Dear friends & family,
By the grace of our Lord, we arrived in Taipei, Taiwan safely around 6 PM last Saturday. At the airport, we were greeted by our new workers coordinator. She’s the one who found our apartment & is helping us transition smoothly to new life in Taiwan. Then from the airport, we took a 2 hour bus ride & 30 minute taxi ride to Taichung our new home.
Since we were driving through darkness, it was hard to see, but as we approached Taichung, we noticed mountains, riverbeds, and both industrial buildings & rice patties side by side. When we were driving through Downtown Taichung, there were literally hundreds of scooters. But the strangest feeling came over us when we saw that everything is in Mandarin. That’s when it hit us.
Welcome to Taichung!
One of the strengths of OMF is that missions work is done as a team, which means that there’s a lot of support. Therefore our new workers coordinator had already rented an apartment for us near our language school & our children’s school so were able to come straight to our new home on the night we arrived. There are also language & culture coordinators who will be helping & keeping us accountable. These are all missionaries who are volunteering their time to help us. We begin language & culture studies in less than 2 weeks & we are excited.
Our apartment is on the 8th floor above some shops. I say some because it’s really hard to tell if it’s a shop or a residence with some of these places. The shutters are closed a lot and since we can’t read any of the signs it’s hard to tell what those places are for. They don’t follow usual shop hours.
The next picture was taken right in front of our apartment. Notice the scooters?
It’s hot and humid and we pretty much live in sweat all day and even through the night. Also, we have a washing machine but no dryer so we have to plan our laundry well. Another difference we faced right away is not being able to flush bathroom tissue. The first day after our arrival our toilet got clogged & had to make a trip to a hardware store for a plunger.
Our neighborhood is somewhat urban, but it reminded me of Seoul, Korea when in the 70’s. It isn’t as modern as I thought. Most of the time, there are no sidewalks, so you are walking on the street.
Below is an afternoon market that’s walking distance away from our home. It’s not big but there are a variety of vendors, but everything is left in the open for hours so we’re being cautious eating anything from there until our stomachs are eased into local food and water.
On Sunday evening, with the help of our new workers coordinator, we went to a dumpling shop & ordered dinner to bring home. We ordered enough for 6 people, but it only cost about $9. The dumplings were delicious, but we had no idea how to order nor could we read the menu. Relying on our friend, it reminded us once again how urgent it is for us to learn Mandarin as soon as possible.
Our children are adjusting although each day seems to tire them out. They are faced with many adjustments and changes inside the home and when we’re out. With no car we have to walk everywhere, carry all our purchases (good thing our son is big and can carry heavy water jugs and other things), not having the support structure that they are used to, and not being able to use public bathrooms because the ones that we went to had only squatty toilets. They couldn’t do it. They start school next Monday. We are praying that they will meet good friends and our youngest mentioned she hopes the school has toilets that we’re used to.
Here are some other prayer concerns we have.
- Right now in Taiwan it’s Ghost Month. This is the month where the Taiwanese honor ghosts & spirits of all kinds. “Our struggle is not against flesh & blood,” and please pray that the gospel will set the captives free.
- Pray also for God’s protection on our family spiritually & physically.
- We applied for Alien Resident Cards today, and it takes 2 weeks for them to be processed. Without those ID’s we can’t get cell phones or internet service. We are praying that all the needed services will be set up within 3 weeks.
- We are praying that as we begin our language study, we will be able to start building relationships as well. Having good Taiwanese friends will be crucial in our missions.
I have been on short term mission trips quite a few times in the past, but being here in Taichung feels very different. On one hand, it does help me to accept things more readily, and it certainly keeps me praying fervently. On the other hand, there is a part of me that feels responsible for what my family is going through. Although it has only been 3 days, it feels like we’ve been here a lot longer. But one thing that I am so grateful for is that Jeanette & I could serve together side by side because I can’t do much without her help.
As I am writing this blog, there’s peace in my heart because I know that God is the One who is always with us & leading us, and that we are where we are as answer to prayers of many saints.