Archive for the ‘Life with Jesus’ Category


I am back in Taiwan! This beautiful island and its beautiful, precious people, especially the aboriginal kids, have stolen my heart. So I am back for a year. I didn’t think I was coming back, but God tugged on my heart and called me here for a year. So here I am, excited for all that God has already done in these two weeks and knowing that He has so much more in store for this year. He is so faithful!

These two weeks have not necessarily been easy. I have found myself leaning closer and closer into my Savior, as we are in the midst of spiritual warfare. Taiwan, yes, is beautiful, but also a country filled with temples and idol worship. Followers of Jesus are rare here. Evil is present and you can feel it. And yet, I know that Jesus is stronger and more powerful than the darkness here!

Sometimes He uses my students to show how good He is…

The other day I left the cafeteria early because I was feeling faint and needed something to eat. After lunch, a tough, naughty boy named Mike came up to me and tugged on my sleeve. His dark eyes searched mine.  He asked me in Chinese if my stomach hurt, because he saw me leave the cafe early.

Mike’s face was contorted in pain, as if he might have a heart attack if my stomach hurt. Instead of the toughness and brashness he usually portrayed to others, I saw a sweet little heart concerned for me.

I will always remember that.

And I know that in that moment, I caught a glimpse of God’s heart for me, too.


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Oh Jimmy.  A white scar can be seen on the back of your head.  Did you get that from the man who is supposed to be your protector and hero?

And that day when you wanted our attention so bad that you purposely went out and cut yourself, then happily announced to the teachers that you were bleeding?  Oh how I hurt for you then.

You act all tough and rough, but God has shown me right into that little boy aching heart of yours.  It is bleeding for love, attention, care, someone reaching out with ready arms.  And it seems you will do anything to find that.

Where will you be in ten years?  I pray it’s not in a gang, not in the streets, not in an idol parade with the mafia.

I pray you are found in your Heavenly Father’s deep, deep love.  That you are secure in Him, because He is nothing like the earthly father who abuses you.  I may not have been able to say aloud the name  of Jesus in my classroom, but I pray that God will do what I cannot and draw you to Himself.  That He will take all those scars and turn them into marks that remind you of His crazy, amazing love.

I can’t do it for you.

But He can!

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Thank You, Lord, for these gifts…

1191. hearing “Come Thou Fount” in Mandarin

1192. beach day

1193. a student turning around, looking at me, and saying “Teacher Joanna!”.  And giving me the biggest smile.

1194. x-rays, so I know it is not fractured

1195. the ocean

photo 2

1196. charades

1197. bicycles

1198. getting the thumbs up after asking students how their soccer game went

1199. friends coming to visit for the weekend and laughing a lot

1200. communion at my Taiwanese church

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More gifts God gives me each day…

1176. adventure

1177. getting my kids’ autographs

1178. a day at the fisherman’s wharf


1179. kiddo hugs

1180. hearing laughter from little folks

1181. trying new foods…and not knowing what I am eating half of the time

1182. skype dates with family and friends…even when the connection cuts out every two minutes

1183. being immersed in another culture

1184. a taste of home – pizza!

1185. visiting historic places with a sweet friend


1186. my students experiencing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the first time

1187. fresh watermelon juice

1188. singing a song in Mandarin

1189. my student whispering in my ear “Teacher, you are so beautiful.”

1190. seeing God work

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Continuing to count the blessings God gives me, whether big or small…

1166. palm trees

1167. friends who welcome me, feed me, love me

1168. meeting a missionary who has been here in Taiwan for 24 years

1169. dumplings


1170. listening to worship songs

1171. actually understanding some of the Mandarin I hear

1172. big smiles on my students’ faces

1173. the ocean!

1174. a thank you note from my students


1175. seeing village kids share what Easter is all about

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Hello, friends!

It has been awhile since I have written here on Definitely Joanna.  I have lots of good excuses, too!  *grins*  But really, God has been doing so much, that I have been very busy following in His footsteps and going where He sends.

And He sent me here, to the island of Taiwan.


I’ve been here three months now.  And I have not even written once!  Oops.  So that is changing, starting now (and if you are still reading, please drop me a comment and let me know!).

The other week, I looked over ten-year-old Paric’s shoulder to see what he was drawing during family class.  I expected funny drawings with cute, smiling faces (because he is always so sweet and smiling), but instead I was met with angry expressions and tears on his page.  Kneeling down next to him, I looked into his face and asked why he drew his family this way.

I wasn’t prepared for his answer in Mandarin – because his mama is always angry and hitting his sister, which makes her cry.

The thing is, there wasn’t anything I could say to Paric in his language that would make it all better.  I wish I could change the expressions that he drew.  I want to make them all hugging and smiling.  But I can’t.

Jesus is the only one I know who can bring true peace and healing in a life.  Not me.


That precious name!  That is why I am here!  I am really excited to see what He will do in the coming months!

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