Appointees

A lot has happened since my last post.  Back in May, Gus and I officially became Appointees to return to Taiwan with OMF.  We need to raise support, build up a prayer and support team here in Australia, as well as complete my visa and ultimately my citizenship process here.  But we’re thrilled to be gearing up to go!

Back in August, we made a trip to Taiwan, and though it wasn’t a ministry trip, we couldn’t stay away from our beloved friends and former colleagues.  Here we’re at the new Wanhua Hope Centre in Taipei, a family centre we’ve prayed and waited a long time to see established.  Pray for God’s blessings on the people of Wanhua and the working class of Taiwan!

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Joy!

Life back in Australia sped by after we returned from our US trip.  Thankfully, the broad strokes of our wedding planning had been done prior to our trip so two and a half months later…

G&A&Fam

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That was about a month ago… we’re loving married life!  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

US Home Assignment

It’s once again been a long time once again since my last post.  My fiancé and I are currently on a 3-month Home Assignment in the US, reconnecting with my supporters and churches in Connecticut, Chicagoland and the Washington DC area.  We are due back to Australia at the end of January, 2015 but in the meantime it has been wonderful to be able to share about God’s work in Taiwan, see beloved friends, and share our hopes to return to Taiwan or another place in East Asia together.

New digs

Wow, it’s been over a year since I’ve posted, and a world of transition has happened since then.  True to the name of my website, my heart is still in Taiwan, and I’m still serving with OMF.  But a little over two years ago, I met a lovely Aussie guy in Taiwan and a new storyline began.

Long story short, at the end of July, with the blessing of loved ones and colleagues, I came to in Sydney, Australia to begin preparations to be married.  OMF has lent me to the team in Sydney for the time being, as Gus and I will be here for at least a year or so after our wedding to continue seeking God’s direction about returning to Taiwan and begin the application process with OMF to be sent back to the field… this time as a couple, and from Australia.

I miss Taiwan and my team there.  Badly.  But 2 weeks ago, I moved to an what will be Gus and I’s first home together after our wedding, and started exploring my new surroundings.  To my surprise, I discovered that the neighborhood on one side of mine was so Chinese that people naturally spoke to me in Mandarin.  In the neighborhood on the other side, the residents are mostly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Lebanon, and other middle eastern countries.  And I started to think that I could love living here.

A dear friend in Taiwan told me about 52 Suburbs, a special photo exhibition on Sydney neighborhoods.  One of the featured neighborhoods is Lakemba, the middle eastern one next to mine.  I include below some of the photos from her website to share the beauty God has graciously put right at my doorstep.

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Harunur

Lakemba

Keeping my eyes open for glimpses of grace in Taiwan and Sydney…

Longing for the light

Every year at about this time you’ll see this sight on the sidewalks outside Longshan Temple…

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Thousands of stools prepared for the crush of people who want to light a lantern in the temple, in hopes that it will bring blessing for their particular needs.  Each has a number and is secured with rope so that no one can cut in line.  People stake out their seats weeks in advance, rain or shine, to improve their chances of getting a lantern.  Some rig protection against the elements over their seats for the time they spend waiting to claim their spot. IMG_0421

Such longing for hope, at a time when followers of Jesus remember and celebrate the coming of the Light of the world.

I’m longing for the word to get out and hope to break loose…

New Taiwan Prayer Guide

OMF just published a new prayer guide for Taiwan.  There are fourteen short segments, one of which is devoted to the ministry of Pearl Family Garden.  Download it here!

Kicking off the year of the dragon

Today is the last day of the public holidays for Chinese New Year.  Some friends dropped in today to say hello, but had to leave before long because it’s back to work tomorrow.  But the fireworks are still going off at intervals outside.

Here’s a photo from 除夕 (Chinese New Year’s Eve), which is a big feast night for families here.  We had a lovely gathering at the Pearl Family Garden, and Tera showed everyone how to make these cool paper fish using the red envelopes that people use to give money gifts to kids at this time of year.

Fish have special significance at CNY because the Chinese word for fish (魚 – yu) sounds exactly like the Chinese word for abundance (餘).  Everyone has fish during CNY dinners in hopes that every new year will be one of plenty.  There are lots of fun food puns and word wishes like that.  Like pistachios, another popular CNY snack.  In Chinese, they’re called 開心果, which is literally, “happy fruit.”

It was the first time we’ve done CNY Eve at the Pearl.  My mom was even there, and fried up the traditional rice cakes with one of the gals.  So nice to see everyone laughing and treating one another like family.  Went home with a very thankful heart that night.

Happy dragon year, everyone!