Monday, May 20, 2019

How Majestic is His Name in the Mouth of Children

“Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.” Psalm 8:2 (ESV)

Always something new to experience…

Back to Taiwan - this beautiful Island must have something special that makes missionaries and visitors return, and sometimes, unexpectedly. I don’t know what it really is, that something special. I can’t say precisely what that special attracting thing is. But one thing I know, once you come, once you taste that warm welcome from Taiwan and its people, the special night market’ food, fruit and drinks, you are going to be returning someday, of course, God willing. 

What is that special thing I don’t know - it is a special gift that comes from God! What if God brings you back just to offer you a new perspective on the Taiwan island, a new view not yet explored, a new opportunity to reconsider your appreciation of the warmth and charms of its welcoming arms! What if each time God leads you back to Taiwan, it is for a new and amazing experience prepared just for you! This is something I strongly believe. God might lead us to the same place, He might want to use us at the same place again and again. But the blessings He will make us be where He appoints us, the blessings He will make us experience back might not always be the same.

There will always be something new to experience with God in Taiwan, something beautiful to see through His amazing love, something great to hear through His loving voice that never fails us. And this something is something that I have been joyfully experiencing with God in Hualien since my return in February: a new journey with God, new kids, new smiling faces, new opportunity to learn and share the joy and love we have in Christ with them every week; also new beautiful environment, new fun places to explore, new lovely friends, coworkers, brothers and sisters in Christ; in short, a renewed family for a new opportunity to serve in Taiwan. To serve joyfully and peacefully even though you are far away from home, friends, and family. What a tremendous blessing!


Jesus’ Name in our countries class

“Cristo Redentor” (Christ the Redeemer) of Rio de Janeiro is one of the world's most popular monuments. What a great joy it is to me hearing every camp week a few students shout “Yésu” (Jesus) during countries class as soon as the picture of “Cristo Redentor” appears on the Power Point slide! I would love to respond back and find out more but class time doesn't allow for that. It is, though, always quite a beautiful thing hearing Jesus’ Name in the mouth of children. And how much more beautiful and rejoicing it is when His Majestic Name comes out of the mouth of Taiwanese kids whose parents are mostly still rooted in traditional beliefs and worship.

Last week, one of the kids of my countries class even went farther shouting “Yésu aì ni” (Jesus loves you) as soon as the “Christ the Redeemer’s” photo appeared on the slide. I wasn't expecting to hear that so I didn't know what better to say than, "Wow, yes!". I was just amazed and very happy to hear my student say that.

I’m glad we have that picture of Cristo Redentor on the countries class Power Point. It is just like a beautiful wink from God every camp week. Enjoying and using that specific time to listen for a few students shout the name of our Lord Jesus in an English class is such a pleasing and rewarding moment of joy. Sharing this experience makes me reflect on the Scripture that says in Psalm 8:2 mentioned at the beginning of my post: “Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.”

Thank you, dear Heavenly Father, for using those few young innocent mouths to shout loud and clear the loving Name of Jesus that we, foreign teachers who are serving for your glory believe in our hearts, amen!

Eyes always fixed on Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and the true avenger!

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Yarmonth Drissou (Yar) is 36 and is from Togo, a small French speaking country located on the West African coast.  In his hometown, Yar used to be a French and English language teacher in both elementary and junior high school for 5 years.  After 5 years, he resonded to God's call upon his life, quit teaching and moved to Switzerland for a three year Bible college program.  He is a professioal graduate with a Bachelor of Theology since June 2016 and is hoping to pursue his postgraduate studies for a Master of Theology.  He is a pastor and Bible teacher and also a writer fond of poetry and philosophy. “Eurêka” and “Le procès de Tromal” are his published books so far.  After his Bachelor degree in Switzerland, Yar was waiting for the 2017 fall semester to make it to Dallas Theological Seminary when God opened VOICE Missions' door for him in Taiwan. He served here a year in 2017 and returned to Taiwan again in February 2019.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

I Can Do It


A teenager named Tom looked at me, sadness in his eyes.  "I can't do the assignment. I try and I always fail."

I paused, "I know it's hard but I'll help you. You can do it. I know you can."

Tom shook his head and sat down dejectedly, shoulders slumped in defeat.

After whispering a prayer, I took a breath and told Tom that with God's help, he could do this assignment. He just needed to have perseverance and not give up so easily.

Within ten minutes, Tom looked up at me in wonder. He had finished his work in record time.

The next week, a similar scene played out. Tom insisted he couldn't complete the work required of him. He had become so used to failing that he had stopped trying all these years. A habit like that is hard to break - but still possible!

Weeks passed. Each time Tom was so sure that he could not do the assignment and each time he wanted to give up, I told him to keep going.

More weeks passed by and turned into months. Then finally, one day Tom entered the classroom and he looked different. No longer was he slumped over, afraid of failure. The Tom I saw that day confidently strode into the room with a broad smile on his face.

He looked at me and said, "Teacher, I can do this." And he did.

With God's help, this teenage boy learned to persevere. You know what? Tom wasn't the only one learning during these months. I was, too!

I learned once again the importance of asking for God's help, no matter the task or challenge. I learned to be a cheerleader for someone, even when he didn't believe he could do it. I learned that God often works behind the scenes in ways I may never know or understand - but He's active and present. Keeping that perspective was key as Tom and I learned together.

So as I face my current challenges, I'm reminding myself of all that Tom and I learned as we worked together. I'm excited to see how God is going to keep working for His glory through these next challenges.

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Joanna Suich has been serving with VOICE Missions since February 2013.  As a child, she attempted to dig her way to China, but only made it two feet in before her mom called her to dinner.  Although Joanna never made it to China, God did bring her nearby to the island of Taiwan.  She has a heart for all things involving missions, juvenile delinquents and adventures.  God has placed Hualien in her heart and it's home now.  She currently is doing college online as she volunteers, majoring in social work.  If you're looking for Joanna, check the local village or orphanage and you'll probably find her there - playing, tutoring and sharing Christ's love and truth.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Thoughts Over Chinese New Year

Recently the VOICE Missions teachers were able to enjoy some off time as Taiwan celebrated Chinese New Year and the schools took off for winter break. Korea's winter break falls around the same time and when a friend from Korea asked if she could visit over break I was very excited at the prospect. We began making plans, but never solidified anything as we weren't able to find a time when we could both talk on a voice or video based communication platform. Additionally, some of the emails I had sent with important information pertaining to places we could visit, train times, etc. were misdirected. The day before I was to meet my friend in Taipei, I still had no idea what our plans were. 

Even after arriving in Taipei, we weren't sure what the schedule for the week would be. My friend's father had been in Taiwan for a work meeting, but stayed longer to sightsee with my friend and I. I expected creating an itinerary that would keep everyone happy would be quite challenging, but looking back, I think it turned out just perfectly for our group of people. Each day we made plans, and then changed them as we found other things that piqued our interest. We visited places I have been to before and love revisiting, and saw many new places that I'd never been to and had been wanting to visit for awhile. All three of us enjoyed the visit quite a lot.

After my friend and her father returned to Korea, a fellow VOICE Missions volunteer asked me hadn't I been stressed out not having a schedule to follow? She was surprised when I replied that I think it was easier not having a schedule. My friend was somewhat of the spontaneous type, wanting to stay and look at things at her own pace (or add things into the schedule if we passed something interesting) rather than stick to a strict schedule. Not having a schedule allowed us to take things one day at a time. If we had had a schedule and stuck to it, she would have had a much less enjoyable visit. If we had had a schedule and decided not to follow it, I would have been more stressed out trying to figure out how to fit everything in and what bus we would take home now. It's easier to let go of plans and go with the flow when we're not holding on to any plans to begin with.

It's not always easier not having a schedule or a plan. I think back to when I graduated high school. Getting asked "So what's next?" or "So what do you want to do with your life?" was always awkward for me because I had no clue. When I graduated with my Bachelor's degree I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. It was always difficult waiting for God to show me the next step because He always seemed to reveal it so last minute. It wasn't always easy walking the path of life without knowing where it would take me, but as I look back over my life so far, I'm thankful for every place God has included in my journey. I look to the future with a better idea now of what I want to do with my life, but constantly needing to remind myself to let my plans be flexible. 

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13

As we enter this New Year, it is my hope that together we are all able to walk with purpose, yet keep our hopes and plans in open palms, willing at any moment to exchange them for whatever God brings our way, seeking first His kingdom. Happy Chinese New Year!
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Originally from Chicago, Gabrielle Martin is currently living and serving in Shuili Nantou, Taiwan.  She has served with VOICE Missions for four and a half non-consecutive years. She enjoys teaching English, entertaining her students with stories and songs, and is now pursuing a degree in TESOL with lightly held plans to live abroad teaching English long term. Her personal blog sharing her adventures and things she's learned can be found at http://gemgoingandgrowing.tumblr.com