Friday, June 24, 2016



Happy Fri-YAY, lovelies! Here are some fun things to check out as you head into the weekend:

The Archibald Project
We know that caring for orphans is close to God's heart - but what does that mean, practically, in today's day and age and in our unique life stages? The Archibald Project advocates for orphan care through storytelling, highlighting all aspects of the United State's foster care system and adoption and child care abroad. They even spotlight opportunities for you to make a difference with the time and talents you have available, In their words, "Some stories are beautiful, some powerful, and some heart breaking, but all of these stories need to be told." You can also check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

30 Days of Bible Lettering
Creative girls, here's a fun project just for you: This challenge kicks off July 1, inviting you to write one Bible verse each day however you like - in a fun app, with freestyle calligraphy or a collage - really, it's up to you. Then share with your friends and enjoy others' work on social media with the #30daysofBiblelettering hashtag.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Tales from Taiwan #16

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Dear sisters,

I'm calling this update "Extreme temps, giant spiders and reunions" with good reason:

First is extreme temps: I've learned how it feels to literally sweat the entire day in the office with no AC...hot!  It's only early June but we have been having unusually hot and humid temps, with the feels like temp at 106F and humidity at 85%.  One way to beat the heat is to go swimming with my kids in the river, which was nice and refreshing! (If only I could do that every day!)

Along with the extreme temps, we have had a sudden influx of creepy, crawly creatures which have resulted in sleepless nights, screams and lots of shoe-whacking.  For the record, I'm not usually scared of bugs but when it comes to Taiwan's version, I get a little more nervous since they are so huge!  I'm not the only one...a spider bigger than my hand visited my classroom the other day and caused an outbreak of hysterics from my students.  Thank God for the brave boy who grabbed the broom and saved us all!

The best for last: reunions!  This weekend I traveled by train with my friend to visit my village kids further away at their sports day.  These are fourth graders I taught last semester and sixth graders I taught two years ago.  

My heart has been especially anxious to see my 6th graders since it's been two years since I've caught up with them.  This particular village is a rougher area and I wasn't sure how my kids would react when they saw me after such an absence.  I was especially looking for two boys in particular.  One of them used to have an awful temper and was well-known in school for throwing chairs and desks at other students.  He really changed during his time at our school and I was wondering if he still was changed.

When the sixth graders caught sight of us, they yelled our names, started into a sprint and threw themselves into my arms and my friend's arms.  What a reunion!  I'm happy to report that it looks like they are still changed for the better two years later.  God is faithful.

It's hard to believe that this school year is almost over.  Just a few weeks left and I'll be returning to the States for the summer.  God has been showing me so much and it's with joy that I will be returning to Taiwan for the fall semester to serve another year.  I also just started working on my degree so I can stay longer-term in Taiwan in the future.  Can't wait to continue this journey He has me on here but in the meantime, I'm trying to treasure these last few weeks and live to the hilt, as missionary Jim Elliot put it. 

For Him in Taiwan,
Joanna

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Footprints



15 Ways to Start Your Day Well

We recently found this article by author and speaker Crystal Paine to be really good, encouraging and practical.  In it Crystal shares 15 ways she's found that help her start her day well.  We don't wanna spoil it for you, so check it out here!

27 Books Christian Teens Should Read (And Grownups Should Too)

Brett Harris, co-founder of The Rebelution, shares 27 books that he thinks every Christian teen and adult should read.  Head over here to see what they are and then hurry on over to the library to start some good, worthwhile reads!

May God give you His joy to share with others this weekend!

Joanna, Megan, Krista, Emily & Victoria

Monday, May 23, 2016

Tales from Taiwan #15

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Dear sisters,

Some days life here in Taiwan can be kinda normal, kinda mundane.  At least it feels like it to me!  I teach, I eat, I sleep - then I do it all again the next day.  God is teaching me to be faithful in the every day kind of things.  Recently I've been going through a book called Experiencing God.  I've done it before but felt like it would be really beneficial and encouraging to do it again.  I've been reading about how God speaks to us and delights to work through us to be His hands and feet, whether in big ways or small ways.  It also shares how it's important to pray for God to give us opportunities to serve - and then actually be alert for when those opportunities appear.

Like last Saturday when my friend and I were biking home.  We came to a stoplight and noticed a lady on her moped across the street who seemed to be doubling over in pain.  Her shoe was in the middle of the road.  We felt like we should go see if we could help so we crossed the street and found out she had been hit by a car.  Her ankle was swollen hugely and part of a bone was protruding out, so she was unable to dismount the moped.  Thankfully the car driver was still there and together along with the help of another stranger, we were able to move her moped to the side of the street.  We stayed with the injured lady for awhile until help came, praying as we made sure she was still conscious (a few times I was sure she would collapse or faint from the pain, but God kept her upright!).

Looking back now, I can see how God arranged everything just right so we would be at that traffic light at that time to help the lady.  He gave us the opportunity to be His hands and feet that day and I'm so glad we were alert and open to His promptings.  That's my prayer as I finish out this school year here, that I will continue to look around me and see ways that He is calling me to share His love and truth with these people I love.  It's incredible seeing Him work and this quote by Mother Teresa seems to sum up my prayer for the rest of this semester:

"I'm a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world."

For Him in Taiwan,
Joanna

Friday, May 20, 2016

Book Review: Simplify

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I'm an avid reader and even worked in my local library for awhile but I haven't picked up a book since May 2015.  Almost a year later I'm finally getting back into the bookworld.  I really missed reading but every time I tried, I would get lightheaded, dizzy, nauseous, my vision would blur and I'd get intense migraines that could last for a long time.  Yeah, I wrote When Pain Doesn't Fly Away four years ago and I'm still struggling with some of the same things.  It's still a journey and one that I'm so grateful God is carrying me through.

So when a friend recommended Simplify by Bill Hybels, I hesitantly started reading (I say hesisitantly because I was scared that my migraines and all that would commence as I started reading - but thankfully, they didn't!).  I found Bill's writing engaging and his ideas clear and practical.  I really appreciated his authenticity and Biblical viewpoint.  This is a treasure of a book, in my opinion!

This book really helped me see how I need to consistently do things that "fill my bucket", as Bill calls it.  This is going to be different for every person but the concept is the same.  He describes it best but basically I found out what things God uses to refresh and revive me and then made sure to schedule them into my life on a weekly basis.  That way I can continue to serve and love others as He has called me to do - and continually be refreshed and revived.

Maybe you've been feeling overwhelmed or drained in daily life or ministry or wherever God has you right now.  If so, pick up a copy of Simplify and start praying that God will use it in your life!