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“7885 Mustard Seed Helpline” Using 10+ languages to Provide Emotional Support Home and Abroad

2020-05-14
 
The coronavirus recoil is now happening; impacting greatly all aspects of life, such as economy, livelihood, social and family relations, but also seriously affecting people's physical and mental health. The Mustard Seed Mission(MSM), the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan(PCT) and Taiwan Graduate School of Theology (TGST) jointly launched the Line official account "7885 Mustard Seed Helpline "(7885芥助網解憂專線), where one-on-one listen, pray and accompany are offered. The epidemic outbreaks globally, the Helpline also serves Taiwanese overseas, hoping to call on 100 pastors to join the ranks of helping others and live out the love of Christ.
 
The coronavirus pandemic outbreak has caused the spread of pessimism, including confusion about the future due to a sharp decline in income or sudden unemployment; conflict and violence between family members for being a long time at home; loneliness or even distrust due to restricted activities and interpersonal alienation. MSM, PCT and TGST jointly launched the "7885 Mustard Seed Helpline" (7885芥助網解憂專線), and called on pastors with relevant experience to join the ranks; to listen to the help-seekers, relieve their negative emotions and show empathy. Especially for Christians who have not yet had a stable church life or who cannot easily express their difficulties, the "7885 Mustard Seed Helpline " is a channel where people can share safely and ease their worries.
 
“7885 Mustard Seed Helpline”is to listen to the help-seekers, relieve their negative emotions and show empathy.
“7885 Mustard Seed Helpline”is to listen to the help-seekers, relieve their negative emotions and show empathy.
 
At present, more than 50 pastors have participated, women and men half and half, with 70% of them aged 45-69 years old, offering over 12 languages of support including Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka, Taiwan’s Aboriginal languages, English, Japanese, Vietnamese and German. Rev. Lin Weilien, the secretary of the Church and Society Committee of the PCT, said that disturbances occur when the Taiwan society has radical changes, and the vulnerable group at the grass-roots level are the first to disintegrate. PCT has long cared for single-parent families, new immigrants and working class. Seeing the impact of the epidemic on both life and spiritual level and people longing for peace, PCT responded to the needs and supported "7885 Mustard Seed Helpline"(7885芥助網解憂專線), as a diversified channel to ease people's worries via intercession.
 
"7885 Mustard Seed Helpline" is supervised by Dr. Qian YuFen, director of TGST Spiritual counseling group and Student Counseling Center. She recorded the online course to empower the participating pastors, which focuses on empathy training, an important concept in counseling. Help-seekers are greatly comforted through the process of being understood, and their negative emotions can be released properly. However, the epidemic is not an excuse for out-of-control behavior. The pandemic does slow or even seem to halt the global economy, yet economic is not the only issue that people need to deal with in life. Qian also encouraged people to take a good look at life, it is a good timing to reshape life.
 
Rev. Chang Shudi, who participated in the intercession, said that he has been observing the global impact of the coronavirus epidemic, people are shadowing in collective fears, many people suppress and hide their emotions. At this time, the church should stand up and mobilize the collective power under the guidance of God. Through the words and actions of the intercessors, the emotionally wounded can be healed and released from fear. Rev. Chang Shudi had lived in Germany for 8 years. He speaks Mandarin, Taiwanese, English and German, hoping to bring comfort to the help-seekers.
 
Hong Sukuan, another intercessor, is a senior nurse and a university lecturer with a professional background in study of death and life. She is also studying for the Master of Pastoral Counseling in Central Taiwan Theological Seminary. At the beginning of the year, she was suspended due to a spinal surgery. Seeing the helpline recruitment message in a classmate group text, she joined the intercession. She said: "I have learnt so much. Let’s see how God uses me." Hong serves as the chairman of the church’s emergency rescue committee, and is also a project administrator of the MSM partner church. Long been involved in community work, she noticed that people feeling insecure amid the epidemic, don’t know how to live their lives in great anxiety. During her recuperation, she can help others with her pastoral counseling capability online. She feels very happy to have the opportunity to serve.
 
Although the epidemic in Taiwan has slowed down, in countries such as Europe, the United States, Singapore, the Philippines, and India, coronavirus continues to spread. Therefore, the "7885 Mustard Seed Helpline"(7885芥助網解憂專線) can also provide services for Taiwanese overseas. In response to the needs of multilingualism, pastors speaking languages like Taiwan’s Aboriginal languages, Thai, Burmese, Filipino, Indian, English, Japanese and languages of Europe are welcomed to participate. In Taiwan, areas like Keelung, Miaoli, Yunlin and outlying islands have no pastors involved in the ministry yet; pastor in these counties are invited to join! To join the helpline service, please call specialist Ms. Pan at (+886) 2-7741-6000 ext. 2073.
 
People can open the LINE APP and search “@187yfeyj” in Official Account page for the "7885 Mustard Seed Helpline” account (7885芥助網解憂專線), join the 7885 official account and start the service by free call or texts. Meanwhile, "Mustard Seed E-Learning" facebook page (芥助共學網) is also launched (https: //www.facebook. com / MSelearing), providing a selection of various courses and rich learning resources such as MSM courses for Indigenous people, new immigrants, elders and youth employment empowerment. People are invited to learn online safely during the epidemic prevention period, let learning continue at-home!
 
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