Today is day seven of Everyday Life: School Edition, which, if you have not been following, is a mini-series about the daily life of a ‘missionary’ intern at the Aroma Cafe/Church with Envision, a ministry of the CMA. (If you were wondering, the cover picture has nothing to do with this blog; I’m pointing to a giant earthworm I saw on Yanmingshan last week… )
I have been in Taiwan for 11 months and one day today. On Tuesday, July 5th at 9:40 am I am going to take a plane back to the States and get to see my family and friends for a whole month!!! I am excited. 🙂 I am also a little nervous too, because I have to figure out where to put my things and what I should take with me, etc. But God will make this a fun adventure, I am sure. Here is my adventure today:
This morning, I slept in to a beautiful 10:30 am… ahhhh. Wonderful. 🙂
I love sleeping in, but I usually deny myself the pleasure because there is just too much Life! to live. How can people spend more than 7 hours sleeping and still do everything they want to do? haha.
Today I was on the worship team, so I practiced some of the songs, and got ready for the day. Nathan and Andrea made spaghetti to share today for lunch, so we three ate together around noon. It was a rare roommate bonding moment, and I really enjoyed it. We do not often get the time to eat together because of schedules, so it was very nice to be invited into that today. Thanks Nate and Andrea!
At 1:30, I met Eva at the Aroma and we went downstairs to the basement to talk and study the Bible together. We have been sporadically reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and our goal was to finish that before she gets baptized in August. I hope we can do that, but we still have a few chapters to go, and I am leaving soon. That is something you can pray for. Today we read in Philippians chapter 4:4-7 about how to live our lives in praise and gentleness–letting the gentleness and calmness of the way we meet life’s challenges be our witness of God’s faithfulness to others.
At 3, I helped take all the sound equipment upstairs to the 2nd floor of the coffee shop where we have church on Sunday afternoon/evening. It is quite the ordeal each week as we move everything around and totally change modes in the small ‘upper room’ of the Cafe. Plus, today we got a new sound system with in-ear monitors!!! I am so excited about that, you have no idea! 🙂 We have been playing for several weeks with no monitor (last one broke), and it was not good. Today we could hear everyone and the sound board is much easier and has better functions, so I could tell the sound guy was really happy too.
At 4:30 we had our first service, which is supposed to go to 6, but we went over a little today so we ended up
going to 6:30. I ran to my favorite noodles shop around the corner to get some “dry pork noodles with pickled vegetables that you have to stir before eating” (that’s literally the name of the dish) to go. I went to Japanese park to eat because I saw the moon on my way back to the Aroma and I just could not ignore its beauty. It was a beautiful evening, so there were many families there walking their dogs and playing with their kids in the open square. Peaceful and homey.
At 7 I was back on the stage at Aroma for the 2nd service, and we finished a little earlier that time. Today we got to take communion, so after the service, Pastor Chris (who just got ordained this summer, woot woot!) O’Dell prayed with the worship team and we remembered Jesus’ sacrifice together.
There was a guest speaker from the group that came from Michael’s church, Riverside, named Pastor Nate. He gave a testimony about his life and talked about the book of Job. A few years ago, Nate had had a freak thing happen where he kept getting headaches and his vision was going bad. He went to the hospital and they found bleeding on his brain… they did not know whether he would ever get his vision back again, even when they got the bleeding stopped. Today he can see just fine and is okay, but he told us about his journey through asking the why questions, and how the book of Job helped him to keep trusting God.
When I went to go find Eva after the service to see if she wanted to do something at my house, I found her talking with a friend and using a tissue to wipe away tears from red eyes. “What’s wrong?” I asked, and gave her a hug. She told me that she was really struggling with the same why questions.
You see, for several months, her mom has also had an eye problem. She has too much pressure in her eyes, so she has been losing her vision some too. The medicine that the doctors have given her mom, the only real treatment they say, is something that her mom is allergic to, so it is very uncomfortable and, I think painful, as well. But there seems to be no alternative: either she takes the medicine and is uncomfortable all the time, or she does not take the medicine and she loses her vision. Please, pray for her.
I talked with Eva and told her about my own worries for my parents and how I have asked those questions too, “Why is this happening?” “Why doesn’t it change from my prayers?” “Does God think this is okay?” “How does this fit into a ‘good’ plan?” etc. When I came up to Eva and the other girl (we call her Cera with a C), I had heard Cera saying, “I have [such and such a problem; can’t share], and I do not know why, but I know God will reward my faithfulness. It might be here on earth or it might be in heaven, but I know that He will.” And yes, I agree with her. This is a promise every believer can share in, that the end will overshadow anything we have been through. On earth, or in heaven, God will show us how everything is a part of his good plan (Romans 8:28).
罗马书 8:28 (CCB) 我们知道，上帝使万事互相效力[a]，使那些爱上帝，就是上帝按自己的旨意呼召的人得益处。(That’s for you, Ev!)
Romans 8:28 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
If you are struggling with these questions, do not be afraid to ask them. It is not like God will ever be up in heaven like, “Oh no! What should I do?” Sometimes life is not clear. That is okay; we are not God. Life has pain on this broken earth; that is why we are looking toward heaven. Do not let the world make you doubt your God. Jesus says that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matt. 24:35). It is totally possible that we are a part of the things passing away. But our spirits are also totally God’s if we believe in him, and we will know the beauty of a place with no tears one day.
Hold on to God. He will never leave you or forsake you (Deut. 31: 6 says “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”).
I walked with Eva to Ximen’s MRT station at the end of Hanzhong Street (Aroma is on the far end of the block on this street) and prayed with her before we said goodnight, and then walked home. It was about 10:00.
- Nathan– housemate and fellow intern (he has been here since January)
- Andrea–my immediate roommate; has the best Minnesota accent and a sweet heart; also a good hugger
- Pastor Nate–please pray for God’s continued blessing on his health.
- Eva– my best Taiwanese friend and a new believer (about 1 year! 🙂 )
- Please pray for a place to put the things I will need to leave behind when I go home.
- Please for me to prepare well to start fundraising. I need to be able to raise support for the two years I will be here in the one month I will be home. Pray for God’s leading on that.
- Please pray that Eva and I could finish Crazy Love before her baptism on August 14th.
- Please pray for Eva’s mom. Pray for the swelling/pressure in her eyes to dissipate and go away completely. Pray that she has new vision, and that, above all, she would see Christ. That is the most important thing. Her mom isn’t a believer, so pray for Jesus Christ to reveal himself to her mom and dad and younger sister.
- Please pray for Eva. It hurts to see her struggling, and I ask you to pray that she is comforted in exactly the way she needs it. Pray for strength and a fighting spirit for her. Pray that she keeps her child-like faith in prayer and God’s love. That is one thing that is super beautiful about her. She trusts God with faith like a child. Praise God for such a sweet faith!
- Please pray for Michael– he has just a few more days before he goes back home to do his own fundraising for returning as a Resident (a two year program with Envision same thing I want to do).
- Please pray for the Aroma– we are still looking for a new place to rent that is affordable and also has a better floor plan than the one we are in now. Pray for a great (not just good) location and for peace and unity among the leaders of the Cafe.
Keep the Faith!