Dear Friends and Family,
So much has happened during my first two weeks in Taiwan, and I desperately want to share all of my experiences in detail because I wish all of you could be here experiencing everything with me. I can’t wait to tell you about driving a moldy car with no power steering fluid that broke down in the middle of the road during my first driving experience in Taiwan, or about the small earthquake we experienced on my second night here, or about the barbecued bird we found in my water heater that had a little something to do with my lack of hot water for the first four days living in my apartment, or about all of the details of weathering the worst typhoon to hit Taiwan in fifty years. Unfortunately, it’s almost 11:00 on Monday night, and I have school tomorrow, so there’s little time for the details. I promise that when I have a chance, I will share the stories, and hopefully we can all enjoy the frustrating comedy of my first two weeks in Taiwan together. But for right now, I simply want to share some prayer requests since there are many things that are heavy on my heart. Throughout all the struggles of these first two weeks, I have been reminded again and again that God is in control and that He provides. Though He has certainly not given me everything I’ve wanted, He has taken care of all my needs. Please join me in praying for answers to the following:
1. Pray for the devastation in Taiwan from Typhoon Morakot. This has been the worst flooding from a typhoon in fifty years. Kaohsiung County, where we live in the south of Taiwan, was one of the hardest hit counties. Praise the Lord that the worst we experienced in our school staff community was power outages, minor house flooding, and loss of water. Currently water to the entire county is being shut off (until Thursday at least) because of contamination due to broken dams. Please pray that we would have enough clean water to drink until Thursday. CNN says that “the death toll so far in Taiwan stands at 15, with 55 missing and 32 hurt.” Pray that there would be no more loss of life from this storm and that those who have lost homes, possessions, love ones, and even whole villages will be able to rebuild their lives quickly. Pray also for opportunities to share the Gospel even in the midst of these trials.
2. As most of you know, I sent a shipment of most of my belongings from America to Taiwan. That shipment was supposed to arrive on Friday but did not make it because of the typhoon. It is now estimated to be in Taichung (about 3 hours from me) sometime next week. The problem is that school starts next week, and it will be very difficult to arrange travel up to Taichung in time to meet the shipment if it comes then. Pray for a miracle that the shipment will come in by this weekend so I can travel up to meet it. Praise the Lord that it is this close!
3. Please pray for school preparations. I feel like I am falling behind in my preparation because of all the unforeseen hassles of the last few weeks. School starts on August 17, and there is a lot to do between now and then!
4. Since arriving here, I have had several car troubles and spent a significant amount of money for repairs. I am not terribly worried about the car being a “lemon” because these were all repairs the mechanic previously told me we would probably have to make. This morning, after three days in my parking spot near the garage door during the typhoon, my car would not start. Please pray that it will start tomorrow so it can be taken to the mechanic without a tow truck (that would cost me more) and that the mechanic can fix the problem quickly and at a low cost. I suppose this would be a good place to ask for prayer too that God would meet my financial needs for the car. If you feel led to help provide for this practical need, please send a tax-deductable donation to Victory Baptist Church, 2261 Armstrong Mill Road, Lexington, KY 40515. Please make checks out to “Victory Baptist Church” and indicate “For Christel Hatcher” in the memo section. Please remember that even though financial support is a blessing, prayer support is essential.
5. Finally, I ask for prayer for my church family back home in Kentucky. I don’t feel at liberty to share many details, but I ask that you would lift up my pastor and his family in a time of trial. I ask that you would pray for unity and peace in the church. Pray with me that God will be at work in Victory Baptist Church.
These are the most significant prayer requests and praises I have at the moment. I want to reiterate how much I have experienced God’s faithfulness in this time of transition. I’m not sure that it could be a much bumpier road—though my dad reminded me of his first trip to Taiwan when the airline lost his suitcase for 6 months, and then when the suitcase finally arrived all of his clothing was dyed pink from an exploded Pepto-Bismol bottle; so yeah, maybe it could be worse—but even in the midst of all the “are you kidding me?!” moments, I have been richly blessed. The two things for which I am most thankful are 1) the amazing community of believers—of family—with whom I have already bonded and who I know will walk through all of this with me, and 2) the way that this transition has rekindled a passionate desire to lean on God and has opened my eyes again to His provision and protection. For each story of something frustrating that has happened there is a story of something wonderful that God has done in my life. I can’t wait to share more of them with you. In the meantime, please pray with me for the things I’ve shared in this email.
Finally, I want to include updated contact information. All of our mail is delivered to the school, and the address is as follows:
#42 Chiacheng Rd., Dashe Hsiang
Kaohsiung 81546, Taiwan
Also, my home phone number is 886-07-356-0700. I don’t have a cell phone yet.
Thank you for the great support you have all been to me so far. I’m praying for you as well.