My oldest daughter Whitney and I recently returned from spending two weeks visiting friends of ours who are over in Taiwan doing missions work. Our trip was amazing! I felt totally blessed for the opportunity to go and for the experiences we had while there. I wanted to write this post about our trip while all these great memories are still fresh and lingering in my head and so I could pass them on and share some of them with you.
Upon arriving home, jet lag had set in pretty bad. It was much worse coming home than when we arrived in Taiwan. It took several nights (and some Tylenol PM) to finally stay sleeping through an entire night. One of the very first mornings after arriving home, I wearily climbed out of bed after only a few short hours of sleep, and joined the rest of my family who were already awake and sitting in the living room. My middle daughter Madison immediately posed me the following question.
She said, “Mom what was your favorite part about Taiwan?” I definitely think that was a loaded question for a such a tired brain. Whit and I had a fantastic trip and every single part of it seemed amazing to me. Hmm so favorite part I replied, “My favorite part was of course finally getting to see and spend time with our dear friends the Klein’s.” They have been overseas serving in Taiwan since September of 2012. Getting to see them and experience alongside them some of the amazing things God was doing in their lives and in the lives of some of the Taiwanese people was totally awesome.
Then there was taking part in their church’s Resurrection Day program in one of the public schools where the Klein’s teach English. We were immediately embraced by their church and were able to help minister to 150 kids and adults who excitedly poured through the doors. They all left seeing and hearing a clear presentation of the gospel message. Whit and I both were able to play a part in a music dramatization they put on of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Derek (my friends husband) played the role of Jesus and did an amazing job. It was so exciting to see the Taiwanese people give a loud clapping ovation when Jesus was resurrected from the dead! Yes, our God is alive, very moving for sure!
Then there was helping out in the orphanage (which in and of itself was amazing). The opportunity to care for and love on all those precious babies was priceless. And finally just meeting all kinds of wonderful people, learning a little about the Taiwanese culture and of course seeing some of the beautiful sights Taiwan has to offer. So yes, there were many great experiences and they all rated pretty high. I could go on and on about any one of them and more, so I definitely had a hard time picking out just one highlight because there were so many. Of course one of the greatest things for me also was getting to experience and share all of this with my oldest daughter Whitney.
On reflecting of the people there in Taiwan, one thing that immediately stood out to me is that they were super friendly. They seem to have this code of respect for others that really shines to me as an American. People seem genuinely friendly and seem super hospitable and giving. I believe it comes from the high regard they place on the family unit. It is not unusual to have multi-generational families living under one roof. Part of their culture is that the younger generation cares for the older generation. It set me thinking and saddened me because I feel that as a whole, this is something that we in America have lost. The Taiwanese people idolize America and yet I see there are so many things they’ve got going on that are still good and right.
There were a few occasions when the Klein’s would try to buy something and people there would just give it to them. You can’t give, without them wanting to give something in return. When they give to their neighbors, they can usually expect some fish or something else in return. So to me the people seemed just very endearing and easy to love. Another thing I noticed is that the people there do not have the same problem with stuff that us Americans have. They live life quite simply and seem very content with that.
So upon evaluating my experience there in Taiwan, I have two main take away’s. What I mean by take away’s is that God always allows us to do things or go through things with a purpose in mind. As the “Great Teacher,” he always desires for us to be continually learning and growing and he wants to use our experiences to do that. This entire trip was a huge blessing. I got to see God work in amazing ways and to see his love extending around the world, it was so awesome.
But there are two things in particular that I would like to take away from this amazing experience. One is that I would try to keep my focus more on what it most important in life. Life often gets too busy and often we as Americans get easily sucked into that trap. It leaves us overextended and tired. I honestly think this is a big tactic on the part of the enemy. Keep them super busy, and they neglect what is most important in life. God calls us to love him first and foremost and then to love others. We do this by keeping our priorities in order. We must try to block out activity that draws us away from these two things. We purposefully make time for God by spending time in his word and then we make time for others and we don’t let over business steal from what is most important, God, our family and others.
The other take away is that I want to aim at living life more simply. God has been speaking to me some time on this same matter. The Taiwanese people live simply. I’ve never been much of a “stuff” kind of girl anyways, but like it or not stuff does becomes part of living. And over time we accumulate more and more stuff. The more stuff we have, the more baggage we carry. I can just open any one of my drawers or cabinets and find an overabundance of stuff. Too many clothes, to many Pirex dishes, etc., etc. To me, the less we carry in this life, the lighter our load is and the more freedom we have.
So there it is. I hope you’ve enjoyed some my ramblings and like I said I can go on and on about each of these experiences. I pray too that you would see some of the take aways in the experiences of your own life. God’s not finished with us yet and for that I’m SO thankful!
Father God I thank you for this opportunity Whitney and I had to go to Taiwan. I thank you for the Klein’s and pray that you continue to pour out blessing on their ministry and on their family. Thank you for their example and willingness to go where you have asked them to go. Thank you for your directing and leading in all of our lives. Help us to be obedient to the call you have placed on each one us. Thank you for who you are and for all you do and for your amazing love for us. To you be the glory both now and forever. AMEN