Thursday, January 16, 2014

number 4s family dinner

We are blessed to be able to say it feels like we have multiple families here. Church family, friends family, relatives family, and B's "big-little" family from the current med school classes. In Taiwan, there is an academic tradition of assigning roster numbers to students each class. Based on your roster number, you have a corresponding "big" or "little" sibling in each class above and below you. The established "big-little" sibling system is something we appreciate very much about being in school in Taiwan--it provides a place to learn the ins and outs of the process all have in common, and gives opportunities for mentoring and being mentored.


We are so grateful for this group of people (I call it the "number family," roughly translated from Chinese and brought to you by the number 4). God provided us with a number family made up of mostly American-born or raised Taiwanese students AND students who married early (or are close to being married). This year after our family dinners I've always come away marveling at how perfectly God provides for us -- people who understand cross-cultural challenges and the benefits of getting married early. We can look to our "siblings" for advice; not just about academic or clinical questions but also about family things like when is the best time to have kids during med school. I have learned a lot from them, even though I'm not 內行 (of their field). Two couples are having or had a baby this year so I'm taking notes for the future and also admiring them from a distance (med school + baby = crazy). They are a warm, welcoming, fun group of people and I couldn't have imagined a better cohort than what God designed. God has truly been faithful to us!

4th year 學長's little baby (and us)
(P.S. I am noticing that the lighting contrasts in this pic makes our noses look huge!)

All the number 4s

With the SOs (and babies)

Monday, January 13, 2014

the beauty and the terror

On the road, an old woman clutches a bunch of floral branches as she scooters by. Such a simple, ordinary act speaks loudly of a love for beauty that would bag it and carefully bring it home.

We all need the aesthetic in our life. We are betrayed in our unending desire for pretty things: the beautiful, the pleasant, the elegant. But God is the Creator, the Inspiration--He is the Beauty. I can see Him in the little sparrows that visit the back neighbor's vacant porch. In the sunlight hitting the pastel hues of our apartment blocks when I sit in our parking space in the mornings.

Then there is a certain terror--it lies in the undiscovered, unfamiliar realms. It is in the old man who shuffles along, lifting his cap to bow in acknowledgment to the gods of the temple he passes by. He wouldn't care to step in their territory, but fearful of incurring their wrath, he watches his step and minds them. So he nods to every deity he passes, and whether or not they acknowledge his existence, he will theirs--just in case.

The heartbreaking nature of it is that all of us, we are blind in our fear of what we don't know. Jesus said to only fear Him who has power to condemn us to hell. Do we not know Him? The beauty is that we can know Him, and in our knowledge, be fearless of all lesser unknowns. Do we know His awe-inspiring, holy Beauty? And will we proclaim Him that others too may know?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 lookback

Somewhere in my mind, it sounded like a good idea to try to write a post titled "what 24 taught me." But when it really came down to it, I just had to laugh at myself for thinking that I have fully learned any of these things and that I am now a master at anything. I like what Kelle says in her birthday post: you're always still learning.

If I could mark a theme for this year, though, in spite of the lessons left partially learned, I would simply title it "Opening," in reference to the work God is doing in my own heart. There is freedom to be found in the opening up oneself to others that is otherwise unknown in the heart of one that remains closed. It applies to people I barely knew, people I used to know, and people I don't yet know.

Along those lines, had a lovely year connecting and reconnecting with people we are privileged to cross paths with or walk alongside.

The best and newest addition to the family this year!
Breakfast Club
Tainan day trip

DC tour

New friends on exchange from Germany and Denmark

Although 2014 seems unclear with manifold uncertainties, I am trusting Him who always has and always will provide.

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven, 
To His feet thy tribute bring;  
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,  
Evermore His praises sing;   
Alleluia! Alleluia!  Praise the everlasting King.    

Frail as summer’s flower we flourish; 
Blows the wind and it is gone; 
But, while mortals rise and perish, 
God endures unchanging on; 
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise the high Eternal One.
Angels in the height, adore Him;  
Ye behold Him face to face;  
Saints triumphant, bow before Him, 
Gathered in from every race; 
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise with us the God of grace.
Bless the Lord, O my soul 
And all within me, praise Him!
Bless the Lord, O my soul! 
Redeemed by His grace, 
In the Savior’s embrace, 
My soul will bless His name!