Temple Parade Outside our Apartment

Dear Friends,

Taiwan is a really strange place at times. Mostly we don’t think so as we’ve gotten very used to the place, but some days you see something and just end up going “What in the world??” Today was one of those days. I was sitting in our apartment reading a book, when…

Local temples will go on big parades around the neighborhood once a year or so in celebration of certain temple holidays. Maybe it’s the god’s birthday or a commemoration of some important event in the life of a good person who later became venerated as a deity.

Please continue praying with us for Taiwan’s Revival, and for everyone to experience freedom from oppressive belief systems!

 

A Surprise Party!!

 

We have said it before, but we’ll say it again- God has truly given us family-like friends here in Taiwan. Last Sunday night was another example of just how blessed we are. Our friends conspired together to throw us an early surprise birthday party. Our housemates returned to England this week, and they wanted to celebrate with us before they left, hence the reason for having the party 4 weeks before our actual birthday. We thought we were going to have a dinner with them, and another couple who are dear friends, but when we got to the place we were greeted by 30 of our closest friends shouting and singing “Happy Birthday!”

The night was full of fun-together we played a quiz game to see how well our friends knew us, there was a ton of delicious food and drinks, and the biggest surprise of all was that our friends all joined together and gave us a gift called “Erich and Kel’s Vacation Fund” in which they contributed enough money to send us away on a real vacation (I say “real” because usually due to time and finances we just spend a night or two away somewhere on island). But, due to their generosity we are going to Boracay, Philippines for 5 days at the end of July!! I’m already so excited for this time we’ll get to have to rest, un-wind, re-charge, and just have fun together! God is so good to us!! 

Check out the video below to see the ‘surprise’:

 

Thankfulness #21-#30

Things we are grateful for #21-#30

21. Our new apartment. We recently moved into a new apartment, which was clearly God’s provision for us. Although it’s older and the decor has a 70’s feel to it, it’s perfect for us and already feels like home!

22. Healings. We attend a prayer meeting on Wednesdays morning to pray specifically for health needs. We’ve seen God bring healing to many, not only physically but spritually as well. What a mighty God we serve!

23. Conferences. Erich recently attended two conferences, one on church planting and and one on working class ministries. Both were eye-opening and energizing for him, giving him new ideas for future service!

24. Baking. Kelley gets to use her love for baking each week as she goes to a local shelter, and through teaching the women baking lessons, has opportunities to build relationships with them. 

25. New adventures. We recently became approved foster parents by the local orphanage Kelley serves at each week. We kept a little guy 3 nights last week, and loved being able to love on him!

26. Vegeatrian buffets. We live close to a great little vegeatarain buffet where we can get a filling and healthy meal for just $2. 

27. Fresh fruit trucks. About a 2 minute walk from our apartment is a truck that sells fresh pineapples, guavas, and watermelons each day. So delicious!

28. Mosquito nets. The mosquitos are ruthless here, especially now that the weather is getting hot. We are so thankful for our net that covers our bed and protects us while we sleep.

29. Technology. Being so far away from friends and family can be hard at times. Lately we’ve been particurlarly thanfkul for technology that allows us to receive pictures and videos of our nieces and nephews back in Pennsylvania! 

30. Date night. Wednesday nights are our nights. We go out to dinner just the two of us, turn our phones on silent, talk, and just be together. It’s so needed and so good. Thankful today is Wednesday 😀

Thankfulness #11-#20

Things we are grateful for #11-#20

1. Bicycles that work! Erich’s bike had just about reached its last leg when he was given another bike for free from a church friend. Kelley’s was also broken last week, but is now fixed and running well.

2. Worship music. As we spend a lot of time on buses, MRT (Mass Rapid Transit), etc. traveling to different places, to be able to listen to music is such a blessing as it encourages and speaks truth.

3. Chinese cell groups. We both now attend 2 Chinese cell groups. One is for leaders and is led by our Pastor and his wife, and in the other ones we are attenders. Each serve to challenge, grow, and help us in our Christian walk.

4. Fresh fruit drinks. On the little streets surrounding our apartment are several places to buy fresh fruit drinks, which are always a welcome treat. They’re healthy, refreshing, and delicious!

5. Cards from ‘home’. Email and Facebook are great tools for keeping in touch with family and friends around the world, but nothing beats a hand-written card from home (espcially when it’s handmade from your 8 year-old niece)!

6. A doctors visit is only $4 USD (including medicine!). With the weather changing drastically lately, it’s easy to catch colds. We’re so thankful for the good medical care in this country, and that it is cheap!

7. Family that is supportive and encouraging. Living so far away from family is hard, but we’re so thankful for our families who write, call, and pray for us. We couldn’t do this without their support!

8. Meals with old friends. Last Sunday we had dinner with two of our previous Chinese teachers. It was great to catch up with them, and be encouraged to hear from ‘the teacher’s mouth’ that our Chinese has greatly improved!

9. Nearby parks. Close to our apartment are two parks. They are a wonderful ‘escape’ from the busyness of city life.

10. A Taiwanese man riding pass us on his bicycle a couple times, each time yelling “Happy New Year!”, “Happy Birthday!”, most likely because that’s all he knew how to say in English 🙂

Life in Taiwan

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!Peaceful OceanErich and Kel