Rest. A much needed activity for everyone, but one that so often is neglected. Our lives are busy. Every day we have appointments, classes, and people to care for. On top of that the city we live in has a population of 7 million people who all speak a different language than our mother tongue, so most days it is hard to “feel” completely relaxed or rested. But, this past week we escaped from our normal lives and responsibilities and headed to the most southern part of Taiwan. Why? To rest. Yes, for 5 days we saw new sights of Taiwan, smelled new smells, some good and some not so nice, heard the waves crashing against the rocks, and tasted the sweet flavor of pure rest and relaxation, just the two of us. It has been wonderful, and greatly needed. Our bodies and spirits have been re-charged and re-energized and are now ready for the busyness of the next few months that will lead into our home assignment this Winter.
We often get asked from people back in the States just what it’s like being a foreigner in a country where your skin and features are profoundly different from the vast majority of the people and where every day you hear people saying in your direction “Wai guo ren!”, which translates “Foreign person!”. What’s it like to not be able to get around using English, and where the food, leisure activities, and way of life are so different from what we were used to. A few words that come to mind to describe what it’s like are: challenging, frustrating, humorous, nerve-wracking, adventurous, and unpredictable. Each day is uniquely its own and provides us with numerous situations that make us laugh and keep us humble. But, to put it in basic terms: it is something we wouldn’t trade for the world.
Two days ago, as we were riding a bus from one city back to the place of our place of lodging several little boys got on and immediately began staring at us. They smiled and whispered among themselves, seemingly very excited that two “Wai guo ren” were on their bus. We waved and then began speaking with them in Chinese. They immediately left their seats and came and sat next to us. Erich chatted with the little men for a while before they had to get off. They asked many questions about what America is like and soaked up every minute to chat with us. As they left, we both looked at each other and smiled, both knowing how precious times like that are and both so thankful to God for giving us the chance to serve Him here!