Mennonite Church Canada logo
Location:
News » Releases » Taiwan group celebrates 60 years of medical ministry
 

Taiwan group celebrates 60 years of medical ministry

   
 


At the 60th anniversary of Mennonite medical ministry in Hualien, Taiwan, celebrants sliced a special cake. In front, from left, are former Commission on Overseas Mission worker Dr. Carl Epp of Winnipeg, Manitoba; former COM worker Susan Martens Kehler of Abbotsford, B.C.; Mennonite Christian Hospital board chair Paul Wang; and Mennonite Foundation chief executive officer Peter Huang

View or download full sized image.


Xie Shen Shan & Dr. Carl Epp
Hualien County Magistrate Xie Shen Shan (right) makes former Commission on Overseas Missions worker Dr. Carl Epp of Winnipeg, Manitoba, an honorary citizen of Hualien County at the 60th anniversary of Mennonite medical ministry in Hualien, Taiwan.

View or download full sized image.

   

October 10, 2008
- Sheldon Sawatzky

HUALIEN, Taiwan — With aboriginal dances, choirs and speeches, Taiwan believers and former mission workers celebrated the 60th anniversary of Mennonite medical ministry in Taiwan on September 19 at the Mennonite Christian Hospital in Hualien.

A 35-bed hospital built in Hualien in 1954 under the leadership of Dr. Roland Brown has evolved into a 500-bed regional teaching hospital with more than 900 employees.

The Taiwan medical work by Mennonites began in 1948 when Mennonite Central Committee sent workers from Kaifeng, China, at the invitation of the Taiwan Presbyterian Church. Mobile clinics, eye clinics and distribution of relief goods were carried out around the island among the aboriginal groups, most of who lived in the mountainous areas.

By 1956, MCC transferred the medical ministry to the Board of Missions of the General Conference Mennonite Church, a predecessor agency of Mennonite Church Canada Witness and Mennonite Mission Network.

During the celebration, Paul Lin, MCC’s first employee in Taiwan and the first Taiwan Mennonite pastor, preached on “service in the name of Christ.” Former Canadian mission workers, Dr. Carl Epp and Susan Martens Kehler received honorary Hualien County citizenship by the county magistrate.

Following the two-and-one-half hour thanksgiving service, hospital officials dedicated the obstetrics delivery suite and ward of Mennonite Christian Hospital to the memory of Dr. Alvin Friesen, a missionary doctor from 1958-1976. Friesen’s widow, Ruby, of Outlook, Saskatchewan, and daughter Heidi were present for the ceremony.

There are now 20 Mennonite churches in Taiwan.

Among other past medical workers who returned to Taiwan to attend the anniversary celebrations was Tobia Veith, daughter of Han Vandenberg, who served with MCC and COM, and Martha Vandenberg, who served as a nurse. Veith, her husband George and their three children are carrying on the family tradition of mission as long term workers for MC Canada Witness in Macau