wanna be a missionary?

Jim, the guy who maintains Missionary-Blogs.com, is hosting a bloggy carnival on the topic of advice to people who want to be missionaries.

Of course the advice given will depend upon where in life you are and just how far along in the process you are to becoming a missionary.  I mean, if you are an unattached 19 year old asking the question the advice I'd give you would be somewhat different than the advice I'd give to a married couple with four kids. So, since I came the unattached college student route, that's who I'll pretend I'm talking to here, and maybe some of t he others who participate in the carnival will address other demographics.

So, if you are a high school student or college student interested in becoming a career missionary, here is my advice to you in no particular order.

1. Stay out of debt.  Do everything you can to avoid living beyond your means.

2. Talk to and pray for missionaries.  When they come to visit your home church, talk to them. Read their blogs, leave comments, join their prayer mailing lists.

3. Go on short term mission trips.  For example, I first went to Houston for 10 weeks after my junior year in high school, a month to Taiwan after my freshmen year of college, two months to another Asian country, then a year back in Taiwan.

4. Get involved with local opportunities to serve in your church or other churches in your community.  Is their a local soup kitchen?  Does a nearby church have a ministry to refugees?  international women? inner city kids after school programs?

5. Become a mission info sponge.  Find out all you can about different missionary organizations, read biographies of missionaries (And the Word Came with Power is a great one to start), go to mission fairs, take a Perspectives course.  My grandmother is part of a "mission circle"--a bunch of older retired ladies meet once a month to pray for missionaries, share books read, or listen to a missionary talk about their work--I was the youngest in attendance by at least 30 years.  But meeting with these women was one of the greatest blessings as I journeyed to become a missionary.

6. Make international friends.  They are all around you, and every single one I met was longing for a friend.  The world is at your doorstep . . . international students and business men (and their wives and children) would be happy to be your friend and teach you about their home culture.

7. Read about and pray for the lost.  Use something like the Joshua Project or a book that introduces different unreached cities and people groups.

8. Surf the websites of mission organizations you are aware of to look for their advice and their requirements.

If you are a little more sure about where God is leading you, you can do all of the above with a bit more focus on the specific people group or country.

And, above all, pray.  When I begin to search and ask questions and hunt for answers on how to get myself overseas . . . I became like the ever twisting cycle of a washing machine--churn, churn, churn.  I think James referred to it as being tossed about by the waves.  I asked so many questions and talked to so many missionaires . . . and each one gave me different answers, perspectives.  I am thankful for their input, but until I realized I was trying to be a missionary on my own power I wasn't at rest.

The path may be unknown to me and to you, but it is not unknown to our Heavenly Father.  Speak to Him, seek Him, and He will faithfully make known to you the path. He says so, and we both know He is trustworthy.

not suitable together

(No, no, not me and Lawrance  . . . we are perfectly suitable together! :))

sam order's at McDonald's--all by himselfThat is what the manager at McDonald's told me when I asked for mayo on my cheeseburger the other day.  In fact, my request was so not ok, the clerk had to go get the manager.  She wouldn't do it because beef and mayo are not suitable together. 

She said she would be happy to put some mayo in a cup and allow me to put it on my own burger but she couldn't couldn't add it to my cheeseburger for me because they "don't go together."


It's been a looooong time since something has shocked me culturally . . . but this sure did.  I mean totally . . . mouth hanging wide open in total culture shock.  I felt like I must be an alien for wanting mayo with my beef.

But, "why?" I asked her.  Her only answer was "well, people in Taiwan don't think mayo goes with beef." 

shrimp, pineapple, mayo and some sprinklesIn my head I'm thinking, "WHAT!!!!! You guys put mayo on EVERYTHING . . . even fried shrimp!!"

Up until this point our whole conversation was in Chinese.  Seeing I was still suffering from acute culture shock the manager switches to English to ensure me that I heard correctly, "they are not suitable together."

Ok, fine, whatever.  I'll take it on the side and put it on myself.

I'm still not satisfied and I've continued to try to think about why . . . is it something to do with ying and yang?  something with the fact that cheeseburgers don't have lettuce and mayo in Chinese is only called "salad dressing" (doesn't work--what about the shrimp)?  something she made up to get me to leave her alone? 

Anyone out there with a another "suitable" possible reason?

She was nice in that she did give me the mayo--enough for 15 hamburgers, no joke--on the side in a sundae cup.  She must have felt really bad for literally sending me into acute culture shock.

(FYI: pic on left is from a few years ago when Sam was here . . . he ordered his dessert in Chinese by himself.  I was so proud of him.)

what would you say?

Since I've already taken Lawrance to be my lawfully wedded husband and he me as wife, we wanted different wording for the start of our vows. 

Also, I don't exactly want to say "I, Amanda Nicole Parmley," cuz I'm not just that anymore.  And, I don't exactly wanna say "I, Amanda Wu, .  . "  So, we decided to just go with first names, which also makes it a bit more personal and less "legal" feeling.

Anywho, here is what we are thinking for the start of our vows . . .

I love you, Lawrance; you are my beloved husband. I too thank the Lord for binding our lives together through the covenant of marriage. My heart rejoices today as we celebrate again the promises we made on our wedding day.

I promise, by God's grace, . . . (the rest just like before).

But, I'm not totally liking it just yet.  Any ideas?

I invite you to walk in my shoes  . . . if you were having a second ceremony to celebrate your marriage in front of new witnesses on a different continent about six months after your original wedding day, what would you say at the start of your vows?

Thanks in advance.

celebrating our marriage . . . again!!

We've got 47 days till our Taiwanese marriage covenant ceremony.  And, thus, we begin planning another wedding.  :)

In some ways it will be similar to our American ceremony and in other ways it will be very different. 

We've asked three different groups to sing at our Taiwanese ceremony.

Here is the song one group has chosen to sing. (We decided to let each group choose the song they wanted to sing.)

愛是不保留(wedding version)

I love their choice!! (The version here is in Cantonese, but I'm pretty sure they will sing in Mandarin.  Not that it really makes that big of a difference to my non-Taiwanese readers.)

As things fall into place, it is becoming more exciting and less stressful for both of us.

Literal translation of the song title: "Love Does Not Hold Back" or "Love With No Reservation" or "Unreserved Love"

A translation of the non-wedding version of the song I found online:

I've always been told, love won't endure.
Nowhere can one find love long and true.
The world just thinks love comes and passes through.
“Don't make promises” is the rule...

But I still believe love can last.
Your unfailing love has made me strong.
You are there when I needed you more.
Come what may, you'll love me all along!

Who died on the cross and took away my curse?
Great is your love, I don't think I should deserve.
Your bleeding hands proved your love unreserved.
You're my only joy and treasure on the earth...

Giving everything to you is all I pray.
Use my life to serve you truly every day.
I'll hold your hands and give you all my praise.
Let the whole world know your love and grace!

simple pleasures

not really like this in taiwan, but still it was COLDTuesday night, I needed to run an errand for my husband.

It was COLD, and I was going by moped which makes it even COLDER. 

At first, I wanted to grumble, "I don't wanna go back out on this cold night . . . . yada, yada, yada." 

As I slipped on HIS jacket and HIS face mask (to keep mouth and nose warm while mopeding), it felt wonderful. 

My feelings quickly changed to gratefulness; instead of reluctant willingness I experienced simple pleasure.  It felt great!!

Being able to wear my HUSBAND's jacket to go do an errand for my HUSBAND.  What a blessed girl I am!

a pictorial year in the life of amanda

Continuing a blogging tradition that I started three years ago when I first started blogging . . . a month by month look at my 2008 using only one photo per month.

(BTW, each month name below is a link to a calendar view of pictures taken that month and uploaded to flickr. Just in case you wanna see more
than 12.)

January: We Went on Our First Date
first date

February: And Dated Some More
Lawrance and Amanda

March: We Shared the Gospel Together
Sharing Jesus

April: I Turned 30, but I had Someone to Celebrate With Me
Lawrance and Amanda

May: We got Engaged

June: I Got to Meet My Nephew for the First Time
Nate and Me for the First Time

July: Smith Girl's Threw Me a Bridal Shower
Bridal Shower with Smith Ladies

August: Lawrance Came to Texas and On the VERY Last Day of the Month . . . We Got Married!!
bride and groom

September: We Honeymooned in San Antonio

October: We Enjoy Married Life (ie. I learn to cook Chinese food and Lawrance builds some shelves)
My Boys Put Together Some Bookcases

November: The In-Law's Come over for Dinner
Wu Family

December: We Celebrate Our First Christmas as Husband and Wife
Our First Christmas

So, this was one LIFE CHANGING year . . . awesome in every way imaginable!!  We look forward to seeing what 2009 brings! 


A Little History:

The first year I did this, 2005, I had just started blogging which started because I had discovered 43things, flickr, and library thing.  Flickr
and the blog are the only two things that stuck.  And, just like my
non-virtual life, my flickr account is in need of a little
organization.  Maybe one day . . .

Anywho, back to 2005, it
was the year I discovered the freedom a digital camera offers.  I have
carried a camera in my purse since 1999.  That's nearly ten years now. 
I wanted to be able to record moments of life as an exchange student. 
It became a haibt to always carry my camera with me.  In fact, the
non-expense of picture taking with a digital camera hit me so strong I
took so many pictures that year, I was so overwhelmed I quit printing
them out.  Too hard to choose which ones to print. 

In 2006, my brother came to Taiwan and my sister and good friend (as well as three others) got married. And, I took over 9000 photos to record these awesome events.

In 2007, even though my cousins came to Taiwan
(which was awesome), I didn't even take half as many photos as I did in
2006--a measly 4,000 something. 

So, in 2008, life changing year, . . . wanna guess how many photos I took?

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