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Thoughts on Thanksgiving 2010

Hey y’all-

Haven’t dropped a line on here in awhile, but I’m feeling a little froggy. I thought I’d reflect on Thanksgiving a bit.

First thought:

A year ago, some friends and I were throwing a party this week in Banciao, Taiwan. We wanted to get together with some college kids we knew and tell them about the American holiday – Thanksgiving. As we told them about being thankful and our American traditions, it was very natural for us to tell them about our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Here’s a shot from that great night:

Truthfully, country music, Starbucks, and flip-flops (three things I am thankful for on a regular basis) are great, but true thankfulness comes when one realizes the gift given by God in his Son, Jesus Christ. And, once you see and receive the gift given by God to free you from your sin, pain, darkness, and hopelessness, then it is very easy and joyous to be thankful in all circumstances. I call this conversion and so does most of Christian history.

So, I am thankful….for Jesus and his love for me that enables me to be cleansed of all unrighteousness and made whole in the eyes of the Father. Can you say you are thankful for that type of love, freedom, joy, peace, and righteousness? If not, message me and let’s talk. This is too important to pass over…..

Second thought:

The holidays make me a little lonely. I see all the adverts on the telly (kinda Brit, right there) and think, “Man, I’d like a hot tamale to snuggle with in front of the fire.” Then, I go hang out with married friends and see the stress and hear the arguments and I think, “Man, I’m glad I’m single.”

Having said that…if anyone has any connections to a hot tamale with low self-esteem and even lower standards, let me know. She doesn’t have to be perfect, but close would be nice….

Third thought:

My Mom makes a mean sweet-tater casserole. It may be wrong to look too forward to a dish, but I look forward to that every year. I missed it last year when I was overseas, so I’m doing a double helping this year. Mom, hook a brother up!

Final thought:

Have a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope and pray that 2010 has been a good year for you. I pray that your family and friends are well. I hope you have peace with God through a relationship with Jesus. I would love to see all my family and friends in eternity…I’m selfish like that.

Blessings.

Livin’ the dream,

Uncle Jeff

A Wild Year…for me….

Hey y’all-

A lot has happened in the last year. A year ago today, I landed in Hong Kong with four friends as part of a bluegrass band called “The Long Run Players.”

Sarah, Matt, Paul, Jeff, and Cameron..confused in HK.

We were stopping in Hong Kong for a few days of orientation before heading to Taiwan to serve with IMB personnel doing outreach and evangelism for six months. What happened in the 5+ months in Taiwan?

1. We met some really cool Taiwanese people like Amy, Gayo, Erin, Eva, Example, Stacy, Ifan, Ice, Slash, Joyce, Rain, Brian, Frank, Shelly, Chocolate, Patrick, Douglas, Wayne….etc…..

Some friends....

2. We ate some cool (and interesting) food.

3. We drank some great drinks like Black Pearl Milk Tea.

Black Pearl Milk Tea from Crazy Sue's

4. We played over 60 bluegrass shows.

5. We were featured on a national TV show on a Christian network (Good TV).

6. We told hundreds (even thousands) of people of the love of Jesus Christ and His desire to have a relationship with them.

7. We met some great M friends in Taiwan. (You know who you are…)

8. We ate some great apple pie (thanks, Patti!).

9. We traveled all over Taiwan playing music and seeing the sights.

10. We came home.

What has happened in the six months since landing back in the good ‘ol USA?

1. The band has continued to play and tell people about the people of Taiwan. (Over 25 shows since coming home…)

2. I graduated from seminary (SBTS) in May with my Master of Divinity degree.

Beauregard, Joe, and Me.....hotness

3. I was accepted to the doctoral program in Christian missions at SBTS.

4. I have sang and preached in churches in OK, TN, KY, MO, NC, and NY is to come….

5. I am getting ready to move to a new home here in KY.

6. I have snorkeled and sea-kayaked in Puerto Rico.

Playa Flamenco Culebra, PR

7. I have hiked in a rainforest.

8. I have told a lot of people about the love of Jesus Christ.

9. I met a girl in HK and we’re seeing if it’s gonna work……

It has been a great year. Here’s to the next one…..

Livin’ the dream,

Uncle Jeff

To My Taiwanese Friends

Hello 你好 –

  It is a cold, rainy day in Kentucky and we are expecting some snow this weekend. I have a great desire to be back in Taipei with my friends in the warm weather. I think a trip to Mr. Donut for some coffee and conversation would be very nice.

  How are you? 你好馬? Last night, I had dinner with Paul, Sarah, and Cameron and we talked about our friends in Taiwan. We miss you! We also played some bluegrass music. It was a fun night.

  I hope you are all enjoying your winter break and having fun. I wish I was there to practice my Chinese and tell you more about Jesus. We are praying for you and hope that you will come to believe and trust in Jesus as your Savior.

  We came to Taiwan to tell you about Jesus and we hope you come to know him like we do. 耶穌愛你我們也是.

  I wrote a blog about my belief and trust in Jesus. Here are some things I believe about him and his sacrifice for us. Click here. Important to know and believe.

  Your friend 好朋友,

  Jeff – 火雞

Last Day in Taiwan

Hey y’all-

It’s 7:25 a.m. in Taipei and I’m writing this while having a cup of coffee, laundry is in the dryer, crap is scattered all over the apartment, and I’m trying to decide what to pack, what to trash, and what to give away….it’s my last day in Taiwan. Five months ago, I came here as part of a team of missionaries who were to use bluegrass music as a platform for evangelism in the Taipei area, specifically Banciao. We did that. So, let’s reflect, shall we?

We landed with no Chinese, no specific plan, and no idea how our music or message would be received by the Taiwanese people. The IMB assigned us to work with career missionaries who have been in Taiwan for 15-30 years, depending on which of the three missionaries one is talking about. This was a good and bad thing….the career missionaries, that is.

One missionary has been here a long time. This missionary is alone in a lot of ways and used to it. Leading a group of five seminary students was not a good idea. It failed miserably. We parted company and moved on……

The other two missionaries (a married couple) were easy to work with, caring, and willing to allow us to try and use our gifts and talents to reach the people of Taiwan. They were not so interested in giving “directives” as they were in trying to find open doors to the hardened hearts of the Taiwanese people. This relationship was not perfect (none is except one’s relationship with Christ, but you would expect me to say that, wouldn’t you?), but it was still good. Thank you to them and their willingness to take us on unexpectedly as supervisors.

Our knowledge of Chinese grew by leaps and bounds through the use of a private tutor by the name of Sam. She (Samantha) is a native Taiwanese young woman who was willing to try and teach five foreigners at one time. Bold. It worked as well as it could and we quickly were able to feel more comfortable in our new surroundings. Paul, the banjo player in the band, and I really enjoyed learning to count in Mandarin. Then, we could walk down the street, look at bus numbers, and practice. That was a big day for us…huge. Oh, I also ordered coffee (and other food at a few places) and did well enough to carry on the entire exchange in Mandarin. It was bad Chinese, but it was Chinese.

The plan never really seemed to come together. We came as part of a program that was intended for mentoring and education. However, we were seen as more of a ministry resource to be used. So, we did a lot of pioneer evangelistic work on a school campus in Banciao. That school is Chihlee Institute of Technology. A great place with great kids….I love that school. The mentoring, education, working side-by-side with career personnel never came together. So be it. We made a ton of friends, faithfully shared the Gospel with them, learned to love them, learned from them, taught them about America, and had a great time. Again, I love that school and those kids.

How was bluegrass received? Pretty well, I think. The people don’t have a concept of bluegrass, but they were receptive to live music. They seemed to enjoy our playing and the energy of bluegrass. They loved to hear Sarah sing. She has red hair and fair skin and that enthralls many Taiwanese. They had never heard of or seen a banjo. Paul helped them with that. Cameron played a violin in a different way…and called it a fiddle. Matt’s blue eyes and mandolin seemed to be equally attractive to the young girls. Me? I’m old and ugly, but they thought my upright bass was huge…

This is it for me and Taiwan. Will I ever come back? I was asked that question a lot by our friends here in the last few days. My answer was, “I don’t know.” But, I sure would like to. Maybe to serve as a full-time missionary. Maybe on short-term trips. Maybe to just vacation and visit some friends. I surely hope this isn’t the last I see of my Taiwanese friends and family.

It’s been fun, Taiwan. Zai jian…..

Uncle Jeff

Christmas Party – Taipei, Taiwan

Hey y’all-

Last night, we hosted a Christmas Party at our apartment. Yes, the party was on the 26th, but many of the students we are trying to reach have class late on Friday. So, we moved it to Saturday. (I think Jesus would be cool with that. Matter of fact, I know it.) So, the party…

We were a tad concerned about the potential turnout. Why? A few reasons: the distance from the school (40+ minutes on the MRT/subway) and no telling how long on a motorscooter, the timing (day after Christmas), the day (Saturday night), etc., etc…..

It is always good to see God work when your faith starts to waver. We were wavering a tad and God worked. He worked to the tune of about 70 students and over 80 total people at our party. It was a blast. Here are some pics…

Students listen as we share the Christmas story...and the Gospel.

Students packed in every corner for the Story of Jesus' Birth...

Me and Joyce

Brian and Rain

The dudes from Change Life Church...they love Jesus...for real.

Eva, Eunice, Stacy, and Example...some of the first friends we made on ChihLee Campus.

What an awesome night. We had a chance to hang with great friends, eat good food, laugh, joke, take pictures, sing songs, and tell them the Greatest Truth Ever Known.

Jesus is real. Jesus is God. Jesus died for their sins. Jesus rose again. And, He wants them to believe in Him and be saved. Pray that they believe!

Thoughts?

Merry Christmas from Taipei, Taiwan.

Uncle Jeff

Don’t Waste Your Life – Chinese

Hey y’all-
I love the book Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. It is an awesome read and a chance to really dig deeper and think through some big thoughts for your life. And your service to God. In fact, I blogged about it quite a bit a year or so ago…

I found a sample of the book in Chinese and wanted to post a link for my friends in Taiwan. Read it and see what Piper has to say…

Thoughts?

Uncle Jeff

Christmas Program…er, Party

Hey y’all-

Last night, I went to a Christmas program at the Change Life Church in Banciao, Taiwan. We had a fine time. It was a unlike any Christmas program I’ve ever been to in the U.S. Here are some thoughts:

1. The program was called a “party.” I think I like this.

2. They treated the program like a party. I liked that even better.

3. There were about 600-700 people there. It was packed! And, on a Saturday night.

4. I didn’t understand the testimonies but the drama was done well enough that I got the gist without knowing much Mandarin. (Take note church people. I got it without words….)

5. The dance teams were good. Enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

6. It was loud, energetic, exciting, and fun…..Christmasy.

7. Glad I went and we got to re-connect with some old friends from this church. We played an event there when we first came to Taiwan and they were happy to re-connect before we leave for America.

8. They gave an invitation and people responded. Imagine that…a Gospel presentation and invitation at a Christmas program.

Merry Christmas,

Uncle Jeff