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April 2012

Missionary Work and Family Life

"How do you manage your family time as a missionary?" Andrew asks me this question. I hold off my fork full of spaghetti and delicious seafood surprises. We are meeting at a small restaurant together with his wife, Annie. Sarah is also here giving some perspective to my answers. My hot black coffee is cooling down. I give him my short answer and sip my coffee in between Sarah's explanation and further stories of our family life as cross cultural missionaries here in Taiwan.

Last Thursday, Sarah and I met with Andrew and his wife Annie. It was supposed to be a time of "meeting your adviser." Andrew is one of the graduating students here in Holy Light Theological Seminary. He just got married last year. Both of them are looking forward to missionary work in a Creative Access Country, country MC. Our seemingly "seminary business" meeting had turned into a time of deep sharing about missions work and missionary family life. I encouraged both of them to find a mentor, someone who can advise them and help them through this upcoming plan to relocate in country MC as cross cultural missionaries. They agreed with me. I gave them the name of one of our Free Methodist pastor. And I was so glad that both Andrew and Annie like this pastor.

So, my answer to Andrew's question was: "Learn to say 'No' to the demands of missionary work, so that you can spend more time with your wife and your children." I explained to both of them that our first area of ministry is within our family. Serving God in the mission field should never be at the expense of our family. Sarah shared some good examples from our own experiences with our children. We ended our lunch time with a renewed determination to serve God better starting with our spouses and our children. God will be our Helper!

Songs For Easter Sunday

Last night, our family talked about our favorite songs for Easter Sunday. Sarah mentioned the hymn: "Up From The Grave He Arose." I shared about my all time favorite Easter song: "Christ the Lord is Risen Today." Our children listened to us sing a line or two from our favorites. Well, for now, they do not have any song to share. We will have to wait for a few more Easter Sundays before they can choose which ones are to their liking. Most of their Easter Sundays have been spent here in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. They probably remember a hymn or two in Chinese. I do not know. Maybe, I should have asked them what Chinese song they remembered. Although, it would be hard, mainly because here in Taiwan the Christian churches focus their Easter celebrations on the baptism service, rather than on Easter music and songs. At any rate, Chinese services are still memorable in a different way.

While we were singing Easter songs, I recounted stories of my mother and my family going to church there in Butuan City, Philippines. Sarah shared about her grandmother and sister singing to many Easter hymns. We had fun recollecting our Easter memories with our children. We were doing this yesterday while the two of them were coloring their Easter eggs. No chocolate bunnies this time. Happy Easter everyone!