May your ways be known throughout the earth, Your saving power among people everywhere. May the nations praise you, O God. Yes, May all the nations praise you.
Ps. 67:1-3 (NLT)
God wants all the nations to praise Him! What an amazing God who uses us to make His ways known everywhere! “Everywhere” includes home and camp and all around the world. And making God’s ways known is not just about preaching sermons and leading Bible studies (although those things are important); it’s about showing God’s love to others in lots of different ways. Camp Cedarbrook was a part of my “everywhere” from the time I was old enough to be a camper all the way through high school when I was a CILT and then for several summers on staff. So many of the things that I learned over those years prepared me to serve God here in Taiwan, where my husband, Barry, and I (Peggy Owen) have served as church planting missionaries since 1988.
Kids are important!
A counselor taking time to ask each camper about her day
The camp director stopping in her busy day to talk with a camper, treating her like this conversation is the most important thing she has to do right now
A staff member encouraging a very shy Shikari (Challenger) camper to go on a canoe trip, where she made new friends, grew in her love of God’s creation, and gained confidence
Those experiences were just a few of the ways that Camp Cedarbrook demonstrated that God cared about what was happening in my life as a young person. Now, in Taiwan, God is giving us opportunities to show kids here that God cares about them, that they are important to God and to us. Last year we became aware of a needy rural community without a church right down the road from us where there are many children living with extended family because their parents are unable or unwilling to care for them. This is a community in which life revolves around the temple. People are caught up in traditional worship that keeps people bound in fear of gods, evil spirits and deceased ancestors.
For the past 8 months, every Wednesday afternoon, Barry and I, along with others in our church, help these children with English and on Saturdays we have an activity for them in front of the temple, including a Bible story. The activities we bring are fun, but the most meaningful part is the group of volunteers who come to play with them. These kids are soaking up the love and attention and beginning to hear about the God who loves them.
All year our church has been praying for a place to rent in this community. We’d like to be more available to the kids so that we can help them with homework and they can have a safe place to go. We also knew that there would be Saturdays that would be too rainy to hold our activities or that the temple would be holding its own activity. Two weeks ago, God provided a place for us! It is near the center of town and is owned by a family I’ve gotten to know this year. It’s an old traditional family home, so it needs a bit of paint and cleaning, but we are praising God for His provision.
Last Saturday, we had planned to meet with the kids in front of the temple, as usual, since we hadn’t even started painting our new place yet. When we arrived at the temple, however, we discovered that because of a huge temple activity, we couldn’t meet there. We praise God for His timing, as we were able to take the kids to our new place, even though there is work to do, and have our activity time with them. It didn’t take them long to spread the word to others, telling them where we were!
When we are done cleaning and painting, we will have a place where kids can come for help with their homework or just to talk. We hope that many kids and adults will come to know the God who loves them!