Tampa Folk

Why Taiwan?

I'm not sure either.

Maybe it's the wrong direction.

But here's how it happened, for all those who have the time to find out...

When I was saved by God I wasn't told what someone who believes is supposed to do. I never was told what Jesus did for me or how He wants to redeem the world. But I did read His words, and after that I wanted to be a part of the gospels. I wanted to be Andrew who went to get his brother Peter to show Him who the Christ is. And so I wanted to be a missionary.

When people hear me say this they put a lot of baggage on me. There have been a lot of missionaries in this world and many of them represent something that can never be fully replicated in the world we now live in. As I studied anthropology, there is also a conflict between these two frames of reference, warring within me and always testing my motivations and actions for what I want to become.

I am an anthropologist. I am a missionary. And being a missionary anthropologist negates me from being in any singular category called missionary. I am not going to save Taiwan, far be it! I simply want to be Andrew. I want to learn, I want to grow, and I want to experience the love already working inside the Taiwanese people.

After I finished reading the Bible the first time I was still a new Christian (only three months old), and I made a logistical conclusion: to be a missionary I must first learn a new language. And so I scoured countries and statistics and sought after the ideal place for me to go. I'm not sure what my requirements were at the time, but they certainly would not be the same as today. My first category, I'm sure, was percentage of Christians, and weather was never on the list. Today, weather is one of my first categories, so in providence I landed on a beautiful sub-tropical climate. ^^

A month later I was in my first Chinese class, and the following year I was majoring in Chinese (later to be changed to anthropology). Honestly, I quickly lost that first calling to Taiwan when everyone around  me was from mainland China, and two years later I prayed that God would let me visit China in which he emphatically said, Yes. I thought I would go back to China after I graduated, but I had such a severe illness I wasn't able to. It lasted 6 months and the doctors never offered an explanation, but after I recovered I already gave up trying to go to China. Instead, I was waiting for my acceptance to USF, which I obviously got and came to Tampa.

I have written much about my time in Tampa, and the struggles I've had here, but I have also learned a great deal and made some amazing Taiwanese friends. I can't remember why I decided to continue learning Chinese and make the switch from simplified to traditional characters, but I did, and I said I would probably go to Taiwan in 4 or 5 years. A few weeks after I said that, I was planning to go in 3 months.

I have said a lot of 'good-bye's since I became a Christian. I haven't gotten used to them, but I do have a lot more experience in them than I used to, and I always get this question: Are you going to come back? When I say, "yes, of course" no one believes me, ever. They say things that make sense for their life but I cannot comprehend. Things like, "you'll probably visit your family, but not us, not here," to which I respond, "who is my family?"

I don't know if they get it or not, but a missionary, one who is sent to a new place, must find his family where he goes, for how can one survive without family. Even for one day I start losing myself when I don't have family. Maybe it's too hard to accept a stranger into their family, but that's what I'm looking for when I travel. God gave us the church. My family is everywhere. As Paul and Peter were supported through family in each city they went, so I am hoping for the same, if you can accept it.

So believe me, I want to come back, if it is God's will to do so. I hope to write more soon, and hopefully have pictures too.

Good-bye. And see you soon.


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