聖雅各愛心園遊會 St. James’ Preschool, Taichung, Charity Bazaar 2017!

And what an amazing event it always is!  After weeks and weeks of preparation, it all came together on the day, and Saturday was THE day, YES!

Always held on the Saturday morning of the weekend before Mother’s Day, and always held in aid of charity, and always fun!  (This is last year’s report here – that was an amazing event too). This year’s event seemed even busier – and maybe even more fun! Well, all except for the poor pig who was on the spit soon after 6:00 am ~ but hey, it was delicious!

This year’s 2 charities are the after-school classes and ministry of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Keelung, and 安德啟智中心 St. Andrew’s (Anders) Training Center, Fuli, Hualien. The latter is run by R. C. priest, Fr. Yves Moal 劉一峰神父, who came to Taiwan from France in 1966 at the age of 25, and has been ever since.  Fr. Moal’s project is to build a nursing home for elderly physically and mentally challenged people – he has also been in the News (see here) recently for being one of the first foreigners in Taiwan to receive a Taiwanese passport while keeping his original nationality. Many congratulations!  He is trying to raise NT$ 80 million, but has started building in faith, and hopes to finish by the end of the year.  Fr. Moal’s representative, Bo-Jun 練柏均 came to the bazaar on Saturday ~ here he is presenting Bishop Lai with a certificate of thanks….

St. Stephen’s Church also sent along our good friend and former St. James’ teacher, Huang-Min and a group from their after-school program.  Yes, I just LOVE St. Stephen’s Church!  Rev. Julia Shu-Hua Lin and her team work so hard to help the children and local community.  The children played and sang to us…

There were hundreds of things going on all morning – so it was difficult to know what to see next!  We started with performances from the preschool children, then a prayer from Rev. Lily Chang and a short talk from Bishop Lai, and then each of the VIP visitors hit the big gong and put their donation in the box.  Then everything started in earnest – there were performances all morning from different groups of children, teenagers and adults. Rev. Philip Lin, dean of St. John’s Cathedral and former rector of St. James, also came with his wife, Linda and family. Linda is still active in running the community service program that she started when they were at St. James, but most significantly, their son, Daniel is a great yo-yo expert and performed for us, along with his coach, Harry who is No. 6 yo-yo performer in the world.  Yes, #6 in the whole world!  A great performance from them both!

Another highlight were the Taekwondo Team.  Amazing.  I could have watched them for hours!

And yet another highlight was watching Yasmin and her group acting out their version of the The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Every time I come to St. James, she’s doing something different – The 3 Little Pigs or Little Red Riding Hood, but this was extra special.  The caterpillar’s face was oh so expressive and the kids (and parents) were just so involved, and everyone was so happy when she emerged as a butterfly!

Dozens of local companies and businesses gave of their time and energy to help us raise money, everything from ‘Happy Hair’ haircuts to coffee to sausages (sold by our good friend, Feng-Mei’s brother-in-law and his daughter, who’d come from Taoyuan for the occasion) to children’s paintings.  All in aid of a really great cause.  And all organized by Shin-Chia, Teacher Ruby who has spent months planning everything and did such a great job. Helped of course by Principal Susan, Language Institute director Yu-Mei, all the teachers, children, parents and the local community, and supported by Preschool Supervisor Luanne, her husband and senior warden Samuel, Rev. Lily Chang and all at St. James’ Church, Rev. Sam Cheng, plus of course Bishop Lai and Mrs. Lily Lai.  Here’s Ruby on the morning of the event!

And finally I must mention Li-Mei, Teacher Vicky, who with one of the other teachers were the MCs for the event – Li-Mei comes from Hualien, and it turns out that her mother comes from the exact same village where Fr. Moal is building the nursing home.  She reminded me that she had taken me to that village a few years ago to visit her grandparents. Yes, I remember, ah, we had such a great day!  Here we are on Saturday…..

So a big thank you to all of St. James who worked so hard to make everything go so smoothly ~ and thank you to Bishop Lai and all the visitors who came especially for the event. There were at least 5 groups of us who came from northern Taiwan, including Teacher Tiger and her husband. Plus lots of former teachers who left many years ago, they came back with their families – wow, it was so good to see them again!

Thanks be to God for a really great day, fine weather and lots of energy and fun!

PS: updated May 22 ~ and the grand total raised is NT$ 457,000 (US$ 15,000 or £ 11,600) …. wonderful!

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