Saturday, July 8, 2017

Unexpected Experience

The impact that my year with VOICE Missions in Taiwan had on my life and still has is huge.   For the first time in my life, I got to know what it truly means to be a volunteer. The year was filled with laughing, learning, teaching, exploring, growing, loving God with others and loving others as well. 

It truly did impact me and open my eyes to the world. I feel truly changed from the experience and touched by all the wonderful people I was able to meet. I've been brainstorming about things I can still do to help the people and my friends here. I feel so helpless being back here but I've been sharing all my stories and people seem to love to hear about it. 

At a place where you think things cannot get any worse…you see something remarkable.  You see the pride on kids faces as they open their hearts to you and have fun in learning English and talking to you in Chinese or with body language . And for that short moment, you don’t notice that you really don't understand anything but you're able to hear their hearts.  What a precious moment!  You notice the love, strength and hope that all of these individuals have.

When I saw these kids filled with joy with the little they have, I realized that they have the strongest thing of all — faith in Jesus.  Because of them, my life is forever changed.

Sometimes doing the right thing is not always easy, but it's so worth it! If we continue doing it, He promises that He will stay with us wherever we go. Here in Taiwan is when the words on the pages of the Bible came to life in a really powerful way.

I'll always be so grateful for the opportunity I had with VOICE Missions in this beautiful island.  I feel really honored to be used by the Lord and be part of His movement in Taiwan.  I saw so many lives transformed by the power of His grace, sweet smiles every day. I had thousands of hugs like never before! I was able to see friends giving their lives and receiving His love and His grace transforming my heart and renewing my mind. 

I'll definitely encourage anyone to do this next year!  It will really change your life. Thank you, Formosa, for adopting me and with your sweetness and kindness, healing my heart. You'll always be in my heart. 

Lorena Lopez is of Mexican nationality, and majored in international relations and political studies from Nuevo León State University in Mexico. She has been serving in various countries throughout the Americas and Asia. She enjoys literature, nature, learning about other cultures, adventures, and a good coffee. Her vision is to contribute towards a new perspective for this world.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Races Are About Running

Three breaths in, two breaths out; each one to the drumming of my sneakered feet on the pavement. “Okay” I thought to myself, “What should I think about next?” I was running my first 10k and I’m one of those runners who doesn’t like to drown out what my body is trying to say to me with loud music, so I think instead. “Well, I have to write that blog post...” I continued “Ha! I know, I will write what I learn from running this race.” So here are three things I observed while running that have a real life parallel.

Stronger than I think

I’ll be honest - I did not train as I should have for this race. I probably trained seriously for two weeks and then “got too busy”. So I ran virtually cold turkey, or as the Taiwanese like to say “burnt vegetables”. Even though I wasn’t ready and might fail, I had two goals: finish the race and no walking. I thought I would, to exaggerate, die, but I found as I went along how much I was enjoying myself. As I finished the race, having kept the pace, I realized, “Wow. I can do so much more than I know.” And then a second thought, “If I can do more than I know in this race, how much more can God use me wherever I am.”

Run better together

“See that person ahead of you? You’re going to pass them.” I told myself this over and over again and I did many times. This race reminded me how much I need community to keep me going strong. I can run alone, but I do so much better when I’m being challenged and encouraged onwards by either staring at the backs of those who have gone before or those alongside me who refuse to give up.

Stay focused

As I was trotting along, I passed many fellow runners who were stopping in their tracks to take a picture of the countryside or snap a selfie. It struck me as the most ridiculous thing. Yes, Chishang is gorgeous and yes, who is going to believe you actually ran unless you take selfies. But isn’t the point of the race to look to the finish line and with all that we are, stay focused and get to it? Paul seemed to think so. He said to lay aside every weight and just get to that finish line, i.e. Jesus. There’s plenty of time to take a picture afterwards anyway.

Carmen came to Taiwan because she heard from God that he would help her love every student she come in contact with. She has found that he has enough overflowing love for all of them. Little did Carmen know that she would be given so much more than she gave. Carmen loves Taiwan and its people, they have seized her heart! Therefore, she must come back to be where her heart is. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Blooming Where He Plants Me

"Teacher Liv, it's raining outside." I just stared at him with a grin as water filled my eyes. This child had been teased by students, mocked for how he didn't know English, and he never spoke to me, until now and what he said touched my heart so much. Here is the story of my student that encouraged me with these simple words. 

We had been teaching for three weeks straight and it seemed like every week the students were more and more challenging.  I felt like everything I taught would go in one ear and out the other. Enough said, I was at the bottom and felt very dry from teaching. 

So then the questions came to my head and out of my mouth were the words, "I came to Taiwan because you called me here, God. Do I even have a purpose in Taiwan?  The students don't understand anything I say, so why am I even here?  My teaching is pointless." 

I went on with the week teaching and nothing seemed to change. I had one student in my class that was always being teased and he never spoke to me. Whenever I tried to talk to him, he always ran away from me. He would say hi but that was it. Still, he was pretty adorable! 

So Tuesday came where I teach a class on weather and in that lesson, I teach the students about the seasons and what happens in those seasons. So for spring the sentence pattern is "It is raining!" Most of the time, the students will remember a little something from the lesson, but this week they seemed to forget everything. The lesson ended and I was having those questions popping to my head again. 

As I was wiping down the chalkboard and feeling so frustrated with myself, I heard this small, soft voice behind me. I turned around and no one was there. So I kept on cleaning, and I heard it again. I turned around to see this little boy standing there with his big black eyes staring at me. It was the one student in my class that didn't know any English and was teased a lot. My heart melted as I asked him what he said and out of his mouth came "It is raining outside." I had just gotten done teaching these students that sentence pattern. Joy filled my heart.  As heard him speak, I glanced outside and saw it was really raining!

Those words he said may not have been much English but it was enough to realize that he understood what I was teaching. So many times I have these expectations of how teaching should be - where all your students remember what you teach, so then when that doesn't happen it's like right away my thoughts are "It's pointless!" 

Needless to say, God opened my eyes to show me that, I may not see the purpose of my teaching right away but there is a need and always a purpose to wherever God calls you. Sometimes, actually a lot of times, things in life don't go the way that we've planned them or they aren't as we expected them to be, but God always has a purpose! 

I came to Taiwan with the mindset that Taiwan needed me, but little did I know that I needed Taiwan so much. God has taken a dry seed and planted it into my heart for Taiwan where He has provided my students to be the water that helps me bloom where He's planted me. Needless to say, I love my students and I am ever so grateful for them all, for God has used them to change my heart in many ways.

enjoys every moment in Taiwan - everything from teaching to being able to travel on weekends. Olivia loves traveling with her co-workers and teammate. She enjoys trying new coffee in Taiwan as along with eating not too crazy new foods.