Chinese New Year is a time for families to be together. For communities to come together. And Christian community can be attractive at this time of year, especially for people on the edges of society. OMF missionary Tera Van Twillert and Taiwanese Christian co-workers began visiting women who were involved in prostitution in Wanhua, Taipei in 2005. In 2008 a center for the Pearl Family Garden ministry opened in the heart of the red light district. Tera reports:
‘Although main focus is to reach women in prostitution, others from the neighborhood have joined our meetings and activities. Some of these women are elderly, unemployed and struggle to make ends meet. Some work part-time but do not earn a lot. Others do not have financial problems but are attracted by the community and fellowship.
Part of what it means to be a community or family in Taiwan is to celebrate holidays and eat together. This is especially meaningful at Chinese New Year when Chinese people spend time with their family members.
Celebrating Chinese New Year together with the ladies has become a tradition in the Pearl Family Garden. It’s a difficult time for many of them. They are keenly aware of the broken relationships in their own family. But coming together for the Chinese New Year meal, helping with the preparation, the time for worship and sharing, games and making New Year decorations make it a memorable time for all of us.
We also visit some of our friends who are no longer able to join us. Lily lives in a care center. Last year she was very sad, because she hadn’t heard from her son for three months. Carnation, one of the ladies, prayed for her and we left a message on his Facebook page. The next day he came and visited his mother. A beautiful answer to prayer!
The Pearl Family Garden has become a place of belonging, where we learn to care for each other and make precious memories together.’
Will you pray?
- Give thanks for how the fellowship in Pearl Family Garden is an attractive community others want to join. Pray that through the friendship they find in the group, they would explore who Jesus is.
- Pray for the Chinese New Year meal together, that this year’s event would be another memorable occasion of fellowship and sharing.