Friday, June 28, 2019

Saying "See You Later"!




After being in Taiwan for almost 6 years now, God has led me to continue to pursue my degree in social work. I've seen the great need for believers to step in and help children especially. That being said, my next step is to move to the US to study. It was really hard to tell this news to my kids at the orphanages where I've been volunteering for years. There were many reactions. There was the wide-eyed stare, the gasp, the red-rimmed eyes, the fierce hug, the "why do you have to study in America?!" and the quiet acknowledgment. As I have been slowly saying my "See you laters" to so many dear friends and students alike, there have been a few things I've been reminded of:

- For the ones who know Christ as I do, we will definitely meet in heaven (and I definitely plan on seeing them again soon before that!). There is so much comfort in this and encouragement, too, to know that even if we are thousands of miles apart, God is still active in our lives no matter where we are.

- The local church will continue to reach out and minister to those lost, sick, hurting or in need of a friend. I've been a member of my church since Christmas 2013 and I've seen their faithfulness in ministry as well as discipleship. I am confident that God will continue working through them and the other local churches who hunger and thirst after Jesus.

- For those who don't yet know Jesus, I can continue to pray and invest in their lives from afar (one of the reasons I'm grateful for technology!). Even though I will be absent, God can send others along to plant seeds and water the ones already sown. He is God of the harvest and He is the one who causes the growth.

- Sometimes God has us in a certain season of life and sometimes He calls us to a new season. It doesn't mean that one season is better than another but simply the next step of this journey of life with Him. My next step will involve navigating reverse culture with a friend who is also moving with me. It'll also involve doing hard things, whether big or small, like finding a good, solid group of believers to find fellowship with or figuring out how to order Subway in English.

While it's extremely hard and sad to leave this beautiful place that I call home, I can leave with the assurance that God will continue to water and grow those seeds that I and many other English teachers have planted. One day we will see more of the fruit of that harvest and what a joyful day that'll be!

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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 been home for quite awhile. She is currently 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.

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.