Friday, November 10, 2017

The First Seventy Days


70 days. 70 Sunsets. It’s hard to believe I’ve been in Taiwan for over two months now! Sometimes the days are long (especially when I’m homesick), but as whole, it’s been a super fast 70 days. Here are a few beautiful things God has been teaching and reminding me of lately.

Peace is a Person.
When life hands you lemons you can make lemonade, but what do you make when life hands you rats and bedbugs? I’ve been discovering (more all the time) that dwelling in Christ makes dwelling in the awkward backbends of life 100% better. When I have confidence I’m where God wants me, there is an insane amount of restful peace in buckling up and facing the rodent problem square in the eyes. (And sometimes the rodents themselves square in the eyes.)
Maybe I was a little nervous about flying to Taiwan for this trip by myself. I had peace, but it was a shaky peace. When I was flying into Taipei, though, I woke up from a nap to realize we were making our descent and grabbed at the window, eager to get my first peek. In my very first glimpse of the country of Taiwan, there was a big rainbow hanging right above it! He who promised is faithful, and He gives peace in the form of Himself! So blessed!

Yes is a way of life.
Saying “yes” to God and being all-in to whatever He wants for you is… kinda scary. Because—news flash—you won’t be able to handle it all. When you’re really willing, He will open so many amazing doors for you and it’s going to feel chaotic and overwhelming and you might cry a lot or else eat Nutella a lot, but keep saying yes. Because when it’s from Him, He will fill in the cracks and spill out over the whole hectic schedule, perfecting every wrong. When you can’t do it all, He can. When you aren’t enough, He is.

Joy is a reality.
This past Sunday I was fully planning on sleeping in until the last possible moment that I needed to get up and get ready for church. (So much sleep deprivation is going on over here it isn’t even funny.) But when I heard all the half-marathon commotion starting up at 5am just outside the school gates, something—I have no idea what, but something—pushed me out of bed, got me dressed and out walking around with the runners, all before 6am. A few hours of cheering later, I was so hoarse and coughing, but I was having too much fun cheering on the runners across the finish line, I couldn’t just give up. I even had an entire cheering team by that point. Some race official guy came up to me and the first thing out of his mouth was, “you’re so happy!” And I couldn’t help but smile bigger. Because if the very solitary reason God nudged me out of bed at 5-whatever in the morning was to tell that man I’m happy because I’m a Christian and I have Jesus in my heart… it was so worth it. Some days life is not just happy, fun, and easy. But with Christ in me, it is always joyful. No matter exhaustion or confusion or discomfort.

It’s never just me.
A few weeks ago I was warm and tired and struggling to stay awake through a Chinese sermon. A mom a few seats away from me leaned over to her daughter who was playing a game on her phone and gestured to me and said, “she doesn’t even understand and she is listening.” I made sure I didn’t fall asleep then. Everyone is watching. I’m affecting lives all around. I am an example. You are an example. We really need to be good ones. When they look at us, because they will, let us show them Christ.







Kimberly Snyder is a 20-year-old English Teacher, passionate about the things of God, spending time with her family, eating good food, and watching sunsets as often as possible. She is enjoying getting to know her new home of Chiayi county, Taiwan, taking pictures of everything, and blogging about her adventures and the lessons God is teaching her on her personal blog, Peculiar on Purpose.

Friday, October 27, 2017

How a Journey of 8,000 Miles Changed Me, Part 2



Make sure to check out part 1 here!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Want to make friends in a new country?  Be prepared.  This isn't always easy.  Sometimes you meet someone on the train and instantly, you're buddies.  Sometimes you try and try and nothing happens.  Many things factor in - you're a foreigner, you're different, your first language isn't the same as everyone else around you.  Not only all that but your perspective, worldview, and beliefs are almost guaranteed to be different.   Then there's the fact that you've been shaped by your own culture all these years, so yeah, cultural differences are big as well.

All this...and I still live abroad.  Better yet, I choose this life!  Sure, there's been plenty of disappointments, confusions, misunderstandings, letdowns, frustrations and bad days.  But Jesus uses all of those - and more - to mold me more like Himself.  It's in that day getting lost all morning or those 60 minutes spent trying to communicate with the clerk about what's inside your package that often teaches you the most.  These are the lessons of a girl living across the ocean, on the other side of where she grew up, and honestly, they are some of her favorites now.  Not because they were necessarily fun but because in all these, something amazing happens - Jesus shows up.

And when Jesus shows up, friends, that when I need to step back and let Him do what He does best - creating miracles.

So yes, in a way, I choose the tears, the extra difficulties, the challenges.  I choose to do hard things because I know that God is working and active in them.

But wait - I also choose the little dirty hands gripping mine, the look on the teen's face when I say I'll help, the opportunity to focus on the Gospel each day and live it out in a place where many still have not heard.  I choose to live like I need Jesus, because deep down I've acted like I don't and that's never worked and there's never been peace as there is now.  So on those days when it seems like everything is harder, takes longer and is more frustrating than if I simply still lived in my hometown in the US, I look up and let Jesus reel my focus in to where it's supposed to be - squarely and lovingly on Him.

After all, it's all about Him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           


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, orphans, 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.

Friday, October 20, 2017

How a Journey of 8,000 Miles Changed Me


Living in another country changes you.  Not only does it change your perspective, but it also changes what you value, what you spend your time on and what you're willing to do (believe me, I've done so many things here that I never planned on or ever dreamed of!).  It tests your faith to see if it's really strong.  It teaches you humility in ways you've never experienced or expected.  It gives you a glimpse of yourself that you had hoped isn't true...but it is.  It forces you to rely on Jesus in ways you never expected.

It gives you a taste of loneliness like nothing you've ever been through before.  Something like homesickness that didn't exist in your vocabulary now becomes something you struggle through every once in awhile.  Because sometimes you just want to hug mama, tease dad, kiss your sister and beat your brothers at that board game.  Things you swore you'd never miss - like that meal you always detested or that drive to work and back, you find yourself confused and surprised...because you miss those!  What is happening to the person you know you were?

And patience?  Oh yes, that's a big one.  It stretches your patience in a million small ways and forces you to stop and say, "God, You do what You want, when You want it.  I'll wait."  Then when you think you can't wait anymore, you say it all again.  And again.  And again.

Things that you considered normal, everyday kind of routines are different, new or even non-existent.   Gonna mail that package?  Carve out at least an hour of your time.  Going out for a cup of your favorite coffee?  Prepare to sit there for fifteen minutes as you use an app to try to decipher the menu.  Get lost in a new city, that could definitely happen.   Several hours later, walk into a bakery and pray that the owner speaks English or at least has a map since you didn't have data on your phone.

Then there's that thing called your comfort zone.  Suddenly as you're living abroad, your comfort zone is given notice and kicked out the door.  Now there's no such thing!  Everything that you were comfortable and okay with just went out the door too.  Now it's you and Jesus and many new (and sometimes scary) experiences waiting...

Part two coming soon!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           



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, orphans, 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.