Final Days | Taiwan 2013

It’s a Wednesday.  We are halfway through the week and halfway through camp. And in a week, I will be stuck on a plane, flying home, while I leave a part of me here, in TAIWAN.  I don’t want to leave.  I love this country.  I love these people.  And while my work here is coming to a close, God’s work is not. He is working to bring people to Him.  He is moving in the hearts of the Taiwanese people.  God isn’t finished with this place.  While I will be physically separated from Taiwan, I will not be cut off.  My God is the God of the universe and hears my prayers.  

Because of the language barrier, I can not communicate very well with my students and I don’t know if I am making any impact of these kids lives.  But I do know that Christ is working in my life.  I came into this trip wanted to use Eph. 4:1-7 as a “guideline”. I wanted to make every effort.  Be completely humble and gentle.  Be patient.  And I may not have used every opportunity to make every effort.  I definitely have not been COMPLETELY humble and gentle.  And I have not always been patient.  But it has made a difference.  We arrived at our final VGM location, and something stirred inside of me.  Perhaps it was the realization that it was our last week here (WHERE HAS THE MONTH GONE???) The stirring encouraged me to defy my lack of energy and physical exhaustion and make every effort.  So that’s what I’ll be doing in these final days here in Taiwan, making every effort.  I’ve been charged to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. So that others may see Christ in me.  I don’t care if the children get to know me, I don’t eve care if they know or remember my name as long as they get to know my God.  

Thank you for reading about my time in Taiwan.  Thank you to everyone who has been praying and encouraging me and my team.  We only have one more week to share Christ and his love.  

Here in Taiwan | Taiwan 2013

We have reached our final week of camp. During the next few days we will get to know our coworkers and begin preparation for camp, which will start on Tuesday. 

I can’t believe we are already finished with two weeks of camps! From the very beginning, I knew this month would fly by. Our first two weeks were not without their struggles, challenges and problems, but they were full of the goodness of God.  He has been showing his faithfulness constantly. Sometimes I wonder how I ever make it through a month in Taiwan. But I know that the only reason I can complete a month here is because of Christ. He supports me, He is faithful, He is my Provider, my Strength, and my Friend. Thank you Jesus for carrying me through thus far. 
 
As for prayer requests, some of our team members are feeling less than 100%.  Please be in prayer for strength, energy and health. 
Also be in prayer for us as a team, that we will work together and have unity. Pray that we can be an encouragement to this church and our coworkers and not a burden. 
Pray for the kids. And the families we will be visiting on home visits. 
Pray that we will make every effort to bring glory to the name of Christ and be lights in this dark place. 
 
Thank you for your prayers, God is working here in Taiwan.  
 
Grace and peace, 
Tessa

Beautiful Things | Taiwan 2013

We didn’t plan on Beautiful Things being a theme for us.  We didn’t plan on singing it again and again, day after day for different groups of children. And we certainly did not plan on it linking everything about this trip together.

All this pain, I wonder if I’ll ever find my way, I wonder if my life could really change at all.

All this earth, could all that is lost ever be found, could a garden come up from this group at all.

All around, hope is springing up from this old ground, out of chaos life is being found in you.

You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of the dust. You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us.

You make me new, you are making me new.

Thus far, everyone in team under twenty has gotten to share their life story at least twice.  (Team over twenty shared last week, but did not receive the opportunity this week) We begin with where we began, lost, broken, messy.  “I wonder if my life could really change.” And while are stories are all different, they all have a key theme. God made beautiful things out of us.  (First verse and chorus)

This song also can be used to describe the spiritual situation of Taiwan.  All over this country people are lost.  In this culture of idols and worshiping multiple gods, could a beautiful garden come up from this ground, at all?  (Second verse)

While Taiwan is spiritually dry and there is a great need for God here and people who will spread his love, hope is springing up.  In the two times I’ve come to Taiwan, I’ve seen the fruits of previous trips.  Take for example one of my students from last week; Ricky.  This year was his fifth VGM camp, and it is because of the camp that he went to church.  When my co-workers and I visited his home, he was asked if he ever got bored because he has been so many times.  He answered no.  If I have my stories straight, he asked the pastor his opinion of playing video games and wondered if he should stop.  Remember, this is a 12-year-old boy.  We’ve seen the church grow and people come to Christ.  The people of this country are finding life in Him.   (Verse three)

Christ is continually making us new.  We are a new creation, the old has gone the new has come.  (2 Corinthians 5:17) “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” Romans 6:6  We are new creations.

Thank you Jesus for putting this song in my team mates heart.  You have an amazing way of making things fit together.

Radical Thoughts

Radical Living.

Jesus said following him leads to a radical reward that this world can never offer.  And this reward comes with a risk.  And just because there is a risk, doesn’t mean it isn’t God’s will. If we identify with Christ, we will lose much in this world. Do we have a the face of a soldier ready for battle or the face ready to relax living the American dream? The church has been designed for battle.    “Surely those who know the great passionate heart of Jehovah must deny their own loves to share in the expression of His.” -Jim Elliot  Our lives are free to be radical when I see death as a reward.  We need to tell others about Jesus. The great reward of the gospel is God himself. 

If you followed any of that, congratulations, you just read directly from my journal and my notes on a chapter in Radical.  And just because I can’t recommend this book enough, I’m going to recommend it again. Radical by David Platt.  

The Last Eleven Days | Taiwan 2013

Hi, my name is Tessa, and I have been in Taiwan for eleven days.

These past eleven days have been filled with small children, many skits, several tears and many laughs, times of meditation and prayer, hilarious skits, and many many times of sharing the Gospel of Christ.

Let’s start a the very beginning (a very good place to start) and recap what’s been happening since this adventure started.

The days of travel: We spent nearly 40 hours in transition from Blacksburg to Taiwan. This included running for 20 minutes across the entire LA Airport to make our connection in the international terminal.

Day 1 in Taiwan: Half a day of rest at our hosts apartment. The goal during this day was to stay up till 9. We lasted until 8:30.

Day 2: Travel to our first VGM camp. This went relatively smoothly. We arrived to warm greetings from our co-workers, new and old. It was great to see familiar faces and get the chance to reconnect with co-workers from the past! That night we gathered in our little groups and met the people we would be working with throughout the next week.  Then we headed over to the night market.  Where I ate octopus mom!!!  We also enjoyed many other noms!

Day 3: We went to church in their new building.  It was also a day of planning and adjustment. We worshiped Taiwanese style, which reminded me how much I missed it!

Day 4: My co-worker Joseph arrived late, so now my full team is here! Monday was full of planning and preparing for the first day of camp. We shared our testimonies among our little groups, which was really awesome.

Day 5: CAMP STARTS TODAY!!!! My group (the Hippopotamus) was filled by the smiles of Becky, Jacob, Joy, Lisa, Willy, Ricky, Mary, Cena, Jessica, Peter, Joe, and Betty.  We had little Joe, big Joe, Joseph, and Joy. Only slightly confusing. During the beginning of the day I got to share pictures of me and my family, which the children loved. When I learned Jessica’s name, I showed her a picture of my best friend Jessica! She liked that. Then Jessica wrote out brother in Chinese, so I showed her a picture of my brother as a kid. They loved that.

Day 6: A day filled with funny skits, a chance to share about my life, and our first home visit to Joy’s house.  During my life story, the kids asked questions.  Joy asked a very real question: “Have you ever had an interaction with God when you knew He was real?” Pray for the hearts of these children, they do have questions and many are seeking.  Another favorite was asked by one of the little girls, “Has a boy ever confessed his love for you? Because you are so pretty.” Sweet little kids…<3

Day 7: HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!! I saw fire works every night and some really pretty ones on the forth of July. I learned some more Chinese today.  We had a water fight, which was a blast! We went to Ricky’s house and he is a really really cool kid. End of story.

Day 8: Last day of camp :( We preformed a skit as a class and I was a hippo who could talk. In Chinese.  We ended the day preparing for the Gospel party that would happen the next day.

Day 9: PARTY!!! This half day party was our last opportunity to share the gospel with the kids.  BCF did a mime, presented really cool calligraphy, and sang songs.  The kids then went through stations and were presented the gospel.  They watched Falling Plates, a really cool video put on by CRU.  The children were also given Bibles.  Peter, a really cute little boy in my class, really paid attention throughout the day. Once he received his Bible, he intently read it every spare moment he had.  During lunch, while the other children were playing and eating, he sat on the steps are read his Bible.  Sandy (my co-worker) talked to him.  Then Joseph (my other co-worker) talked to him, along with several other counselors.  Please pray for Peter, that the words he reads in the Bible would reach his heart.  Joe and I had the opportunity to read a song to the kids.  It’s called When Love Sees You by Mac Powell.  My favorite part is, “You see the struggle, you see the shame, I see the reason I came.”  The song is from the perspective of Jesus on the gospel.  After the party ended, we cleaned up, packed up, and said goodbye to our co-workers and a couple of the kids who hung around till the end.

Day 10: Sunday was an interesting day for us.  Joe, Leah, Peter and I went to help with a food bank.  We really just were the white attraction.  We also rested and planned for this coming week.  And we went to 7. Yums.

Day 11: Today. We went to the school we will be working at and met some of the people we will be working with.  And now it’s nap time.

Please keep praying for us, if you would like a list of things to pray for, head on over to the Team blog! http://bcftaiwanmissions.wordpress.com/

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had,  so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6

Seeing the Difference | Taiwan 2013

After last year, I could see my flaws, I was so tired I fell asleep in class, I didn’t make a huge effort.  Looking back, I wished I had been more interactive with the kids, danced more during the dances, and played more with the children.  But, to me, it’s like a bowl of ice cream.  You get to the last few bites and you can’t finish it.  And looking back you say “Come on, it tastes so good. You should have just finished it.” It’s all relative to how you feel at that moment.  While, yes I could have tried harder, at the time, it was really hard.

This year, as soon as we got here I saw a major change.  Though I was tired, I pushed past that.  It’s better this year because I’m familiar with my current surroundings (the LiuJia Middle School) and it’s not all new to me.  I am more willing to dance the dances and spend time with the kids.  This year, I see why I am here.  To share the light of Christ with all nations and bring hope to the hopeless.  God has been working in my heart over the past year, and it’s encouraging to see the changes.  I’m so glad camp has finally started.  I love my class and co-workers (Joseph, Sandy and Joe).  While I know the rest of this week will be challenging, I also know it will be an adventure I won’t want to forget.  And I am ready to face the next few days full throttle.

“I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.  A faithful God who does not wrong, upright and just is he.” Deuteronomy 32:3-4

Faithfulness TAIWAN | 2013

Our flights have been…less than smooth. Each has been delayed, and the delay in Washington should have caused us to miss our connecting flight in lax that would take us to Japan. The longest leg of our journey. (11hours) but God was faithful and provided a way for us to reach our plane. (25minutes late) we have Jesus on our side. And there is no way we could have done that without Him.

I’m excited to see The Lord work in and through us during he next month.
Thank you Jesus for providing. You’ve been faithful thus far. You’ll be faithful to the end!
Thank you so much for all your prayers. We called and He answered. He came to our rescue. And provided a great work out in the process. It’s always fun to run across the small city that is the Los Angeles airport.
“The LORD God Himself will fight for you.”

Down to the Hours – Taiwan | 2013

We are literally down to the hours in this countdown.  From this very moment to the time we are scheduled to leave BCF (PS. 12:30, be there to say goodbye) there are only 24 hours left. 

We leave tomorrow! This. is. crazy.  

Lately I’ve had Chris Tomlin playing all the time. I hope these words were encouraging to you as they are to me. “How can I keep from singing your praise? How can I ever say enough? I am loved by the King and it makes my heart want to sing.” “You see the depth of my heart and you love me the same. You are amazing God.”

 

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—5 one Lord, one faith,one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Ephesians 4:1-7  

Y’all get to hold me accountable to these verse. And pray for me using these verses.  “Live a life worthy of the calling” “with ALL humility and gentleness” “with patience” “unity of the Spirit”.  God has been teaching me just how small I am, and while this will be a hard month, it’s a month. 29 days to be exact. And the sacrifice I’m making is not even worth comparing to the sacrifice Jesus made for me when he came to earth. 

Thank you SOOO much for all of the prayers and all of the support y’all have given! I urge you to not stop! God has been faithful and brought us thus far, and He will be faithful to the end! 

Love you guys very very much! :) I’ll let you know when we are safe and sound in Taiwan! Catch ya in a month! 

–Tessa