Tamsui (Danshui) at the mouth of the river, and my local town, is famous for its temples, its food and its sunsets ~ and because this is where the first missionary to northern Taiwan landed, and made his home….. See his statue? And his church peeping through the trees?
Rev. George L. MacKay came from Canada with the Presbyterian Church in 1872 and stayed right through until his death on June 2, 1901. So every year June 2 is celebrated in Tamsui as MacKay Day ~ with all sorts of wonderful celebrations ~ to remember a man credited with introducing western medicine and western-style education for boys and girls, as well as establishing loads of churches and sharing the Gospel….
Up at TamKang High School, they are celebrating today, not only June 2, but also 140 years since MacKay’s arrival in Taiwan….
It’s a beautiful school, all built by MacKay…
He, his Taiwanese wife and many of his family are buried in the school grounds….
And today there was a Memorial Service to remember 2 of his grandchildren, 2 sisters who died within weeks of each other in Canada only a few weeks ago, one aged 95, the other almost 100!
MacKay bought this plot so that he could be buried actually IN Taiwan ~ just behind this burial plot is the foreigner cemetry, but as that was owned by foreigners, he decided it wasn’t for him, it wasn’t in Taiwan! But the foreigner cemetry is a fascinating place, full of people of every nationality, business people, military and missionaries of every kind….
Living and working in TamKang High School is a really very remarkable lady from Canada called Louise Gamble, who at 73 has devoted her entire retirement so far to putting MacKay’s writings on computer and publishing them. It’s taken 11 years, and it seems there’s plenty more to do!
The most recent project has been putting on computer all the reports sent by the early Canadian Presbyterian missionaries back to their mission board. In fact the books have only just been published, and arrived today, so here is a happy Louise with all the 5 volumes!
This is an extract of MacKay’s handwriting, which is the sort of thing Louise has spent so long trying to decipher….what a nightmare eh?!
And how’s this for a filing cabinet?
And an office dedicated to publishing MacKay’s letters and reports, and those of other early missionaries….
Next stop is the book launch in Canada over the summer!
We had very nice tea at the school tea shop…
And finally a rainbow over Tamsui!