I will likely be very busy in the next week, so I would like to write my final post as an intern in Taipei today. In about 9 days I will be sitting on a plane bound for Portland, Oregon, or maybe even in Portland, reflecting on life behind me and dreaming about what lies ahead.
As I prepare to leave, here are some reflections and some dreams even now:
I have come to understand that me being here is not being a long-term overseas missionary. I have realized that one year is barely enough to scratch the surface of culture, make meaningful and lasting relationships, develop ministry, and learn language. I feel like I can hardly call myself anything but a visitor as of yet. It changes how I see teams that come for two weeks or even a month, and when I hear the new interns who plan on being here for two months saying, “Yeah, this is my first long-term trip,” I just inwardly shake my head and smile. You have no idea, I think to myself.
But that is okay. They need that time. They can learn. I learned.
The past month: I am finishing my last month of school, with three days left. I have learned how to be a better friend to someone. I have not forgotten to punch my timecard even once. (That’s impressive.) I have decided to do something I have never in my wildest dreams thought I would do. (More on that later.)
The past 6 months: I am just shy of completing the second half of a year of living in Taiwan and the second half of my internship with Envision. I have recorded two music videos with my friend MoMo Tseng. I have seen five people get baptized and probably close to ten start new lives with Jesus Christ.
The past year: I have followed my plan of action, how I thought I should go, and God turned me around. I have begun a new journey of learning Chinese and made some friendships that I never knew would come– some that have lasted, some that have not. I have learned to like the smell of durian (almost miraculous if you know what that smells like). Still do have not tried stinky tofu. Still don’t like the smell.
Life: oh, just kidding.
And going forward:
Today: Today I spent the morning with Mo at her church and said goodbye in two forms. One, I am leaving for a month. I gave MoMo a goodbye card since I don’t know if I will see her again before I leave. Secondly, one of her pastors is leaving that church, and so we had a bit of a goodbye ceremony for them. It was bittersweet. There was also a baptism today. 🙂
I spent the afternoon with Eva, studying the Bible, and went to church this evening. God is really teaching Ev to trust in him, so if you don’t mind, please pray for her. (Job stress and her mom’s eyes.) God always gives us
what we need when we need it– tonight the sermon was about God as our potter and how he molds us like clay.
This week: This is the last week of school, and the last week here. I leave next Tuesday, and I am dreaming of summer grass in Minnesota and lakes with sunsets at the ends. And driving. And lasagna. Mom’s lasagna.
This month: I am excited, and nervous, but mostly excited to see my family and visit the places I love. I cannot wait to go to the (I know, this sounds weird) cemetery in Foley with my brother Sam and sing in the little chapel there, pick agates on my dad’s dirt road, run over a giant yard and see corn fields. I also cannot wait to see the Minneapolis skyline and walk the streets of downtown with people from Street Level and see my friend Anne who now lives in St. Paul. I want to see my church family in St. Bonifacius, my college profs Lacey and Dr. Gustafson, and travel to CO (fingers crossed).
This announcement: Friends, I am going to come back to Taiwan for two years. And I am going to do it as a Resident with Envision. I literally cannot believe I am saying this. Six months ago that thought would have been in the box labeled “absurd thinking.” Ten months ago it would have been in the box labeled “burn when conceived.” So, it would seem that God has changed my heart.
This time, I will be getting a new look at Taiwan. Work-visaless. That means no teaching for me. That means a big step of faith. That means I need help and prayer, and encouragement. Two years is a long time to fundraise for. But I am secretly thrilled to join the ranks of other overseas missionaries who have had to do the same, and for much longer periods of time.
Also, I would like to announce that I have gotten accepted to, and will soon register for, my first year at National Taiwan Normal University (as opposed to the abnormal one…) for studying Chinese!! I am so excited!
I just did some quick currency exchanging research, and found out something cool. I usually get around $36,000 NTD (New Taiwan Dollars) per month for teaching at Sunshine American School. That translates to roughly $1,100 USD. The information Jesse gave me for Envision says that I can raise up to $2,000 but I will not even need that. Praise God I have everything I need with about half that amount. That said, I do need to have something like 30% of that raised before I start a residency, and 100% of it pledged… which means about $26,000… which is a lot to look at. I like the $1,100 a month style better haha.
Hey, if you would please pray for me, I would really appreciate that. I am so thankful to you as my prayer warriors.
- Please pray for clarity and wisdom. I have a short time to be home, and many people will want to visit. I cannot possibly see everyone as much as I want to.
- Please pray for a way for me to visit my siblings in Colorado.
- Please praise God for me– he gave me money through my cousin’s church to be able to live off of while I am there for the month of July!
- Please pray for Eva. Pray for God to shower her with favor and strengthen her to persevere. Pray for a new job that is not so demanding.
- Please pray for Pastor David as he and his wife look for a new church. Pray for healing and love and blessing on their lives.
- Please pray for MoMo’s scripts as she submits them to the government. Pray for favor and for an opportunity to make many more movies that share God’s glory with the Taiwanese.
- Please pray for opportunities to talk with my church families about my adventures.
- Please pray for provision for the following years. God has always provided, and he will do it again.
You will see that I have not asked for money. If that thought comes to you, you know where to find me. But right now, just pray for me, please. Thank you for your time. The fact that people read this is really encouraging, and I love to read your comments and hear from you. You are my family, my friends. Love you!
Keep the Faith!