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Our Busy and Fulfilling Sojourn in the States

A Letter from Jonathan and Emily Seitz, serving in Taiwan, currently in the United States

November 2018

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Dear friends,
Over the summer and into the fall, we have loved reconnecting with churches, friends, former college and seminary classmates and family (in Alabama, Ohio, and in the Northeast). I can hardly believe that we have been in Princeton, New Jersey, for two months now!

We are staying at Princeton Theological Seminary as part of the visiting scholars program. This program is small and loosely focused, but we have been grateful for the community. Jonathan reported on his work the first month with the other visiting scholars (from Nigeria, Korea, South Korea and the U.S.) and will share it with the History Department in December. He has gotten to know another visiting scholar, a senior missiologist from Pretoria University in South Africa (in the past, Jonathan was an outside reader on a student’s dissertation advised by this professor). This academic year, two students from an evangelical seminary in Taiwan are studying at Princeton Seminary, and we have become acquainted with them too, giving them rides as needed since they do not have a car. Jonathan recently gave a talk on world Christianity at a Reformed Church Classis (similar to a presbytery), something he did earlier in Birmingham, AL. We hope we can be advocates for PC(USA) mission and Taiwanese Presbyterians while we’re here.

Jonathan with Rev. Drs. Carrie Mitchell and Jeffrey Weenink at First Presbyterian Church of Pittsford, NY.

In family updates, we’ve been blessed by a super schooling situation for our kids this year. It is our twins’ first time attending a U.S. school, and they have adapted quite well and made great strides in catching up in their reading and writing of English. Our eldest is also doing well, although when I asked him which was more challenging — the English curriculum in his bilingual school in Taiwan or his school in Princeton — I was surprised that he responded that he felt his school in Taiwan was more challenging. He also says that in Taiwan they have more overall recess time, as they have a short recess following each class period throughout the day.

A first for the kids this fall was to go trick-or-treating door-to-door on Halloween, so they were very excited about that and also about the Halloween parade at their school. The kids are involved in many extracurricular activities this year as well, including Scouts, fencing and basketball at the YMCA, and Sunday afternoon Chinese classes (our kids have to keep up their Chinese). Somehow, I had thought our year in the U.S. on interpretation assignment would be more relaxed — how wrong I was! I am feeling a bit overstretched, but I am also grateful that God has provided us with so many enrichment opportunities for the kids.

Jonathan is playing in a community band (he plays trumpet), and I am singing in the Princeton Theological Seminary treble choir. Our kids are singing in the choirs at Nassau Presbyterian Church and have already performed during worship. Our eldest will also perform in the Christmas pageant. I have been exercising weekly with a group of women at Nassau called “Walk, Talk, Pray” and have been grateful for the welcome I’ve received there and for the chance to be in fellowship with other busy moms.

Besides church visits and some required PC(USA) training, including the sharing conference this spring during which we will share about our ministries with other mission co-workers, Jonathan and I are attending several conferences this year. In late September, I attended a seminar on mission and church archives at the Overseas Ministry Study Center taught by Yale Divinity School librarians. There I was blessed to meet other mission workers from around the globe, including a Korean couple working in central Taiwan. I felt encouraged to hear about how God is working through people in other parts of the world, and I will carry the knowledge I gained in the seminar back with me to inform my work with the Mackay Museum in Taiwan.

Jonathan with Rev. Samson Tso at Homecrest Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn.

During our time in the Northeast, we have visited churches in New Jersey, Maryland, and Brooklyn and Rochester in New York. On my recent visit to a Taiwanese church in MD, just outside Washington D.C., I preached for the English ministry. The pastor of the Taiwanese ministry, Pastor Hung, is a graduate of Taiwan Theological Seminary where Jonathan teaches. He was glad about my visit, as we had met him in Taiwan earlier this year. After the English service, I was happy to meet two enthusiastic young women — one who had recently moved to the U.S. from Taiwan and had worked for a social service agency in Taiwan, and the other a Taiwanese-American. We enjoyed talking about places we all knew of in Taiwan. They had both participated in the “I Love Taiwan” mission trip held in the summers for Taiwanese-American youth that is organized by Taiwanese Presbyterian churches in the U.S. and in Taiwan. I told them they have unique roles to play in the Presbyterian Church as bilingual and bicultural young women and commended them on their willingness to be bridge-builders.

I want to thank you all for being bridge-builders too, as your contributions to Presbyterian World Mission allow us to continue connecting with our partner church, the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. If you are considering supporting us and would like to know more about our ministry, we invite you to contact us regarding a visit to your church while we are in the U.S. Thank you so much for your support!

Emily and Jonathan Seitz

Please read this important message from José Luis Casal, Director, Presbyterian World Mission

Dear partners in God’s mission,

We near the close of 2018 inspired by the hope of Christ. God is transforming the world, and you are helping to make it happen.

Thank you very much for your support of our mission co-workers. The prayers and financial gifts of people like you enable them to work alongside global partners to address poverty, hopelessness, violence and other pressing problems in the name of Jesus Christ.

Every day, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission co-workers are blessed to be able to walk alongside their brothers and sisters across the globe. Listening to each other in faith and in friendship, they learn from each other how to work towards a world in which everyone flourishes. Acting upon what they discover together, PC(USA) mission co-workers and our global partners strengthen the body of Christ.

Because you are an integral part of God’s mission, I invite you to become more deeply committed to Presbyterian World Mission. First, would you make a year-end gift for the sending and support of our mission co-workers? The needs in the world are great, and World Mission is poised to answer God’s call to serve others.

I also invite you to ask your session to add our mission co-workers to your congregation’s prayer list and mission budget for 2019 and beyond. Your multi-year commitment will make a great difference in our involvement with our partners. The majority of our mission co-workers’ funding comes from the special gifts of individuals and congregations like yours, for God’s mission is a responsibility of the whole church, not a particular area of the church. Now more than ever, we need your financial support!

In faith, our mission co-workers accept a call to mission service. In faith, World Mission, representing the whole church and you, sends them to work with our global partners. In faith, will you also commit to support this work with your prayers and financial gifts? With hope and faith, I await your positive response!

At God’s service and at your service!

José Luis Casal

P.S. Your gift will help meet critical needs of our global partners. Thank you!

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