Lord, Prepare Me
By Vera Entwistle of Taipei, Taiwan (World Service Corps)
Therefore say: Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far away among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a little while in the countries where they have gone. —Ezekiel 11:16 NRSV
Our journey to Taiwan had not been easy. In preparation for our volunteer assignment in the World Service Corps, we had completed four months of paper work, intense medical examinations, and dozens of forms to submit to the embassy. We wondered if we would ever receive our resident visas.
Many times during the four months we felt overwhelmed by the demands made on us and wondered if we should continue. Would all this effort be worth it? Will I be able to find some way to help this small group of worshipers? Now, as I sit here for the first time in this small Taipei congregation, I marvel that I am actually here.
Taking a deep breath, I slowly look around. I see that others are watching me, waiting for me to look up. They smile and nod, and I feel blessed.
The leader announced a hymn, and as I opened the hymnal, I noticed that all the hymns were in English and Chinese. As we began to sing, each in our own language, our words and voices blended easily. This is how the world should be!
When asked if there was anyone we wanted the congregation to pray for, I asked for prayers for my friend David in Australia and my friend Carol in America. As the service ended, a new Taiwanese friend turned to me and said in broken English, “You are blessed to have friends in other countries.” I replied that all my friends are a blessing to me, and I was sure that soon I would be adding new friends from Taiwan. Her response—a warm hug. Yes, it was worth it!
Vera’s Prayer for Peace
Thank you, God, for helping us through the struggle to get here, and thank you for the warmth of companionship we already feel for your people in this place. As the hymn says, “Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary.”
Spiritual Practice: The International Community
Find (or imagine) a globe or map of the world. Look at all the nations and find a country other than your own. Notice the geographic distance between your homeland and this one. Picture a person living there. Pray for this person. Sense God’s love connecting you just as the oceans connect the continents. Thank God for the spiritual connection you have with all of God’s people around the globe. Ask a blessing on the church as a community sharing Christ’s peace, drawing all into the family of God.
Today, God, I will learn some words in another language. Namaste.