Wednesday, April 8, 2020

We Have Hope

The sun as it rose over Hualien City.
Time flies by. I have already been in Taiwan for over half a year and sometimes it still feels like I just got here. Living in Nantou has its struggles, but I've adjusted well. It is definitely interesting when you live in a town where Taiwanese is probably spoken more than Mandarin. I am also probably the only foreigner in town, but I've gotten used to the stares at this point.

But now even this "new normal" of living in Taiwan is no longer "normal." If you have been anywhere at all lately, you've heard of the virus. Honestly, I don't think there is a single person out there who hasn't heard of this coronavirus. COVID-19 has changed so much for a lot of people. Many people aren't allowed to leave their houses, except for necessities or the occasional walk. A lot of people can't work and those that are working are busier than ever. Many schools are closed and now online. Church has even gone online.

Taiwan's situation is better than most. People are still allowed to leave their homes. Though we have to wear masks and get our temperature taken every time we use public transportation, we can still travel. That isn't to stay that we aren't advised to keep traveling to a minimum. If anyone has a temperature over 37.5C they have to immediately self-quarantine themselves for fourteen days. The amount of masks that a person can purchase a week is limited to a certain amount. Also, which days you can buy masks depends on the last number of your ID. Overall, Taiwan is doing well. We have kept the number of cases down to a decently small amount, but they recently rose because of the Taiwanese people that came back from foreign countries.

The situation has changed my work life. In a normal scenario, a couple of classes of fourth-graders from schools all over the county would be traveling to us to stay for the week. Unfortunately, the virus has caused a lot of people to not want to travel far from home. It makes sense, but it also makes it hard for us. So, what are we doing now? We travel to one school a week and teach the kids in their classroom. It's been a refreshing experience. I love that I can meet kids from other classes and grades during the breaktimes in between classes. It is also exhausting. The drive to and from school every day means getting up earlier and getting home later on most days. I'm happy to be back at teaching though. We had a lot of office weeks as we tried to figure out what we were going to do during this pandemic. I missed my kids.

I've learned much from all of this craziness. There is a lot of fear in the world. People are stressed, worried, and anxious. They don't have hope. But we, as Christians, have hope. Why? Because we believe in the source of hope.

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 15:13 (NLT)

For sure, we are also afraid. Some of us are maybe even terrified, but we can still act in spite of the fear. We know that God is in control of the situation. He is with us, even when we can't see or feel him. Because of that, we can have peace. More so, we know that he is good. He is perfect. What better hands could the world be in? 

God poured out his love for us. In him we have new life, peace, and hope. So in this fearful time, let's show that love, that peace, and that hope. Let's direct people's eyes and hearts back to God. Let's take the time to reach out. Send that text. Make that phone call. Show people that you care and that you are thinking of them. Show kindness. Be a blessing. Such small acts of love can make all the difference.

Once this situation resolves, I hope that people don't go back to "normal." I hope that we come through this changed. That we learn to appreciate the small things. That we are thankful for the time we have with our families and friends. That we learn to truly be a light in the world.

Gabriela (better known as Gabi) Dixon joined VOICE Missions in August 2019. Being a military brat, she has spent her whole life moving around the U.S. Her love for traveling has now grown to an international level since she went on her first missions trip to Ecuador in May 2018. It also made her realize just how passionate she is about kids and missions. Now that she lives in Nantou, she hopes to be a light to her coworkers and each and every one of the kids she meets. When she is not working or pursuing her major in history, you can find her having adventures with friends or doing some of her own creative/inspirational writing or just singing her heart out.

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