Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Did I Not Tell You?"

“Then Jesus said: Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” John 11:40
The context of this passage highlights the "confirmation of a promise" to Marta despite death having taken her brother (Lazarus). Jesus Christ is our resurrection: physically, emotionally and spiritually. In Him there are no limits, nor impossibilities, however our disbelief can limit us from seeing the glory of God in our lives.
Everything that God offers us is presented in the form of a promise: Salvation, the Holy Spirit and each blessing is a promise sent by Him in the specified time we need it. However, to receive His promises we must believe in Him, and believe far above logical circumstances.
If we consider the lives of Esther, Joseph and Daniel, each one of them was taken to an unknown place against their own will, depriving them of their freedom, making them into slaves to a certain degree, being under various trials, even putting their lives at risk of death. Nevertheless, despite every unfavorable situation for them, through it all they decided to believe with all their hearts that they would see the glory of God; and so it was.
Sometimes we might tend to think that stories as relevant as the ones we read in the Bible no longer exist, but the fact is that the same God of the Bible from back in the day still remains faithful to His promises. Fulfilling His word as a true Gentleman, willing to guide our destiny. But what do we need in order to see the transcendental glory of God in our lives?
Personally, I could think that my calling to Asia does not compare to the impact that George Muller or Elisabeth Elliot and other heroes of faith had in their times. You see, it’s easy to compare and accept the term "impossible" by believing that we don’t have much to offer. However, our view of God is what matters and according to Romans 12: 6 each one was called “according to the grace given to each of us” That measure of faith placed in each one of us, according to our identity and purpose in Him. This does not mean that God has favoritism. He is righteous. The question that I have been asking myself lately is: how am I using that measure of faith? The truth is that the responsibility for activating the measure of faith is mine as much as it is yours, giving steps of action on a daily basis.

When I heard about VOICE in 2009, I knew it was an opportunity worth considering. I saw great eternal value in it. Since that day it was there planted in my mind, but I had responsibilities in Mexico and USA making it impossible for me to apply. Finally this year it was confirmed that the time had come to undertake this great journey.

It’s challenging to summarize everything I have seen over the past two months. However, I want to emphasize a very important point, which is and will be my goal during my year of service here in Taiwan.

The degree of influence and impact that we can be for our authorities

Because of how consistent and courageous Daniel, Esther and Joseph’s faith was, they were crowned of glory by God, giving them the wisdom to become people of great influence before their authorities. In obedience to their living God they transformed perspectives & customs of an entire government entity, leaving a transcendental legacy for their generations. It only took one willing vessel and one great God to performed miracles; being more challenged by this truth, I strive for the same goal. It is my greatest desire to be God’s delight and through Him generate an eternal impact in this beautiful culture, making God and my authorities successful with the performance of my job. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I recognize that through my weaknesses I can give honor to my God. 
From the first day that I stood before my school (Sian An), the entire team of staff welcomed me as if I had known them my entire life! To my surprise, in my first talk with Director Chen Wei-Shin, he was already offering me to stay for three years as a teacher and even cover my expenses if I wanted to get higher education courses. While trying to process everything I was hearing in my talk with him and other teachers, I thought to myself: is this normal in Taiwan? Not even knowing the performance of my work, they are offering me all this? For a moment I thought it was all a dream!
I'm currently about to start my third month of work and the staffs’ willingness to listen to any suggestion of mine captivates me greatly! They have practically given me the freedom to teach my students what I want; I can’t find logic or common sense as to how it can be possible that in such a short time there is such a great level of confidence towards me in a government school. And there, once again, in the middle of my internal dialogue Jesus reminds me, “Leslie, did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
I myself am convinced that this is not about what I can achieve in my own strength; I recognize that only by His grace have I been crowned with His favors and mercy. Therefore "the more that is given, more is demanded."
When God’s power stands in the gap, the opposition from the enemy is inevitable. Honestly it does not surprise me no matter what struggle that might emerge. I understand the perspective and the goal of spiritual struggle. Just like an airplane needs headwind to take off and fly, believers need to go through several trials to mature in faith and develop unbreakable confidence, knowing that the God of the impossible is in control of everything.
Growing in understanding of the Taiwanese culture and creating relationships with the local people is essential and it is valuable to me. I believe all those lives that God has placed in my life, especially the ones of my students, are worth more than any opposition that arises. My heart is willing to see His glory in any circumstance, even if things "do not seem favorable.” Nothing happens without having been designed by Him with an eternal purpose. As I rest on this promise, this has helped me to stay focused on the goal and also removed stress, because certainly in the midst of every trial the motivations of the heart are purified. My God transforms my heart to the heart of a servant, a servant who is available to whatever His master asks of him.
Being a teacher in Sian An has been an intimate experience with the Spirit of God. He’s my absolute counselor and while I look for creative ways to use wisely the position of influence that He is entrusting me (in a culture that I still do not know much about), my God gives me constant examples as to how I should be a teacher. I’m in the process of identifying the needs and strengths of each student.

Inside the classroom it’s my goal to create a safe environment for them, knowing that it is okay to make mistakes in class. I am the first to have imperfections. English is not my first language; I make and confront my mistakes in front of them. This has been the key to decreasing the timidity of many of my students, making the learning process more meaningful and fun as we all grow together in knowledge.  

It is my greatest hope for their leadership to increase as autonomous individuals and grow by asking questions when they do not know or understand something. I have been told that in their culture they find it difficult to express their doubts due to fear or shyness.

Every day with my little ones is very unique; I have discovered slowly when they are not in the mood to cooperate in class or when they are emotionally sensitive. I have only one year to be at their side, loving them, and guiding them. Every smile, hug, angry face, sad face or even rude attitude, is worth it because I rest on the promise that any challenge and effort will yield abundant fruit in the hearts of these children. Perhaps I might not get to see the fruit take place, and although uncertainty sometimes comes to my heart, I feel His Spirit challenging me when He whispers, “Did I not tell you Leslie? ....”

...They deserve the best of me and beyond just being their teacher; I pray that my life is a reflection of the glory of God in their lives. 

My Co-teachers: Grace, Ling & Jimmy have been the key for me to adjust to the education system in Taiwan, equipping me to be efficient according to school needs, and also assisting me how to communicate with my colleagues at the school. The homeroom teachers have also been helping me to get more connected with my students. I am so blessed to have people like them, that are so passionate about contributing to the education of the children of the Sian An School.
I’m fascinated by the fact that God brought me here for this specific time in history. I couldn’t be more grateful to be laboring alongside such an incredible team and to belong in such a loving and caring local Church that God has made me part here in Kinmen.
Above all, I honor Jesus for making me part of His heart for Taiwan, and to my Family I am deeply grateful for His unconditional love & support. 

This quote from Elisabeth Elliot has been my inspiration and confirmation to what I'm doing here.
"This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering may I make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, May I learn God's way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness. "
During this season of my life, “Who Shall I fear?” By Chris Tomlin has become my theme song. 

Leslie Quijano Yepez  (萊思禮)  is from Monterrey, Mexico. Currently Kinmen, Taiwan is her new home. Being a Youth Worker throughout the years, Leslie has loved every culture Jesus has made her part of, working alongside the educational department and sharing the Gospel.  For this school year, her main purpose is to cultivate transcendental relationships with her precious students from 3 Kindergarten to 6 grade, as well as to serve with her local Church. She specializes in Holistic wellness and immensely enjoys music. Learning to sing in Chinese has become a good resource for her to understand the language better.    

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