Culture shock: the early days

Well, it’s Day 4 of our new journey in Taiwan. We arrived safely last Wednesday and we were warmly welcomed by a fellow co-worker.

To date, there are daily communications in the form of personal visits, phone calls, and messages from one or more of our new co-workers here in Taipei. All of them are truly happy to have us as part of the team here, and all of them empathise with our daily struggle as we transition into life here.

However, the culture shock is setting in quicker than I expected. It just hit me in the face. Honestly, it’s probably a good indication of how stressed and tired I am from these last few months of preparing for this current transition.

I could entertain you with the things which frustrate me, but that’s the danger of culture shock, entertaining those frustrations about differences—not failures or mistakes, between my home culture and my current adopted culture—which fuel bitterness and anger, defeating the whole purpose of coming here in the first place.

Rather, my prayer and desire turns to Jesus:

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew 11:29 (ESV)

He is the reason we are here. He is my hope and my salvation. He is the hope and salvation for all peoples.

I’ll still have days where I will struggle with the culture, but I know that my Lord and Saviour is able to carry me through.

The Lord of the Sabbath

I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
—‭‭ Matthew‬ ‭12:6-8‬ ‭(ESV‬)

The Sabbath day is not a religious day. It is a day where the mercy of God is demonstrated: to remember the forgiveness we are given; to show mercy to those around us; and, to intercede for the lost in need of His mercy around the world.

Live in the world: a warning from John (Part 3)

I have a tendency to hoard. I’m not as a bad as I used to be, because I’ve come to learn one very important lesson: it might come in handy one day, but if I’m not using it now why hold on. Part of this realisation is the worth of materials. Do I really need to keep this box? Do I really need to keep this bit off my car? Do I really need to take up more space?

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
‭‭> — 1 John‬ ‭2:15-17‬ (‭ESV)

Most people like things that are tangible. There are those who like the metaphysical perspective on things (like me), but I’m not most people. We like information provided by time and space. We like things we can see, hear, touch, smell, and (if you’re like me) taste. We like tangible.

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I don’t feel it

I’m a Christian. I believe Jesus died for me and He is the Saviour of the world. I believe my sins are forgiven by His immeasurable grace. I declare that He is Lord of all Creation and my life. Still… I just don’t feel it. At the moment, life isn’t great or amazing. I’m not filled with overflowing emotions of happiness.

But that’s okay. I don’t have to feel it. My faith is not shaken. I know full well that my life is secure in the hands of the God who loves me. I am fully assured that my sins are washed away by the blood of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Still… I just don’t feel it. Continue reading →

The Real Christmas Story: how well do you know it?

The count is on. It’s two weeks until Christmas! The decorations are going up, the light shows are starting, and the community Christmas carols fill the weekends. Like most people, I grew up with “real” Christmas story depicted by the classical nativity scene where Jesus was born in a manger in a stable…that’s how Luke records it, right?

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

— Luke 2:1–7 (ESV)

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