I spend a lot of time now longing for home, dreaming of restaurants and grocery stores and driving on uncrowded streets. But then I go to church, and almost every Sunday after church I think something along the lines of "maybe I want to stay in Taiwan". Our church here is very small and, I suppose because many of us are ex-pats, it feels like a family, only perhaps better.
Yesterday 6 people were baptized and I cried as each one of them gave their testimony. There was the 7 year old girl who decided to ask Jesus into her heart as she was walking down the hall in school - she recited John 3:16 from memory. There was our dear friend Ray who was raised in a Christian home (rare in Taiwan!) but didn't want to be baptized until he felt a passion. He says that passion recently came, not in the form of some huge spiritual feeling but through the relationships with church members. One of the Philipina ladies who accepted Jesus when she was 15 but then walked away and lived in all sorts of sin. She was recently convicted of how wrong she was living, rededicated her heart to Jesus and wanted to be baptized to show the world that she is starting over. And the Taiwanese husband of a friend; he has been depressed most of his life, wondering what the purpose was. He felt peace every time he listened to our pastor preach the words of Jesus, and so he has found peace through salvation. And a young Taiwanese woman who was touched by the love shown her by her life group hosts. And then the one that really got to me - the young man who looks so strong and tough. He was in the pastor's office late Saturday night talking. He knew a successful man who had died and, as he watched the man's sons fighting over the inheritance, he thought "I don't want to be like that" and there had to be more to life than that. So he was searching for the "something more" and he was asking the pastor questions. On Saturday night his questions were answered and he surrendered his life to Jesus. Sunday morning he was baptized. Wow! It is so amazing to watch peoples lives changed. It is such a privilege to be in this country with the pervasive dark spiritual forces wreaking havoc in the lives of so many people - and to see people walk out of that darkness into the light of Jesus. This is something I never witnessed in America.
And so I wonder if I will really want to leave when the time comes.