God Bless Your Family Tree
Most mornings we go out for a bit of exercise, usually to a nearby elementary school for several laps around playground. On the way there we pass a small park that is filled and surrounded by trees. Since southern Taiwan is tropical, trees produce and drop leaves every day. There’s a group of retired folks who sweep the sidewalks around the park every morning. We’ve begun exchanging “hello” with several of them, including a Christian man who knows and likes to use a few phrases of English. Some of his phrases were learned in classes; others he has “figured out” on his own. So each morning we hear “Glad to meet you” and “God bless you”. We also hear “God bless your family tree,” which sounds strange to us. On deeper reflection, we think he’s trying to wish God’s blessings on all in our families. Not a bad idea. So, God bless YOUR family tree!
Last month when I was digging through some pieces of cloth in a closet of the chapel of Tainan Theological College, I discovered 8 short purple curtains with velcro patches at their edges. I’d seen a couple of them adorning two columns at the front of the chapel during Advent a few years ago. I asked Lim Shu-na, the head of the worship committee, if they might ALL be installed this year. When we looked more closely we discovered that they had not only suffered random stuffing into boxes for a long time, but also had been used as table covers for other decoration involving candles, and had waxy crusts here and there. BUT, because they were ready made and the right color, using them would simplify seasonal chapel decoration.
The first task was ironing out the wrinkles. That took care of most of the wax as well. In the process it was also discovered that one curtain had gone missing. There were only 7! A bit of exploration found the errant cloth surrounding a Christmas decoration on the college lawn!. All ironed and ready, the first curtain went up around a column at the front of the chapel, but it hung funny, and really looked like a mini skirt. So another was tied around the bottom of it, and things didn’t look too bad. In the end, four columns each got tarted up.
The unintended consequence is that Dave now gets asked to do magic with cloth when something needs doing. Within a few days he was asked to sew up a 10-foot by 40-foot backdrop for a stage show to be given by four schools at Tainan’s Cultural Center on December 16th.
Packed Week at the College
Things often get put onto a calendar well in advance then crowded by things that come up later. First, Tainan Theological College scheduled a series of lectures and engaged a scholar from Scotland to give them.Then the accrediting association scheduled a team to come and observe the college at work for the same days. On top of that, a once-per-term evening of faculty sharing research papers with each other had been on the schedule since the previous spring. Guests on campus meant special dinners. At the last minute, a memorial concert for the college’s founder, Thomas Barclay, was laid on to commemorate his birthday in 1849, followed by an evening when faculty members share research papers later in the week. On top of all this, with so many guests on campus, there were required banquets and dinners. The week of November 20-26 was wild!
After all the dust had settled, the lectures had been challenging and informative, the accreditation review was passed, the dinners were filling, the research papers interesting, and the concert inspiring. The week of November 20-26 was wonderful, but nobody wants to repeat it again soon.