Unplanned Happenings

    Sometimes missionaries and their families have found that the TMF Conference has been an occasion of the Lord's special grace in ways that the conference planners may not have specifically planned. In describing the flood he had to get through to get home after a TMF Conference at Sun Moon Lake, Russell Zinn notes, "Our oldest daughter at three and a half years gave her heart to the Lord during the wait to get out of Sun Moon Lake." And a previously unmarried man in the missionary force reports, "Another highlight was in 1982 when I got good advice from Allen Swanson about getting married."

    Men often commented about the content of the meetings. Sometimes women commented about other people attending the TMF Conference. Linda-Kay Wicks, who with her husband, Frank, served with OMS International from 1981 to 1983, was obviously noting the other women at the TMF Conference, "One of the funniest memories I have about the clothing worn at TMF was that often all the missionary ladies would buy the same dress, skirt or blouse at one of the outlet stores that were in Taichung and then they would all show up wearing them the same time. Anywhere else this would have been embarrassing, but not among the missionary ladies. They would all just laugh and enjoy their new outfits."

 

Other Ministries

    The central activity of the Taiwan Missionary Fellowship has been putting on this annual conference in the summer. At some point in time this was supplemented by the annual production of a missionary directory to help with inter-missionary communication. The networking relationships, which in the early days were often established at the TMF Conference, served to stimulate the development of other kinds of ministries, some of which have even become independent organizations on their own.

    Sometime in the early history of TMF missionaries felt that it would be worthwhile for missionaries to go away at other times during the year for periods of prayer and spiritual reflection. Howard Moore reports, "I also attended the first known missionary men's prayer retreat in the fall of 1955. Dave Woodward sparked the idea during hikes in the Sun Moon Lake area while several families of us stayed over for holidays following the conference. These, too, had their unique place in my life, complimenting in the small group setting the benefits from the large conference. Not too long afterward, the ladies began meeting in retreats, as well." As a result throughout the last fifty years there have been prayer retreats for men and women missionaries periodically sponsored by TMF.

    Nan Sugg, who with her husband Rob, served with the Southern Baptists from 1977 to 1998, recalls one such retreat, "One of the great blessings to me was the TMF sponsored women's retreats. I especially remember one that we had at the China Youth Corps Hostel at Sun Moon Lake. The weather turned bitterly cold. Betty Beckon was in charge of refreshments and had to make three unexpected trips to the village to buy more things we could turn into hot beverages. Everyone hovered around the refreshment table, downing more tea, coffee, Ovaltine, Horlick's, and Milo. Some of us tried drinks we'd never had before just trying to stay warm. Valetta Steele was one of our speakers. She had just written Thrice Through the Valley and was such a blessing to us. The presence of the Holy Spirit was very strong in that meeting. I remember that during our quiet time one day Edie Haslup got a beautiful word from the Lord for us in the form of a poem. She was asked to read it aloud to the group in our closing session. That was a perfect finish to an already uplifting and inspirational retreat."

    The need for youth ministry among MKs became evident to some early missionaries in Taiwan. In reminiscing about the Taiwan Missionary Fellowship, several missionaries who were in Taiwan in the 1950s mention the CCC (Christ Can Conquer) camps. Mary Hanson comments, "Dr. and Mrs. Donald Dale and Dick and Lucille Webster started twice yearly camps (in the Fall and Spring) for junior and senior high kids sometime in the 1950s."

    The TMF Conference was the catalyst for the development of a graduate level theological education program for missionaries serving in Taiwan. Ron West tells the story, "In the 80's Robert Coleman from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School was our TMF speaker. While here he talked to us about starting an extension of TEDS in Taiwan. Several of us helped to organize it. Russ Zinn for the Friends Mission was the Taiwan coordinator. We met at Morrison for two weeks each summer and I helped arrange the logistics at Morrison. It was an excellent program of training and equipping. Taiwan missionaries were able to study and discuss together missiological methods appropriate for Taiwan with excellent teachers provided by TEDS. It lasted for about ten years."

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