Tuesday 8/22 -Conference Day Two!
We met Lucy and Emi at 7 each morning in the coffee shop that was to open at 7. It never did open on time, but we were ready when the doors opened and we ordered lattes for the four of us. Jack and Lucy worked at one table and Emi and I at another so we could go over notes. We were able to enjoy studying at the outside tables most days which was a really peaceful start to our very spiritually busy and full days.
I spoke twice on Tuesday. My messages on marriage were entitled Cherish 1 and Cherish 2. After the second session the married people were assigned to write letters to each other. Esther had brought a selection of pretty paper.
I took the singles out to the deck to have a question and answer time and help them with the concept of making a list of what they would need in the person they could potentially marry. This is helpful to prevent falling into a relationship that would not be a good fit. Some wanted to share their lists and some wanted to talk about situations they were in. I found that people felt safe and truly wanted advice.
One young lady with a large Buddha necklace asked about a man who was living in her home, basically mooching from her as it seemed. Her husband died four years ago. We discussed for a bit then I suggested that she pray to Jesus for help. She later attended a class for people with questions and received Christ as savior and was one of the first 11 baptized in the bathtub in a hotel room. That’s right, we used a large bath tub to baptize those who came to Christ. They were so very grateful as this can be problematic in C. She just beamed the rest of the time. And I never saw her Buddha again. I was glad to be able to point people with much Holy Spirit authority to talk to a Mandarin speaking believer to lead them to The Way, The Truth, and The Life.
One young man whose English equaled mine, shared that his girlfriend had become a believer two years ago and that he would like to talk. We sat in the coffeehouse and I used the back of my schedule booklet and my Bible to go through verses using the Grand Canyon illustration. He is very familiar with the US and listened so carefully to every seminar. He later shared how much he learned and that he thought that every man should accompany his wife to these seminars. I look forward to the next time we meet, knowing that he is at the door of accepting Christ as his Lord or possibly already has!
On Tuesday afternoon we celebrated a mass wedding renewal ceremony for 28 couples. Though all of the couples were already married, most of them only received a marriage license from the government and never had the joy of celebrating a Christian wedding with white dresses, formal ceremony, vows, and reception. Furthermore, this event became a wedding vow re-commitment ceremony before the Lord and many witnesses. Since most of the women never had a wedding dress they were both ecstatic and radiant. Jack and I were originally told that the dress for our entire stay in Taiwan was business casual. Little did we know that in the wedding everyone but us was dressed in the most beautiful clothing. All the men had expensive and fashionable suits. Jack and me? Business casual! So they added a maroon bow tie to Jack’s Hawaiian style purple shirt. The women wore lovely decorated white hats and carried real flower bouquets with their wedding dresses. Someone made a shawl from a piece of maroon sheer material leftover from decorating and added someone's ring to hold it together for me. I am sure that I looked ridiculous but the rule is to go with the flow and let ones own views that have nothing to do with the essential truths of the Bible go with the wind!
Jack did a beautiful job of presenting each couple with a blessing after leading the Christian wedding ceremony. Dan Freeman interpreted. Because he knows the Bible and the culture he could smoothly navigate each portion of the ceremony.
Esther had brought decorations so that the couples walked through an arch made by ladies bearing tasteful artificial flower branches. And the music. Oh my goodness! A lady who I am told is professional, sang some gorgeous and moving songs to the couples. It could have not been nicer. We were all caught up in the moment as joyous emotions freely flowed from couple to couple and to the entire gathering.
The ceremony was followed by a delicious dinner in the dining room with a large professionally prepared wedding cake. Jack and I excused ourselves before cake was served. We were ready to call it a day and there was still much sharing from various couples that went on for several more hours. Since we did not understand the language, Jack and I saw our opportunity to quietly slip into the night and we took it. We were ready for bed! Taipei, Taiwan is 13 hours ahead of our Central Standard Time in the US. Our body clocks were completely upside down.