It’s official, our first year in Taiwan is in the books! What better way to celebrate than to have our first family visitors to Taiwan– what a gift to have my (Jessica’s) parents and youngest brother Caleb here to stay with us for 20 days in June! (pictured below)
Being a parent has made me realize more than I ever did as a child how precious grandparent relationships are. It brought us so much joy to see Hosanna find new ways of enjoying time with her Nonna and Paw Paw that she wasn’t yet old enough to discover when she was with them last May.
Watching her two uncles have a blast together playing sports and Wii was probably one of her favorite activities! (Below: Here’s Josh taking them down despite a 2 on 1 sneak attack. Hosanna cheered and laughed from the sidelines, though I’m not sure who she was cheering for!)
Just before my family headed back to the US we surprised them with a little gender reveal party for the twins. If the ultrasound was correct, we’re expecting Hosanna to have a little brother AND a little sister in November! A big answer to prayer was that we found a doctor we trust and can easily communicate with to do prenatal care and delivery.
Another answer to prayer is that Josh has been presented with a couple of opportunities that will lead straight into his post-language school ministry, but that he can start working on within the next month or so. In Taitung, which is the city south of us, a friend and fellow missionary asked Josh to help pilot a garden club at a special needs school starting in August. This is exactly the kind of opportunity we had praying for, and God put it right in Josh’s lap! This will involve 3 hours of travel every Friday, but will be a great way to connect with the school and community in Taitung, where we expect God is leading us to serve after language study. Josh will also get to learn lots of farming and administrative terminology he wouldn’t learn in the classroom as he talks with supervisors, meets local farming suppliers, and trains the students at the school. Another possible opportunity is to teach woodworking at a local outreach center, but that one is less certain, and we still need prayer to discern if that’s a door God wants Josh to walk through. (Below: fields of pineapple, rice, and betel nut along the road to Taitung)
For me, I have learned so much in this past year about the ways of the Lord. I didn’t realize how much of my theology had been unknowingly tainted by a bit of prosperity gospel (and it doesn’t really take much more than a bit!). I am learning to stop envisioning my life in Taiwan filled with activities I like, friends that match my life stage and heart language, ministry that I’m competent for and have plenty of time to do. I am learning to say yes to the situations God leads me into that are not what I think are best, are not “what I signed up for,” and don’t leave me feeling blessed/happy/satisfied.
Sometimes that means giving up little things… nice yarn to make baby blankets for the twins, or fake plants to stick on a sunless shelf. Sometimes it’s releasing more personal desires, like wishing I had a walking buddy I could easily chat with when I take Hosanna for a ride in her stroller. Sometimes, it’s saying yes, yet again, to a “change of plans” — not a change in God’s plans, but in my own for my life. Saying “yes” to being Mama to Hosanna and the twins–which I am very happy to do!– will mean saying “no” to countless ministry opportunities, which is something I never envisioned. But God hasn’t given me the strength to be Supermom and Supermissionary, so I embrace the grace He has given me to train up our little ones in His perfect ways, knowing that any opportunities I “miss” along the way will only be those which He never intended me to have anyway.
(Below: last group picture before taking my family back to the airport)
Ways to Pray
The Angel Heart small group is hosting a camp in August for kids with special needs in our community. Josh will be teaching a simple woodworking craft along the theme of God as Creator. Pray for his preparation and for the campers to know God better as a result of the camp.
A new Taiwan field director is chosen every 3 years. Our new field director begins their term today! Pray for wisdom in our leadership and for our field to move in the direction God wants for us as a team.
Ask the Lord to protect our twins as they grow, and to help us prepare Hosanna for all the changes being a big sister will bring.
Language school is great because we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to focus intensely on learning the heart language of the people God has sent us to serve! That said… it’s also really frustrating sometimes, because we don’t feel very productive. Please pray that God will show us the purpose in each day and will guard our hearts from discouragement as we begin our second year of language study.