"Welcome to Taiwan!" My family and I received this greeting from several people as we were meandering the streets of Kaohsiung. I wanted to interrupt the persons giving this greeting and tell them that we are residents of Taiwan. We have been here in the city of Kaohsiung for more than seven years already. But of course our looks give us away. And even if I respond in perfect Chinese, my accent will still indicate that I am a foreigner in this land.
People have been gracious. Our first week after Dec. 5th, when we flew into Kaohsiung, our neighbors greeted us with such open arms and overflowing hospitality. I went about the local stores nearby and bought some cleaning stuff to clean the house, and straight away, our neighbors recognized that we were back. Miss Sophie even offered to help with the front yard cleaning. Of course, she was just being courteous, so I respectfully declined her offer. I felt so welcomed . . . well, except for that one incident that I posted on Facebook. It was the time when a man from out of town (I recognized he was not from our area) accused me of scratching his car. It was a little scary, mainly because he was rough, looks violent, and was downright disrespectful. I was so glad Pastora Tessa came and helped with everything. The police came and dismissed the whole situation. I felt vindicated. Thank you all for those who prayed when I asked for prayers during the ongoing altercation. God answered your prayers. I am grateful for Facebook. My prayer warriors were informed of the situation in real time. I am glad I am connected with you all.
I have been to the seminary and got my stuff ready for the next semester. Technically, I am still in "vacation," not yet officially reporting for seminary duties. But I have been there to clean my office and prepared some financial matters for the upcoming mission trip to the Philippines. I am bringing 10 students (8 are from this seminary) to the Butuan City, Philippines, this January 21-30, 2013. Pray for us. My goal is that all of them will eat a whole piece of balut, boiled week-old duck egg, before the end of our time there. Just kidding! Seriously, pray for each one that we will feel God's connection with the people of the Philippines.
Tomorrow, I am helping with Pastora Tessa and Pastor Cris, with Higher Ground Church (a Filipino congregation here in Kaohsiung), leading in worship and music, and sharing a time of discipleship challenge, for the church's annual retreat in Cheng Ching Lake. I am delighted not only because I will be serving God through the area of music, but also because Carmen is singing with me and helping with this time of ministry. God is smiling!