Greetings from Taiwan! February 2020

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)



Public outings require medical masks during coronavirus concerns

The school campus is quiet during the 3 week coronavirus break.

Administrative building fire at CMS



Coronavirus, Closure, and Fire!
(a.k.a. – It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.)

I’m not a Trekkie, but I found myself using a well-known Mr. Spock phrase recently. I was chatting with a U.S. friend who was curious about the Coronavirus in Taiwan. I stated, “It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.” In other words, any normal routine was no longer normal. 

Taiwan’s proximity to China and Coronavirus concerns changed daily life. Concordia Middle School’s Chinese New Year break was extended three additional weeks until February 25. The school campus was unusually quiet, medical masks were encouraged for public outings, and stores took patron temperatures before allowing entry. Life was familiar, but not the same. 
On February 6, the CMS community experienced another change. A morning electrical fire damaged the administration building. Thankfully, the early hour ensured there were no casualties or injuries; however, the building sustained damages in the amount of $250,000 USD. Additional sad news followed. 1960s construction practices, during martial law, did not include standardized building codes. After martial law, insurance companies would not offer coverage for these structures. The administration building fell into this category. 

Even in the midst of health concerns and destructive fires, God is good. The prophet Isaiah teaches us:  “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (ESV) God knows our challenges, and we continue to trust in Him. 

The Coronavirus outbreak and a significant fire would provide few silver linings, but it did offer time. Thankfully, the fire occurred during the extended break, allowing school officials greater opportunity to relocate the many administrative workers to other areas of the campus. It also granted time to organize fundraising efforts. 
You’re invited to click the link below to read the school’s official letter concerning the fire, detailed prayer requests, and donation opportunities. CMS is affiliated with the China Evangelical Lutheran Church (CELC), a partner church of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LC­­—MS).




Fire damage in the administration building

Fire fighters working

School leaders meet to pray after the fire.


(a.k.a. – It isn’t easy.)

Five years ago I would have told you I’ve seen it all in my teaching career. I haven’t. The start of our second semester proved it. Official Coronavirus protocols were distributed to the staff prior to our first day in session. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it. 

Classrooms are equipped with infrared thermometers, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, cleaning grade alcohol, and lots of instructions. Surfaces are to be cleaned regularly, including desks, door knobs, and light switches. Student temperatures are recorded twice daily. Kids are required to wear medical masks throughout the day, including school buses. In fact, students may be refused school bus entry without a mask. 
Teachers are encouraged to also wear masks while teaching. So, what’s that like? It isn’t easy. Talking an entire class period through a medical mask is a bit like breathing through a blanket. I find myself panting, gasping for breath, and sucking the paper mask into my mouth. Glamourous? No. Choking hazard? More likely. One thing is certain, the students are amused! Overall, we are back to school, sharing Jesus, and we truly can’t complain. There are few Coronavirus cases in Taiwan. We are safe. We are healthy! Praise the Lord! 



Please Pray For:

  • Pray for my students. The outbreak of Coronavirus has created high anxiety. Please pray for strength and comfort.
  • Pray for continued health and safety as coronavirus concerns impact our daily lives. Please pray for student peace and understanding as safety protocols become tiresome. 

Give Thanks For: 

  • Boni’s father. During the past year, Pastor Alex has been meeting at home with Boni’s father, teaching him Bible stories and the catechism. Boni’s 90 year old father has confessed a desire to be baptized! Praise the Lord!
  • God’s protection during coronavirus concerns and the school’s recent fire. 



Bilingual students perform a special classroom concert

The CMS bilingual students recently hosted a special classroom performance for a dear teacher who was unable to attend their February 28 concert. I peeked into the room to record this video. Click the link below to enjoy a short musical interlude. 




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PO Box 66861 
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Mission Central 
40718 Highway E 16
Mapleton, IA 51034
On the memo line, include:  Thews/Taiwan 



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