Arthur Stejskal comments, "In the early 1960s TMF brought us out from our rustic, rural setting to the beautiful, luxurious Evergreen Hostel at Sun Moon Lake. It was a different world with delicious meals, comfortable accommodation, as well as the fellowship with a host of fellow missionaries. This with the wonderful speakers and practical advice gleaned from special interest groups provided us as a family with the R &R we desperately needed."

    I think that it is hard for us today to imagine what a great help and encouragement such a conference was for missionaries fifty years ago. Some of the intensity of the feelings of participants in those days come through in a prayer letter written by Grace McGill, who with her husband, Clare, served with the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan from 1953 to 1984. In that 1954 prayer letter she wrote, "These have been rich days here on the mountaintop. Approximately two hundred missionaries assembled at Sun Moon Lake for the third Taiwan Missionary Fellowship Conference, 1954. Literally dozens of mis sions were represented. How we reveled in the fellowship and ministry of Dr. Alan Cole, a young OMF missionary from Australia. He exhorted and challenged us on points of weakness for all of us. The grandson of Hudson Taylor . . . ministered the `Thus saith the Lord' on the holy life. Many other sidelights included Mrs. J.O. Fraser speaking on the work she and her husband had done among the Lisu of West China. Mrs. Doug Sparks, a new bride who recently joined Orient Crusades through marriage after spending three years on the Billy Graham team reported on the London Crusade." She comments for TMQ, "That was my report on our first TMF experience in a letter to my parents. We frequently made TMF part of our summer vacation. We loved getting up to the cooler climate at the lake. The holidaying features for a young family—swimming, boating, hiking—were all there."

    Of course, when you have groups of people together, you will periodically have a crisis of one sort or another. Wes Milne, who first came to Taiwan with OMF in 1954, recalls, "Our favorite picnic and swimming spot was a tiny island far out on the lake where remains of an old Japanese shrine still stood. We would descend or dive off its steps into the deep water and swim and frolic around the island. One day a group of us were rowing out to the island in a rented boat, taking turns at the oars, when one of our number—a middle-aged English lady—announced that she was going to swim the rest of the way. She promptly stood up and—against our protests, for the island was still a good way off—dived into the lake! We rowed on and soon left her far behind. It wasn't long before we heard a feeble wail of distress, `I can't cope! I can't cope!' With groans of reluctance, we turned around, laboriously rowed back, and fished her out!"

    Transportation to the TMF conference was often a challenge when it was held at Sun Moon Lake. David Woodward, who with his wife, Betty, served with OMF (1953-1956) and TEAM (1958-1983), looks back on his travel to the TMF Conference, "Travel up to Sun Moon Lake was often difficult because of mud slides or flood ing in the 1950s. I can remember getting off a bus with others, then walking over a lengthy stretch of railway trestles, water rushing underneath, to get to another bus waiting for us." Russell Zinn, who has served in Taiwan with his wife, Esther, with the Evangelical Friends since 1958, recalls that after the 1959 conference concluded, they "decided to stay on a few days for a vacation. A terrific rainstorm that lasted for days brought a flood. Floods washed out the road and railroad and many bridges. Landslides closed whatever road there was left. I hiked back to Chiayi and Esther and the girls came out a week later by US Marine helicopter."

    Grace McGill remembers a similar incident coming from the east side of the island, "We tried the newly opened cross-island highway. We got as far as Lishan, visiting Tayal villages en route, and were typhooned in for many days. Finally we were invited into the Taipower office in Lishan and offered a ride out in a jeep that they were bringing through Puli to ferry out a hydro inspector who was also marooned up there. We jumped at the chance. It was a memorable ride. At one point out in the midst of nowhere the driver stopped the jeep at the foot of what seemed to me a vertical incline. He fiddled with the four-wheel gear shifts for a few minutes, and then started to crawl slowly like giant ant up on that incredibly steep hill. Before long we were in Puli, and on a bus. We arrived in perfect time for the beginning of the TMF Conference."

 

The Move to Morrison Academy

    In the early 1960s the location of the annual TMF Conference was changed to Morrison Academy in Taichung, where it has been held ever since (both at the previous and present school campuses) except for one or two years at Tunghai University. I don't know if the reason for the change of venue was because of the difficulty of transportation, the cost, the size of the facility, or some other reason, but several have indicated that the change of location changed the dynamics of the TMF Conference. As Arthur Stejskal put it, "The time of refreshing continued when TMF moved to Morrison, but the setting and getting away from the routine of regular ministry was never quite the same."

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