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.

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