Taiwan Church News
Oct 16 ~ 22, 2023
The Cou District Assembly Holds Thanksgiving Service for the 75th Anniversary of Mission to the Indigenous
Reported by Dalul from Chiayi
Attracting the PCT members and co-workers from 10 indigenous churches, the Cou District Assembly helds the “Thanksgiving Service for the 75th Anniversary of the Cou District Assembly’s Mission and the 40th Anniversary of the Women’s Ministry” at Chu-Lu Church on the morning of October 10. This event is to witness how the gospel has been preached to the Cou tribes and communities over the past 75 years.
At the same time, on the ministry for indigenous women, the service is also to commemorate how the Cou District Assembly’s 40-year-old women ministry has become a blessing for the indigenous church and people. Participants all sincerely wish that the stories and experiences in the past will carry on to become the dynamic powerhouse for future ministries across the island.
At the very beginning of the thanksgiving service, church elders perform a ritual of torch-passing to symbolize the light of the gospel will carry on to enlighten the youth and children of future generations. The worship and praise of the service is hosted by Laiji Church’s Senior Citizens Fellowship, whose excellent performance vividly showcases the elderly members’ pious, committed, and loyal attitudes to serve the Lord.
To share the stories of the history-breaking missionary journey for the Cou tribe since 1948, the pastors, from the PCT Bunun Ciubu Presbytery and Chiayi Presbytery, who had engaged to contribute to the mission for the Cou people, are especially invited to attend this thanksgiving service.
Chiayi Presbytery initialized the mission by sending three pastors, Rev Chen Guang-hui, Rev Huang Wu-dong, and Rev Chiang Chin-fa, to preach the gospel in the Cou tribes. Later, Chiayi Presbytery’s Indigenous Mission Ministry was formally established in February 1956, and missionaries, from Hsin-yi Township, Nantou, were also sent to serve in Cou communities. Through the efforts of many pioneering missionaries and pastors, the Cou District Assembly starts to grow and flourish in its past 75-year-old history of missionary journey.
In the thanksgiving service, Rev Sing ‘Olam, who was once the assistant general secretary of the PCT and is currently the director of the Bible Society in Taiwan, quoted Titus 1: 1~4 to deliver his sermon, entitled as “Believers and a group of people who know the truth.” He recalls that, when he was trained in his youth at Yu-Shan Theological Seminary and College, he met many outstanding Cou classmates and learned roughly about the ministries of the Cou church and communities from daily dialogues and exchanges.
A couple of years later, after he served as the secretary of the PCT Indigenous Mission Committee and elevated to an assistant general secretary of the PCT General Assembly, Rev ‘Olam says, he had an opportunity to take an in-depth visit of Alisan-mountain-area for a period of time. This experience made him deeply impressed by the vibrant relationship between the church and tribal agronomics, and finally lead him to learn and appreciate the value and insights of the Cou church’s mission in tribal contexts, he says.
Rev ‘Olam points out that the reason why the mission of Cou District Assembly could reach its 75th anniversary is because of faith and dedication to God, which enables every member of Cou churches to become a missionary partner and work together to preach the gospel. He hopes, through the translation of the Bible into the Cou’s mother tongue, that more people of the Cou can be inspired by the word of God and encouraged to serve the Lord on the way of mission.
The presentation of Cou Women’s Ministry is also highlighted in the thanksgiving service. Sisters who served as ministers and co-workers in the past women ministries were invited to share their testimonies to witness and give glory to God. Deacon Du Chai-shia, representative of the Women’s Ministry, shared in her speech that the Women’s Ministry Committee of the Cou District Assembly is abundantly blessed in its 40 years’ ministries.
In the past, Deacon Du said, the women ministries has experienced many graces from God, including talents and financial supplies. Despite being short of institutional trainings, its ministries had grown from being relatively sidelined to be sable to set up its own clear vision today, she remarks. And now, she adds, the women ministries could work out annual plans of ministries, for example, holding the seminars of Bible studies, sharing workshops, special lectures, and launching charity events to care for brothers, sisters and new friends among various churches. Finally she gives her heartfelt thanksgivings to the brothers and sisters of the Cou churches who supported the women’s ministry so passionately that the women’s ministry could march forward fearlessly.
Rev Pasuya Yasiyungu, moderator of Cou District Assembly points out that many challenges were encountered unexpectedly in the process of preparing this thanksgiving service, especially in the tasks of historical research. Due to fires, floods and other calamities, many important historical materials were damaged, which makes it even more difficult to check and verify the exact chronicles of historical events. Initially the thanksgiving service is thought to be set for the 70th anniversary, but with a detailed review and through multiple discussions and research, it was finally concluded as proper to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the mission to the Cou people. In the same vein, it deems correct to celebrate the 40th anniversary for the establishment of the Cou Women’s Ministry.
Rev Pasuya Yasiyungu says that from the past experiences of many pastors and colleagues, we shall carry on the spirit and direction of the Cou District Assembly’s mission. As generation passes and time changes, the Cou District Assembly is bound to adapt the missionary steps for the future while rooted firmly in the past, Rev Yasiyungu stresses. The pious belief of the Cou believers and missionaries in God will absolutely inspire the Indigenous communities via unwavering services and missions, and expand the vision of Cou mission to move forward unflinchingly, he pledges.
Translated by Peter Wolfe