Thursday, January 12, 2017

Spreading His Love in Taiwan

Ephesians 2:10 "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them".

It was an ordinary day at the office, my boss's agenda couldn't be any better as I sat at a desk as an assistant to one of the best marketing directors in one of the best Mexican companies.

I knew the time of the day when my director would ask me for the newspaper so I had to browse it beforehand to be informed of national and international matters.

As I was browsing it, I read "massive typhoon hits Taiwan, many people affected". This shook my heart as I immediately thought of the year and a half (2014-2015) that I served there. These kind people were always showing their support and love, so I began to pray for this nation that God may send missionaries to this nation to share the knowledge of His love and His word.
It was then, at the beginning of 2016, that I began to feel God's calling to go back to Taiwan, I knew there was a chapter unfinished and that my heart was still devoted to this island.

Certainly, my initial weeks in Taiwan were truly a challenge and very difficult as it was very different to my previous experience in Taiwan.

In the last 10 years I had been serving orphan children but I was not really challenged because I was in my comfort zone, with all the facilities and skills to do it. However my desire was to do my best for the Lord (time and effort). It was then that I decided to come to Taiwan to serve in a foreign country, out of my comfort zone, far from friends and family. This is where I came to know the reality of ministry which is sharing and sowing God's love for those in need.  No matter if I was qualified or not, my heart was available to serve.

During those years in the past, I always wondered what was the secret of a volunteer/missionary to become more effective in ministry. Lately, God has been showing me that ministry is about  "sowing and reaping" and not about fix-and-solve.

The purpose of missions is not just to fix or save, the purpose is to use the new lives we have received in Christ Jesus to help others diligently, guided by wisdom and love with Jesus as the Savior and not us.

Working as a teacher in Taiwan has taught me that God's love has no nationality, language, religion or race. It is all based on God's gift of salvation available to anyone who believes. Romans 10:17 "So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God".

Furthermore, regardless of your occupation or profession, your goal should be about glorying God and encouraging and influencing other people.

My vision for this year in Taiwan is to share about God's love to this nation and glorify Jesus Christ. 
Psalms 67:4 "O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations of upon earth. Selah."

It's that simple,

And at the same time, it's that complicated,

But it's so worth it if we learn to do it right.

~Lorena Lopez

Lorena Lopez is 29, of Mexican nationality, and majored in international relations and political studies from Nuevo León State University in Mexico. She has been serving in various countries throughout the Americas and Asia. She enjoys literature, nature, learning about other cultures, adventures, and a good coffee. Her vision is to contribute towards a new perspective for this world.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Death to Dignity: Journey to Joy

If you want to work with kids, you can’t be uppity and dignified. If you jump into teaching, to death with dignity! But with that sacrifice comes great joy and freedom. This is my story.

It started way-back-when, I was a legalistic little kid; always doing the right thing, not for Jesus, but for myself. I grew out of play quickly because you can’t be silly and dignified at the same time. I loved having people guess my age because they always guessed me several years older than I actually was and that made me feel good. Like being mature in other people’s eyes was the bomb dot com.

Because I shed my childhood in an, I think, unnatural way, I lost what grown ups shouldn’t lose when they age: joy and freedom. My freedom because I was bound to act in a specific way to ensure others thought of me that way. And my joy because I don’t think fear of man allows for joy, love, and 
childlike wonder. So I gave up all of that to pursue dignity.

 Fast forward to early 2016. Coincidentally(I believe now in preparation for the latter half of the year), I read a few books that got me thinking about joy and my lack of it. One character in particular, Innocent Smith from Chesterton’s Manalive. Here was a chap who came to the conclusion that joy, childlike wonder, and enjoyment of life were worth their weight in gold and pursued them with gumption. I wanted that. This was about the same time I was considering Taiwan.

Coming to Taiwan, I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t really even like kids that much. The children’s camps I had taught were exhausting and difficult experienc-es. With some of my only teaching interactions being not-great memories, I prayed long and hard before I got the go ahead from the Lord to come to Taiwan.

So I came in August. And what the Lord began to teach me about joy early in the year, I have seen come to bloom. Yes, I lost my dignity and that was a little difficult at first, but I also learned something amazing. Kids. don’t. care. So, I decided not to either.

I didn’t expect to, but everyday I choose to lose what people think and begin to throw myself into every activity, use exaggerated gestures, and silly faces, I have so much fun and I don’t know where the time goes. Sometimes I think I even have more fun and laugh harder than any kid in the classroom.

If you come down with the particular malady of caring too much, I prescribe a large dose of kids. Death to put-on dignity and aspire to just be one of them. You might be surprised by joy.

~Carmen Copu

Carmen can be fairly well summed up in the acronym, “R.A.T.”. She is relational and loves doing things with friends, anything from long boarding to amazing conversations to a good ol’ game of two-on-two volleyball. Adventurous, both in activity and getting lost in the world of literature. And finally, a thinker in that she pursues knowledge with as much gumption as she loves food.