For a girl who hardly sweat a day in her life, even when exercising, this Taiwanese idea of summer is a bit much.
I sweat in the sun,
I sweat in the shade,
I sweat when I wake up,
I sweat when I lie down…
this could be a Bible verse if I switched a few verbs. Gym class has nothing on waking up to a 90ºF room on the top floor. Of course, it is nice to wake up to a beautiful sunrise every morning, but I could take a little more snow or something.
Although summer brings a few downs for this Minnesota girl, there have been a lot more ups recently. Part of that is because of the short-term missions teams that have been coming to help Aroma this summer.
The Aroma Church/Cafe is a missions center not just for mid-term missions like me (2 years), but also for short-termers who spend 10 days to 3 weeks here. We are all super excited to welcome the new teams as they come from around the States because they bring an element of urgency and excitement. They are good for us longer-staying people. I think of it kind of like a younger puppy rustling up the energy of an older doggy friend, getting him to romp around again.
How high is your level of excitement and energy for telling the gospel? Is it like the excitement of a whole group of teenagers traveling the world, most for the first time, in hopes of stepping out on a foundation they’ve been told exists beyond their comfort-zone? Beyond the safety of knowing your own salvation but not knowing others’?
“Go and shout this message to Jerusalem. This is what the LORD says: “I remember how eager you were to please me as a young bride long ago, how you loved me and followed me even through the barren wilderness.”” Jeremiah 2:2
May we all be like this young bride, or like a puppy ready to play.
- Please pray for all the long-term missionaries at Aroma, including Chris and Jamie O’Dell (pastors), Sarah Mabee (site Associate), Erich and Kelly Schindler (partners with Aroma Cafe/Church), and Caleb and Miki Bennet (partners with the church as well). Pray for our fires to be reignited with excitement and urgency.
- Please pray for me… I actually really do not enjoy the temperature skyrocketing every moment and sweating profusely… it really drains my energy!
Some other joys:
Some of you may know that I am fundraising at the moment. Because of some budget changes (need a plane ticket, and will continue language learning, for example), I need around $400 USD per month, and I have some exciting news! Some good family members have taken me under their wing and given $1,000 this month!
Also, one church decided to give this month’s and last month’s missions money to me! I feel so blessed! On top of that, three people have already said they would help support me monthly, which is very encouraging. It is so cool to see God provide with the love and care that he does. I still need about $350/month, so if you can help, please go to How To Support Skye at the top for more info, or just email me directly! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thank you all, for your giving. It means I can visit Chen Jie one more month and tell her about God’s love for her. It means I can have discipleship one-on-one with Apple, and Bible study with Sandra. It means I can teach my tutor students how to love their mom even though she’s gone all the time, and how to respond to hurt without anger even though their dad often gets very angry.
- Please pray for my two students and their family. Pray for their parents to be able to face a big gap between them, and the sadness they each carry for the fact that the mom’s work keeps her away from the family 75% of the time.
- Please pray for Apple as she prepares to leave for Australia in November to work and save money. She wants to open a coffee shop herself, so please pray for God’s mighty hand of blessing and provision for her!! Also, please pray that she continues to go “further up and further in” to God. Praise the Lord for saving her!
- Please pray for Sandra as she faces difficulties at work that are making it necessary to look for another job. Pray for her to turn this crisis into an opportunity to share the Glory of our God with a dying Taipei.
- Please pray for Chen Jie’s family’s salvation! Pray for me to speak the truth in love.
My mom is having a surgery.
A big one. Please pray for her, Becky, by name. Her surgery is on June 30th, and so here is where it stops being so glamorous as a missionary, and more like just plain hard: I can go back, if I really felt I should. But although I feel I want to, and it is so very hard to not be there to take her to the hospital and make sure she gets all the ice cream she wants, I know I should not go.
The Lord knew this was coming. He has me here. He has not said, “Drop everything and go,” instead he has said, “Trust me, I’m taking good care of her.”
And true to His word, my wonderful aunt is driving up from Iowa to stay with her for a week or longer if need be, and she is the perfect person for that. I am glad I did not drop everything and leave, as that would have been more harmful than helpful here, and there as well. Sometimes being a Christian is so interesting. I can even leave my family knowing God is taking care of them better than I could were I there.
- Please pray for a successful surgery and quick recovery.
- Please pray for salvation for the doctors and nurses
- Please praise God for my aunt!
“Do You Need Them, Or Do You Love Them?”
On the topic of fixing people, one of God’s biggest lessons that he is teaching me right now is that, well, I cannot.
I cannot fix people. That is His job.
Caleb Bennett, the dad in the house that I live in, preached on forgiveness last Sunday, and one of the things he said really pinned me down:
“Do you love them? Or do you just need them?”
Last year I came sweeping in to a lot of relationships, thinking I was probably the best thing after sliced bread, and that I had everything they needed to grow and change. Well, funny you should mention it, but… I do not. Decidedly do not.
In the aftermath of a friendship that was severely beaten, and the strained ties of other friendships that lasted through the first year of my Taiwanese journey, I have come to realize that I did not love many people last year. I needed them, but I did not love them. I needed their friendship. I needed their messages. I even needed them to need me. I needed to feel connected to something when I felt so disconnected to my whole concept of home life and normalcy, but that, dear readers, is only found in seeking the One we call God. Place does not matter. People change and change location. God is constant, and I want my “all” to come from him, the unchanging one, not people who would be weighed down much too heavily by my emotions, needs, and desires.
I want to make a public apology to all my readers, my family, and friends, especially to a dear friend named 馨瑩. 對不起，情愛的朋友. I hope you can forgive me! I put the pressure of “need” on you, rather than the free gift of love. If there is any way I can love you better, please, let me know!
Coffee Shop Stuff
Over the past week, we have welcomed a new Short-term missions team from New York (pictured above). They have already led a class on ‘How to study the Bible,’ and tomorrow night I’m playing drums for them as they put on a worship night at the Aroma. Please pray for their effectiveness!
Aroma is getting a second location! Watch this video for a look at Aroma now, and to see the vision that Erich and Kelly Schindler have for our district of Wanhua. Click on the link since I cannot upload videos here.)
The Temperature is High
Although there is nothing like waking up to a room that is already 90ºF, what I want God to “wake up to” every morning is my heart being ready to serve him the minute I wake up. Am I like that puppy dog, feisty and playful? Do I wake up ready to do that? Do you?
Is the temperature high? Or how about the air pressure around you? Do you need people or do you love them? Do you need to hand over your toolbox to God and let him do the work of fixing your family member or friend?
As we say in Chinese, 加油! (Jiayou!) I believe God will help you do this, without question. God is on your side!
Keep the Faith, Expectantly! (Even as you wait for God to change the heart of stone…)