Jedediah Smith Redwoods & Samuel H. Boardman

After a long 5 hour drive down to California, we pulled off the road and finally got some much needed sleep. In the morning, we drove to Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park to take in the view and shoot pictures. We proceeded down the very poor road that would take us into the Redwoods with concern for some of the other cars around us. The Redwoods were breathtaking even though the weather was inconsistent with rain and fog. We managed to get tons of good shots from our first stop. After, we headed to Samuel H. Boardman State Park, outside of Brookings, Oregon. On our way we stopped at all the small beaches and overlooks we saw (which seemed like a million). One of the stops we made was to Oregon's tallest bridge. At 345ft. high, our fear of heights definitely started to kick in. Along the Samuel H. Boardman corridor we stopped at more beaches and finally made it to our destination. We couldn't believe how beautiful it this part of the coast could be, it was the most surreal thing ever. The water was bright blue and the views were incredible. With a large amount of time left in the day we left the area and headed up towards Coos Bay where we would stay the night.

Ochoco National Forest & Painted Hills

The day started out early, too early for a normal trip to the mountain bike trails. The real reason being to shoot mountain biking at sunrise even though that was cut short by a trip to the E.R. I ended up cutting open my forehead right above my eyebrow and needing to get 13 stitches despite wearing a full face helmet at the time. Our day was looking a tad bit gloomy due to the trip to the emergency room. We decided we wouldn't let a few stitches be a set back for our existing plans, so we headed towards the Painted Hills. The following pictures are only a few of the memories we came back with. Enjoy!

PRECEDING THOUGHTS OF THE MONOTONY BACK HOME (DAY 11 AND 12)

DAY 11

Despite the previous nights typhoon event, I was the only one able to sleep through the entire night because of a genius idea to sleep with headphones in. All four of the other guys in room we were staying barely slept due to the hatch on the ceiling breaking in the storm as stated in the last blog. 

Locals cleaning up after the storm

Locals cleaning up after the storm

Our curiosity guided us to the closest window where we peeked through the glass in an attempt to view the damage from Soudelor. Luckily remnants of the storm were nearly non existent because of the local’s hard work to clean up all possible trails of the storm. Men and women were outside in the streets cleaning the sidewalks and doing their best to show how much pride they had in their beautiful city by keeping it clean. 

Around noon we took a walk to 7-11 followed by Taiwanese buffet for lunch. Our break for fresh air allowed us to see how little damage the powerful storm actually caused the city. Our break from being inside took us to the school where we met with Pastor Luke, his wife, and the camp helpers. We began to set up for the next day’s event to show the parents what their children had learned in our english camp. Our first sight of the school showed us the most damage which we had seen. The school was littered with trees and branches all over the entire campus. Our team began to start cleaning up any remaining damage left at the school before setting up. 

After setting up at the school, we headed back to the hostel where we grabbed our supplies from camp and then headed to the church at which Pastor Luke preached. The plan when we left the states was to leave all supplies in Hualien as a gift for the church, as well as free up space in our luggage. Pastor Luke was very happy to receive our gift of teaching supplies, and sports equipment. 

The local school littered with storm debris

The local school littered with storm debris

Dinner time was soon approaching us as the day grew on. Chris had joked 2 days before about the possibility of Salt Lick delivering. Little did we know he would actually make it possible for us to enjoy our favorite meal in Hualien thus far in the comfort of our hostel rooms. We even received the humble owner delivering our orders as an extra special part to our eat-in night. 

DAY 12

Last day of camp's event

Last day of camp's event

We awoke early once more on one of our last in Taiwan to make sure our luggage was fully packed for the day. Managing to leave the house at 8:45 to grab food, head to 7-11 for drinks, and then go to the school where we would see the kids for the last time. Once arriving at the school, students and parents began to trickle in and fill the seats one by one. Our event was scheduled sing worship songs, run down each day’s holiday lesson, hear the testimonies of a few team members, and then hear a sermon from Pastor Luke. 

The event went really well except for one thing; our last time to see the students. Many people on the team were very saddened by the fact we may never see these children again. The majority of the children’s parents asked to get pictures of us and their child because they knew how much their kids had enjoyed the camp which we led. Our work in Hualien was done. We came, we taught, we built relationships, and we left a lasting impact of God’s love for a non Christian community to see before their eyes.

Enjoying the endless views on our train ride back to Taipei

Enjoying the endless views on our train ride back to Taipei

The departure of our train back to Taipei was at 1:00. So we proceeded down the road towards the train station where we would leave the coastal city of Hualien we had come to know and love so very much. Our train ride was 3 hours of countless picturesque views of small towns, towering mountains, and the coast which has slightly changed color. The waves brought in murky brown water caused by the typhoon coming somewhat inland in certain parts of the country. We arrived in Taipei, hopped on the MRT, and then headed back towards Ximen where we had stayed previously in Taipei. It felt like home and we knew how badly it was going to hurt when we left.

Since it was Sunday, we headed towards Aroma for one last church service in the little coffee shop based church. Once again we walked in to a packed out church full of familiar faces we had grown so close to over the past 2 weeks. Chris shared about our trip in his sermon, and what it meant for God to be our heavenly father. The service ended and our team left with our friends towards the shaved ice shop we were introduced to on our first night in Taiwan. Eating our new team favorite of mango shaved ice, we shared community with the people of Aroma for the last time. Hugs, laughter, and hopefully “I’ll be back to Taiwan again” ’s were exchanged as we said our last goodbyes to some of the kindest people on the face of the Earth. 

As I end this blog, we have been helped beyond measure by everyone back home, and the people of Aroma Coffee Shop. I’d like to personally thank Nancy, Chris, Jamie, Harris, Annie, and Jerry for everything you did to make our team feel at home in Taiwan. 

PS. There’s no way I can forget Jesse Wagner and everything you did to make me feel at peace over the course of the trip. Jesse is by far one of the most loving people, and he can brighten anyone’s day no matter the circumstances. Thank you Jesse for taking the time to pray with me and ease my emotions about coming home. You have been a huge blessing to myself and the rest of the team!

8.10.15

"I WILL PRAISE YOU IN THE STORM" (DAY 10)`

Starting camp off with our normal morning songs and festivities

Starting camp off with our normal morning songs and festivities

Amidst the previous day's talk of camp being canceled due to a national Typhoon Day, we were woken up 10 minutes before we needed to leave and go teach. We awoke to the sound of Chris rushing us out of bed because the weather was looking sunny and clear outside. Chris and Pastor Luke we're in constant contact to make sure that we would for sure have camp. All we needed at this point was 10 parents saying that their kids would be attending that day. Sure enough, over 10+ parents agreed to let their begging kids show up to class since the typhoon had stalled and weather was calm. 

Knowing that Friday would most likely be our last day of camp because of the approaching storm, we gave camp our all. A little less than 2/3rds of the kids showed up for camp as expected. Running our normal English classes and games gave us more time to bond with all of our students. About two hours into camp, we broke off into leading games in hopes that we could rid the kids of energy before our American holiday lesson/story time. Friday's holiday was Easter, led by Hannah and Jacob. Through their lesson of Easter, they explained the life of Jesus leading up to how we as Christian's celebrate Easter. The kids watched intently as the Easter story unfolded right before their eyes. The lesson finished, and I believe that Hannah and Jacob did a fantastic job concluding our week in story time. 

Pastor Luke praying with the students

Pastor Luke praying with the students

Pastor Luke stood up following the ending of the lesson. Luke explained in Chinese to the children about Jesus life and what it means to be a Christian. Ups and downs, hard times and bad, Luke shared the kids that they could pray to Jesus no matter what. He told them that prayer was a way for us to talk with God about anything and everything in our lives. The kids were all paying attention more than we had ever seen them up until this point. As Pastor explained what it meant to follow Christ, he began a time in which the kid's could accept the gift of salvation by asking Jesus into their hearts. Luke started a prayer which the kid's could repeat if they were wanting to accept Jesus into their lives. Almost every single one of the student's hands shot up as Luke asked who wanted to accept the free gift of salvation. One of the most beautiful moments of the entire trip right before our eyes. 

Ending camp early on a huge high note, we proceeded to "afternoon tea" with Pastor Luke and his wife at a local Hualien favorite. Our group traveled in taxis because the wind was starting to grow more and more rapidly by this point. Enjoying fellowship with the pastor, his family, the helpers, and our group was a good experience as the storm slowly rolled in. 

We made our way back to the hostel in which we were staying. On the trip back, we made a mandatory trip to 7-11. Honestly 7-11 has been our second home in Taiwan as we have purchased countless snacks, drinks, and teas during our stay here. We returned to the hostel, got comfortable, watched movies, and waited out the storm. 

Make sure to hold onto your hat as you walk through the windy streets of Hualien

Make sure to hold onto your hat as you walk through the windy streets of Hualien

Progressively growing in strength as it grew closer to us, the storm was intimidating in every sense. Enormous gusts of wind would push up against the building and rattle and thing loose on the outside. Rain washed over anything outside the proximity of the hostel in which we stayed. We had done our best to prepare, and the only thing left was stay in prayer as we waited. God ultimately had a plan since He had brought us this far. About halfway through the night, a hatch on the ceiling started to get semi-loose. The newly made gap allowed water to come in through the ceiling onto Chris's bed in which he was trying to gain as much sleep as possible. Chris, Isaac, and Brian spent the remainder of the night mopping the floor and preventing any further damage. 

All I can say now is that GOD IS GOOD! We are safe, the storm has passed, and we live to serve another day. We are blessed beyond measure with the amount of prayer support we have received as we faced the storm head on. Thank you all who joined us in prayer, we are truly blessed!

8.8.15

"ANCHOR OF MY SOUL, YOU SUSTAIN" (DAY 9)

Jessie receiving help from Brother Samuel

Jessie receiving help from Brother Samuel

English camp went overly well thanks to a new teaching technique Chris, our host, presented to us the night before. In summary the new teaching  method used a "point" system for positive and/or negative behavior which would enable the kids into paying attention more in class. In turn our day was much easier, and class was more productive leaving everyone satisfied. In Taiwan the educators come first before the students therefor our original attempt at classroom management. Children quite frankly enjoyed class more than normal.

As the day progressed, signs of growth in wind strength was evident as we would enjoy being outside more than inside due to temperature. Typhoon Soudelor would soon be approaching in the coming days of our stay. Talk of the typhoon would go from devaluing its power to talk involving questions regarding what would happen in worse case scenarios. 

Some locals are brave enough to face the rain head on!

Some locals are brave enough to face the rain head on!

Once camp was over, our group resorted to searching for an American BBQ restaurant called Saltlick. Our adventure to Saltlick involved a 35 minute walk straight through the middle of Hualien, Taiwan. 10 minutes into our stroll, rain started to fall from the sky; there was no turning back as we made our way to our final destination. Oh did I mention we were also celebrating Keely's birthday? The team planned to treat Keely well on her 18th birthday. During our dinner at Saltlick we somehow were introduced to one of the two men who owned the Taiwan-famous restaurant. He gave us 10% off our entire meal just because of our friendly attitudes during our conversation with him. 

Rainbows, a sign of God's convenient for his people.

Rainbows, a sign of God's convenient for his people.

Walking back through the rain left us with the challenge of staying dry. Many of the people resorted to opening up their fresh packages encasing their new ponchos that Nancy had bought for everyone in the group. Marching down the streets clothed in yellow hooded robes. Now think about the image you're left with in your mind!

Continue to keep our group in your prayers. As I write this, I'm half trying to push procrastination away, and the other half writing to take my mind off of the events unfolding right outside the hostel we're staying at. I believe it is God's plan that we're here, and it is our job to do everything in our power to fulfill His will. My verse for peace of mind was given to me tonight from  good friend Annie.

8.7.15

“HELLO HURRICANE” (DAY 8)

Starting our morning off a little sleepy

Starting our morning off a little sleepy

Day 2 of our sports camp was off to a fantastic start with the children somehow becoming more and more willing to learn. A huge blessing to those of us who were slowly losing more and more physical energy as the week progressed. The children had already learned a great amount, and their hunger for more knowledge was strong as they continued to grow on us through their joyous smiling attitudes. No matter what the task, they would do it with a giant ear to ear grin and a “yes” answer. 

Many of the kids would draw us pictures of ourselves and give them to us as gifts. That was one of the biggest highlights of the trip so far for myself as they gave the to us. “Teacher, teacher this is for you”, the kids would say. You could already tell they loved us, and that made us know that we were doing something right in our teaching and relational efforts with our students. 

As the day went on, talk of the coming “super typhoon" could be heard in the passing conversation of host to group leaders. Much of this small talk regarding the typhoon had an anxious and stressed feeling tied in. From what I have heard, this typhoon has the possibility to be one of the largest storms on record for 2015. I can assure you that our group is in safe hands as we get closer and enter in to a time of prayer for the country of Taiwan for safety. 

Notes from our awesome students

Notes from our awesome students

As our group prayed back at the house we were staying, I constantly had the song “Hello Hurricane” by Switchfoot stuck in my head. An overwhelming sense of peace come over my ever worrying spirit as the lyrics went through my head. 

The lyrics go:

Hello hurricane 

You're not enough 

Hello hurricane 

You can't silence my love 

I've got doors and windows 

Boarded up 

All your dead end fury is 

Not enough 

You can't silence my love, my love

May this be your prayer for our group in time of worry, outreach to the people of Hualien, and as we seek God’s will in this approaching storm. God all along had a plan for us as He changed our original location because of certain circumstances from Burkina Faso to Amman, Jordan, then to Taiwan. We miraculously have ended up here with no clue why it is that God has planned our story this way. All we know is that we will be faithful in His plan for us no matter the cost. Nothing can silence God’s love, even the hardship of this world. 

Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

PS Don’t worry about our group, instead pray for the above requests. Officials in the country have our best interest, and know what is safe and not.

8.6.15 

"SMILING IS THEIR LOVE LANGUAGE" (DAY 6 AND 7)

DAY 6

Greeted by Pastor Luke and Brother Samuel

Greeted by Pastor Luke and Brother Samuel

Beginning our Monday morning at an earlier than normal pace, we left the house at 6AM to make it to our train that would carry us all the way to the East coast of Taiwan. Our day's itinerary was set to travel, quickly familiarize ourselves with Hualian (where we would stay on the East coast), and take a day of rest. A three hour train ride full of laughter and team bonding took us to our destination where we were greeted by the two overly welcoming faces of Pastor Luke and Brother Samuel. The two hosts that would watch after us as we spent our last week in Hualian to run an English camp filled with sports games and bible stories. Luke and Samuel are two of the people that run the local CMA church of Hualian, Taiwan. May I also add the fact that  the town was surrounded by scenic views of the Taiwanese mountain ranges enclosed by fog towards the top. When imagining the scene, think about the pictures on Pinterest when you search "Hualian, Taiwan". That's basically what it was like. 

The mountains surrounding our temporary home of Hualian

The mountains surrounding our temporary home of Hualian

As a team we began to stroll through the city and pray for different parts of the community of Hualian. Starting our week of this way helped us to get in the mind of service for the people here. As we walked through the city, Chris our leader began to explain to us that the people here would be twice friendly as the ones in Taipei. I was shocked that someone could say that because of the fact that the locals in Taipei were already the some of the most welcoming people I have ever met. Sure enough we were greeted on the streets by locals who engaged in simple conversation with much ease. Our walk proceeded to come back to the school where we met with Pastor Luke again to discuss the next day and starting the camp. We were introduced to the helpers which would all be helping us translate our lessons. Each of the helpers were blessing us with servants attitudes. 

 

DAY 7

 

Students during our Bible/American Holliday story time

Students during our Bible/American Holliday story time

Rolling out of bed early as always, we made it out to the school for our first day of English/Sports/Bible camp with the children of Hualian. Lacking more than energy, we began to be filled by the children pouring in. Each child looked hungry to learn and receive from our team serving them as a way of blessing each and every one of the students. Teaching them new songs was a struggle, but we could see some begin to grasp the simple ideas that each song held for them. 

Our day was filled with simple english teaching, games, and singing. All of which included growing relationships between our team, the hosts, and more importantly the students. A new experience for myself and a lot of our team in which we could teach english to students with little grasp of the foreign language. To them we had a couple things in common; the ability to smile at any given moment, a love for high fives and fist-pumps, and somehow being able to communicate through play.

Jessie showing off her contagious smile as she enjoys the english lesson

Jessie showing off her contagious smile as she enjoys the english lesson

Overall the first day of camp was a huge success. Prayer for energy throughout the week as we dive deeper relationally with the students, for physical health of the team, and lastly for our minds to be at ease as the ever growing threat of 2015's biggest storm grows closer to Hualian. Stress has grown over the pas couple of days as the storm moves closer to our location. Prayer for those things would be a huge blessing to myself, and the rest of the team. Thanks for keeping up with our team, and making the effort to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. 

8.5.15

"AI YING LE" (DAY 4 AND 5)

Starting day 4 off with less sleep due to our team joining The Aroma church on their yearly baptism service at the beach for new believers. Around 70 people in total traveled by bus and train to our location of a tropical beach surrounded by the scorching sun. We were advised to over apply sun screen because of the fact that Taiwan is located closer to the equator than our bodies are used to. We spent the entire day playing in the jellyfish infested waters, racking up sting marks, worshipping in song, hearing a sermon from Chris, playing a local favorite of watermelon football, then watching and rejoicing as the new believers committed their lives to Christ through baptism. Jerry, one of the Taiwanese locals which had been hanging out with our group frequently, decided last minute that he would be baptized. Our group was beyond excited to witness his commitment after he had been going back on forth whether he would or not. 

After returning to the beach, we made it back to the house where we were staying to quickly shower before we left for a night market and night hike. Annie and Harris led us through the market and pointed out many different foods which we tried. The market was filled with shops that carried shirts with “Chinglish” (broken English which makes no sense to us). Following the night markets, we proceeded in the direction of Elephant Mountain, which is famous for its view of the picturesque city scape showing Taipei 101. The Majority of the group had little to no energy left, yet we began our long trek up to the top. Once making it past the seemingly infinite number of stairs, we arrived our the top to witness one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen. We ended up staying at the top until 11:20 only to realize the MRT (Taipei’s public transportation) closed at midnight. Luckily we made it back by rushing back to the subway on time.

Taipei 101 visible from Elephant Mountain  using a panorama of 9 shots combined in post edit software

Taipei 101 visible from Elephant Mountain  using a panorama of 9 shots combined in post edit software

How I envision God looking at His people in Taiwan and touching their lives. 

How I envision God looking at His people in Taiwan and touching their lives. 

As I witnessed the view from 101, I thought to myself these things:

Taiwan, a country densely populated by 23.4 million people, is home to around 4.5% Christian’s. Of that percentage, 70% profess to be protestant. I believe that God has used our team in a way that we would plant seeds of His love and hope on the island of Taiwan. So many people are unaware of how truly love they are, and they long top know the feeling coming from a culture of reserved individuals. Taiwan is a prime location for our efforts in outreach because of these factors. I see God’s work vastly impacting the population already as growth has come greatly from the church already at work. 

Sunday nights at Aroma Church

Sunday nights at Aroma Church

Sunday night church in The Aroma coffee shop church was an amazing experience. You could feel the passion in the room of the people worshipping together through a bilingual service. The room in which we gathered was packed to the max. Almost 70+ people crammed together worshipping the same God who truly loves each and every one of them. During the service, Chris opened up a time for people to get up and give their testimonies. I felt an urge to get up and share, and I am more than happy I did! We sang one song in mandarin which stuck out to me. One of the lines in the chorus said “Ai Ying Le”, which translated to “Let love win”.

It is my prayer for the country of Taiwan, that love WILL win. I believe that God is using everyone here to show the citizens of Taiwan His love. No more of this reserved culture caused by fear of individuality and a desire to know what life abundant is. As I pray this for the country, I ask YOU the reader to do the same as God is ever-working in the lives of the people here.

8.3.15

"JIMMY'S GIFT IS SERVICE." (DAY 3)

With a slight change in plans for our day's itinerary, we ended up assisting the move of one of our hosts. She was given notice that she needed to be moved out by this Saturday. Crazy, because that's today, and she had little notice about the move. As we were moving her furniture down from the 9th floor to ground level in the street with Mark, another one of our hosts, began to inform us that one of his friends would be helping us as a driver to help move the furniture over to Caleb's house (where it would be stored). 

Meet our new friend Jimmy

Meet our new friend Jimmy

As Mark's friend Jimmy showed up, we were greeted by an energetic and free spirited man which had volunteered to drive us. Jesse and I packed up Jimmy's Ford and set off in the direction towards Caleb's house. During the drive, Jesse began to talk with his friend. I soon jumped in and started to learn more about Jimmy's life. As it turns out, Jimmy held a very high position in HTC developing apps, along with developing apps for Apple since the second iPhone was released. Jimmy suddenly got quiet and then proceeded to explain that he was no longer working. He told us how it would shame his family due to his love for the church, and desire to pursue a career in the church after holding a high position for HTC. As we got closer to our destination, Jimmy continued to share his life story to myself and our host. Jesse spoke up in the conversation and said "Jimmy has the gift of service. He is always helping no matter what." It dawned on me how much of a living servant for Christ Jimmy was to his peers, the church, and his family no matter the circumstance. Jimmy's love for Christ allowed him to give of himself along his resources in a more humble way than I had ever seen before in one person. 

The view from the top of Caleb's house

The view from the top of Caleb's house

Once getting to our location, I sensed an urge to pray a blessing for Jimmy as a way to speak life into his hurting world. Peace, direction, and affirmation are all things Jimmy needs in his life as he goes to tell his parents that he quit his job. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to go with Jesse today and unload the furniture with Jimmy. Without taking the opportunity to say yes to going, I never would have been able to meet such an amazing man of God who is doing big things right before our eyes. This trip has been about growing the body of Christ in Taipei, and I believe we did just that. Giving words of affirmation and supporting the newly found Christ followers of Taipei as support has allowed them to be reenergized and filled with the Holy spirit. God has done big things here and it is so apparent. 

This is not the only big thing that happened on day three. We were able to participate in the Coffee Talk ministry of teaching English to people with little English skills in the community. Two girls who we met during day 2 when we sold muffins in Ximen. Another huge highlight was the trip back from Caleb's house as Jesse and I managed to find our way back with out GPS. Jesse on bike, and myself on skateboard. A huge blessing to be able to skate through the city and do something I love. Many looks of wonder and amazement from locals who clearly had never seen people skateboard through the Capital city before made the trip all the more rewarding!

7.31.15

"Dude, Nancy Talks So Fast" (Day 2)

Wandering the streets of Ximen

Wandering the streets of Ximen

All I can say is WOW! God has clearly been working in the hearts and lives of the people here in Taiwan. It was evident in our meeting how on fire for God the community is when almost 15-20 locals showed up. Nancy, one of the locals about to go on her YWAM DTS then do surfing ministry, prayed for us. Nancy's enthusiasm was contagious and helped lift our spirits. 

I'm so far overwhelmed with the culture here. It is a highly fast paced, and always moving system with little rules when driving (at least from my point of view it looks like there's no rules). For an ADHD kid like myself, I can almost say that I thrive in places like this. I've begun fall in love with everything here because it feels like second nature, except for the language that is.. The people working in the coffee shop that we have done ministry in have been overly grateful for our presence as we help them with even the littlest of tasks like washing dishes. 

Washing dishes in the streets of Ximen

Washing dishes in the streets of Ximen

Day 2 has been awesome, and I'm excited to keep making more and more lasting memories here within the community. God has been so good to our team already. A prayer request would be for energy for the team. Some of our team has struggled with jet lag. Another prayer request would be to pray for our church's second team that is in Ecuador. The team is getting hit with a contagious virus that is starting to making half of the team sick. Prayer for their health, energy, and high spirits on their team as the do God's work in South America. 

Thank you again for following along as we do outreach and serve in Taiwan. It may not always be easy, but through it all we have God who has our backs more than anything else. 

Following our fearless host Chris through the streets of Ximen

Following our fearless host Chris through the streets of Ximen

7.30.15

"WAIT WHAT TIME IS IT HERE?" (DAY 1 #SACTOTAIWAN2015)

Wow, almost 24 straight hours of travel. Our team is exhausted, drained, amazed by the culture, and so stoked to share God's love. No matter the circumstances involved, we have managed to push through with positive attitudes to make the best of every second here on our trip.

1st night in Ximen, Taiwan 

1st night in Ximen, Taiwan 

"Wait what time is it here?" As we left our last plane, a mood of confusion set in due to our bodies not understanding what time zone we were in. We flew through customs without any hesitation from the Taiwanese security! Thank God for that!! Almost instantaneously we were greeted by our host Chris. Chris helped us exchanged our money, load bags onto the bus we would be taking, and guided us into our new foreign home for the next 12 days. We boarded the bus which would take us on a 45 minute trip through the city towards the apartment we would be staying in Ximen (she-men). As we rode through the city, we were greeted by humid rain, lightning, and sights of a culture which never slept through the night. 

Ximen, translated "West Gate",  is a smaller section of Taipei, Taiwan which essentially is the beginning to the West side of the city. The Westgate was a large community which thrived off of shopping late into the night.

The Taiwanese have been awesome so far, and I look forward to becoming more immersed in their culture. God is so good, and it has been overly evident as He led us to our destination free of problems. 

7.29.15

Countdown To Taiwan

I can't believe it's almost here, and man I sure am more than ready for this trip.

About 6 months ago I was accepted to follow God's call to go overseas to share the love of God to the people of Burkina Faso. You might say "but why is this titled 'Countdown to Taiwan 2015!'?"  Well here's the thing, God had an amazing plan in store for not only me, but the rest of the team. Over the course of the first 3 months in planning our mission trip we encountered many problems that involved our location for the trip. God knew all along that world conflict would be a problematic factor in our planning. Finally this conflict was resolved and God made it more than clear that we were supposed to be headed to Taipei, Taiwan. A team was needed of 10-12 students, high energy, able to teach english, students that would enjoy putting on a sports camp focused on Jesus, and you want to know what? That team was assembled from the very beginning, had no clue there was a need for their exact gifts, and ironically that team was us! I have been blessed by countless families, friends, and coworkers financially in supporting me as I serve God. 

I'm excited to share my adventure through both my website, photography Facebook page, and my Instagram account. I will tell daily stories and share pictures about what we have done each day, as well as how God has worked in the lives of not only the people of Taiwan, but our team as well. Thank you for supporting me on this trip, and I'm thrilled that you will be able to hear our tales through the awesome power of social media. 

Trip dates: July 28th-August 10th

Daily posts will be made through:

Instagram- @Calebwallace

Facebook- Facebook.com/calebwallacephotos

Website- Calebwallacephotography.com/blog

7.20.15

Thoughts

Sometimes, I sit back, stare at the ceiling and think to myself "Wow, I have really come a long ways." The simple fact of the matter is yes, yes indeed I have come a long ways. Looking back through my life (all 18 years of it), I see many events that have shaped who I am as a person. Many of these events may seem petty to outsiders, yet I see them as life changing events that became a sort of catalyst for positive growth to occur. To be honest I never ever envisioned myself enjoying photography as much as I currently am. I truly believed that I was going to skate professionally, and be able to make a living doing that.. But really, those were thoughts of a younger Caleb. A younger Caleb who was less in touch with reality. Maybe photography isn't what God's plan for me to do is. Yet I know that somehow, one way or another I will use my creative gifts to serve God. It feels like just yesterday I picked up my first camera and began to slowly fall in love with the simple medium of photography. Time has passed at an immense pace, yet I focus on moving forward. Moving forward, in a manner that makes me into a better person. I want to strive for progression. The only way I could describe the last few years of high school would be this: one step forward, one step back, but then taking ten huge leaps and bounds in the right direction. The only way I could've been able to get those huge leaps and bounds in the right direction is because of YOU. You, yes you! You are the ones who have helped support me, influence me, and most of all guide me into this positive spot I'm at in life right now. I'm so beyond grateful for everyone who has contributed in helping me along this journey. Yet as I sit here, stare at the ceiling once more, and think to myself. I realize maybe I am the underdog in my own story, but those thoughts can be saved later for another post in time. Thank YOU again, you are the reason I am where I am today. 

4.16.15

ADVENTURE, WAIT WHAT?

Hey friends, 

Earlier this school year I was accepted on to my church's overseas mission trip. This opportunity is going to be a huge experience for not only me, my fellow teammates, but the people we will be able to serve for in their home country of Taiwan. Spending the majority of our time in the town of Hualien, we will be able to put on sports camps, and connect with the local kids in the region. I'm more than excited for this trip.. Well actually, I'm counting down the days till we depart in hopes that the day will come sooner. 

Prayer support, as well as the support needed to fundraise all finances need to participate in the trip are the two most tangible ways you can help me in my journey to serve God's kingdom. You can contact me for more details on the upcoming trip, along with extra ways you can help on my calling for the Great Commission.  

4.13.15