“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” —Matt. 13:31-32
World Vision has always been a child-focused ministry, seeking ways to give the abandoned, homeless, and abused children of this world the safety, nurture, love, and godly encouragement they need to grow into healthy and caring people who will pass on that blessing. Each little life is like a mustard seed being planted for the glory of the Lord, and as I travel the world I am always blessed to see the beautiful and fruitful gardens that have sprung up from those seeds — even after World Vision has moved on.
Most people associate World Vision’s earliest work with the children of Korea. What many people do not know is that my father, World Vision founder Bob Pierce, began supporting children’s homes and other missionary outreaches on the island of Formosa (more commonly known as Taiwan) at about the same time. In 1952, World Vision began raising funds for missionaries like Lillian Dickson, founder of Mustard Seed International, the Oriental Mission Society (now called One Mission Society), and other medical and church organizations.
Through child sponsorship and other supportive measures, World Vision helped plant the seeds for over a dozen orphanages, hospitals, and homes for lepers and the handicapped that are still meeting those needs today.
The Mustard Seed Children’s Home on the outskirts of Taipei was founded by my father’s dear friend and mentor, Lillian Dickson. For many years it was a World Vision-sponsored orphanage. I visited there in 1965 and remembered it well, especially the stone chapel where my father often preached.
On my recent visit to Taiwan (read about the beginning of my trip), the rolling, green hills that once surrounded the campus had been replaced by an endless maze of city streets and cement buildings, and I wasn’t sure what we would find when we turned down the narrow alleyway leading to the property.
Here’s what we saw.