Thursday, March 3, 2016

Overcoming My Fears in the Country of Fear

I have been living in Taiwan for six months and one of the things that I have noticed is how fearful people here are, they are afraid of their gods and of getting sick, so the whole time they are trying to protect themselves.

At the beginning, I didn’t realize how much spiritual warfare my team and I would face. Our team leader told us that here it is so easy to be afraid. We have different fears, but it’s so easy to be fearful.

For me, some of my fears are: What if I wasn’t accepted by my students, teachers, and teammates? What if I am not enough? Maybe I won’t be good enough to be a good English teacher. Maybe I am not mature enough to be here for 11 months. Or I am not smart enough to learn Chinese. Or I won’t be wanted because of my race.

Not all my fears where in my imagination, actually. Chinese is a very difficult language to learn. Kids here have more freedom than in my country; talking about classroom management and respect. People here have a special love for white people. English is not my native tongue, and it’s my first time on a trip this long.

But what can you do when fears are becoming stronger? When you question yourself “was coming here was the right decision?” I think you have two options, either you let your fears cripple you or you give your fears to God and decide to trust Him. Trust the call He gave you to come here.

Fear has helped me to become closer to God because every moment I feel how incapable I am. I need Him in order to teach, to speak, to embrace my time here, and to show others God’s love with my actions more than my words since they can’t understand them. It’s a constant exercise.

After this time, I have become braver than when I just came. I’m not ashamed of my skin color. I had never been, that’s how God created me, but I have noticed that when I am with white people, they are the attraction and not me. When I start to feel insecure about if I would be “accepted or not” I decide to stop that thought and be myself. When they get to know me, the skin color is something that doesn’t matter anymore. I’m less afraid to speak the few words or sentences that I have learned in Chinese. Teaching has been complicated and tiring, but it has also been wonderful to be with some kids that have so much love for me and that actually are eager to learn. Living with 5 teammates has been hard, but I have learned more about forgiveness, tolerance, set boundaries, and many other things that I used to struggle with.

Life is not perfect but being fearful is a decision. I decided to not be afraid because my Father has told me: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” When I remember how incapable I am it’s a reminder of the Power of my God

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ, the, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

~Itza Oropeza

Itza is currently serving with VOICE Missions on the Nantou team. Itza is from Mexico City and has been a kindergarten teacher for the last seven years. She loves traveling, chocolates, and tacos!

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