Bilingual speech class students celebrate Christmas

Greetings from Taiwan!

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:1-2 (ESV)



Let's eat tacos!



Christmas Tacos
(a.k.a. – Teaching on Christmas Day)

Christmas in the mission field can create homesickness or opportunity. This year, I chose opportunity. Taiwan’s Ministry of Education determines our school calendar. While we are a Christian school, we are not allowed to celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas day. We hold Christmas activities a few days before the 25th, but on the holiday itself, it’s business as usual. I wanted to mark the special day, but I couldn’t host an official classroom party. So, I got a little creative. 
Apparently, I talk about tacos . . . a lot. My bilingual speech class students have repeatedly asked me to make them tacos. Tacos for Christmas? The time was right, but how do I explain it  to the school? Research. I created a lesson plan for students to present speeches discussing traditional vs. non-traditional holiday foods. Tacos would be a non-traditional holiday food in Taiwan; therefore, we would conduct informative research. We would enjoy tacos during class on December 25. This is Christmas day? What a happy coincidence! 

I expected my students would enjoy a food centered lesson, but something unexpected happened as well. While eating and relaxing, we visited informally. The kids were curious about Christmas traditions at church. We discussed candlelight services, children’s services, and the differences between Christmas Eve and Christmas morning services. The Holy Spirit was working through our taco research, allowing me to share a little more about the ways we celebrate the birth of Christ – with or without tacos.



Some students and foreign teachers stopped by my house to sing a few songs. Click on the picture above to enjoy Silent Night in English and Mandarin. 


Evening lights in the dragon fruit field

Dragon fruit field next to school

Red and white dragon fruit

Dragon fruit on the tree



I Am Dragon Fruit
(a.k.a – Does Clark W. Griswold live here?)

Growing up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, changing seasons dictated daily activities. Spring planting, summer hay, fall harvest, and winter plans for next spring created an annual cycle. Growing seasons in Taiwan are certainly different. The CMS campus is flanked by fields. I enjoy watching the seasons transform in the rice, pineapple, and dragon fruit fields, and one recent change completely surprised me. 
The lights! Some of you may be familiar with movie character Clark W. Griswold and his exuberant obsession with Christmas lights. I thought he moved in next door. The night sky didn’t just twinkle with lights – it was overwhelmed with them! I asked students and staff what was happening. Turns out, evening lights were being used to assist speedy development of dragon fruit planted beside the school.  
The lights encourage dragon fruit growth, just as our heavenly Father encourages spiritual growth. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:1-2 (ESV) Pruning also encourages growth. God daily provides new opportunities and challenges in the mission field, pruning me to draw me closer to Him. I am dragon fruit. What are you? 



Please Pray For:

  • Pray for my students. The outbreak of Coronavirus has created high anxiety. Please pray for strength and comfort.
  • Pray for those who are new in their faith that they may be comforted when challenged by the traditions of their culture. 

Give Thanks For: 

  • Give thanks that the Holy Spirit continues working in the hearts of our students.
  • Boni’s father. My Taiwanese friend, Boni, has asked her dad to come to church for many years. He has joined us the last two weeks! Praise the Lord!



Financial Partnership

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Make checks payable to: 
PO Box 66861 
St. Louis, MO 63166-6861
Mission Central 
40718 Highway E 16
Mapleton, IA 51034
On the memo line, include:  Thews/Taiwan 




Missionary · 5135 Coventry Ct · Davenport, IA 52807-3858 · USA

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