January 27, 2006—

Well, I can't believe I'm saying this… but there are definite benefits to jet-lag! Waking up every morning before your alarm, ready for the day. You can't beat that! There is the draw back of wanting to fall asleep during dinner, but that can be overlooked in the morning when you wake up feeling amazingly… alert. Unfortunately this wonderful phenomenon doesn't last forever. Getting up in the morning is a bit more of an struggle these days.

This morning began like many other days since jet-leg has departed. There was a passionate debate between my body and my mind, ending with a final consensus to do what is right and get up. My parents called and we spent the last 23 minutes of their phone card talking about the events of the past four days. Then the whole team gathered for Wisdom Search again. The leadership series we watched today talked about developing a vision statement and a mission statement. I was really struck by the concept that if we don't know where our destination is, it doesn't matter what road we take. If we can think beyond today, to what God has for us five years from now, it will change the choices we make in between.

Lunch was PB&J. The taste of America! Does this bring everyone back happy memories of a carefree childhood? We were still sitting and eating when the first kids showed up ready for another day at the Children's Institute. You know, it's really neat to think that each child on your team was placed there by God for a specific purpose. We had a quite a mix of personalities. There was the cutest little girl who would loved to run up to the front of the room and peak behind the piano. We had another boy that was quite the talker. He would go around expressing whatever was on his mind, at the top of his lungs. One girl looked sad and gloomy all the time. It seemed that she couldn't even smile. I wonder what her life is like. God brought all these children together because He desires them to know Him.

Karen leading Parent Presentation

Children singing in Parent Presentation

The Children's Institute went really well. It was a long day for the teachers and the students, but it was a really good day. It was good to see the kids coming together as friends and as a team. I think they really understood many of the things taught this week. It was hard for me not being able to communicate with the kids. I felt like I wasn't connecting with them or getting to know them because of the language barrier. I was praying today that God would help the kids to see His love in me and give me opportunities to reach out to them. God is so faithful to work in our areas of weakness to accomplish His purposes. Chinese is defiantly an area of weakness for me.

There were several highlights of the day. I think Brad eating a huge bite of peanut butter in the skit and then saying, "I have to go to school now" so he could go spit it out, is somewhere near the top of the list. The children gave a presentation to the parents to perform the songs and verses they had learned. The kids did really well. I on the other hand, mouthed my way through most of the numbers, grabbing franticly for any familiar phrase that I could say with confidence. I was so grateful when the hand motions allowed me to cover my mouth for a few seconds! Before long the seminar was over, and we were telling all of our new friends goodbye.

After we cleaned up the Chien Jin Presbyterian Church we headed out for a night on the town. We hit one of the night markets of Kaohsiung. It was full of food, clothes, sparkly hair accessories, and scarves. Ruth somehow managed to get candied strawberries for free… It couldn't have been because of her Chinese! A lady working at one of the vendors taught us new ways to tie a scarf. I'll never forget her telling us in Chinese and Ruth "interpreting" it into English. It brings a whole new meaning to conquering the language barrier!

My favorite event of the whole evening was the sticker photo booths. We were assured that it was one of the things that you must do while in Taiwan. I am now fully convinced that your trip wouldn't be the same without it. As far as I can discern, the concept is to cram as many people into the booth as possible. You then proceed to make as many faces as you can while the camera snaps your pretty poses. Everything must be carried out with extreme speed because if you aren't ready… Too bad! The camera takes your picture anyway. We do have a few self-proclaimed experts who managed to get themselves into every group's pictures. Until we find someone that is registered to declare them experts, Rowan and Kennan will remain as thus, self-proclaimed!

It was a wonderful day!

—Katherine Sherrer
ATI Student from NC