“Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee” (Genesis 13:17).
This command to Abraham from so many years ago came to life for me recently. On May 2nd, not long after reading this in my daily Bible-reading, the invitation came to join the new work in the southern part of the island next year. What an opportunity to “walk through the land in the length of it”!
The following week (May 4-10), I had my first day off and took the chance to visit the team in Yuli, which is on the east coast. Lucas, Nathan, Charity, Sarah and I had been there once before (previous post) and had wanted to return but the chance never came. Even on Tuesday, as I began my solo journey on a bus to Taipei Main Station, I wasn’t sure exactly what I would do in Yuli this time. Others from Nantou were planning to visit Green Island Thursday and I thought for Wednesday it might work to team teach with Jonathan at one of his schools as I had before. But I was in for a surprise.
Taipei Main Station is where you can switch from bus to train (or metro or even High Speed Rail for twice the cost!) There, I found my departure platform early and decided to make a call to let Jonathan know when I would be in. And he had good news! Wednesday was a holiday which meant he was unexpectedly free the whole day.
Looking back, I’m very glad that we took the opportunity to go to Green Island that day. Not only did we sight a few new sandpipers but we were able to encourage one another in the Lord and later pass on everything we learned to the three from Nantou for their trip.
On Thursday it was my honor and joy to teach with Jonathan at two outstanding schools and then join him for dinner with a godly Taiwanese family. This led to the opportunity to visit their dental clinic the following morning as well as the memorial for John Eric Hope from the previous team there. We prayed at the train station and I left greatly encouraged.
There are two more things I should mention. Before reaching the Green Island Visitor Center on Wednesday, we prayed and asked the Lord to provide us with someone who knew English and could tell us about the birds in the area. The gentleman we met not only knew the birds of the area but the best times to see them. On the way home a Taiwanese anthropologist that we shared a taxi with had heard of us somehow and said that this individual was actually the director for the East Coast National Scenic Area–a good person to know! Secondly, the 45-minute ferry trip was my first time on the ocean. Walking around on the boat might be described as playing tag in the West Virginia hills blindfolded. There were flying fish to be seen as well as some seabirds but I found them impossible to identify with the binoculars I had. However . . . on the way home on Friday I found a pair that were both lighter and more powerful. It was something I had been looking for and another reminder that Jehovah Jireh had overseen the trip.
But what about this week? Jonathan called on Saturday to say that another opportunity had come up: a teacher there in Yuli was inviting us to visit Kenting National Park on the extreme southern tip of Taiwan. I knew it probably wouldn’t be possible but I decided ask and see if someone else could go in my place. No one could. Nathan and Trevor volunteered to take my teaching days though and Mr. Lyons was very encouraging, hopeful that something could work. That’s when I began to realize that this second trip would literally be a fulfillment of my verse!
At the same time Trevor realized he wouldn’t be available after all. This “death of a vision” was amazingly overcome however when Sarah volunteered and Mrs. Lyons was ready to take my place on Thursday. So a huge thank you here to Nathan, Sarah and Mrs. Lyons! With their volunteer spirit I was able to stay in Yuli from Wednesday to Sunday–and there was still time to practice chalk drawing before leaving Wednesday afternoon.
Once again the Lord’s blessed our time immensely. Thursday I was up early enough to identify my first Large Indian Pratincole. In the afternoon I joined Austin teaching at his school. Once again team teaching was my joy and privilege.
Friday and Saturday were our days in Kenting and I can hardly describe how much our hosts packed into such a short trip. Particularly memorable was the breakfast and lunch at “Mommy and Daddy’s” (Mmmm), the ancient city walls, sunset over the ocean and the natural fires. There were also some lizards, a Crested Goshawk, a Taiwan Barbet and . . . no Chinese Cobras–Is that fortunate or unfortunate???
Most of all I remember the lighthouse. It was a perfect illustration of the Chinese verse I had that week: Matthew 5:15. “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” It is my enduring hope that to whatever corner I am brought there be fewer and fewer obstacles on my behalf to the light of the glorious gospel of Christ shining in and through my life. His leading, timing and strength for each situation are sufficient.