In December 2014, Josh and I spent our first Christmas together in Taiwan with his parents. We visited potential ministry partners around the island and God clarified His vision for ministry through us. As the time to return to the States came nearer, we consoled ourselves with the thought that we could graduate early the following year and be back in Taiwan for good by January 2016. Two days before we left Taiwan, however, Josh’s dad informed us that due to a visa requirement, we would need to be employed by a mission agency or church for two years before we could come to Taiwan long-term.
Two years!? In my twenty-year-old mind that sounded like a small eternity. We brainstormed ways to make something work faster, or to find another way to get to Taiwan, but in the end Josh’s dad asked us, “Do you want to force your way, or wait for God to give you His way?” And so, with a more grumpy attitude than I like to admit, we gave up our scheming and starting praying for God to make His way.
God didn’t do what I had hoped for or expected. He didn’t give us a shortcut or alternative. Instead, he gave us patience. He gave us deeper relationships with our friends and family here in the States. He gave us opportunities to give Hosanna great medical care when she was struggling during her first months, ministry experience and a whole lot of fun with our college students at Asbury, and time to grow together as a couple before diving into the unknown. I didn’t want any of those things until I was able to look back and realize how much I needed them.
Last week, I was walking through the grocery store and passed a father and his little girl. The daughter hopped onto the front of the shopping cart and, as her dad began to push her slowly down the aisle, she exclaimed with delight, “Ooh, this is fun!” and, without pausing for breath, continued, “go faster, Daddy!” And instantly I realized that I was (and maybe still am) just like that little girl. I didn’t care about safety or my Father’s plan… and certainly wasn’t concerned about Walmart shopping cart regulations– I mean, Taiwan visa requirements. I’d had a taste of the fun and I wanted more of it, on demand. “Go faster, Daddy!” I prayed. And now, I am so thankful for Father’s gentle “no” as He prepared us over the last two years for the adventure of a lifetime.
It’s now starting to feel like I’m one of those cartoon snowballs rolling down a hill, getting covered in more and more snow (or, in our case, yard sale clothes and last-minute Amazon Prime orders) without one bit of control over my speed or final destination. Next Wednesday we will take all our belonging to One Mission headquarters to be shipped to Taiwan in a container later this summer. Then, on May 16, we will move from Kentucky to Georgia to spend some time with my family before we leave. Throughout all this we are still speaking at churches and small groups as well as applying for our visa! In order to leave by May 31 we must be fully funded and have our visas approved prior to that date. Please ask our Father to work all these things according to His will, and to continue to encourage our spirits as we work and wait just a little longer.
Since we’ve been so busy packing I’ve hardly taken any pictures this month… so please enjoy these pictures of packing, packing, and more packing!
And sometimes you need a break from putting clothes and kitchen appliances in boxes, so you make a box maze for your baby instead.
We are 86% funded! If we have 6 more partners give $100/month, 12 partners give $50/month, or 24 partners give $25/month we will be able to purchase our plane tickets. Please continue to ask Father to bring these partners onto our team! We are so close!