Intentions

Good morning! (Good evening, America!)

My first reading session last night was nothing short of beautiful. I spent two hours getting to know a wonderful woman, Sherry, as we talked about our lives, read the gospel of Luke, discussed really insightful ideas, and asked/answered questions in a way I have never experienced before. As a Christian, it struck me how few opportunities I have had (or rather, taken) to share my faith with other people. Until last night, I have never had an in-depth Bible study in which Jesus was so thoroughly depicted and so clearly present. It was an awe-inspiring occasion and I am looking forward to many others as this trip goes on.

I receive daily quotes via email and last night’s made me think about what we are trying to do here: “It is quite possible to perform very ordinary actions with so high an intention as to serve God therein better than in far more important things done with a less pure intention.” — Jean N. Grou

With that quote in mind, I am hoping my team and I can see this trip as the incredible opportunity that it is. We might not see immediate results or know the impact our work does (or does not) have. We might never know the outcome of our reading sessions in the lives of our readers. Nevertheless, I hope we can make genuine friendships and invest our time in others. If our intentions are always set on God, then our acts will point towards him, no matter how “ordinary” or “important” it may seem through human eyes.

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Smiles of Strangers

So the adventure has begun! After a very long trip, our team arrived and started to make a little home in Taiwan.

I am already falling in love with this experience and I’ve hardly lived two days of it yet. The people here have incredibly happy spirits and I have been blessed by their hospitality. We got a tour of the city yesterday morning from the woman who owns our apartment, Anna, and she was so patient with us. Her smile and her reassurance made me feel welcomed and comfortable in this unfamiliar place. She bought us breakfast at McDonalds (first meal in Taiwan! Hah!) and then showed us how to get to the church we’ll be working with for the next three weeks (more on that later!).

Last night we went to dinner on our own and ventured into the unknown. I ordered Com chày thit chà bông without any clue as to what it was. What arrived was what I’d call a giant fried rice pancake, covered in green onions and a brown fuzz that turned out to be dried shredded pork. It felt like a caterpillar and tasted like salt. I enjoyed it quite a bit, so I’d consider my first adventure in food to be a success!

com chay

Embracing new experiences, one plate at a time!

The man who brought out my food felt so bad about it taking long that he gave me the meal for free. I was surprised at his kindness and generosity, as the food still came out quicker than most restaurants in America. There are many similarities between Taiwan and America (for example, most people are on their phones on the subway, their fashion is very similar, they have McDonalds – as you already know!), but I can tell that their hospitality is displayed in a very different way here. This difference is found in the smiles of strangers, the small “hellos”, and the humor they find in the language barrier. Even the humidity is welcoming in a weird way! I am excited to get to know these people better and hopefully let you guys, my readers, in on some of the special things I learn from them.

After dinner we had our first meeting at the Greater Taipei Church of Christ!

greater taipei coc

The front of the church

We introduced ourselves to the readers and members of the congregation, sang one of our songs for them, and then arranged meetings for our reading sessions. I met with two of my readers, Tom and June, who seemed close to my age. Tom could literally not stop smiling, which made me happier than any stranger has ever been capable of doing. His excitement made me excited and I am ready to get to know him better! He was very complimentary of our singing, so I am glad we have the opportunity to perform for these people. Music is going to be a connecting thread between our team (I love singing with Nicole, Nolan, and Caleb) and a way to create relationships with our readers.

peeps in church

The team hard at work!

I am at the church right now – our first readers are coming today! Hopefully I’ll be able to post blogs more often now that we’re settled. Thank you for reading and for your thoughts and prayers.

P.S. I will try to improve my picture taking skills…my photos of the church are very bad…sorry! 🙂