Moving from Tennessee to Ohio

Hey y’all-

My folks are moving this weekend. We’ve been in Crossville, Tennessee for many moons. I started here in 4th-grade and my folks have been here ever since. It’s home. Always will be, but I won’t have a place to go to after this weekend…..well, you know what I mean….

My Dad moved to Crossville because of K-Mart. Really. He got a job and they offered him a chance to open a new store in Crossville. So, we loaded up like the Beverly Hillbillies and moved from Knoxville to City Lake Road.

Whar we movin' to, Paw?

After we got here, we seemed to bounce around a bit until we eventually landed on a prime piece of real estate (complete with a mortgage) in Pleasant Hill. Victor Lane was the site of our greatest accomplishments as a family dynasty in Cumberland County.

The house was beautiful.

I used to take dates to the Jungle Room for a game we called "Safari."

We were all stars in our own right: basketball, cheerleading, academics, rolling yards, two-stepping, lifeguarding, beauty pageants, softball….you get the drift….an era came and went on Victor Lane.

Now, Mom and Dad are loading up the U-Haul and pointing the slightly damaged bumper (Dad had an “issue” in the rental-place parking lot) north. We’re heading up to Ohio. What does that mean for Cumberland County and Tennessee? Well, y’all can get back to normal ’cause we on up outta heah!

Well, just thought I would post this morning and my coffee is wearing off, so I better go.

Crossville. Love you, mean it, and I’ll be back! Word.

Uncle Jeff

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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

Back in Kentucky

Hey y’all-

I’m back in Kentucky and glad to be here. However, I really, really, really miss my friends in Taiwan. It was very hard to leave. Why? Well, I’m not sure when I might see them again. It is tough to build relationships, get to know people, spend time with them, and then just scatter to the four winds. Very tough. But, I was a short-term missionary. I went to Taiwan knowing that I would leave at the end of five months. Doesn’t make it any easier.

Now, I’m back in Bedford, Kentucky.

I got home Saturday night and was at church on Sunday. That was good. I like “shaking hands and kissing babies” and church is the place to do that. Plus, I got to see some old buddies. I ended up teaching the youth group on Sunday night. That was cool, too. Nice to get back in the saddle….so to speak.

Went to Trimble County High School today (Monday) to see the kids at lunch. Had a great time re-connecting with some of them. Got a lot of hugs and pats on the back. Nice to see old friends, too.

Jet-lag isn’t really bothering me too much. Glad to be sleeping when I should and awake when I should. Still processing my time in Taiwan and I’ll ruminate on it more in the future.

For now, I’ll just cruise.

Uncle Jeff

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

Paul Martin Dance Party

Hey y’all-

Wanna see what it looks like for a Southern Baptist missionary to try to dance at a Christmas party? It’s fun. Click here.

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