Tales from Taiwan #3 week trip



Dear sisters,

Sometimes you never know exactly where the Lord will lead you next.  When I flew home from Taiwan back in the end of July 2014, after having served there 1.5 years, I wasn’t sure what God had in store next.  I really, really missed my kiddos, friends, and co-workers from the island but thought perhaps He was guiding me to start on a new adventure.  In January 2015, He brought an amazing opportunity to work with a Christian movie called Beyond the Mask (if you haven't seen it yet, you're missing out, so make sure you get to see it!).  I still wasn't sure where God was calling me next and spent a lot of time praying about it.  In May, God led a friend and I to travel back to Taiwan for a three week mission trip.  Here’s some of the amazing ways He worked during our time:

~ One day we went to visit some Buddhist friends at their house.  We first met this sweet family back in February 2013, back when my Chinese was limited to “thank you” and “hello”.  I remember our initial meeting being marked by lots of gestures and smiles, trying to communicate as best we could.  The father is a bike repair man and owns a bike shop, so we would go and get our bicycles fixed there.  Then, over two years later, we went to visit our friends and ended up chatting in Chinese (with some hand gestures still!) for over two hours.  We gave our friends a card that said “Jesus loves you and we do too!” and pray that God will use this small seed in their lives and hearts.  It’s pretty incredible looking back and seeing how God guided us to this family and how we’ve become friends.  Every time we enter their place, we see the idols set up to worship their gods and that serves as a poignant reminder of why I came back to Taiwan – to share about the one true God, Jesus Christ, and His story of love and redemption.

~ It was a dreary, rainy day but my friend and I decided to take a train to a nearby village anyway, praying we would find our students out and about as usual.  Instead, we didn’t see any of the kids we knew and started getting discouraged.  As we walked the streets of this village, my friend and I began praying that God would work and show us why He brought us out in the rain.  We decided to stop by the school, even though it was after hours and most likely closed.  The place seemed deserted but we saw a lady leaving and quickly asked her if anyone else was there.  She said there was another teacher still inside and so we hurried in, hoping and praying.  As we began talking, we found out that this lady was the exact teacher we would need to talk to about coming to visit our students!  She excitedly invited us to return the following day so that we could see our students.  As we left that day, I couldn’t help but marvel at God and His goodness in planning to have the exact person we needed to be the one who just “happened” to stay late that day!

~ I wasn’t sure if our former students at the Buddhist home would recognize us.  After all, they were younger and it had been almost a year since we had seen them.  I needn’t have worried.  As soon as Alan* (name changed) saw us, he broke into a run and leaped into my arms.  Alan had the reputation of being the naughtiest in class and always getting into the most trouble during our lesson!  As we began class for that day, I sat next to him, trying to keep him focused and paying attention.  He leaned his arm on my knee as he participated in class and when he lifted it to raise his hand, I noticed a dark spot on my capris but thought nothing of it.  Alan’s arm came on my knee again and again, I noticed another dark stain.  Pretty soon I had three stains on my khaki capris.  Finally it dawned on me – he was bleeding!  

Turns out, Alan’s arm had a wound on it that had started bleeding again.  As I rummaged in my purse for a band-aid, I couldn’t help but smile.  Here I was, in a Buddhist orphanage, getting a band-aid for the naughty kid in class who had just bled all over me – and I was loving it!  I was a bit startled by this realization until I realized why: I was loving it because greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world (1 John 4:1-6, esp. 4).  I realized that no matter if things are going bad or good, that I still have joy because of Jesus.  And He keeps filling me up with His love and that’s why it’s able to flow out of me and into the lives of these precious, neglected children (see 1 John 4:7-14, John 13:34-35, 1 Thess. 3:11-13, among others).

Then I realized something else: I’d let Alan bleed on my capris every week if I can have the privilege of being there with him and sharing Christ’s love in a place where He isn’t known.  After all, getting stained clothes is a rather small price to pay for this privilege of sharing about my Lord!

That’s why I’m going back to Taiwan in August to serve another year.  I think my family already knew that God was calling me back – everyone knew except for me!  God used Alan and others to tug on my heart and respond to His calling to minister again on the island.  I’m looking forward to all that our great God is gonna do in the coming months in Taiwan, because He's so faithful and good.

For His work in Taiwan,
Joanna

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