On Sunday, Nov. 18 Dr. Bryan Smith, senior pastor of First Baptist Church Roanoke commissioned a team of eight for a short-term missions trip to Taipei, Taiwan. Among those sent by the church were Bill and Sarah Kohler, the Poff family, John Thompson, and Gregory S. Cooper, all First Baptist members. The team traveled to Taipei, Taiwan for two weeks (December 2–15, 2018).
Gregory S. Cooper participated in the second week of missions. On December 6, 2018 Gregory flew out of the Roanoke/Blacksburg Regional Airport at 7:30 am heading to Atlanta, GA from which he flew (14 hours) to Tokyo-Narita, and from there for another four hours to Taipei, Taiwan, arriving at 8:55 pm Friday, Dec. 7, a near 20 hour flight!
The days started early and ended late. Gregory taught the true meaning of Christmas in the Taiwan public school system. On an average he taught eight classes each day and was exposed to approximately 1,700 elementary, junior high and high school students. Along with Bill and Sarah Kohler he taught the creation story and included the Christmas story. The team would either teach for 40 or 50 minutes per period covering the Christmas story, depending upon the age of the students.
In addition, Gregory had the opportunity to fit in some sightseeing. He visited the 101 Building, the tallest building in Taipei, similar to the World Trade Center towers in New York City. He also had the opportunity to visit Daoist temples and take in an assortment of Taiwan’s fine cuisine.
On Sunday, Dec. 9, the team worshipped at Grace Baptist Church a multi-ethnic church in the heart of Taipei. On the evening of Monday, Dec. 10, Gregory sang with an outreach aggregation for patients at Taiwan University Hospital in celebration of Christmas.
His final presentation was on Friday, Dec. 14, when he presented the truth of The Christmas Story to over 150 students. That afternoon he took in more sights and shopping to include The National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, a national monument, landmark and tourist attraction erected in memory of Chiang Kai-shek, former President of the Republic of China.
The mission trip will undoubtedly remain forever indelible in the hearts and minds of all participants.