus home, the bus driver had on a Santa hat.
It was a privilege to share the meaning of Jesus' birth with these children. I enjoy children and worked hard to keep their attention. Some of the pictures I showed were humorous with the angels wearing boots. We saw Mary's stomach getting increasingly big and Joseph helping her up on the donkey for the long ride to Bethlehem.
After I shared the Christmas story I told them that because of the love that we see in Christ at Christmas, I came to Taiwan to respond to that love. I shared that God loves Taiwanese, and I also love Taiwanese. They all then sang, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
I asked some brave volunteers to come forward and practice their English. Since I rarely use English here, I don't really know the English level of the average Taiwanese. But these students had excellent English and were willing to use it in front of all their classmates. After the talk a group of fourth graders came and serenaded me with "Jingle Bells." As happens so often here, it is always a privilege to be invited and welcomed to share God's love in many different settings.
The fourth book I have written here was recently published. It is called, "Prayer: The Source of an Abundant Life." I have found that writing books enlarges my ministry, because folks who are not able to take my classes at the seminary are able to read the books. Four church leaders here wrote endorsements for the back of the book.
On December 22, I took an early flight to China where I preached two Sundays and taught a two-week course on the Holy Spirit for 60 students. I brought some of the new books for two seminary libraries and for several pastors there.
In a world desperate for good news and hope, it is a joy to share that good news in Asia.
May the Word which became flesh continue to give you joy!
Read more about John McCall’s ministry HERE.
The Outreach Foundation is seeking $10,000 for support funds for John McCall.