A lot of pictures are due very soon! Stay tuned for pictures of travel and fun, and even an incredibly leopard-printed hostel! But first I need to tell you about the amazing testimonies from God that seem to be bursting out at every seam!
Today is February 23rd, 2016, and since the 18th I have officially been here in Taiwan for 7 months. My how time flies. From January 15th through February 15th, I was on my winter break from teaching at Sunshine American School, and I last left off with my Everyday Life week.
On February 4th, my mom traveled to visit me, en-route from India (she went on a missions trip– first time out of the States at 62!). She is pretty much a world traveler after the past month! She happened to get food poisoning from the last meal she had in India, so we had some bonding time in the bathroom (puking her guts out your first night visiting me is likely not what she had imagined), and my friend MoMo told me how to make congee and some other special things for her. I was pretty grateful for help because there is no chicken noodle soup from Campbell’s just hanging around.
Mom stayed in a hostel that was covered -literally- in leopard print. I got to stay with her most of the nights, and we hung out and talked and talked for hours. After a couple nights, we went to stay with my good friends Tim and Penny Iverson in the south-central part of Taiwan, in a town called Yuan Zhong. It was like Christmas!
February 7th was Chinese New Year, and this means everyone and their dog packs up and goes to visit mom and dad, and then the in-laws the first two days of the year. The last time I visited Yuan Zhong it had a quiet, deserted, but peaceful feeling. This time, cars were going in and out of the two main streets and people were everywhere! It was quite the contrast.
Tim and Penny are missionaries in Yuan Zhong, and they have a church that they pastor, so on Sunday we worshiped with them.
Praise: Saturday night we prayed for many people to come to church, and for an opportunity to pray for a certain man who has something akin to Chron’s Disease, and also that that man would feel better. Both happened, and the man joined us for dinner at another family’s house for dinner, saying that he felt the best he had for a very long time. Praise God! Please pray for this man–for total restoration and healing.
Mom also got to meet all of my greatest friends here. It was a blessing for me because it is one thing to read my blog and see the pictures; it is quite another to meet the people and see the places I have been. I felt so honored by the people who wanted to make her feel welcome and take her to see some of Taipei’s interesting places.
Praise God for Eva, Alfie, Sandra, Hank, Howard, and MoMo! They all played a part in making my mom’s stay in Taiwan really fun. I hope–and please pray– that someday they may be able to visit us in Minnesota if they have a chance.
B I G N E W S !
Hey! I have some FANTASTIC, GREAT news!
Over the winter break, I was tempted to be afraid for the new semester, but then I had this sudden epiphany: God helped me get through the first semester. Why would he not be as present with me for the new semester as for the old one? God taught me to trust Him. Really trust him.
I took my mother to the airport the day before school started again. A few days before, we had traveled to my school and prayed over the school. Then on Monday, February 15th, I returned to being “Teacher Skye.” My friend Sandra had prayed for me over break and saw a picture of me being happy in school, and enjoying teaching. That picture came true…. and has come true every day since that Monday, I can say.
Praise Him for His faithfulness. Praise Him for encouragement. Praise Him for taking me and making me into something totally different. I still do not have any desire to continue teaching as a job, but He has made it possible for me to enjoy teaching.
So, what changed??
I had some time to think over break, and I came up with a new system for classroom management: Baby Cards. They are simple and easy: you do something good, you get a card. A certain amount of cards gets you a prize. Last semester I used them for my first graders, but this semester I thought, “Hey, what the heck, I can use them for 6th grade too.” They were a little offended that I wanted to give them something as childish as “Baby Cards,” but when the actual gift-receiving started, everyone was pretty interested.
I also decided to start class with someone being in the “hot-seat” and everyone else in the class gets to ask them any question about a certain topic. I write it on the board before class in code, so they are all itching to find out what the day’s topic is.
God also provided me with a day that I was able to go to a teacher training day (which turned out to be all the Chinese co-teachers and me), and I learned some valuable lessons for teaching, using the materials I use in class. It was great!
T H E B E S T B I G N E W S !!!
My new co-teacher is a Christian!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
I was praying for that over the whole break, and God sent me a blessing named Amanda. She and Bonnie, the other Christian in Sunshine, whom I have been praying for for a long time, are good friends apparently, and they have gone to church together a few times already! I am excited for this semester… with all three of us praying for Sunshine’s teachers and kids, who knows what could happen this year?
Praise God for Amanda! Pray that she and I can help the 6A class to rise above anything they have ever accomplished before. Pray that she and I can work together to pray for them, care for them, and help them have a great final semester in elementary school. Please also pray for protection and love for Amanda. 🙂
“Ignorance Is Bliss”
There is a saying that says, “Ignorance is bliss,” meaning that if you do not know about something unpleasant or bad, it is better than knowing about it and worrying. But there is so much more bliss when you can face hardships, bad situations, and spiritual attacks and completely forget your worries because of the grace of Christ.
Even now, it is hard for me to say it yet. But certainly when I finish this year of teaching I will look back and tell you that I would not trade this year for a year of peace and comfort even if you gave me a million dollars. I have learned something invaluable: Christ is with me and Christ is for me.
Galatians 6:8-9 says, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Emphasis added.)
My sister Corry sent me a picture a long time ago that has this quote on it: “It will be better than you ever imagined.” For a long time, I could only look at it and long for it to be true.
Today, my good friend Eva is planning on getting baptized in March, my friend Alfie is as well, my friend Howard is growing in his faith and continuing to put God first, I have been able to pray for several people about really deep things and encourage them in their faith, God has provided me with friends who understand my heart, and so many opportunities to tell people about what God has done in my life to people. He is building a heart of prayer and humility in the people who go to the Aroma Church, and I can see the leaders really running after God to look to His wisdom and guidance and not the world’s.
Today, seven months in, I can say, “Yes, it is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. Thank you, God.” I hope you can too.
What are you praying for? Don’t give up!
Keep the Faith!