The Yuan-yi network (www.yuanyinet.org) is the first North American charitable network Cloud, and is also a worldwide Cloud-based charity platform. It crosses religious, political, national, and regional boundaries in hopes of gathering every bit of kindness and turning it into actions, spreading it to every corner of the world.
The Yuan-yi network was founded in 2011 by Mr. TC Lee, who was interviewed by the Gospel Herald recently. He shared his journey in becoming involved in charitable works and founding of the Yuan-yi network and his dreams.
Reporter: You are involved in the advanced technology business. Under what kinds of circumstances did you come up with the idea of a charitable network like Yuan-yi network?
Two episodes of "accepting an order under impending peril" and entry into the charitable work
TC: This brings me back to three years ago when I was very busy in the advanced technology business, and someone asked me to volunteer. I would use "too busy, cannot make time" as the excuse every time, but I donated because it involved only writing a check. Three years ago, I started volunteering. When I became personally involved, I felt that spending time to volunteer was different from just making monetary donations. Donating money did not allow me to empathize with people's needs. When I wholeheartedly volunteered, I was the one who benefited the most from the experience.
Three years ago, by coincidence, I volunteered once for Tzu Chi (a Taiwanese Buddhist charity). It was before Christmas and the Tzu Chi School, where our children attended, organized a winter-themed activity. My wife was invited to participate. She asked me to come along. I agreed to help, but as the program was about to start, a crew member from Tzu Chi called my wife and said, "Oh my, our Santa Claus fell ill, would your husband mind being Santa Claus?" And just like that, I was caught at the last moment to be Santa Claus.
I have never been Santa Claus, and thus I was very nervous when facing thousands of people during the event. I was thinking about how to be Santa Claus, like where my hands should go, and so forth. But just then, a few children saw me and ran to my side, and a little girl raised her head and said, "Santa, I love you, can I kiss you?"
Seeing her lovely sincere expression, I could not help but held her up in my arms, and a miraculous thing happened next. My heart immediately opened, and I automatically became Santa Claus. I went to every table, and everyone, no matter adult or child, was happy with smiles. Everyone wanted to give me a hug at the end of the activity. That day, I felt that the "children" in many of us were being liberated. No matter how old you are, there is always a "child" within you who wishes to receive a present.
Under these circumstances, the crew members from Tzu Chi introduced me to become a board member of the Chinese branch of the American Cancer Society. In the first executive meeting that I attended, I shared the experience as Santa Claus and testified that as long as there was love as guidance, strength would naturally come. They applauded afterwards and exceptionally invited me to become the chairman of the Society's Chinese "Relay for Life" fundraising activity.
Without any experience, I once again was faced with the feeling of "accepting an order under impending peril", and similar to the experience of being Santa Claus, when love came first, the problems that came after were easily solved. This fundraising activity happened in the midst of the economic crisis, but we not only reached our fundraising goal, but also surpassed it by 50 percent. Besides, we invited a pop singer from Taiwan to perform during a fundraising concert, and I tried for the first time broadcasting it live through the internet, in order to expand the promotion of this activity to places beyond the boundaries of the Bay area. This was the first "Cloud-based Relay for Life".
I was inspired by this experience: If everyone in the world gives love, the unending channels of love will become a big river of love to change the world, and, most importantly, to change every one of us who is willing to give love.
We are always busy with work and often forget to give love to others. If we can take just two hours each week to give love, our hearts can be rekindled anew by love. Because God uses you to help people, He will make sure that you can stand on your own. Open your hearts and become channels of love, and that way, your hearts will also receive nurturing.
(TC also mentioned a story that touched him: a Christian sister was diagnosed with breast cancer about 30 years ago, and was told by the doctor that she could only live for 3 months. She wished to donate her organs after her death, and the doctor said, "No one would use your organs, because your organs contain cancer cells." When she felt hopeless and was waiting for death to come, the hospital asked her to become a volunteer to take care of other cancer patients. She signed a lifelong volunteer contract with the hospital, and her life extended from 3 months to 30 years. During this time, her cancer cells metastasized throughout her body, and she was prescribed the "death sentence" several times by the doctor. However, she did not pray for her body, but only that God would give her more time to serve the other patients.)
TC exclaimed that if God could use a cancer cell-laden body, what about us who are healthy? As Christians, we should imitate Jesus Christ to serve and help those in need. To be charitable is also to be a good disciple, and so is to serve without reservation.
Cloud-based Love Feast - Christmas express delivery to Tai-tung from December 12 onwards
Reporter: How did you think of the idea to build a charitable network platform Cloud from getting involved in charitable works?
TC: The Cloud network technology is well developed; social networks like Facebook allows you to efficiently share experiences, gather messages and resources. We hope that the Yuan-yi network can become the world's greatest charitable social network site, offering people a platform, where they can discuss charitable experiences and share stories.
Cloud technology can gather charitable resources and strength, but it must be based in a palpable location, and thus requires the cooperation of the community. We will hold a "Cloud-based Love Feast - Christmas express delivery to Tai-tung" activity from December 12-24, to select 120 primary and secondary schools in the province of Tai-tung to deliver love to the poorest areas in Taiwan.
The province of Tai-tung is just a beginning. We plan to visit more locations to give love. Those places in need can also actively contact us.
Reporter: Does the fact that "Cloud-based Love Feast" has chosen to be held before Christmas carry any special meaning?
TC: Christmas is a day to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, and the love the Jesus Christ brought to the earth. To us Christians, Christmas is not just a time to sing hymns in Church, but a time to bring love to the darkest corners of the world.
Last year, there was a Christmas animation called "Arthur's Christmas", which talked about a Christmas rocket ship that delivered presents to children on Christmas Eve. However, it missed one little girl. The eldest son of Santa Claus thought that express mail should solve the problem; however, the youngest son, Arthur, insisted on delivering the present before Christmas dawn, in order to protect the little girl's dreams of Santa Claus and her hopes for miracles. Presents are just a medium to represent the love in this world.
We have to be like Arthur, to protect the dreams of the "child" in us. We wish to help the 65 million people in this world to find the "children" in them and to let love flow naturally among each one of us.
We have started collecting wishes from schools in Tai-tung, and some of those brought tears to our eyes, such as "I wish we have a restroom that is not scary", because the restrooms in many schools are not hygienic and do not distinguish between boys and girls. These children are facing these conditions every day. If every one of us gives a little, we can help them obtain restrooms that are not scary.
In August this year, I coincidentally met the mayor of Tai-tung and spoke to her about the concept of the Yuan-yi network. She suggested the "Cloud-based Love Feast - Christmas express delivery to Tai-tung" activity. I know how technology works, but do not know how it can be used to bring heaven on earth. And finally, here comes the angel on earth.
Participate in the Yuan-yi network to nurture the "Garden of Love"
Reporter: Being a worldwide charitable platform Cloud, how does the Yuan-yi network operate? For example, how do we connect with the various charitable organizations, and how can we widely use our resources?
TC: At this point, the Yuan-yi network is still new, and very few people know about it. We have built the platform technically, and the next step is to establish the birth of the Yuan-yi network through the "Cloud-based Love Feast". The current volunteers at the Yuan-yi network are like its parents, together carrying this product in their wombs, and now is the time for its birth.
This activity will be a carnival of love, as well as an expo of charitable organizations - the world's first Cloud-based expo of charitable organizations. We hope to exhibit at least 1,200 non-profit organizations' visions and needs, and to recruit 144,000 volunteers worldwide. We invite all the non-profit organizations with visions and needs to complete their online exhibition resources before December 12.
The messages from these various charitable organizations will be placed in the Yuan-yi network platform, where visitors and volunteers can find locations that require the most assistance and participate in the activities according to their preferences. Thus, the available resources can be effectively used.
Reporter: How does a volunteer participate in the Yuan-yi network?
TC: Please visit our website www.yuanyinet.org to register to be a volunteer.
We encourage everyone in the world: be a Santa Claus this year and give love to those who need love. Time, money, or any other donated resources, strength, or technologies are welcome. We hope that through this activity we can gather more and more drops of love to form a river of love, in order to satisfy the wishes of our children.
When you respond to the calls of love, you will also be different. Love will revive you and change you!
2012 Christmas express delivery to Tai-tung Facebook link:
2012 Cloud Charity Festival Website: http://cloudcharityfestival.net/en
The term “Yuan-yi” has three layers of meaning in Chinese: the primary nurturing – fulfills the well-being of mankind, the act of cultivating – promotes the growth, and the willing heart – makes everything possible.
Yuan-yi network currently has 20 or 30 volunteers working in preparation for the "Cloud-based Love Feast" activity, and members from various charitable groups are helping as well. The Yuan-yi network still needs many volunteers and financial resources. Lynn, one of the first volunteers and is now in charge of promotional work, also encourages us to actively participate in voluntary service and to start your "Garden of Love". Just as God told Apostle Paul that "My grace is sufficient for you", God also gives us time to use. Lynn said, "No matter how busy you are or how tired you are, God will always give you time to volunteer."
[Editor's note: Carol Lee translated the report.]