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.