03 December 2005

Our Baby's All Grows Up

Well, not quite. I'm still an infant in this whole missions game. This fact became quite blatant upon meeting those who had devoted their whole lives to missions at ABLASIA!. I have a lot to learn. But!

This past week marked an entirely new stage of development in the young lives of our new foreign teacher in Taiwan. After jumping through a ridiculous amount of hoops and enduring arbitrary amounts of time, our faithful coordinator Matt scored us our Alien Resident Cards the day before Thanksgiving.

Our first three months have been a sort of purgatory compared to this.

The Alien Resident Card (henceforth referred to as ARC) opens up a whole new spectrum of possibilities for foreigners living in Taiwan. Tuesday, we opened bank accounts. Now I can transfer dough from here to an account in the states and all sorts of whatnot. I'll save the details for an email to my parents, where they belong. But needless say, I'm breathing a sigh of relief not having to hoard wads, and I mean wads, of cash in an undisclosed location possibly in my residence (just in case someone who reads this also builds a time machine to go back in time to steal all my Monopoly Dollars). Now I keep all my funds in a little buiding called "ATM" just off campus.

This building was my first stop today before heading out to the used scooter shop; the proprieter of which considers Matt and any friend of Matt as a good customer. Yesterday, mulling over scooter selection, the majority of which looked something like praying mantises with plastic armor, I was pleased to find a quaint little Yamaha that looked like its designer had some idea about style. (Dad, you can check the approximate specs here, though mine's a little older and has a 90cc engine.) Now, if you think like me, "scooter" and "style" are synonomous, and accordion music should play in your head every time you ride one. So this praying mantis business was right out. I gave the helpful-but-hopelessly-unilingual-scooter-lady NT$3000 (approx USD100) to hold it and said I'd back the next day to pick it up.

Today, I did just that.

Guess what I did for the rest of today? If your answer involves accordions, you are correct.

At least five of the nine new foreign teachers will have a scooter by tomorrow. We're pretty excited. We did some victory laps around the campus when we got home. Some controversy remains as to whether the scooter will really change anybody's life. We'll still have the same places to go and just as many things to do, right? My mind is divided. It's true, we'll still have the same jobs to do and the same busy schedule, but at least a trip to the grocery store doesn't involve a commitment of at least two hours, or an errand to the city is actually possible within a half hour. And there's the accordion music. But maybe, like any other supposed time-saving technological advancement, it will just give us more things to do with our time. Will this scooter obligate me?

I'm hoping not. In fact, let's keep the main thing the main thing here. I bought my computer with the intent to use it to the glory of God. Have I always kept that in mind? No. But now's a good time to remember. If I want to hold to using what he's given me to glorify him, then the scooter is no exception. You might think I'm silly, but I'm going to ask for your prayers for this scooter and its use as a part of ministry. Which also reminds me: you're reading the blog of a missionary, and as such I have some stories to tell.