I watched to see how people would react as our team of 15 lively teenagers, decked out in face paint and eye-catching costumes, boarded a subway car packed with rush-hour commuters. Surprised looks soon turned to smiles as the young people greeted them and explained what they were up to.
Earlier, teenagers from the Family International in Taiwan had gotten together with their slightly older counterparts to discuss how they could reach this country with God’s love. As can be expected of a group of high-energy young people, the ideas they came up with were rather unorthodox!
The basic plan?—Go where there are lots of people, use music, costume, and drama to attract their attention and offer them the message of God’s personal love and care.
For two weekends they did their best to saturate Taipei with happy, friendly reminders that each of us is important to God.
Teenagers and young adults alike turned many heads when they stepped out on a Friday night on a busy walking street with “LOVE” painted on their faces in bold glittery Chinese characters and accompanying happy smiles and laughter. As people stopped to stare or inquire about their antics, they told them of God’s love and handed out colorful messages.
“Why not offer free hugs—love in action?” someone had suggested in our planning meeting. So each time they finished explaining our message of love and brotherhood to a curious crowd, they offered a round of yung bao—Mandarin for “hugs.” All the usual barriers crumbled as people shared a simple hug and got a touch of happiness to take home with them.
Another evening found the young volunteers in a main downtown shopping area, where they played guitars and simple percussion instruments and soon had a bemused crowd of shoppers dropping their bags to link hands and be whisked into a circle for folk dancing and singing. As people laughed, danced, and chatted, it didn’t matter that they had never met before. All that mattered was that God was giving them a taste of the happiness and love He wants us all to have and share.
As the team made their way home on the subway, guitars still in hand, they began singing softly. Passengers began applauding and joining in, until the whole train car was full of music and dancing.
Everywhere these young Family members went, they created a stir. People pulled out their cameras or cell phones and took photos. Some offered their e-mail addresses and asked to stay in touch. Many prayed with the Family young people, asking for Jesus’ love to fill their hearts. All left with a sense of His love and a feeling of happiness!