January 26, 2006—

"Another day has come and gone... " but it's great to look back on a good day. The CI Team is in the huge and beautiful city of Kaohsuing right now. So far, no one has been lost during our team excursions, or on the frequent walks from the hotel to the church. It wouldn't be difficult to get lost in the myriads of interesting shops. The thing I worry about most is being run over by a moped—they seem to be the transportation of choice around here. It's really different and hilarious to see all the sidewalks lined with mopeds everywhere you go.

This morning I got up later than I planned (actually, that seems to have happened every day in Kaohsuing). I barely made it to breakfast—which is definitely not a meal to miss when you're staying at Hotel Kingdom. It really is a breakfast fit for a king. After breakfast, our team split up into the small groups we've been assigned to for the duration of the trip.

Personally, I think that's one of the most brilliant ideas for a ministy trip like this. We all spend lets of time together as a big group: sharing and praying, driving, eating... It's been really neat to be in smaller groups and get to know people better. We'll do wisdom searches, share concerns and prayer requests, etc. We also do lots of fun stuff like going to dinner. And lunch. And the hair salon. And, um, uh-Starbucks. (That's my favorite. Amazingly, the Starbucks I had today was my first in almost two weeks!! Owwwww.) Of course, we also go shopping. :-)

Ann Protz at the CI

Estrella and her team in large group

We all had to be back at the church by 2 pm for teacher training. It's always an exciting time. Sometimes Rowan starts it out, and he always has some intriguing way to get us thinking and interacting. Then Kristy usually takes over, but today Tim gave us an awesome session on how to tell a story. "Ahem. It was a dark and stormy night . . . " just kidding. :-) "Ahem. Once upon a time... " Sorry—I'll stop being silly now. :-)

And then it was time for the big highlight: Chinese lessons!!!! Our teacher is this totally awesome girl named Grace. She actually makes learning Chinese a fun activity to look forward to. I'm still trying to remember about the five different tones, but I've learned some practical words and conversational sentences. Not that I can remember them when I need to. Anyways, the tone thing is really hard because with English you can use all kinds of inflection to make your words sound interesting (I always do that). But if you try that in Chinese, you're in big trouble. As soon as the inflection (or tone) changes, you've completely changed the word and the meaning of what you're saying. Which has a tendency to lead to... whoopsies!!!

After another delicious dinner (thanks to Faith for consistantly scouting out the best food in Taiwan), we went to out teams stations and finished prepping for the CI. I've got ten kids on my team, one assistant, and two interpreters. So we have a great teacher/student ratio. And, all the kids on my team are complete angels!!! They're so attentive and into everything we do. Especially if it involves art. It's just been such a fun and rewarding week. I'm soooooo thankful for the team I have and for the other teachers. God totally knew what He was doing and I love watching His plan unfold. Pray that each of the children will leave this seminar with a deeper faith in Him, and with an understanding of how they can live for Jesus every day, in pracitical ways. But most of all, that they will be surrounded by His love and completely changed by it.

—Ann Protz
ATI Student from CA