Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Communication Through Actions

Wow, I don't even know where to begin! There's so much I could talk about. But I feel like the main thing I want to share is communication. 
Olivia and her teammate Flora

Teaching in Taiwan has changed my life forever. Before I came to Taiwan, I'll be honest, I was really scared to come. Afraid of the food, culture, teaching and everything else. I'm a young girl who was leaving her home for 11 months to teach in a foreign country and had no idea what I was doing, but I wanted to obey what God was telling me to do. Plus I didn't like at all. Little did I know that I would grow to love it so much. I absolutely love teaching! Sometimes I really think that the students are the ones that are actually teaching me instead of me being the teacher. They are a huge blessing in my life! 

One thing that has been pretty difficult while in Taiwan is the language barrier. I haven't been able to verbally communicate with my students much because they don't know much English  and my Chinese is not very good at all. I could tell you stories of me trying to communicate in Chinese, but we'll skip that part because there's too many.  But, who needs to be able to speak in a different language when Christ is the one who created all languages and Christ is in me? 

Sometimes, I believe, the most can be said by actions towards people. It doesn't always have to be by words. Even just a high five or a smile. That can speak more then any words. Last week, I had a student who just really needed to be loved.  During the week, I took time to play with him and encourage him. Seeing his eyes light up every time I smiled at him, or hearing his laugh when I would loose to a game - it was heart touching. By the end of the week, he gave me a huge hug goodbye and wouldn't let go then said he loved me. I didn't speak to him in Chinese, but I just loved him for who he was, and took time to play with him and even though I didn't understand what he was saying, let him talk. It's amazing to me to see how God uses the simplest things to show His love through you. Truly it's amazing. I really have learned that to communicate is so simple. By actions I can show how much I care and love those kids.

This doesn't only happen while teaching. This is happening to me with people outside of work. One of the many things I love about Taiwan is the people! Everyone is super nice and so sweet! There's this older lady who goes on walks everyday. I have no clue what she is saying, but I will stop and say hello to her and ask her how she is. She's adorable and will just laugh and talk and then we say goodbye. At first I thought to myself that it wasn't enough and I should be doing more, but I've come to realize that it is enough. We may not understand each other but from actions we do understand each other clearly.

I have loved every minute that I have been in beautiful Taiwan and I am super excited for what God has in store the rest of the year. Living in Taiwan for almost 5 months now has really made me grow also. A lot...and I have definitely learned how to talk slower and speak more clear and sometimes less. Coming to Taiwan has been an amazing experience for me. I am super blessed to be called here and am, like I said, excited for the remainder months in Taiwan.

~Olivia Stano

Olivia comes from a family of 10. She has always had a passion since she was seven to share with people about Jesus and show the Love of Christ. She doesn't enjoy anything more then being with her family and playing with her 5 nieces and nephews. Olivia likes coffee, sports, outdoors, music, traveling and meeting new people. At home, Olivia has a mini photography business and loves it! 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Brunches, Bonfires and Blessings

In mid-November, my team and I had the opportunity to host the VOICE Missions Fall Retreat here in Taitung. It's sort of been a pipe dream of mine for a while now, but not one that I thought would actually ever happen because of various logistical difficulties. But this year, things aligned perfectly and it was arranged that we would be hosting our retreat in Taitung for the first time in VOICE Missions history. That was quite exciting! But almost immediately, I began to realize how much work it was going to be in order to organize and coordinate everything. It was really easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged by the amount of work that needed to be done, and be afraid that I wouldn’t be able to host up to my own and others expectations.

God taught me a lot about resting and trusting in His provision, and how not to try and do everything in my own strength. It’s usually very difficult for me to ask other people for help, but I was blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful community of Christian families in Taitung who offered their support generously. Because of their willingness to help, I was able to feel comfortable enough to ask them for the support that I needed. I was really amazed and truly blessed by how much the body of Christ here in Taitung came together in order to bless me and VOICE Missions. I truly could not have hosted the retreat without them.

One awesome thing that happened because of the generosity of everyone, was that we were able to cook a complete traditional Thanksgiving brunch in a single morning. It took seven hours, six appliances and two kitchens, but we did it! It was delicious and a wonderful time of fellowship for all of us.

The most special part of the weekend was our Saturday night beach bonfire and worship. Ever since I started thinking about the possibility of hosting in Taitung, I really wanted to take everyone and have a bonfire on the beach. I really wished that we could take everyone to a much nicer beach 20 minutes away, but I didn’t think there was any way that we could manage that logistically. But our God is a good Father who gives good things to His children, and it was amazing to see how everything fell into place. A friend in town offered to lend us his van so we could drive everyone to the other beach, and we were able to rearrange our retreat schedule in order to accommodate for a longer evening time. And my dear friend who has a house on the beach offered to host us and help us facilitate everything. And just like that, my greatest wish became reality!

The evening was so beautiful. The weather was lovely, the fire was bright, and we were able to spend some time singing and praising God there there on the beach. We were able to sing “How Great is Our God” in four languages: English, Spanish, Chinese and Romanian, and it was really special to be able to praise God in our different languages. It may have sounded a little strange to us, but I know it sounded beautiful to God’s ears!

All in all, the retreat was a really special experience for me. It was a lot of work, but it was amazing to see God’s provision and blessing over the entire time. It was a wonderful reminder that my God loves me and gives me the desires of my heart. We didn’t need to have a great Thanksgiving or a beach bonfire in order to have a successful retreat, but we were able to have them anyway, and I’m so grateful to God for providing all the people and resources we needed for that.

~Elisabeth Corduan

Elisabeth is in her third year serving as a volunteer English teacher at the Character and English Institute in Taitung, Taiwan. She has been blessed to have been able to travel all over Taiwan, and is slowly but surely getting stamps from different Asian countries in her passport. She is blessed to be surrounded by wonderful friends and to have been given the opportunity to make some amazing memories in her time here in Taiwan.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Heartfelt Lines

As an "adult" it's no big deal to receive a mere scribble here or there, but remembering my childhood days when a big-sister figure gave me a small scribble it made me feel loved, special, and happy. Sometimes when we grow up we tend to forget how we felt as a child, but coming here God has made me realize how to serve Him by my scribbles. I had forgotten how much children love to be gifted drawings.

Before coming here I had a big grey cloud hanging over my head, "God, how can I serve you? I'm not good with kids, I'm not good at including myself in group activities.

What would I say to the students?

What if they hate me because I'm an ENGLISH-TEACHER."

To be honest I'm more afraid of those kids than they are of me. *laugh*

It was during one of the classes that I was teaching where I had to draw little characters on the board. After the class a female student came up to me, "Teacher, did you draw this?" "Yes." I replied, "Can you draw this little girl for me? Please?" After class during break time I drew it for her, and after a few minutes I had a stampede of students grabbing at me for a drawing. It may felt like scribbling to me, but it was a bigger deal for them. Seeing their faces beaming with delight as they read their names on the drawings too. Once child was so homesick he cried everyday and in all the classes. I didn't know what I should say but I felt that drawing was what I was called to do for him. After one of his character classes I gave it to him. He didn't smile, he stared at it for a while, looked up at me with eyes full of understanding and said, "Thank you teacher." After that he never cried. That was the moment I felt that these "scribbles" can do something great in these students' lives.

Taking this hobby of mine further, on Saturdays I go with my leader to a place called Joy House. It's a traditional Taiwanese home that hosts children from that area to come play games, do crafts, and listen to Bible Stories. My leader and I have started to teach the children that come to the House how to draw, we just finished our first drawing class but I felt that it went really well.

I maybe able to communicate with my tudents & the Joy House children with Mandarin, but communication by words really isn't my thing. I find that God can find different ways for me to communicate with these children to make them feel special, and that is through drawing. At first I felt that my drawings were just black lines on a white piece of paper, but God turns them into heartfelt "You Are Special" for the children here in Taiwan.

~Rebecca Thornton

Rebecca was born in Taichung, Taiwan but relocated to Texas at the age of 6. 
This is her first time serving under VOICE Missions. She enjoys raising pet chickens, drawing, cosplaying, anime & manga.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Jack Jack

“Are there ghosts there?” His eyes wide, it is obvious this little fourth grader believes it to be so. 

I take the topic of ghosts very seriously. Many of the kids I work with have told me that they have seen ghosts before.  In this culture saturated with darkness and fear, I can believe that they do see evil spirits, which they would call “ghosts”. Maybe before becoming involved in world missions, I might’ve scoffed if a child told me they saw a ghost. Now, I believe them. Evil is real and the spiritual battle is real.

I kneel down to get to eye level with this little guy. “If we are ever afraid, all we have to do is pray for Jesus to protect us.” I’m about to go on but another of the boys, Jack Jack, speaks up before I can continue. I bite my tongue in surprise.

“Don’t worry. These English teachers don’t have to go to the temple and pray for the gods to protect them.  They say that because Jesus loves you, you are safe from the ghosts. You just pray and Jesus will protect you.”

He says it so matter of fact but my heart feels like it skips a few beats. To hear this village boy proclaim this…there are no words to explain the profoundness of this moment.

This is the kid who always seems like he is not listening. If he isn’t fidgeting, he might be fighting, running everywhere or acting up. I always wonder if Jack Jack hears even a word we share with him.

I have my answer: He’s listening. 

My smile grows bigger and bigger. God is on the move in this village. Sometimes I don’t see any outward changes in my kids’ lives.  And sometimes I catch a glimpse of God working. 

As Jack Jack proclaims truth, he doesn’t even know that God is speaking through him. But He is. Another seed is starting to find good soil and starting to bloom. So many seeds have been planted here over the years.  Lord of the harvest, come and cause these little seeds to grow. That’s my prayer as I walk these streets and hold these little hands. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

~Joanna Suich

Joanna has been serving with VOICE Missions since February 2013.  She has a heart for all things involving missions, orphans, aboriginal kids and adventures.  Joanna first served on the Taitung team and now has been serving on the Hualien team the past few years.  God has placed Hualien in her heart and it's home now.  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.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Little Children of The World

As the time got closer, thinking about coming to Taiwan for 11 months was exciting and scary all at the same time. I had known that I wanted/should go on a missions trip for my gap year and God showed Taiwan to me over and over again.  

I like to know exactly how things are going to go, and not knowing how everything was going to unfold was terrifying. I didn’t know if I would be stuck with someone I couldn’t stand, or how often I would get to talk to people back home, etc... All these questions that I had built up in my mind scared me. Of course after all I knew that this is where God was calling me, so that when I go God would have amazing things in store for me. And of course, He did! God has blessed me with amazing co-workers, church and roommate! 

Shopping with my teammate Olivia 
I come from a large family of 12 and I have always loved being around children and seeing their smiling faces. Even though I haven't done it much, teaching it is always something that I've had a passion for and even considered going to school for. I have always loved the idea of working with children all day and Taiwan has showed me that I was right! Working with children all week  is amazing.

The children have been such a blessing to me even though we don’t speak the same first language. They are always smiling and excited to play any game, or even help erase the chalkboard. I have loved being able to see a change in them as the week goes on. They may be small changes such as raising their hand to answer a question or putting their chair away quietly. They show what loving strangers and strange people look like, which is something to learn from.

For the past 3 weeks we have had children from the school that is right outside our building. I love being able to see them when I ride my bike around town and see them waving frantically. Taiwan is beginning to feel like home and I know that it is already going to be hard to say good-bye. I am excited to see God has in store for me throughout this time that I am here in Taiwan.

~Florentina Parra

Florentina is from North Carolina and has always had a heart for missions. She loves to play volleyball, explore the outdoors, and  bake. She is excited to meet new people and begin many new friendships in Taiwan.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

God Provides

Night Market with the Hualien Team
Coming to Taiwan this year was more difficult than it had been two years ago. Two years ago I didn’t know what I could be walking into. However everything pointed directly towards Taiwan, so following that direction, I came here.

During this year’s orientation, I was hit with a depth of homesickness that had never hit me before. The longer orientation became, the more homesick I became…trusting, hoping that I wouldn’t be fighting these feelings the whole year.

Arriving in Hualien, I was delighted by the beauty and how quickly things began to feel like home. But more than that, I found so much of God’s provision for me.

I realized I didn’t pack any of my favorite EmergenC vitamin drinks. There was already a considerable stash in Hualien. I hadn’t packed pain reliever, there were also two whole bottles (more than I’ll use) waiting for me, still far from their expiration date. It was just so special to see God’s hand in even the little details.

Skits with teammates
I’ve been wanting to learn guitar, and here in Hualien is a lovely used guitar that no one was using. It was just another small gift from God that made me feel more at home and in the perfect place that God has called me to be. There has been a myriad of other special things like that. As I’ve explored Hualien, I was pointed in the direction of an organic store where I can restock the essential oils that mysteriously vanished from my checked luggage.

The people in and around the school in Hualien have been so hospitable and kind. The homesickness is long gone, and it’s feeling very homey. I am looking forward to what other things God will do this year. He has shown himself so strong in the little fine details, I know He is going to do mighty and exciting things this year.

~Jessica Mullen

Jessica on the VOICE Missions Hualien team comes from MN. She loves writing, reading, playing with students during breaks, eating dumplings and cooking Asian food. She is grateful to be exploring Taiwan once again and looking forward to learning more Chinese and loving children as she teaches English.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Living on the Edge

I have been serving in Taiwan for the past 9 months and have definitely seen just what "living on the edge" really means. Taiwan is a beautiful island; from breathtaking mountainous views to hot sunny days at the beach, one truly gets to appreciate the natural beauty that Taiwan has to offer. I happen to teach at a Character and English camp in the county of Taitung where we get different sets of students each week from different cities in Taitung. This makes it hard to be able to really connect with the students outside of English class. They come, they learn then leave, and some you might not ever see.

It definitely is a challenge not being able to see my students outside of camp, but we do make an effort to go to sports day, or night market where we will see students. One group of students we get is from an island not far off of Taiwan called Lanyu, or Orchid Island in English. The students we get here not only have very low English, but also come from very poor families. However despite poverty, they have always been my favorite set of students because they always are smiling and have so much life inside of them. In class, they never get frustrated, but always have a good attitude and work very hard to try to learn English. These students have a sense of contentment and a spirit of boldness. They are always such a joy to have.

Last weekend, my co-workers and I had the amazing opportunity to go to their island and visit them. Orchid Island was one of the most beautifully breathtaking places I have ever been to in Taiwan. With crystal clear water and amazing mountainous views, one can definitely appreciate the beauty of God's creation. As we were there, we were able to come across a lot of our students (as the island itself is very small).

One student we came across was a girl that I had taken upon myself to really work with when she was at camp. I was able to see her hometown and how she lived. She literally lived in a small, dirty, hut and wore the same clothes. However despite her living conditions, she was a very pleasant girl and never complained about anything. I had offered her some bread (as I was not very hungry with the weather being about 105 degrees and she could use some more food) and she politely refused; she was probably taught not to take things from people. This sweet girl, living on one of the most beautiful islands of Taiwan, without her even trying, showed me just what it truly meant to be content.

Right outside her small hut was the most gorgeous view of the ocean. She literally was living on the edge and was enjoying life, even though she had nothing. When she was at our camp, she was very shy and never really talked much, yet looked so peaceful just being herself. I was so grateful that I was able to visit her in her home and see firsthand how she lived life. My trip to Orchid Island was truly one I will never forget and hopefully will be back again next year. It’s such a beautiful island with breathtaking views and friendly people who are just content in where they are.

~Yanna Wertz

Yanna is serving with VOICE Missions in Taitung county. She is from Maryland and loves to play basketball,make new friends and dance. This past year in Taiwan, she has made many friends with the college students in her area and enjoys spending time with them and teaching them English. She also enjoys learning more about Taiwanese culture and the Chinese language from her friends. Yanna loves to go to her local night market and see her students. One thing that God has taught her during her time here is that God never gives up and always gives us second chances. Yanna will be going home for summer break in late July, but is looking forward to returning to Taiwan in September for another year of teaching.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Using Our Remaining Time

After my team teaches four or five weeks of camps at our school, we usually have what we call an “office week.” We are still required to be at our school during work hours, but we don’t have students.  Instead, we sit in the office and work on lessons or do various work projects, activities, and outings with the Taiwanese staff. It makes for a nice change in pace and some rest after several weeks with students. Recently during one of these weeks, our staff scheduled for us to drive out and visit some of the schools that sent their kids to our school for camp earlier in the semester. Since we usually only know our students for one week, it was so fun to see their faces again.

We got to hang out with them in the school library, and the noise got so loud that I had a hard time hearing their replies to my questions, they were so excited! One moment that struck me at the end of our visit was when my teammate, Sofia, told them that she was leaving Taiwan and going back to Mexico at the end of this semester. Several of the girls around her burst into tears, and poor Sofia was confused about whatever it was she could have done that made them cry! One of our teachers translated to her why they were crying, she did her best to comfort them with hugs and taking pictures with them. Sometimes it seems like we have such a limited time to interact with our students that is too short to mean much to them, but I was reminded that every moment we invest in them here does have a significant emotional impact in their lives.

Fae & Sofia
These months in Taiwan have gone by so fast, and there have always been more opportunities for people to meet or to talk to then there is time to follow up on. As our 2015-2016 school year comes to a close, many of us are left with hard decisions on how best to use the short time we have left. For some of us, this means traveling around the island in our free time for a final goodbye to various friends we have made. For others, visiting or hosting students and teachers they have worked with throughout the year. For me, it means taking time close to our home here to help with a local kid’s ministry that needs workers before leaving them for the summer and investing time hanging out with a few close coworkers and teammates. What I do know is that any time we choose to invest in others is not a waste.

~S. Fae Larson

Fae is from Minnesota. She has been with VOICE Missions in Taiwan since February 2011, and has worked at both the Yunlin and Chiayi team locations. Some of her favorite places to visit in Taiwan are in the mountains, such as Alishan national park. She enjoys, hiking, drawing, and Studio Ghibli films.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

From Taiwan to Thailand and Back Again

About a year ago, I hopped off a plane in Taipei, Taiwan, ready to tackle a year of teaching overseas. When I stepped foot off that plane, I wasn’t prepared for the crazy adventures that lay ahead. While there have been many frustrating and difficult things that have happened this year, I want to share one of my favorite memories from this year. Over Chinese New Year, when our school was on winter vacation, we had the opportunity to travel to Thailand with our sponsor, King Car.

Our time in Thailand was so refreshing. After spending months in the city and outlying townships of Taiwan, experiencing the mountains of Chiang Rai was incredible. The mountains are so big and covered in a sea of tea farms. We went from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai in a five hour long (semi-nauseating) drive through the windy mountain roads. It was good to have time to pull away from our teaching in Taiwan and briefly experience the teaching in Thailand.

Though the teaching itself didn’t differ much from my typical days of teaching in Taiwan, it did have a new element to it. Most of our students lived at the school and rarely saw their families. I felt like many of them lacked adequate love and support from family. My heart was burdened for my students and really made me want to return there some day.

I was assigned to teach the oldest highschoolers, which was daunting at first. But after a few days of teaching, I really grew to love my students. I was able to talk briefly with some of them about their situations at home and about their stories. There are so many hardships that those high schoolers are facing; it was overwhelming. Many of our students were much older- even in their mid-20s. It is very common for students to withdraw from school for a period of time to help support their siblings and parents. Since the school we taught met in the evening, many of our students held regular jobs during the day and went to high school at night. The idea of having to support my parents and siblings at such a young age is frightening for me; yet so many of my students willingly jump in to serve their families in this capacity. It’s so beautiful yet heart wrenching.

While we were in Thailand, I worked to try and break barriers and be able to love my students well. In our free time I would attempt to, although I can’t actually, play basketball with them. It was so much fun to be reminded that even though we don’t necessarily speak each other’s native language, we could still have a blast together. 

Overall our time in Thailand was well spent. I really wish that our time there could have been longer. I felt like I barely got to know my students, and it was over too quickly. I gained so much from my experience. I so wish to return to the beauty of Thailand, found not only in the mountains, but also the people. 

~Becky Bush

Becky is currently serving with VOICE Missions in Pingtung County, Taiwan. Her love of traveling and experiencing new cultures has led her all across the globe. A few of her favorite things are coffee with friends, a home cooked meal shared with friends and family, and hiking. She is looking forward to returning home after spending a year away and is waiting in anticipation of what’s to come.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Our Ministry is Everywhere!

It has definitely been an adventure being a foreigner in a foreign land. There aren’t very many foreigners here in Taiwan, so I guess we kind of stick out like a sore thumb. The students that come here to the CEI (Character English Institute) School for a week at a time all love to point out all the strange things about me. Inquires about my blue eyes, sharp nose, light brown hair and apparent gigantism have been the most discussed topics between myself and the students. The student’s mostly give me suspicious looks when I tell them that we don’t all look like myself in the US. The fact that we have many different cultures is a very strange concept to them.

One of the most rewarding things about teaching from week to week is seeing the students grasp a hold of the different aspects of God’s character that we are able to teach them throughout the week. I am reminded of a few instances where the kids have blown me away with the love that they can show for others. (I wish I could post a few of the pictures that I have been able to capture some of these moments, but the school that I am working at prohibits showing the faces of the students) I can think of one specific instance where a boy had a learning disorder and he wasn’t able to write some Chinese characters, but then a little girl came over and helped to guide his hand in writing the characters. Moments like these remind me why God loves his little children so much!

The love of God has been kind of a theme for me this year. How can God love us so much? It’s unbelievable if you really think about it! I think our ministry in a nutshell is simply us showing other people the love that God has given to us. It isn’t complicated. It can be shown in so many ways! I am used to being able to tell others of God’s love for them. But that is not nearly so easy when there is a language barrier there. So throughout this year God has been showing me different ways to be able to minister his love to the people I come in contact with.

Participating in a 5 and 10k race, respectively, with my co-workers was also a way God challenged me to minister. I had almost zero desire to because long distance running is as close as I’ve ever felt to torture. The challenge was great but we were able to complete the races as a team and it has a great way to build relationships with my fellow teachers.

I think that these months have been challenging for me. But in a good way! And I have learned many ways to be able to share the love of God to others that I hadn’t necessarily thought of before!

~Jake Carriger

Jake is 21 years old. Was born and raised in Michigan and after graduating from high-school moved to Chicago to work as a graphic designer for three years. He is now enjoying teaching English in Taiwan. Things that he likes to do include: Playing Guitar, Traveling, Volleyball, Snowboarding, and pretty much anything else that includes being active.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Equipped to Witness

Before two wonderful events happened that redefined my perspective I was ashamed and scared to talk about the gospel. The reason I didn’t have enough confidence was because I let Satan creep in and claim ground. I thought my testimony was irrelevant and average, I gave Satan the power to tell me that I would fail.

I accepted the Holy Spirit into my heart at a young age, but later rededicated my life to Christ, due to doubts about my future. I still feel like my story isn’t very special, but I’m beyond blessed to know the truth and live with a purpose. Because I was prideful, I never took advantage of opportunities when given the chance to be used for God’s glory. I would worry that people wouldn’t take me seriously because of my age. I was worried that I would come across as too preachy. I would worry that others wouldn’t show interest, and also that they’d have questions for me that I couldn’t answer because I’m incompetent… Which is a risk we all take if we enlighten someone about the Word; but planted seeds will not return void. The first thing that changed my life was being baptized. I had the privilege of being baptized along with two siblings, and I think that moment in time was like putting the cherry on top of my faith.

  “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
~John 1:17   

Being in Taiwan is the latest chapter that has expanded my borders forever and I find it rewarding teaching and any time I can sneak in a Bible reference, I do. When you hear students learn new character for the first time or hear someone tell you that God’s grace has encouraged them, it’s truly the most bubbly feeling ever, and I can’t help but praise Jehovah.

I wanted to show pictures with the faces of souls that have not yet been saved. So can I ask a favor of you if you’re reading this? Although you probably don’t know them personally, stop for a brief moment and pray for a miracle that they would accept the free gift of love.

~Anslea Morris

Anslea was born and raised in Georgia. She was home-schooled and has five siblings. She is currently serving with VOICE Missions in Taichung. She came to Taiwan because she felt called to, but also because she loves children and traveling. She spends most of her time outdoors doing things like running, kayaking, long-boarding, Eno-ing, hiking, fishing, and doing water sports. She thinks the two most important things in life are time and relationships.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Not an Abstract God

Often times I wonder how to love a God I cannot see or touch or even hear audibly. Being the greatest commandment, loving God with all of my heart often seems like the greatest challenge as well. Recently I’ve been turning to 1 Peter 1:8, which reads: “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.” I’m glad the Bible addresses this point so frankly because it brings to light doubts that often creep into my mind. How can I truly love this God whom I follow, when my very own senses claim against its possibility?

For most of my life I’ve been guilty of thinking of God as an abstract thought. An intellectual subject. Not as a person to love with my heart and soul. I may not be the most emotional person on the block, but I know what it means to put heart into something. And putting heart into an abstract thing isn’t exactly easy.

But God is not an abstract. He is the one true God, who has loved me first, undoubtedly deserving of my every affection and devotion. Yet I often feel so distant from Him. Where is the missing connection: the link between what I know and experience, and God’s abounding love and promises? I long to see face to face what I now only vaguely see through a mirror. I guess this is where faith comes in. The faith, which is rooted and upheld by God’s love, looking toward the living hope He has given us. 

“Faith, hope, and Love. These three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

~Andrew Lukachick

20 years old, Andrew was born and raised in Louisiana, a fifth-born with 4 brothers and 5 sisters. This is his first year teaching in Taiwan. He enjoys everything playing piano, writing music, surfing, soccer, and reading. Andrew has graduated with degrees in Music and Business.