Tuesday, June 30, 2020

One Small Act of Kindness

When I first found out about the opportunity to teach in Taiwan I was surprised to say the least.... I immediately began researching the tiny island I knew little about, and the first thing that stood out to me was the culture. I’ve always loved learning about cultures, and the possibility of living immersed in one was both exhilarating and intimidating. I prayed about it for months before committing, because I always look before I leap and my top priority is being obedient to Him.

I arrived in February 2020 ready to hit the ground running, but because of the virus I was unable to teach right away. I was frustrated and prayed every day, throughout the day for the opportunity to do what I came here to do. Normally, the students would come to our facility for the week, but through the virus experience we have all learned to be flexible. So, instead of the students coming to us we went to the students. My first week teaching  was at a village school in the mountains, and the students were a bit shy but very friendly. We play games with the students during break times, and it always amazes me how each student opens up differently to each teacher. The following schools have all been very similar to that first mountain village school, but each student is unique in their own way.

At one school I noticed a girl who stood out to me from the rest. She often stood head down, and was reluctant to join when I had a table full of other students playing games. I played some with her alone, and the next break time I asked her to join the group since she was standing onlooking. I knew she wanted to join and she did…very shyly. It quickly became clear why her head was often down...one of the other students immediately sat up and loudly told something to the others, motioning them to play with the other girl. I watched them separate and the shy student almost didn’t want to play anymore. I leaned over the table, and gently rested my hand on the shoulder of the louder student while smiling at her. There is one language that always translates the same in every tongue, and that is the love of Christ. I said a phrase that I now say too many times to count, “It’s ok.” (a phrase we often use in class). I flashed a quick “ok” hand sign, and pulled the cards back into one pile and motioned the others to scoot back in so we’d all play together. “Ok?” I asked. They nodded in agreement and gave me the “ok” sign.

My heart hurt, because I am a compassionate person by nature and my eye has always been drawn to the ones that are overlooked. I’d watched the students as there was an underlying tendency to push the one girl aside, but throughout the week I began to notice a different tendency. Others in the group began to step back and motion her to join the activities. She began to smile and I even heard a couple of giggles, and the other student who was louder and sought to separate the group was now more conscious of her actions. I thought about the parable of the lost sheep, and how He left the ninety-nine for the one. He reminded me of the simplicity of His mission and why He came.

"He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.’" -Mark 2:17 NKJV


Alissa Workman is a lover of Jesus, food, and travel. It’s her desire to travel the world being the hands and feet of Jesus while carrying the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the world. It is that desire that brought her to Taiwan. She grew up in a large family, and as the oldest has always loved helping and caring for others. She currently lives and teaches in Taitung, Taiwan, where she enjoys learning about the culture and different aboriginal tribes, trying new foods, and singing with her students. 

"Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." -James 1:27 NKJV