After all these years in Taiwan, it is as emotional to get ready for retirement as it was 40 years ago to leave Switzerland… perhaps even more! When you are young you have energy and are more adventurous. It is so good to know that the Lord does not change and helps either way!
Looking back, there is so much to be thankful for. I remember language school when I thought I would never learn Chinese. I even asked the Lord to make me sick, as it would be more face-saving to be sent home for medical reasons then for being too stupid to learn Chinese ☺!
The Lord says in Isaiah 55:8: ‘my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.’ This was very much my experience. I came to Taiwan thinking I would work in the, at that time main OMF Taiwan target: ‘Factory Evangelism’. Sharing the gospel with the many mainly young girls from the countryside and the mountains who worked in the big exporting zones. But after full-time language study I was sent to the east coast to help run the OMF Holiday home for two years. Six years later I was asked again to go there so the hostess could take her home assignment.
In the meantime I had done factory evangelism and was sure that after the year at the holiday home I would go back to this ministry. But then I got in contact with young boys, living in a Half-Way Home, most of them sent there by the court. Listening to their stories made me ask if there are ways to help them or even do something to prevent them re-offending. It took some time, but the Lord started opening doors and I could go to the Taipei Juvenile Detention Center, then later to a Reform School to do counseling and run programs. I will never forget the boy who said that he now knows that Jesus is the real God. When I asked him how he knew this, he answered that for years he was active in a temple gang. At processions, he had to stick needles in his face. ‘I had to bleed for the gods, but here is a God who bleeds for us humans. He must be the real God.’ Another one asked, if we Christians do not believe that there is a hell. When I inquired why he asked this question he replied, that in the Buddhist and Taoist classes the teachers only talk about hell, but the Christians talk about heaven! We really have Good News to share!
Over the last years I was also involved in community ministry in a low income area with many complex problems. To see how some people react to loving care is touching. I got to know Sam when he was in first year junior high school. He comes from a very dysfunctional family with many children. Today he is in his mid 20s, is a Christian, has a steady job and cares for his younger siblings, taking them to Church. The other day he called me. Shyly he said: ‘in my heart you will always be my mother.’ I was deeply moved.
As the Lord has been with me all these years, he will be the same in the future. It is my prayer that I finish well here and will see the open doors the Lord is preparing for me in Switzerland.
A great THANK YOU to all you faithful prayers!