“Who am I, sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?”
2 Samuel 7:18
People have asked what my e-mail signature “g/1” means. It means that I am “one under grace.” This special phrase accurately characterizes my life & ministry, and it certainly describes our past 2 years in Taiwan. As we are getting settled in our new home in Gangshan (岡山區) located in Kaohsiung (高雄市), we can only sense gratitude filling up in our hearts because without God’s grace & faithfulness, we could have never come to this point in our missional journey. We are also grateful for our partners who are faithfully praying for us & supporting us financially. Your heart for the Great Commission fuels our perseverance.
This month we’ve been very busy moving, cleaning & setting up our apartment in Gangshan. Although we are still far from being acclimated into our new town, the friendliness of people here has made our transition much easier & enjoyable. For instance, when we went to the immigration office to renew our Alien Resident Card, my wife needed a photo. We asked a lady at the front desk where to find the nearest photo booth and she said it’s too far to walk. She then called her photo shop friend. Right away a lady came on a scooter and took my wife to get her photo made and then brought her back to the immigration office. The lady was a little bit older, probably in her 60s and it was Jeanette’s first time on a scooter. It was quite an experience for her. It seems like we never run out of people who are willing to help us.
Gangshan is a smaller town than where we were our first two years in Taiwan. We have to travel farther to get to the bigger supermarkets or chain stores, but we found that everyday living type places like the post office/bank, outdoor market, hardware store, etc. are within walking distance or a bike ride away. Our favorite thing is that right next to our apartment block is a park. A lot of people go there to walk, exercise, or enjoy being outside which means that it’s a great place to meet new people. So grateful to the Lord for the park.
Last week, we also had the privilege of serving at a summer camp run by an OMF missionary couple (our team leader). It was held at an elementary school near their home. We were also joined by members from the church they planted, students from a church in Kaohsiung City & a mission team from Canada. About 80 students signed up for the week long summer camp. The draw is that they have English sessions but they also teach church songs and tell two Bible stories and have small group discussions every day. Jeanette & I had opportunity to tell a Bible story in Mandarin. Jeanette shared the story with a group of 2nd graders, and I shared with a group of 4th through 6th graders. We were both quite nervous, but also excited to tell a story of Jesus to young hearts who have never heard about our Savior. We trust the Lord that seeds were sown in their young hearts.
In September, Jeanette & I will also be sharing our testimonies in Mandarin at our church during Sunday service. We are supposed to share for about 45 minutes. Although we have about a month or so to prepare, we earnestly ask for your prayers that we will be able to share by the power of the Spirit how God has brought us to Taiwan & that His truth will be proclaimed in spite of our imperfect Mandarin.
Some other prayer concerns are first for our daughters who will be starting at a new school in less than 3 weeks. Also, that we will be able to make good relationships with people in our neighborhood. Last Sunday, when I went to our local hardware store, I had a good conversation with 2 cashiers. They were both middle-aged ladies, but when one of them figured out that I was a missionary (I was wearing an OMF t-shirt), I sensed her backing away & being cautious. We definitely need prayers for wisdom. Finally, when it comes to our finance, it’s been a struggle for a while. We understand that that’s all part of being on the mission field, but we, nevertheless, covet your prayers.
At the end of each day, we praise Jesus who loves us & who is with us. It is our hope & prayer that the people in Gangshan will also be able to see the One who is graciously walking beside us.