Wednesday, May 21, 2008

These Three Words...

Its been too long. The days of teaching in Taiwan are growing shorter and shorter. We have less than 6 weeks of teaching left. The remaining weeks are already beginning to fill with many things. This week has been a week of many deadlines. But, the Lord has been with us to help us finish everything. I have began to write a blog twice now... and as you can see... I have not finished. I hope to have a chance to finish them soon. :-)
I have been pondering what I should write about for a couple days. But, I think that the Lord has finally showed me what to share.
I was writing in my journal the other day. I was kind of down and discouraged. And, as I do so much in my journal, I asked myself a semi-rhetorical question. I don't think that I ever answered it while I was writing in my journal (I do it quite often). But my question was, "Am I really making a difference in Taiwan?" Meaning, am I Austin making a difference by teaching English in Taiwan? Will what I do... or not do for that matter... make a difference in the lives of the people of Taiwan. I know that so many people would say, "Of course! You left familiarity and the comforts of home to go and teach English in another country." But, personally I don't see that I am making a difference by just coming to another country. People go to other counties everyday... how am I any different?
But, I guess that the "difference" that I talk about would really depend on what my definition of "difference" is. But... I really don't know what my definition of "difference" is. I guess that kind of a problem huh? :-) I would like to see whole towns go to the Lord, repent of their sins, and believe that He has died on the cross and rose again to save them of their sins. I would like to see fathers turn their hearts to their wives and children. I would like to see parents love their children... and love them enough to let their children live with them (I would say that a good 1/4 of my students don't live with both parents. A large percentage of them don't even live with 1 of their parents). I guess... the difference that I would like to see is love. And not just an easy "I Love You" love. A true unfailing love. A love for God. A love for family. A love for others.
Recently, I feel like this is an area that the Lord has been working on in my life. To have a true love for others. And not just an easy "I love you" love... but a true love. Not a romantic love... more of a brotherly love. The Lord has shown me that I get annoyed far to easily with people. But, the reason that I am usually getting annoyed is not because of what others have done... but usually in some way my pride has been hurt. But, when I get annoyed I am not showing love. One of the verses that has been running through my head recently is from 1 John 4. It says,

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is God;
and everyone that loveth is born of God, and
knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God;
for God is love."

1 John 4:7-8

I think that it is just so powerful how this shows how we should be loving. It doesn't say that it's going to be easy to love someone... it just says to love them. God does not just want us to love someone because they are your friend, or because they are cool, or because they love you. He just says to love them. The Lord wants me to love my authority figures that make rules, the Lord wants me to love the teacher that makes things hard and makes me have to stay up a couple of extra hours to get thing ready for the next day, the Lord wants me to love the people who are hard to love. I think that there is a difference between loving someone, and condoning what they are doing. I think that we can love someone, without condoning their sin. I am FAR away from loving all people. There are still people that I have a hard time loving. But, with the grace and help from my Heavenly Father, I will learn to love those people too.
Ok, now you have to be thinking to yourself, "W
here is he going with this?" and "How does this tie into the whole beginning question?" Well, it does. This week as I have been pondering this question... a couple things came up in conversations. But the main thing that I have held on to was when I was coming home from a night program that I do with Lauren, our driver was talking about some of the kids that attend the program. But he said, "What these kids really need is a mother and father who live with them, and take care of them, and love them." I cannot give each child here in Taiwan who does not have parents a parent, but I can do everything in my power to love these kids with all of the love that the Lord has given me. I know that the Lord does not make mistakes when he gives children to parents. But the Lord also did not bring me here to Taiwan to not love these kids. I have heard some heart wrenching stories about the everyday lives of many kids. Lives that most people could not even imagine. But, I am here to love these kids, to love them fully, to love them unconditionally, to love them with all of the love that the Lord gives me. I hope that through this, the kids will see the love of my Heavenly Father shining forth through me.
So, I think all-in-all the difference the Lord has shown me that I am making here in Taiwan, is that I can love, with only a love that He can give.

This is who I am here to Love...