Throughout history, God has chosen feeble human vessels to do His work in unlikely circumstances. Here are a few examples from the Bible: Jonah, who hightailed it out of there but eventually repented and brought a nation to repentance; David, a shepherd boy who became king of God’s chosen people; and Mary, a teenage girl who birthed and raised Jesus, God-made-flesh. Each one had a choice of whether to follow God’s leading or to disobey. They weren’t all perfect, and they didn’t all choose obedience the first time every time, but there are two patterns that I notice about these folks: 1) they had a plan, but God changed it dramatically, and 2) God’s power was “made perfect in [their] weakness” (God’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:9).
Charles and I had some specific ideas for our first year of marriage together. In fact, I wrote about them when I announced our engagement. However, over the last several months, God has been stirring our hearts and challenging us to step out in obedience to Him. We had a plan, but He flipped it on its end, and we are trusting that His grace is sufficient and that His strength will be evident in our lives as we follow Him. And that, my friends, brings me to my announcement: Charles and I will be moving to Taichung, Taiwan in July 2013 to serve in the Morrison Academy high school together.
The Full Story
As I write this, I am praying that God will impress upon your hearts just how great HE is in our story. His plans truly are greater than ours, and coming from an OCD(ish) to-do list and iCal enthusiast, that’s a big statement! Let me tell you a little more of our story so you can experience God’s goodness with us.
All along, our idea was for me to move to South Carolina with Charles after our wedding; I would look for a job there, and he would continue on in his current employment. We had considered all of our options, and this sounded reasonable and safe, the easiest plan for two people starting out together.
But who said anything about safe, easy, or reasonable in God’s world? (I’m hearing Narnia in my head: “Aslan? Safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king I tell you.”) In August, God began to impress on our hearts that Charles and I should be willing to start out in Taiwan if God opened a door. We chose to pursue employment for both of us at Morrison Academy, but there were no technology positions for Charles at the time. The door seemed closed.
When it was nearly time for me re-sign or decline my contract, I was feeling very unsettled about making my resignation from Morrison official, but there were still no open doors. About a week before my signing deadline, we heard of an open technology position on the Taichung campus at the high school level. We talked together about the possibility of a move to Taichung, but because of personal reservations and (now I realize) some fear of change, we determined to continue with our plans of me moving to back to the U.S.A.
Then a friend challenged me with these words: “Christel, you told me months ago that if God opened a door for you to stay in Taiwan, you and Charles would pursue it. Now there seems to be a door wide open, and you’re saying, ‘no.’ I want to know why.” That challenge rang in my ears, and as Charles and I discussed the question during our Skype date, we could think of no good reason not to inquire about the position. We resolved to be obedient to the Lord; we knew that He would either make it very clear that we were supposed to be in Taiwan or give us clarity and peace about living in the U.S.
After MANY ups and downs, long conversations, earnest prayers, difficult interviews, and obvious workings of God’s hand, Charles and I both were offered jobs at Morrison Academy Taichung. Last Thursday, we signed contracts and accepted the positions. I will be teaching high school English (Shakespeare, my love, I’m coming back to you!), and Charles will be an Educational Technology Coordinator. The positions are challenging for both of us, and we know that God is going to have a lot of opportunities to let His power be seen through our weakness! However, we know also that God equips those He calls, so we are trusting in His provision for each hurdle and obstacle.
For someone who doesn’t like change (that’s me), my life sure is shaken up a lot by my God with a good sense of humor. In the next year, I will get married and move to a different city in this foreign country. Charles and I will learn to live together (the good, the bad, and the ugly) while working through culture shock/stress, making new friends, and adapting to new jobs. You’d think that’s enough change, but we’ve even decided to move the wedding from South Carolina to New York in the hopes that we can lower costs and have the help of my beloved mom for preparations while I’m half a world away.
God is good. God is faithful. I cannot express how much peace Charles and I are experiencing in our decision to follow God to Taichung, Taiwan. We know that there will be sacrifices made, most significantly that we will be living far away from our families. After already sharing some tears with family members, I am reminded that the separation is a sacrifice not only for me but for the people whom I love the most. I am incredibly thankful for our parents, families, and friends who are willing to give us to the Lord for this season of service. Charles and I know that this will not be easy, yet we are excited about the opportunity to embark on this adventure together. We are thrilled to be on mission in Taiwan and to see what God will do in us and through as a married couple. Please pray for us as we embrace this powerful experience together.