Five years ago around this time, Cheryl & I were introduced to Taiwan. We came over for Cheryl’s sister’s wedding in Taichung. I had seen things stamped with ‘Made In Taiwan’ but had no idea where exactly it was. We had to look at a map to figure out it’s location. A week prior to the wedding the family took a five day tour around the island and we got to witness the beauty that is Taiwan and it’s people. After the wedding Cheryl & I rented a car and went around the island for the second time. During this time two main major things happened: 1) God planted the seeds for our return to Taiwan to do missions work, 2) We fell in love with the Taiwanese people.
On the first day of that second trip around the island Cheryl & I stopped in the town of Hualien on the east side of the island. We were going to get a tattoo but need to wait for an opening. During this time we had lunch at a local restaurant with a suit of armor claiming to have Italian food. We got to meet the owners, a married couple, the husband being American and the wife Taiwanese. He had seen us pray over our meal and asked about our faith. This led to hearing his testimony. We heard how God had lead them to open a rehab, a restaurant, and partner with local businesses to help those coming out of addiction find a new life. We were offered to stop by for a short term missions trip if the desire ever struck us. That conversation would then be replayed, retold, and was the beginning for the idea to of maybe someday moving Taiwan for missions.
During this second week we also relied on the hospitality, generosity, and grace of the Taiwanese as we traveled the island by ourselves. We had no smart phones, no dictionary, and no language. God provided people to take care of us. There was a bed and breakfast owner that payed ordered and payed for our dinner. A park ranger that told us (via hand signals and horrible sounds) the road ahead of us had been washed out by a flood. Unsure that we understood him we sought out the nearby police for a second opinion. They confirmed that death awaited us if we didn’t turn around and drive back down the mountain and fed us before we left. There was a 7-11 clerk that understood my sign language enough to let me use the bathroom before I exploded. And many other stories.
The seeds had been planted. It would take a couple of years joking around to realize the call that God was laying on our hearts. Then Cheryl was actually offered a job teaching English and the reality hit, if we went to Taiwan, what would we really do there? Then the question became, who would we go with? What started as a two week vacation to attend a wedding became a calling that has changed our lives in every way.
Now we are back in Taiwan. Some days are harder than others. But knowing I am in God’s will covers all that, and then some.