A letter from John McCall in the U.S. from Taiwan
I am currently traveling around the U.S. speaking in churches and presbyteries. As I fly in and out of airports in different states and different cities and towns, I see a changing America. Actually, it is the same America it has always been, but the faces and languages of those who continue to move here from different places around the world continue to change.
As I stop to buy gas, the clerk in the Mini-Mart is from India. The person filling up his truck next to me is speaking Spanish on his cell phone. The waiters at the Chinese restaurant are from China, but the dishwashers in the back are from Mexico. The waiters at the Mexican restaurant are from a variety of Central American countries. The children sitting on the steps of the sanctuary as I give the children’s sermon have a variety of facial features.
The United States has always been a country of immigrants ever since outsiders arrived to meet the original people, the Native Americans, who lived in this land. As one who has moved to live in a new land and been welcomed by both the native Taiwanese and those who immigrated from outside, I am always sensitive to what it means to be a “new-comer.”
As part of my privilege of visiting 35 U.S. churches in 16 states over these more than seven months, 6 of these churches are Taiwanese-American churches. They generously support the mission work in Taiwan. Earlier this year I was able to celebrate Lunar New Year’s Eve with Taiwanese graduate students in Raleigh, North Carolina, who are doing graduate studies at the University of North Carolina, Duke University, and North Carolina State University. A wonderful Taiwanese-American couple invites these students to their home every Thursday evening for a Taiwanese dinner, fellowship with other Taiwanese students, and a Bible study.
As you drive up to their colonial home in an American suburb, which is similar to most other houses on their street, you have no idea of what is happening inside. You take your shoes off at the door and the wonderful fragrances of Taiwanese food cooking in the kitchen entice you to enter. The sounds of Mandarin or Taiwanese can be heard from the family room.
I had met a number of these students at this home several years before. Many have visited me at my home on the seminary campus in Taipei when they have been home in Taiwan on break. One evening more than 10 of these students, who became Christians and were baptized in North Carolina and now are back in Taiwan with jobs as scientists or business people, came to my home in Taiwan for dinner. They are all new Christians with that wonderful passion for their faith. They shared that studying in the United States was a real privilege, but even better was the opportunity to know Christ and become his disciple.
As we sat around the table in that suburban home in North Carolina on Lunar New Year’s Eve this year, these students shared the challenges of writing a dissertation in English or responding to the questions of their oral examination committee. Many are under tremendous pressure, so it was a joy to see them relaxing together with others who understand this pressure.
I was able to share my life with them as an American-Taiwanese. They were grateful to hear an American speak their language and share his love for their people and homeland.
I am grateful for Howard and Joann, the couple who open their home every week to these students to share the Living Water. They also offer Bible studies during the week and keep up with these students on Facebook. Howard and Joann have been changed, and they want to share this abundant life with these students.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Every Thursday evening in Raleigh and many other evenings around this country and around the world, folks are meeting together to share and live the good news.
I remain grateful for the privilege I have to see the church at its best, both in the United States and in Taiwan. Thank you for your prayers, support, and partnership in mission.
The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 240
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