On Sept 21, 1999, an earthquake shook the entire island of Taiwan, causing 2000 deaths and 3 billion dollars damage loss. Nantou County, southern part of Taiwan, suffered the most damages, where roads split, house collapsed, water utilities and traffics were completely cut off. Nantou, once famous for its beautiful natural sceneries, has become a desolate place that cannot be recognized.
921 Earthquake is the most powerful earthquake within the recent centuries. Because they have never experience an earthquakes of such great magnitude, there were no system to deal with the disaster. The disaster area was a mess. At that time, churches and Christian ministries together held out their hands to help assist in the work of disaster relief.
Chinese Christian Relief Association has only been established for one year before the 921 Earthquake happened, they immediately opened a major personnel transfer conference to establish relief centers, resource transfer stations and command posts; the headquarter setup a Earthquake disaster website to receive donations from native people and people from overseas. Towards the end of Nov in 2002, the 921 reconstruction work came to point, where relief association not only continued to help disaster relief, but they also started to cooperate with churches, setting up community services and evangelism. They are planning to setup 1000 Relief Centers and website with complete information on relief work from 2003 till 2007.
Presbyterian Churches have also participated in 921 Earthquake relief efforts in the three areas: rescue efforts, stationing, and reconstructions. Through setting up care centers, PCT assisted local churches in pushing forth community evangelism. Allowing churches to play the role of bread and yeast in the community. This makes the churches to actively cooperate with care stations in the effort of evangelism rather than playing the role of passively providing assistance.
Gideon Foundation also assisted in the reconstruction immediately after the quake disaster. They gathered their co-workers to help in the disaster relief reconstruction, used secular donations and department resources, and setup Gideon Nantou 921 Protection factory in 2001 to assists local victims, single-women, mentally-ill individuals, jobless seniors. They provided professional job training courses like wheelchair production class, car-wash training course, and beverage mixing course. Within the last five years, Nantou 921 Protection Factory has severed over 54,000 people, setup over 560 activities that provided care for every people of the community and respected the needs of every mentally ill person and handicapped people.
Within these couple of year, the wheelchair, which is main product of Gideon Nantou 921 Protection Factory, has 60~70% of the market share. To the Protection Factory workers, the approval of the wheelchair is a source of encouragement and conviction. Not only did Gideon bring the wheelchairs into the market, it also entered the relief work through the wheelchairs in assisting the lives of victims, jobless women, and the mentally handicapped.
Today, Gideon Foundation Nantou 921 held a press conference in the factory called, "Gideon Nantou 921 Protection Factory 5th Anniversary Press Conference." Everyone shared the experience of pains and the feeling of resurrection. With a grateful heart, they described the joy of development.