Eight young people from Japan participated in a youth mission event held Aug. 10-23 in Taiwan. For the first four days we stayed in Taipei, where we participated in the opening worship, visited the national office of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT), and heard about the activities of the church's youth. Also, we learned about the "228 incident"1 and people's lives under martial law following that incident.
On the third day, at the International Japanese Church, the people shared with us their experiences during the 228 incident and during the period of martial law. I was moved most when one elderly person, who had experienced the loss of a stepfather in the suppression and barely escaped, finished sharing the experience by saying, "However, Taiwan is now at peace and we should forget the past. Let's love peace. I forgive the 228 incident." Those words helped me sense the greatness of forgiveness.
From the fifth day, we went into the Alishan Mountains and stayed for a time. At a memorial service marking the rebuilding after a typhoon, these people who had suffered greatly sang praises with so much feeling that I could feel the power of their worship. At Lalauya Church's Sunday worship service, Japanese words were used frequently, and I was amazed at the deep connection between the Tsou Tribe and Japan.
On the eighth day, we came down from the Alishan Mountain and traveled to Tainan, where we visited the Taiwan Church Press, Chang Jung Middle School, Tainan Theological College and Seminary, Chang Jung Christian University, and the Taiwan Blackfoot Disease Socio-medical Service Memorial House, along with other institutions. We were especially impressed with the work of Dr. Wang King-ho at the Taiwan Blackfoot Disease Socio-medical Service Memorial House. We felt his strong faith in God when he said, "Without faith and love we are nothing," and "There is nothing more joyous than service, with no expectation of reward."
On the eleventh day, we returned once more to Taipei. We attended Gikong Church on our second Sunday in Taiwan. This church was built at the site of murders related to what is called the "White Terror."2 To this day the assailant has not been caught. Once more, at the end of our travels, we felt the weight of the government's involvement both in this atrocity and in the cover-up that followed. However, as in the case of the elderly person in the International Japanese Church, it was most surprising that the relatives of the murdered family members3 also declared that they forgave the killer. Again I felt the greatness of forgiveness. Indeed, without forgiveness there can be no peace. Once again on this trip, I was impressed with the importance of forgiveness.
We were able to spend fourteen full and wonderful days. We cannot fully express our gratitude to the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan. We learned a great deal from the dedication of the youth of Taiwan. Even after we return to Japan, we will continue to learn from them and to be encouraged in our studies in school and our service in church. (Tr. GM)
-- Umetsu Shizuko, member
Honda Memorial Church, Tokyo
Shinpo (The Kyodan Times)
1 The 228 Incident began on Feb. 28, 1947 as the new arrivals from mainland China--the Chinese Nationalist Party and army--began a violent suppression of the indigenous Taiwanese throughout Taiwan, which the indigenous people call "the great massacre."
2 The "White Terror" refers to the violence perpetrated against the people at the order of government leaders.
3 Three members of the Lin Yihsiung family were killed on Feb. 28, 1947.
今回のユースミッションには日本から８人の青年が参加した。最初の４日間は台北(Taipei)に滞在し、開会礼拝、総会事務所訪問、青年活動紹介などをおこなった。そして、＊二二八事件とその後の戒厳令下の生活について学んだ。３日目に国際日語教会(International Japanese Language church)の方々から体験談を伺った。最も印象に残ったのは、二二八事件で義父を失い、自分も危機一髪を逃れた老人が体験談を話し終えた後に、「でも今、台湾は平和だから、昔のことは忘れて平和を愛しましょう、わたしは二二八事件のことを赦します。」と言い切ったことだ。赦すことの凄さを感じた。
５日目からは阿里山(Alishan)の山奥で生活した。台風の再建記念礼拝では、苦難を経験しつつも明るく力強い賛美の歌声にパワーを感じた。楽野教会(Lalauya Church)での日曜礼拝では日本語の単語が頻発していて、ツォウ族(Tsou Tribe)と日本との繋がりに不思議な感じがした。
８日目、阿里山から下山して台南へ向かう。台南では教会公(Taiwan Church Press)報社や長栄中学(Chang Jung high school)、台南神学院(Tainan Theological College and Seminary)、長栄大学(Chang Jung Christian University)、烏脚病記念館(Taiwan Blackfoot Disease Socio-Medical Service Memorial House)等を見学した。特に、烏脚病記念館で知った王金河先生(Dr.Wang King-ho)の奉仕には感銘をうけた。「どんな信仰も愛が無ければ無に等しい」「無償の奉仕ほど喜ばしいことは無い」、これらの王先生の言葉には強い神様への信仰が感じられた。