Thursday, August 31, 2017

Branching Out // Part 2

My last post was short and sweet between classes, but there's more yet to say, I suppose.

The reasons 'Branching Out' felt and continues to feel like a good chapter title for this season go so much deeper than being in a new location (please see my last post for reference).

Please let me be as clear as possible: I do not wish for and am not working towards an independent life.

I don't want to be strong and solo. Can I? Am I capable? Could I figure it out and survive the foreign public transportation alone? Probably. But I don't want to.

Maybe that's the beauty of a godly woman: she's strong, but she packages it in a feminine and humble attitude. I don't know about y'all, but that's what I want.

Branching out. 

Because I don't have to leave the nest. I don't have to flit thousands of miles away and plant a whole new tree. I love my tree. I wouldn't be me without my tree. I just grow the tree a little farther. As I stretch (trust me, there's a lot of stretching going on), so does my tree.

In May I read 'The Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot' by Elisabeth Elliot. Basically, she compiled her late husband's journals and letter entries from his short, but immensely impactful life, into a book. So much of it spoke to my soul—it's really deep stuff. Maybe it was the right precursor to everything "coming together" so quickly in June for me come on this trip to Taiwan.

Here is an excerpt from when Jim was writing to his parents when they were sad about him potentially leaving for the mission field and never coming back. They were trying to talk him out of it.

"I do not wonder that you were saddened at the word of my going to South America. This is nothing else than what the Lord Jesus warned us of when He told the disciples that they must become so infatuated with the kingdom and following Him that all other allegiances must become as though they were not. And He never excluded the family tie. In fact, those loves we regard as closest, He told us must become as hate in comparison with our desires to uphold His cause. Grieve not, then, if your sons seem to desert you, but rejoice, rather, seeing the will of God done gladly. Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that they were as an heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So, with the strong arms of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly—all of them, straight at the Enemy's hosts."

Maybe this applies to my parents and maybe it doesn't, but I really like it anyways. 

I don't even know what my point is, really. I'm tired. Of not getting enough sleep + fighting the losing battle with out resident rat + being sweaty twenty-four hours a day. I'm not feeling inspired. But maybe just because we aren't in the quiver doesn't mean we still don't belong to the archer. And it doesn't mean we won't find out way back to the quiver again. (I will.)  

Branching out. 

Not leaving the nest. Growing the nest. 

My family is... really everything to me. I mean, yes God. God first. But family. I miss them so much (and I know you're all reading this, so this is for you—I miss you!!). 

Branching out goes so deep for me. I mean it. I'm not a new tree. I'm not over here doing my own thing to escape anybody or anything. I'm not over here because I don't want to be at home. 

I'm here because God set this door in my pathway. I wanted to knock on the door so badly so I consulted my parents and we all prayed about it. And God opened the door. 

**And pictures because everyone likes those, right?!**

Here are a few [low quality phone] pics of my new "home" here in Chiayi county. 

Rat-hunting-turned-rat-cleaning party with some of my teammates and coworkers in my apartment. They are amazing!! Who wants to help with that job?! They made it so much easier on Kristina and I.

Night market in Chiayi City. The paper lanterns make it feel like a quaint sort of old atmosphere.

Riding the train with the amazing Hualien team on Monday! I am so blessed to know Joanna and Hannah and I'll miss them so much all the way on the other side of the island!

My school! The Character & English Institute, Lioujiao township, Chiayi county, Taiwan.

Downtown Chiayi City. It's about a 45-minute bus ride up to the city (about 20 kilometers), but less than $5 round trip. And the buses are pretty nice! There really aren't any grocery stores near us other than small convenience stores, so to get a good variety or vegetables of almost any form we have to go to a bigger city. We can get corn locally from the farmers, though.

Please don't hesitate to leave a comment and let me know what you're up to these days. I miss being connected/in a similar time zone with all of my people! (If you wonder if you're included in "my people", you are. Don't question it!) 

Thank you for your prayers!! 

Love from Taiwan,

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