Sunday, September 21

Mountains, Beans and Ghosts

We have had some very interesting and informative past few days. For the past two weeks I have been trying to find red beans. I wanted to try and make a family soup recipe, and I couldn't find beans anywhere at the grocery store. Then, on Thursday evening we went for a Japanese style dinner and after we went to a shaved ice place for dessert. It's an interesting concept... they shave ice - a bunch of it, like a snow ball, and add Carnation milk and chocolate ice-cream. Well, that was the option that I choose. Most of the dessert shaved ice options had one special ingredient. BEANS!! Turns out that the Chinese consider beans to be a dessert food. So I guess I was looking in all the wrong places. I shared this situation with a Christian Taiwanese girl that I met this weekend - and guess what she brought to church for me.... red beans. It's incredible how God can show us His love - in the little extra ways we need it. :)

We went with a small group of people from our church hiking in the mountains - about 20 minutes from our apartment building. It was an incredible hike. I didn't think that I would make it to the top. At one point we were climbing vertically up this mountain, on a log ladder that was bolted together. And since we thought it was going to be a dirt path, Nic and I both wore flip-flops, which helped to make the hike that much more challenging. It was a great time though with believers out in God's creation! Nic and I want to go back there. We were absolutely amazed by the amount of elderly people doing this hike. It was so intense I thought I would throw up, and there they were, elderly men and women passing me left and right, smiling as they came down the mountain. I was certainly rebuked in my health and fitness!

This weekend we also learned more about how the culture here affects the people's acceptance of Christianity. September is "Ghost Month"; the Taiwanese are very superstitious, and the worship of ancestors is deeply woven into their religious beliefs. We learned through a work email informing us about the culture, that people here are wary of swimming, buying new homes, and riding on the roads this month all because of the ghosts that have died in these places who may be looking for victims so that they can be reincarnated. We also found out through our friend who gave me the beans, that workers at construction sites pray twice daily to the ghosts who have died in construction, so that they may have safety on the site. We also learned that the importance of ancestor worship is a great hindrance in many Taiwanese men in coming to Christ. To leave behind ancestor worship, as a man, is a disgrace to the family as there will be no one to carry on the worship of that family line.

We are learning of the many layers within their religious beliefs, and honestly it is so saddening to us. We know the freedom from fear that Christ can bring, the hope that He gives and the life He promises. So when you think of it, pray for the church in Taiwan- that their ministry to the men will be effective - that God will help them to overcome tradition so that they may turn to Christ; that people would realize they don't need to fear the past but they can have a hope for the future!

As a couple we are praying about the specific ministry that God would have for us as a couple. It's hard to minister directly to the local people if they do not speak English, as for now our Chinese doesn't go much beyond Nee How. We are doing our best though to reach out and be constant examples of Christ's followers to the other foreigners that we work with. Many of them are also living in darkness, living for the moment - living as anyone without Christ would live. So we are trying to show the abundant life that Christ gives, trying to be good friends and to love in a way that when they need help and answers we will be ready to share the hope that we have.

Thanks for reading - this was a long post, but God has been revealing a bit lately and we wanted to share so that you can know how to pray.

I've posted a video of our hike on Facebook - so be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, September 16


Today we went exploring before work. We drove out away from the city, and into the mountains surrounding Taichung. It wasn't a long drive and it was so green - really made us realize that we do live on an island! I have posted a few pictures from our experience so far on Facebook. You can access them by clicking on the link below . We will post more soon! Hope you enjoy this little glimpse into life in Taiwan.

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Saturday, September 13

Typhoon Weekend!

Well, there's a typhoon approaching Taiwan. It's a good thing people told us about it because you would never know from reading western news. Supposedly, this storm is a category 3 and is going to really hit the north of the island, but we are definitely experiencing very heavy winds. The sounds of the wind coming through our glass sliding doors is so loud that I could hardly sleep last night!

So no hiking for us this weekend. Looks like a rainy relaxation weekend. :) And honestly, who doesn't like a rainy relaxing weekend? :)

Thursday, September 11

Settled in!

Well, we are officially settled in here. I wasn't able to post the video of the apartment here, but was able to post it on facebook, so just add me as a friend (Melanie) and you can check it out. We now also have furniture, a big maroon sofa, a beige rug, a glass coffee table, a desk and a sweet divider.

We also have a scooter! It has been really helpful in discovering more of our area. Nic and I are also both starting to get into the routine of teaching. The kids are very funny and are all so different. They love to call you "teacher" and correct you if they see you have made an error on the board. They are very intelligent! We teach a big range - from about 6 -15 year olds. The older ones are really interested in why we left our homes to come teach in Taiwan. They are also very interested in our home countries, however, no one here understands the concept of Bermuda. It's quite funny - it's like it's on another planet. They are entertaining and fun though, most of the time :)

This past weekend we found a church here - like a 5 minute scooter ride up the rode from our apartment. It has a good mix of Taiwanese and then a bunch of South Africans, which I found to be really random. They were very welcoming though and they have home groups so we may get involved in the "foreigners" home group. We are joining them on a hike through a mountain trail this weekend on Saturday. We're so excited to be getting connected to a body of believers. Keep praying that we'll build those relationships, that we can minister and be ministered too! Nic has had some neat opportunities to share his faith with other foreigners here. Most can tell how different we are just because our lifestyle is so different from theirs.

I was reading in James the other day about how effective the prayers of the righteous are - and we have truly seen that to be true. God has been blessing us so much and we know that your prayers to our God are powerful!

Below I'll post some interesting Taiwan things we've observed... so you can have more of an idea of the culture we are living in. Also - I hope to post pictures soon.

*I have now seen a family of four on a scooter... and a woman with a baby in a babystroller.
*Here when you order fish, they tend to serve you the whole fish, pan fried. It's your job to get to the meat.
*Fish mouths are a speciality. I mean, the whole mouth and throat. It's strange.
*They love coffee and tea here. Not just hot Chinese tea but all sorts of tea and coffee - cold and hot. It's great!
*If there's a space someone here will fill it - i.e. the scooters crowd together - there's not really a sense of lines in store, etc.
*The people are so kind and really try to interact with you - they will speak Chinese continually even though you don't understand! They also really want to serve you.
*There's a huge cultural/ generation gap between the older people and the younger people - it's extremely evident here. You see old Taiwanese men on bikes with lots of bags - women with the straw pointy hats, but then the younger generation is extremely into fashion and materialism.

Wednesday, September 3

Our Apartment

So here's a little tour of our little place! Our sofa, desk and coffee table will be delivered on Saturday- so imagine the new furniture in place of the folding chairs and big box and you'll have a feel for our home in Taichung! We start teaching tomorrow afternoon/ late tonight US/BDA time... we appreciate your prayers! It's so amazing to know that people are praying for us and that God has truly been blessing us in our relationship as a couple, in our walk with Him, in friendships, in getting settled in being helped and blessed by others. Thank you so much for your prayers. We know they are making a huge impact on our lives here!!

*will post video tomorrow.... it's late and i'm experiencing technical difficulties. *

Somewhat settled!

We are finally somewhat settled! We found a sweet studio apartment in Taichung that we are enjoying. We have a make-shift kitchen with a camping stove and hot plate. We went to the Carrefour (a french type of Wal-Mart) and got some items to help us get started- i.e., towels, hangers, milk, cereal, tea, kettle and of course cleaning supplies. We were up until 2am this morning sweeping, mopping, dusting, scrubbing and rearranging, (Nic is an amazing sweeper and mopper!) but we are somewhat settled and have set up multiple living areas in our studio. There's the sleeping area, the kitchen area and a living area - we are just waiting for furniture which should be delivered on Saturday. We are on the 23rd floor and have a sweet view of the city. We are off now to get some more groceries and items to make our new place homey. We have today off - a huge treat and blessing as we prepare for our lessons and organize ourselves... i am making spaghetti for dinner and we begin teaching around 4pm tomorrow! Praise God for His goodness to us!

Love you all!