Saturday, October 26, 2013
Buddhists, Christians and Taoists unite? Imagine that.
This week I am in Taiwan attending the 8th Annual International Youth Conference which is themed “Reading + Action = Change the World”. It is hosted by my friend, Lewis Lu, a mild-mannered Librarian who once said, “It’s not okay with me that Swazi children are suffering and I am going to do something about it!” And that is exactly what he has done, without ceasing.
Lewis is the founder and creator of the International Youth Conference and is now leveraging an already brilliant idea to build awareness in Taiwan for the challenges of Swazi children. Each July Lewis brings students from Changhua Senior High School to serve in Swaziland. They volunteer at Project Canaan and visit other schools and people helping children. Lewis is the fundraiser for the Youth Conference as well as for the students to travel to Swaziland and now he is a fundraiser for WATER in Swaziland – he calls it “Walk for Water”.
2013 marks the third year of the “Walk for Water” campaign, which has seen students from Taiwan, Japan, Swaziland, Canada and the US walk 100+ kilometers to raise awareness and funds. Funds raised in 2011 and 2012 allowed the team at Project Canaan to start clearing the land where Dam #3 will be located. Mike Skiles has worked tirelessly with the bulldozer to clear many acres of treacherous hills and valleys. We were also able to complete an environmental study and have plans being drawn up.
This year Lewis led the team of students and teachers to Wusanto Reservoir, designed by Japanese Architect, Yoichi Hatta, after World War II. This famous and beautiful Water Reservoir has allowed for extensive agricultural development and production in the Southern part of Taiwan. As the team gathered with dignitaries, including Ambassador Gwebu from the Kingdom of Swaziland, and the media, we all were overwhelmed by the notion that this “foreigner” (Hatta) gave his life to help the people of Taiwan because he could, and it was the right thing to do.
Representing the US were students Alex Lehman from Colorado and Calvin McCarthy from Tennessee. Both students have traveled to Swaziland and served with Heart for Africa at Project Canaan. They represented their country, their families and Heart for Africa well and I was proud to stand with them as we celebrated what Lewis Lu is so committed to – changing the world, one student at a time.
Last week before I left Swaziland we were honored to have the new Ambassador from Taiwan to Swaziland to visit us at Project Canaan. We discovered that Ambassador Thomas Chen just “happens” to be a 1972 graduate of Changhua Senior High School – only GOD could have planned that one! He was happy to visit the farm and to see where the new dam will go. We look forward to continued relationship with the Taiwanese Embassy in Swaziland.
Today is Saturday and I am back in Taichung to see Chloe for the weekend. Ian surprised us with a night in a hotel downtown and we are heading out to the Taichung Jazz Festival. What a surprise blessing after an amazing week. On Monday I head back to Taipei to speak at the Taipei Medical University and then the rest of the week will play out as HE sees fit.
I continue to stand in awe at how God brings people together in just the right time and the right place for His purposes. This week Buddhists, Christians, Taoists (and I am sure a few others) united together to learn from each other, share our experiences and take action to help those less fortunate. It was a beautiful to see and I am thankful to have been a part of it.
Live from Taiwan ... it's Saturday night!