In 1969, Mrs. Lillian Dickson opened and dedicated a Vocational Training Institute and a chapel in Taiwan. These were additions to Mustard Seed’s existing Rescue Home for boys. As she watched the beaming children march from the Vocational Building to the Chapel, she reflected: “This is the pathway of Hope”.
Since then, Mustard Seed has expanded to other areas of Southeast Asia and continues to focus on building education programs. Through the schools we start, staff, and operate, we provide hope to our students, teachers, and the communities they live in. The education, training and discipleship they receive nourishes their hearts and minds. In every classroom and children’s home we run, we teach in words and deeds about our greatest Hope. Driven by that Hope, teaching is our small act of worship. It starts mustard seed-sized, but with God’s blessing we are confident it will grow into something much bigger.
“People will be our kind of work,” explained Lillian Dickson when, over half a century ago, she founded Mustard Seed International. When people are your kind of work, you have to love. Love is at the heart of why and how God dealt with us, for “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten” (John 3:16). He first loved, then he gave. He is our example, so we strive to “sincerely and deeply love those people whose lives we are privileged to touch,” as Lillian said.
For us, love means going into remote and underserved areas to start schools, caring for orphans, and serving the communities we live and work in. It means sharing God’s love with each child and family we interact with and introducing them to the source of the greatest love they will ever experience.
Lillian Dickson believed in the importance of local leadership. Through her ministry in Taiwan, a woman named Chi-oang came to saving faith in Christ, one of only two people in her people group to do so at that time. It was God at work through an unlikely student: an old, tattooed woman, who didn’t look like a powerful minister of the gospel. After some Bible training, wherever Chi-oang went, she taught. Feeble and old though she was, she taught the good news of the Gospel, and God reaped his reward through her as He unleashed Pentecost in the hills.
Holding strongly to this legacy, we are focused on training and empowering indigenous leaders after God’s own heart. Currently, almost all of our sites are led by local leaders. We’re aiming much bigger – we established an innovative teacher and leadership training program to exponentially increase the number of local leaders who will be equipped to serve communities all over their nation. It is through this generation that the mustard seeds we’re planting will grow into something Christ-sized big!