Staff Feature: Jie En (Shaina) Widmer
Jie En has been living in Taiwan since mid-June 2018 and did a Discipleship Training School (DTS) along with her husband and two children. After the DTS she took the School of Cartooning and Animation (SoCAM) for six months and then remained as part-time project staff with Create Taiwan. She has a degree in Biology, a diploma in Education and experience in teaching most anything to anyone. We have benefited from her wisdom and life experience here at Create International Taiwan and enjoy working with her in the office (although she is now stuck in Guam).
Q: What made you choose to do a DTS with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) here in Taiwan?
A: Team dynamics! Fang Ru, our dear Taiwanese, long-time friend and now fellow staff at Create Taiwan, felt that it would be wise if not all of us would be disoriented by a new culture while getting our training, especially since our twin daughters are special needs. Haha...only some of us needed to “go crazy,” hence we settled on doing the DTS on Fang Ru’s home turf in Taiwan.
Q: What were some of the challenges that you experienced as a wife, and as a mother of two intellectually disabled adults during that time?
A: I have to say that the challenges in Taiwan were comparatively minimal for me personally. Fang Ru truly served our family during our time together in DTS and my time in the SoCAM. I actually found this time easier than my previous, almost quarter-century season of homeschooling our 10 children, adopted from America, Vietnam, Marshall Islands and Kazakhstan; ages ranging from newborn to 15 years old. That former season was definitely more stretching than now.
Q: How has art been a part of your life? What are your favorite forms of art?
A: I have loved comics since I was seven years old when I found a stack of them left behind in the basement recycle/trash area on a military base in Germany. Treasure trove! Reading and copying these comics opened a deep part in my soul that touched eternity. Timeless, creative stories. Characters like Archie, John Carter of Mars and The Flintstones, over time kept me young at heart. And since I am bilingual (French, English), the fantastic world of Franco-Belgian bandes dessinées (BDs) also was at my fingertips. My friends were Tintin, Valerian and Laureline; characters that Americans now know. The French refer to comics as the 9th Art (architecture, sculpture, painting, music, dance, poetry, film, television, BDs). So comics and Chinese brush painting are the two forms I love to use in creating.
Q: Why did you take the SoCAM and what did you learn? Was there something unexpected or information that you hadn’t considered before you took it?
A: Taking the school was to be an opportunity for me to hone my skills in making comics...so I thought. Surprise! The main focus was on ANIMATION. I should have known...haha. So thankful I didn’t know or I might have been too intimidated to attempt taking the SoCAM. Animation was a form I had never given much thought about nor particularly watched much. In the class of 2019, I was the one with the lowest computer tech skill-set. At that time we had to learn about five or so software programs compared to what will be the more streamlined approach that will be used in AniMissions. The staff was amazing, patient and encouraging! I loved the team dynamics and learnt to love creating animation! It was such a “rush” when I made my bug creature sing the cockroach song in Spanish...cha-cha-cha! I pushed my boundaries...and enlarged my tent-pegs.
Q: Why did you choose to volunteer with Create Taiwan after your school?
A: In 1975, Loren Cunningham and Bill Bright were each given the same prophecy about Seven Mountains that shape society, just before they met together at a coffee shop. Francis Schaefer was given this also (https://www.ywamers.community/7spheres). Basically this prophecy is about capturing nations for God by being involved in these pillars of society. One of those Seven is the Mountain of Celebration. Animation is in that sphere. I would like to be part of capturing that mountain by learning more and teaching others the skills to do the same. Create Taiwan is where I can join with a team to accomplish God’s Kingdom advancement.
“Who is not attracted to visual storytelling? Cartoons can speak!”
Q: Why do you think this media ministry is effective for reaching people with the gospel?
A: Who doesn’t have access to a cellphone? Who is not attracted to visual storytelling? Cartoons can speak! They can even enter sensitive areas around the globe and not be concerned about being thrown in jail and tortured.
- Wendy H.