As a new worker who moved to Taiwan a little over a year ago, there are many things I had to learn to adjust to: weather, language, food, transportation, lifestyle, and culture among other things. Some of these changes were easy to adjust to; others may take years. Spending a couple of years in language study when first arriving is to be expected but can still be tough when one considers how much time they’ve spent preparing to come to field, only to have to go back to school and prepare some more. It can also be very tough when you want to begin sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with others right away but simply don’t have the vocabulary to effectively do so. But as I’ve learned this past year, though language does have a role in our ability to communicate well, God will give us many different opportunities to share about Jesus Christ to others.
The decision we have made to move to Taiwan can itself be a testimony. A question I get asked a lot when I meet locals for the first time is: “Why did you decide to move to Taiwan?” Even if the only thing we can say to people in Chinese at this point is “Jesus,” our life can still speak volumes. I feel many Taiwanese can recognize the dedication and earnestness that missionaries bring to living out their faith by coming here. One of the staff here at the language school told me that she admires all the OMF workers who have come through the school, because of their dedication to learning Chinese. As language students, how we conduct ourselves does not go unnoticed by the staff and can serve as a testimony about the Lord!
One of the aspects about moving to a new place is meeting people and having to introduce yourself. With limited language this can be exhausting but at the same time, it is such a blessing to have an opportunity to tell people right from the start about Christianity. When talking about reasons for moving, most would expect the answer to be related to family or work; but missionaries get to have the unique answer of saying they moved so that they could share about Jesus with people. Whether it’s the tea shop owner, vegetable seller, or fried rice restaurant cook; living out our daily lives here in the community gives missionaries a chance every single day to have the moments that can have an impact.
Lastly, I must remind myself that this journey is more of a marathon than a sprint. It’s tempting to want to hit the ground running as hard and fast as you can, but I have found that it is just as important to reflect and to observe. The spiritual need for Christ here in Taiwan is vast. Temples are everywhere; deeply held traditions and beliefs cause spiritual blindness. It’s going to take time to understand this part of Taiwanese life, and it is going to take time to discern what God’s role for me is. With my first year complete, I hope to faithfully continue running the immediate course set before me; trusting Him to lead my life here in Taiwan so that I may testify to the good news of Jesus Christ in thought, word, and deed.
Kevin Huang – Taichung