reflections on coming and going
Lawrance and I recently took a young couple to Meinong for a last outing before they left to go back to Canada. They were here for a year, and now they have returned to North America to pursue seminary and to follow the Lord where He will lead them next.
Later today, I'm meeting with young lady from the UK whose been here for three years for our last heart-to-heart before she leaves Taiwan to prepare for what God has in store for her next.
Meanwhile, we've also recently had other new young couples and single ladies arrive in the last few months, each planning on coming and serving for about a year.
Seeing these guys and gals come and go causes me to reflect, and it stirs up mixed emotions. So, here are some of the things I'm thinking and feeling these days.
One, I'm old. Let's just be blunt about it. I used to be the 19 or 20 year old adventuring in Taiwan and trying to make sense of this foreign place, struggling with the language and trying exotic foods. The place is longer foreign, language no longer quite the struggle, and the foods no longer exotic. (This photo of me in the Hakka outfit was taken in 1997 at the exact same place as the above photo of Lawrance and our friend.)
I'm no longer the newcomer. There will always be missionaries who've lived her longer than I have, so I still feel like I'm new here. But, I guess after nine years, I'm not really that new, huh? Which then makes me question why haven't I learned MORE Chinese? Why haven't I shared the gospel MORE? Why haven't I paid off MORE of my school loans? Why haven't I [fill in the blank] MORE?
I'm not sure I could leave Taiwan and not know if I'd ever be back. Ok, so part of this tie to Taiwan is obviously the fact that I now have family here and this is my husband's homeland, but it is more than that. I've spent my entire adult life living and working in Taiwan. Quite frankly, I don't know how to be a "grown up" in America. I would be willing to live in America for a few years to either pursue further education or allow Lawrance to pursue further education (and give our possible future children the chance to be close to family), but I'm not sure I'd be able to pack my bags and say farewell ilha formosa. Of course, if my Lord asked me to, I would, but it would be emotional.
I love Taiwan. I love living here, teaching here, serving here. But, I am reminded that, even here, I sojourn.
This world is not my home. No matter where I reside physically, may the Father graciously allow and enable me to "proclaim the excellencies of Him who called me out of darkness into His marvelous light" because there was a time when I had "had not received mercy, but now I have received mercy" (1 Peter 2).