Wednesday, March 29, 2006

yeah, but why TAIWAN? (Part 4) This is the fourth installment of a multi-post series. It is a chronological story of why I live in Taiwan (as opposed to any other "foreign country"), so if you would like to start at the beginning of the story, you can start with part one. (Here are part two and part three). So, we are up to the summer 1999, and I was on my way to Taiwan for a few months to help two churches in Hsinchu with a summer English camp (link is to a very old website I made in 1999 about the summer). Before I left, my Chinese professor at DBU told me about an opportunity to be an exchange student for the 1999-2000 school year at a university in the north part of Taiwan. After talking to my parents and much prayer, I decided this was a wonderful opportunity and should study in Taiwan. Below is a story ("Unseen Tremors") I wrote several years ago about the situation . I called my friend’s number again, hoping this time she would pick up and not one of her parents [because they don't speak English]. After a few rings the phone was answered, “Wei?” “Ellen?” “Yes.” What a relief, it was her! “Ellen, I can’t do it.” I wailed into the receiver, not even giving her a hello or how are you. The tears began to fall as I continued, “I just can’t do it. I want to go home at the end of the summer. It’s too much trouble—I have to fight for so much—visas, course numbers, a place to live. Plus, I miss my ministry and friends at school; I long for the comforts of home, the familiar-ness of America.” I continued to rattle off my complaints and worries to one of the only people who could understand me on this little island I now found myself living on. And all Ellen could reply was, “we just have to pray and trust God—isn’t that what you have taught me?” How had I wound up sitting in a perfect stranger’s apartment on the other side of the world, calling a girl I had been discipling for almost a year to tell her I had just about lost my faith in the God that I was teaching her all about? That night as I wrote in my journal I pleaded for God to show me who He was all over again. “Maybe I need to re-experience the size of my God—maybe I have no idea how big my God really is,” I scribbled into my journal before going to bed. I continued to question my faith all summer; sending many emails across the ocean to my mother about how I had no clue as to what would happen to me in August, and about how much I just wanted to go home to something simpler and familiar and trusted. For the summer, I was living with a pastor and his wife in Taiwan, teaching a children’s...

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