After an unintentional hiatus from the blog these past few months, I thought it would be easier to find topics to write about since more had happened. However, I’m now finding it pretty difficult to sum up all the events that have taken place! In the last month, though, we’ve gone through two particularly significant events that I am super late in letting everyone know about. It was hard to know how to write about these things, so even though they don’t really “go together” I’m putting them in this post just so I can finally let everyone know.
Many of you will remember Champ, the little boy Josh and I often shared about in the States. Champ was fostered by Josh’s parents Rod and Beth for the last few years here in Taiwan, and Champ was the reason our hearts were turned towards ministry to families of special needs children. In August, Champ was moved to an institution because he could no longer be cared for in Rod and Beth’s home.
Champ had been getting progressively sicker and weaker for months, and the 24-hour care was more than they could handle. Once he moved to the institution, his health deteriorated further, and he spent most of November through January in the hospital going back and forth from the regular ward and ICU. He was in so much pain that he cried whenever he was awake, and he went through several paid caregivers during those few months because no one wanted to deal with the challenges he presented. One even walked out in the middle of his shift because they didn’t want to face the situation any more.
Though we all longed for Champ to have a family and to be healthy, we also frequently asked God to relieve him of his suffering, even if that meant being made whole in eternity instead of being here with us. On January 31, Champ’s oxygen levels dropped, and within just a couple of hours, he had gone to be with Jesus. Within minutes of his passing, his biological mother called to inform Beth, and she and Rod were the first ones at the hospital to take care of Champ’s body and prepare for funeral arrangements while waiting for his bio mom to arrive by train a few hours later.
We grieved for the life we had hoped for Champ to have, and for the hole he left in our lives. But we praise God that this is not the end for Champ! His heavenly body (whatever that might look like) is made whole, and can rejoice in the perfect presence of the Lord in all the ways he never could on earth.
Please pray that Champ’s bio mom will come to know the Lord. Pray that those of us who were impacted by Champ will not stop advocating for those who have no voice. Praise God for the salvation of Tommy, the “Betel Nut King,” who gave his life to Christ in large part because of his interactions with Champ, Rod, and Beth. Tommy went on to raise all the money to cover Champ’s funeral expenses in just one day. Praise God that in spite of the pain we see in the world, God is still good, and He is making all things perfect and new.
Less than a week after Champ’s passing, our city, Hualien, was hit by a level 6.4 earthquake which collapsed several buildings, killed 17 people, and injured hundreds more. Our house is directly on the fault line, but we were very thankful to have received no damage at all, just a little less sleep. (Below left: some of the many government messages we received each time we had an earthquake higher than level 4.) Many of the buildings that collapsed were visible from our house. (Below right: a building down the road from us–some of our friends had just recently moved out of this building.)
A couple days after the biggest quake we were still having aftershocks all throughout the day. For our family, it was merely distracting, not really scary, but we knew that many families were not so fortunate. Many homeless families were being temporarily housed in schools, so we went to see if there was any way we could help. Thankfully, the government, in combination with social and religious organizations, had the situation very well taken care of and practically begged us not to bring donations, as they had more than they could use already! It was encouraging to see the Taiwanese church’s maturity and eagerness to immediately reach out to those in need.
Please continue to lift up the families who lost their homes, precious possessions, and loved ones due to the earthquakes. We saw multiple church organizations providing food, water, and electrical and plumbing repairs–thank God for mobilizing the church so effectively to partner with the government to meet needs.
I realize this post is different from our usual and is a bit more sad. However, despite these events these past few months have held many blessings and great opportunities for our family and community, and we look forward to sharing more about those in our next update.