Toon and Pam’s Report
In August of 2014, we left Boston after wrapping up Toon’s sabbatical leave. However, only three of us returned to Taiwan this time. Our two older children stayed in Boston to continue their studies. Certainly, we had mixed feelings. Although we only stayed in Northern Boston for a year, we could not deny that we had found the beauty of New England. During our stay in Boston, we did not keep our old apartment in Taipei, so we had to search for a new one. Praise the Lord we found one, more convenient than the previous. Another good thing about this new location is that we can easily walk to the subway stations (MRT), and Pam is very satisfied with the location since it’s very close to Carrefour (one of the main grocery stores in Taiwan). In other words, we can save some money from taxi trips to the store.
Immediately after Toon’ return, he started his ministry right away at CRTS. He felt much better compared to his first arrival five years ago. He did not need to readjust to Taiwan’s culture and did not need to learn various new things like before. Toon did not leave CRTS during his sabbatical leave in the States, instead he came back three times during the time to teach and to attend faculty meetings.
Toon appreciated CRTS and the Board of FCRTS for letting him have an earlier sabbatical and to further his studies at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS). Toon completed his ThM degree in biblical studies in New Testament. He was so thankful that the enhancement has challenged and helped Toon to serve better since he came back.
Toon taught four courses in the academic years 2014-15; two were in the Fall of 2014, and two were in the Spring of 2015. Besides that, he taught two intensive courses at Eastern site.
Pastoral Theology (1)
The Exposition of Galatians
Pauline Prison Epistles
The update of as Dean of Student Internship
Toon loves to serve as the Dean of Student Internship. Through this position, he has had many opportunities to meet with students regularly, and students could share problems and ministry struggles with him. Through their conversations, he could share his past experiences to show his care for them and understand their lives.
After five/six years serving in this position, one of his main challenges has been the replacement of students’ needs. Sometimes he felt very uncomfortable placing students in certain churches due to the limited opportunities.
The Ministry with Local Churches and Leaders and Alumni
Toon continued his task as the coordinator of local Reformed churches and alumni’s churches. Moreover, he has had to travel to churches to establish relationships with the seminary. Sometimes he attended the presbytery for the sake to get more acquaintances with local Reformed ministers. In order to promote Reformed theology to local church leaders, CRTS has started a continuing education program since the Fall of 2012. Hopefully, they can move CRTS classrooms to local churches in order to serve more local churches.
Toon was very please for Irene Lin’s assistance; she is a CRTS administrating staff, and helps Toon coordinate administrating work for alumni. On June 6, they will have their Third Alumni Reunion, and will invite all alumni to join their special morning lecture series by Dr. Vern Poythress. These alumni will gather for a special luncheon before a meeting is held. Their prayer is that their alumni can get closely connected to the seminary and support the mission of CRTS.
The Overseas Learning Program
CRTS has two official extensions in East Asia, namely Eastern sites and a Southern site, and one in Washington DC. I am so glad that I could serve as the Coordinator of Overseas Learning Program, and I have seen God marvelously working in these areas.
(1) Eastern Site
Ultimately, Toon travels to this site twice a year. Currently, we have 18 students; there are 9 male students and 9 female students. Among them, four students enroll in the graduate program.
We have good news about the Eastern site; there is a group of local pastors and church leaders from this region who started another theological training center since last fall. All of the students in this group are pursuing graduate level training, and their board wrote to CRTS to request us to provide help and to establish a partnership program.
(2) Southern Site
This is the second year of our new curriculum in the Southern site, and we have about thirty students, mostly in graduate level. Since last fall, we have offered 5 courses: Pentateuch (by M. Wong), Systematic Theology –II (by P. Song), DVD (by R. Pratt), Pauline Epistles-I (by H. Shih), and Church History-I (by L. Zhang). Toon will travel to the Southern site to teach Pauline Epistles (II)- Pastoral Epistles.
(3) Washington DC Site
With the help of Grace Christian Church (PCA), the momentum of our DC site is moving along steadily, as more and more people join our recent classes. Dr. Moses Wong taught Pentateuch last summer, and Rev. Ambrose Guo taught Ancient Church History in the Winter. The attendance is quite high. We will offer the Exposition of Ephesians this summer.
(4) Future site
Two years ago, a group of church leaders from East Asia contacted us, inviting us to establish a partnership program with them. Dr. M. Wong has been there once, and will return to teach another course this summer. For Wong and I, it could be a potential location for our future site.
(5) Toon’s Comment
Recently Toon wrote to the faculty meeting and the Board of directors concerning his request of transferring his role as the coordinator of Overseas Learning Program to another person. His reason of stepping down is to shift his focus to church planting projects.
Toon has been actively involved with the Taipei Church Planting, and he is advisory minister for four church planters. Three are in Taipei and one is in Taichung, and these church planters have a same vision to plant Reformed churches in Taiwan. Toon’s understanding is that if CRTS wants to grow, we need more Reformed churches to support us. How can we have more Reformed churches?
Moreover, Toon is planning to plant a new church himself while teaching at CRTS. His plan is that he might take one year to plan the project, to raise funds, to look into the location and its people, to recruit leaders, and to cast the vision. Moreover, with Dr. Yates’ encouragement (CRTS's Academic Dean), Toon is willing to take a challenge to teach a new course entitled “Church Planting” next semester. This course will be a good revision for him, since he helped to plant and organize Grace Christian Church 15-20 years ago.
Since last summer, Toon and the family continued attending Friendship Presbyterian Church (Taipei). However, Toon decided to help Ren-Ai Reformed Fellowship, a church planting project of Hong-En Reformed Presbyterian Church. His purpose of joining is to help and mentor Wesley Chuang, the evangelist/church planter. He will spend at least twice a month in that church, and hopefully he can be involved actively and effectively.
After Pam returned from Boston, she continued to serve as part-time counseling staff at Friendship Presbyterian Church (FPC) . She was pleased that she could use her professional training to help many people who are in need, and her main goal is to bring people to know God and to have a right relationship with Him. Additionally, she voluntarily takes private counseling cases for those who are not FPC’s members.
Pam is quite busy since she is also teaching at Liberty University (Distance Learning Program) and at a local seminary (Taipei). Through these side-ministries, God provides their financial needs, especially for their children’s tuition.
We left Boston last summer, while Zephaniah and Anna staying there for their education. Zephaniah goes to Framingham State University, and is taking summer courses (online). Anna finished her second year in Gordon College, and she loves her time there. She is back in Taipei for only one month, and she will return to the States for her summer job at a Christian camp. Praisye, the youngest, is in Taichung now, and she just finished her 10th grade. She is still the baby of the family, and she calls home every night to share and chat with us. Habitually, we expect her call every night before we go to bed. Well, you can tell that Toon and Pam are empty nested now, and they miss their kids’ presence. Sometimes. The very good news is that they all are back in Taipei at the moment, and Toon and Pam started learning how to appreciate the noisiness again. Well, it’s comforting.
We are so thankful that God is faithful to our family. We have experienced his abundant provision. We are not very rich people (financially), yet we are richly blessed in many areas of our life through His abundant grace.