Greetings from our new home in Taiwan. Our family has been in Taiwan for six months. This has been both joyful and challenging. The joys have included: Fellowship with the other mission staff and with our brothers and sisters at Salvation Lutheran Church, Chiayi The friendliness of the Taiwanese people Experiencing this beautiful island and […]
Greetings from our new home in Taiwan. Our family has been in Taiwan for six months. This has been both joyful and challenging.
The joys have included:
- Fellowship with the other mission staff and with our brothers and sisters at Salvation Lutheran Church, Chiayi
- The friendliness of the Taiwanese people
- Experiencing this beautiful island and its interesting culture
- The excellent language program at Chiayi University, through which the whole family is learning Mandarin Chinese.
Challenges have included:
- Language barriers when it comes to day-to-day things like opening bank accounts, getting driver’s licences, and working out what we can eat given our food intolerances
- Navigating the roads, with cars and scooters flying in all directions and most of the signs in Chinese
- Our sons’ education. Due to our dissatisfaction with their Australian distance education, plus the lack of any local schools that teach in English, we have decided to send them to Morrison Christian Academy, an international school in a neighbouring city. This means they will have to board during the week but can come home on weekends. Asher begins in August and Jadon will attend a year later.
Most of my time has been occupied with learning Mandarin. The goal is to become proficient enough that I am capable of teaching in it. This is a huge task! Nevertheless, I now have an excellent tutor through Chiayi University and am making slow but steady progress. Furthermore, learning a new language provides many cultural insights. For example, the way to say ‘sorry’ in Chinese is ‘dui bu qi’. This means, ‘I cannot lift up my face before you’. That is, it is an expression of shame, something that is deeply embedded in the shame-honour cultures of the Chinese-speaking world. In this context, we can proclaim Christ as the one who takes away our shame and enables us to hold our heads high.
While I am eagerly awaiting the day when I can transition from language learning to teaching God’s word, I already have a few small teaching opportunities. I am currently leading a Bible study on Acts with the other mission staff; I am looking forward to teaching a seminar in November on the Apostles’ Creed for pastors and church workers in Nepal; and in January I am scheduled to lead in-service training with the faculty of Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Nagercoil, India.
Please pray for the China Evangelical Lutheran Church here in Taiwan, for our whole family to be able to learn Mandarin quickly and well, and for our boys as they transition to life in boarding school.
This story was also published in the August 2023 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.
Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray