~ Isaiah 40: 11
Saturday, September 29, 2007
This week has been full of ups and downs. Trying to think of ways to meet students who are extremely shy and afraid to make mistakes with their limited English. Lori (another intern) and I are brainstorming ideas for activities. Lori lives in the girls dorm and has already had visitors to her room and she is making friends. I am having a little more difficulty because I do not live in the dorm and the students will probably see me more as a teacher than as a friend. I really don't want this but I will see how it goes.
Last night the student council had some activities for the freshman. They did skits and introduced all of the different clubs. There was dancing and lots of loud American music. The funniest skit was when two senior guys dressed up in girl's cheerleading uniforms and did a full out routine dance. It was really well done and hilarious. These students love to have fun and be silly. This morning the freshmen are playing games and getting to know each other better. Tomorrow they are going to the beach for a picnic and some fun.
Next week I will start working during the official hours of the writing center and begin to try and start relationships with some girls. I also am leading a discipleship group on Tuesday nights and that begins this coming week. This is also a prayer request. I will write more about this later on.
Until next time...
1) A garbage disposal - I have to keep all the food scraps in a bag and then dump them in a designated area on campus (yuk is right). I also have to sort my other garbage for recycling. Trying to figure out what goes where is a bit tricky.
2) The ability to read, write, and communicate. I feel like a toddler when I go anywhere or try to talk to the students. It's funny because a lot of them just start spatting off in Chinese and I just say I don't speak Chinese and I need to figure out how to say this in Chinese not just in English! And trying to live here is even harder than in other places like Europe or Africa where although I would not know the language I could at least try and read the alphabet because they use romanized letters. In Taiwan there are the lovely Chinese characters which I have no idea how to decipher.
Those are just two of many things that I realize that I have been taking for granted. Living here as helped me to see that I need to thank the Lord for the simple things.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I don't know if you can read this one but it says "changs for a better day" instead of changes. There are a lot of signs and sayings on notebooks and buildings that translated into English do not make a whole lot of sense or are just plain funny like the one below.
Yikes! Glad I don't drive here!
Later on in the day I helped two sections of a beginning level English class. The students did not know much English and I am there to help them practice pronouncing English sounds and words. The sounds in English are much different than the sounds and tones in Chinese. For example, the o and r sounds in the word Lord are extremely hard to pronounce for a Chinese student. I hope that these times helping students with their English and writing will blossom into friendships and opportunities to disciple and encourage them.
As the heading of this entry says I am exhausted from being bombarded with so many new and different things in the culture. I feel like a little child because I am unable to communicate, I don't know my way around the area very well, and the simplest things are difficult like taking the garbage out (I have to separate my garbage out into three or four different piles and then take it to different bins around campus.) Being in culture shock helps me see my need for Jesus and His righteousness now not just in the future. Many times during each day I must utterly depend on God because things are truly out of my control. So this time is good and faith building but tiring. As one friend told me just recently "Amanda treat yourself gently." Many of you that know me well know that I can be extremely demanding and hard on myself and others. I ask that you would pray that I may be gentle in spirit on myself and others as I learn to live in Taipei and at Christ's College.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
The conference itself was encouraging. I met many MTW missionaries that I did not know and learned about church plants and projects that are going on in many parts of the Asia and Pacific Area. I was also able to see some old friends - some from college and some from trainings that I have gone to over the past few years. The fellowship was encouraging. Here are some pictures of friends and the fellowship times.
These are some Taiwan team members: Becky, Judy, and Brenda.
These are a few things that I took away from the conference: I am weak and not able to do ministry on my own and I need God who is strong. I am a lousy Christian, a lousy sister, a lousy daughter, and a lousy friend BUT God loves me, God loves me, God loves me, God loves me and this is most demonstrated in Jesus Christ. I may rest NOW and in the future in His love. Those who are with us (Christians) are greater than those who are with them - meaning if God is for me then who can be against me and win, even Satan is under God's dominion - this is encouraging when I feel battered by fear, worry, and the past. The last truth that really hit home for me this week was God loves me because He loves me not because of what I do or what I look like or even how filthy my heart is. He chose me and loves me because He is God - Wow, and you also can rest in this truth.
One day we had as a time to explore the area and a group of us went to a forest in KL to explore the natural settings of Malaysia. The hike was long and it took about five hours to hike up and down the entire thing and get lost a few times! We also found this amazing tea house as we finished our hike. It had just opened a few weeks before and it was a good place to have refreshment. I really enjoyed this time.
This is bamboo and it was so thick in diameter. Really neat stuff.
Yes that is us in a giant tree root and we are being swallowed by it!
From right to left: Dana, me, Melanie, Bonnie, Matt, and Mary Bell in front.
All in all it was fun but now I have spent 7 days in Taiwan and 7 days in Malaysia so I feel a bit exhausted from all the travel and cultural transition. I find myself trying to remember everything I learned from the first week about living in Taiwan. School starts tomorrow with convocation and I will be introduced with all of the teachers so that the students will know who I am. I have been helping in the dorm this morning and all the students seem excited about seeing their friends (honestly most of them were speaking Chinese so it seemed like they were excited!) I on the other hand am nervous and it seems like everything that I heard last week at the conference just escaped my mind this morning as I began to think of starting the school year and the work that God has planned for me this year. My faith is being challenged. I am trying to take each hour, each moment as it comes because there are so many new things to learn and new people to meet. Please pray that I will be bold and interact in the culture and with the students even though it might mean making cultural mistakes. My tendency is to hold back in fear of embarassment. I am trying to cling to many of the "fear not" statements in the Bible right now.
Well, until next time...
Saturday, September 8, 2007
The night market was crowded with people and vendors. But I was told that it is 100 times more crowded on the weekends - that is hard to believe. The vendors were selling all sorts of foods like stinky tofu which smells like fermented wet socks and no I don't plan to try it. I am willing to try almost anything but I draw the line with tofu that is black, wreaks and has furry hair. I hope to go to the night markets again and explore more as I live in Taipei.
So far I am enjoying my time here. The MTW team has been welcoming and encouraging. Tonight we had a meal with many of the team members. Mable cooked us some sweet potato leaves, rice and meat. It was very good. All of the American professors live on campus and close to one another so I don't think I will have a problem with loneliness because there will be at least one person to hang out with.
Well, as I get ready to go to bed most of you are just waking up and getting ready for your day. I hope that it is a great one.
Until next time...
Thursday, September 6, 2007
I sent an email out asking for prayer about getting my Resident permit. Good news. The process was simple and I even received my passport back! God is good. Another prayer request is that the school is going through an accredidation process with the Taiwan government and it is a difficult and strenuous process on the faculty and staff. Also the staff is concerned that this will affect the way the school teaches and proclaims the Gospel in the future. Please pray that the process will go smoothly and that the school will be able to uphold its faith-based teachings.
I have had a busy few days here. I have been out to eat twice and am learning how to use chopsticks. My hand hurts! The food is quite good. Lots of rice and different meats. Tofu, chicken and cury, sweet and sour chicken and fish. Very good and I can eat a good bit of it. I am helping the English staff prepare for the upcoming semester. So I have been cleaning and organizing. The writing center is going to be setup in the English department and I am starting to get that room ready for students.
Right now I feel overwhelmed but in a good way. The culture is very different and there are so many new things to take in. So many new people to meet and things to do. Tonight I am going to the night market for the first time in Taipei city. I hope to take some pictures and will post them soon.
Until next time...
Monday, September 3, 2007
My parents and I drove to Atlanta and met my two sisters. We ate at the Cheese Cake Factory and had a fun time - my family is loud and funny. So we did have a good time. Now we are at a hotel close to the airport. My flight leaves at 7:45am tomorrow - bright and early.
Please pray that my flights and travel go smoothly and well.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Well, my flight takes off at 7:30am in Atlanta so mom and dad and I are going to the great ATL on Sunday afternoon. My sisters are meeting us and we are going to have a last family meal before I leave. Then after hopefully a good night's rest I will board the plane for San Fran. In San Fran I hope to see my college friend Buzzy and then board a plane for Taipei.
I have a funny and love/hate relationship with airplanes and flying. I like airports and I like driving people to the airport (I know strange) but I do not like flying. The concept of a huge piece of flying metal in the air that could fall any moment just doesn't appeal to me. I don't freak out but flying isn't my favorite mode of transportation.
Well, I am off to bed gotta say a few more goodbyes tomorrow and run some more beloved errands.