Time seems to move at a different pace on the mission field. It’s truly a contradiction in experience. Although each day is quite busy & toilsome in a physical & mental sense, it moves in slow motion making the day feel longer. It’s quite common for me to recall something that happened a day or two ago, then realize that it was actually just earlier that same day. So we feel like we’ve lived in Taichung for a long period and yet right now, I feel a sense of panic that time is passing by too quickly. It may be that I’m simply reawakened to the fact that life is indeed a blink of an eye. Though we face temptation to treat life as a just a series of events, we are to value & use it meaningfully. One way to determine whether we are using life meaningfully or not comes down to assessing 2 things. The first is seeing who we are becoming. Are we becoming progressively like our Savior & Lord Jesus Christ? The 2nd is by seeing whether we are transforming those around us with Christ in us. In both cases, Christ is central, not us. I think this ultimately determines whether or not one’s missions or ministry will be a fragrant offering to the Lord.
The natural outcome of Christ becoming central in your life is that you yourself without question must become less. Although this may sound very Christian & we may find ourselves praying for it, this is something that we naturally resist. Something about us desires to be more, not less. This is why God inevitably leads us to places where what we held dearly for sense of security, self-worth & power are diminished.
The fact that we’ve been in Taichung for about 8-9 months, and that we are able to say & do a lot more things now, I can openly share that the first 3-4 months were quite humbling to say the least. Back in the U.S., I was functional and could do many things, but in Taiwan I was starting from scratch. Not knowing the language & culture or having close relationships, I went through many emotional ups & downs. Only two things kept us persevering. One is being convinced that it was God who led us here to spread the gospel, and second, knowing that there are people praying for us. I could mention many lessons learned during that period, but one definite blessing that we were able to reap was learning to value & appreciate each gift from the Lord.
Last Sunday morning we had the opportunity to Skype with some friends. It brought overwhelming joy to my heart, which I am still savoring. Somehow their smiles were bigger, stories they shared had more life & their words touched the deeper part of who I am. All I know is that I walked away a better person because of Christ in them. Similar discoveries are made in other areas as well like in our language study.
I’m happy to share that learning Mandarin at this stage has become quite exciting & fun since we are able to say a lot more things in different situations. But I think it’s the realization that this language is the bridge to the hearts of Taiwanese that keeps us elated. There is power in the words we speak. How much more power is there in God’s Word? It’s hard to fathom for we’ve only experienced a blink of an eye’s worth. We can be touched by its truth & beauty. We can also share it & experience its power. We are so grateful for this privilege & progress our Lord has helped us to make so far, and truly excited about how God will use us. We pray that we will never take this gift for granted.
I have to admit we do miss many things we left behind. Being understood, our church and its praise and worship, climate controlled home, fluffy soft laundry straight out of the dryer, comfy couch, Dunkin Donuts, Clearwater’s best Brazilian steak, etc. But we know deep in our hearts that God has provided everything we need right now. And they are enough. Knowing that we have family and friends supporting us with finances and care packages and prayer keeps us encouraged and focused on why we are here.