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Gratitude

A Letter from Jonathan and Emily Seitz, serving in Taiwan

August 2018

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Write to Emily Seitz

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Our family has now been in the U.S. on interpretation assignment for just over a month, and I am filled with gratitude for the ways in which God has cared for us through this transition period. We are loving this time with family and are grateful for shared meals and conversations and for grandparents teaching our children new games, knitting with them (my mother-in-law), fishing with them (my father-in-law), playing with them at the YMCA and the lake (my parents) … and for hours of playtime with their cousins! Our children have participated in several different summer camps, and they have enjoyed them immensely. One was a reading and math camp (at a university near my parents’ home in Cincinnati), which we hope will help them prepare for school this year in the U.S. Other camps included VBS at local churches, art camp, and a camp at the zoo. Last night, my older son said, “Mom, I feel like the summer is a million years long … I’m having so much fun!” When he said, “a million years,” I thought a complaint was coming, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear his positivity and enthusiasm at the end of the comment. I think he was trying to convey a sense of unending fun!

Chi-teh, Presbyterian Church in Taiwan college ministry worker, with Eva, Samuel, and Eli Seitz (L to R) at summer camp at Anhe Presbyterian Church, Taipei, Taiwan.

In our interactions with local churches, I have been excited to hear about local mission and global mission alike. I am grateful for the many ways — from collecting school supplies for children starting school in Cincinnati to partnerships with churches in Guatemala and the Congo — in which the churches we have visited are acting as the “hands” and “feet” of Jesus in this world. We have met with mission committee members, preached, and led education events. It is a different pace of life, with some more relaxed time but also a lot of public speaking and presentations.

I am especially grateful for the ways in which churches in both Taiwan and the U.S. have helped care for our children this summer. Before we left Taiwan, our children were able to attend Vacation Bible School at a small Presbyterian church near our home, where one of Jonathan’s students was responsible for the planning and implementation of the program. Our children have also attended VBS in Birmingham, Alabama, and in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Northminster Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati did a summer series on Exodus because this year’s theme of their annually-held children’s choir camp was Moses. On one of the Sundays leading up to the choir camp, Jonathan and I assisted in worship alongside Rev. Nancy Ross-Zimmerman, Northminster’s associate pastor, who married us 17 years ago! During worship, I spoke to the children about a verse from Exodus (6:6-9) stating that the Israelites did not believe that Moses would actually lead them out of slavery in Egypt. I then talked with the children about trusting that God will be with us no matter where we are and however long the journey ahead of us. A poll of the young children revealed that the longest journey they had been on was a trip to Myrtle Beach … with the exception of my own daughter, who piped up, saying, “I came from Taiwan!” Whether we travel widely or not, we all face challenging journeys at some point in our lives — maybe a journey through illness or loss or a difficult relationship, and it is not always easy to trust that God will be with us throughout the journey.

Our son, Samuel (far left), performing during worship at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati Ohio.

On the Sunday following choir camp at Northminster, the whole worship service consisted of the Moses musical the kids had been working on during the prior week of camp. Our eldest, Sam, attended the camp, and it was really amazing what the musicians and youth directors of the church, along with counselors and teens who serve as counselors-in-training, were able to accomplish in one week. I loved the benediction at the end of the service, led by the children singing and accompanied by a smaller bell choir. And so, I leave you with the words of the benediction. May you know God’s love is with you every step of the way:

Go now in peace, go now in peace.
May the love of God surround you,
Everywhere, everywhere you may go.

As always, we thank you for your prayers, for your hospitality and welcome while we are here in the U.S., and for your continued financial support.

Blessings,
The Seitz family
Emily, Jonathan, Samuel, Eva, and Eli


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