I love you Lawrance!! I thank God daily for making you my husband.
What a privilege to walk life next to you, with you. What great joy is mine . . . all because God is kind and gave me to you and you to me.
Happy 1st Anniversary, LaoGong!!
I am SO excited by what a good friend handed to me last night!! She passed on to me a CD of videos from our Taiwanese wedding!
Here is the first thing I saw . . . Lawrance singing to me a song entitled "Vows" after we had exchanged our vows. I got giddy just listening to it last night!!
I LOVE listening to him sing . . . and I often ask him to sing me to sleep. I am blessed!
I don't have much time . . . but I did just want to shout from the mountain tops that my sister gave birth to a BEAUTIFUL 12 pound 4 oz baby boy on Thursday, August 27!! He shares his birthday with two of his great-grandmothers!!
Welcome to the world Clayton Joe!!
I'm in love with this newest little guy!!!
I can't wait to snuggle with him . . . I just hope he hasn't lost his precious baby smell by the time I get to hold him!!
A beautiful song . . .
My unpoetic English translation:
Wild flowers wear beautiful clothes
Birds in the sky have never had to be "busy"
Merciful-Loving Heavenly Father daily watches over us
He so loved the people of the world that he prepared a path to everlasting life
Every single need the Heavenly Father already knows
If your heart is full of troubles, allow him to get rid of them for you
Each day Merciful-Loving Heavenly Father is taking care of us
He is the All-powerful Lord: Blessed are the people who depend on Him
The original BEAUTIFUL Chinese version:
Here is an a capella version of the same song recorded in Taipei during the Franklin Graham conference last fall. (The first 30 seconds is talking that can be skipped in order to get to the song.)
One of our favorite restaurants is called DuDu Cafe. It is a family style restaurant that serves food that is most similar to Chinese dishes you might find in the States.
Now do you see why we like it? DELICIOUS!!!
We typically sent in the front, so when we sat in the back (yes, there are only five pews and three rows) I noticed something unusual for Taiwan--lots of men. More men than women in fact on this particular Sunday.
Lord, bring more Taiwanese MEN unto Yourself!!! Raise them up as leaders of their families and of this nation. Lord, please let what was true for the jailer Acts 16:33-34 be true for men throughout Taiwan "he was baptized at once, he and all his family. . . . And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God."
interesting. Who ends up eating the food? In Peru we have something
very similar. They put tons of food on top of the graves of their
family members and leave it for several hours. But when midnight comes,
the family eats the food! I wonder about the logic... what is it like
Something similar happens here. The food and drink offerings are made first before the paper money is burned. In order to offer the ghosts (at ghost month), ancestors (during ancestor worship), and idols (at temples and Chinese New Year), incense sticks are stuck into the foods or food packaging.
After a set amount of time--it varies from family to family and holiday to holiday and probably other factors too--the offering table is taken down and the food brought inside.
The family will then eat the food. Many college students have told me waiting for the tables to come down at Chinese New Year (after midnight) so that could eat the goodies was one of their favorite parts of the yearly holiday.
I have been told that the "spirit of the food" is eaten, they are after all feeding spirits. Some have told me that because the spirit of the food has been eaten the food tastes bland and stale. Others have told me that because the spirit of the food has been eaten the food tastes better, as if it has been blessed. And, then others admit to the food not being that much different at all.
The offering tables are set up differently from area to area and family to family, just like every American family decorates their Christmas tree differently. But there are also differences in setting up an offering table to idols, ancestors, or ghosts.
At Ghost Month, often a basin of water and a hand towel can be found on or near the offering table so that their "honorable guests" can wash their hands before partaking of the meal being given to them. These two flickr photos (here and here) show ghost month tables with the typical basins with hand towel out front.Not to be confusing, but I don't have any Ghost Month photos easily accessible. What I do have is photos I took last November outside of my school. I noticed everyone was setting up tables with drinks as the main offering. (I have no idea who or what was being worshiped.) And, at many tables instead of the traditional little red wine cups, there were bottles of coke and tea boxes.
Today is the start of Ghost Month, so this weekend when Law and I walked into Carrefour we saw lots of snacks on sale. Piles and piles of snack food. At first I was like "why?" Then it dawned on me--offerings for the ghosts.
People are setting up tables like this with snacks and drinks and fruits in order to worship their ancestors.
I didn't get to go back to the good ole USA this summer. :(
I miss home. I miss my parents. I miss my brother and sister. I miss my grandparents.
And, I'm sad that I don't get to be there in a few days when my sister gives birth to my second nephew!
And, I'm sad I don't get to be there when my brother starts the new football season.
And, I'm sad I don't get to be there to play with this cuttie pie who has changed SO much since I last saw him!!
Yep, I'm missing home . . . big time this week.
Many (if not most) Taiwanese believe that it is best to die at home. If someone does not die at home it is believed that their souls may roam the earth restlessly, haunting people.
It is also believed that each person has three spirits and seven souls. Every seven days a soul leaves. Thus, traditionally the mourning period used to be 49 days. This gives each soul a chance to escape from the earthly body. At the burial, when the body is cremated, loved ones will cry and scream and plead for the spirits and souls to please, please leave the body before it is burned.
Spirit money and clothing will be burned as a gift for the
deceased and food given as an offering so that the loved one will not starve or go without in the
But, if there is no body and/or the body is not at home, when the souls leave the body the souls will wander, becoming ghosts.This weekend was the "first 7th day" since the big typhoon washed away homes and lives. Therefour, it is believed that souls are beginning to roam, and people who've lost loved ones are pleading with them to go home.
Here is a CNN video that explains:
This is only more troublesome because Ghost Month is upon us. Ghost month is the seventh lunar calender month when it is believed that the gates of hell open and all the lost souls have one month to roam the earth and be fed (since they did not die at home and were not able to be given a proper burial, there is no one to worship them, so it is believed that they go hungry in the afterlife).
All I can say is please pray.
Pray for the Lord's mercy on the Taiwanese. Oh, how they need to be set free by Truth Himself. Pray that as believers we never forget the reality of lostness and never lose a sense of urgency to proclaim truth every chance we have. Oh, Father, let us not become lazy and complacent.
If time allows me, I plan to discuss further Taiwanese funeral traditions and Ghost Month in the coming week or two. Anything specific you want to know?
PS: I feel for the child in the video who is being lied to by the others about the whereabouts of his parents. I know they believe they are doing what is best for him, but in my mind it can only be making matters worse for him.
The entire township of JiaShen in Kaohsiung County has been pummeled by mudslides and flooding. Over 1000 people in this township are unreachable--no contact can be made to determine whether or not they are alright.
**UPDATED 1:00 PM Monday** Some people from JiaShen have been located. They are distraught because on one hand they are safe, on the other hand their homes are gone and family members and friends left behind.
In addition, the TV news stations are reporting 20 dead and 30 missing throughout Taiwan.
Further, the train on the west coast couldn't go further south than ChiaYi because of all the flooding in the south. And, here in Tainan, the city has currently stopped providing water.
**UPDATED 1:00 PM Monday** We've been told our water will be off until the 12th.
Here are some scenes from the typhoon:
We are safe and dry. Those we know and love are safe. But, my heart is hurting for Taiwan right now. I picture my friends in Meinong dealing with the flooding once again--they've had a rough go of it in the past few years. My heart aches for the entire township that is missing and unreachable. On our knees for Taiwan. Lord have mercy.
Daddy in Chinese is "BaBa."Actually, many people here are surprised to hear that Father's Day in America is not August 8th but rather in June.
Eight in Chinese is also "Ba." So, August 8th is "BaBa."
So, Father's Day in Taiwan is August 8th.
Today is also the 2nd typhoon day in a row. Typhoon 莫拉克 has been perhaps the biggest typhoon I've ever experienced. Officially 6 have died and over 20,000 have been evacuated.
We've had heavy rain and wind for two days in a row now. It was dumping 3-6 feet of rain per hour. And, according to Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau, "the storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 144kph."
Signs, plants, and mopeds have been down all over our city, streetlights aren't working, tree limbs are in the streets, and intersections are flooded.
We took Lawrance's parents out to lunch despite the typhoon, but other than that, we've been locked inside.
So, I'd like to let Lawrance introduce his parents to you. So, please meet my in-laws: