Our beloved Teacher Tiger’s big day ~ YES! And yes, we call her Teacher Tiger (well, after all she was born in the Year of the Tiger!), otherwise she’s known as Yi-Chia 宜家, and in fact that’s what our friends in Boston call her. Yesterday was a very big day for her and her brand new husband Shawn ~ Si-Han 思翰, and what a lovely couple they are!
Yi-Chia’s family are all members of ‘The Church in Taipei’, YongHe Branch 新北市召會永和區一會所, affiliated to the ‘Local Churches‘ Movement or ‘The Little Flock’, which was started in the 1930’s in Mainland China by Watchman Nee, and in Taiwan from 1949 onwards by Witness Lee. Interestingly Watchman Nee started his education in a CMS (Church Mission Society – that’s me!) school in China, and was quite influenced by CMS people throughout his life. Ah, connections!
Yi-Chia teaches in our St. James’ Preschool, Taichung ~ where I was for 7 years from 1999-2006 – she arrived after I left, but she arrived at a key time. We had just started linking up with Cambridge-Ellis School (CES), Boston, USA and over time that link has developed into a full sister-school partnership, of which I am part of the liaison team from St. James. In 2012, Yi-Chia went to CES for a year as part of our exchange programme, and one of the activities arranged for her was daily English classes at a local college in Boston. Boom! Not only did she learn plenty of great English, but it was at that college that she met Si-Han. Both are from Taipei. But they met in Boston!
Yesterday was their wedding day, YES! I had the honour of attending the wedding celebration at their church in Yonghe, Taipei at 9:00am, and speaking on behalf of St. James’ Preschool to share a little about their story and the Boston connection, and to offer congratulations and best wishes to them both. So easy to do, as Yi-Chia and Si-Han are both such wonderful people!
It was my very first experience of a wedding celebration in a Local Church, and it was very moving. Both Yi-Chia and Si-Han shared their joint testimony, kind of one sentence each at a time, and much of it centred around how Si-Han had come to faith in Christ since knowing Yi-Chia, and how he was baptized almost exactly a year ago, and has now become a member of the Local Church ~ and all this because he genuinely came to faith, not just because he fell in love with a lovely Christian girl! God is good, and it’s quite a story!
The 6 elders of the church all spoke from their hearts and shared verses from the Bible, words of wisdom, blessing and thanksgiving ~ also the father of the groom, and the father of the bride – who had everyone laughing away, and here he is, below!
We also sang a special hymn, chosen by the couple. The most important part of the service was right near the end, when the 6 elders and the bride and groom knelt down in a close group, and the elders laid hands on the bride and groom and prayed for them and for God’s blessings on their marriage. Both in their sharing and in their praying, the elders showed such passion, joy and eloquence, speaking from their hearts, moved by the Holy Spirit, and the congregation responded frequently with shouts of ‘Amen’. It was humbling, joyful, worshipful and awe-inspiring!
The couple had been the day before to officially register their marriage, so the next step was lunch, and then they had a whole day of celebrations to follow, with the wedding banquet in the evening, for which a coachload of teachers and friends from St. James were coming. It being Easter Eve, I was to be back at Advent Church, but I was delighted to attend the wedding service, along with some of our St. James’ teachers, their boyfriends, and the groom’s friends too ~ here we all are, the ‘Friends’ group!
A very big Thank You to all the church members and the families of the bride and groom for their very warm welcome and their friendly greetings, much appreciated!
And many congratulations, best wishes and God’s richest blessings to Yi-Chia and Si-Han on your marriage ~ yes, may God bless you both greatly and your new life together, Amen!