Self-portrait I did in March.
I had a meeting with my pastor this afternoon. He shared with me the “3 P’s of negativity that literally cause our brains to shut down any hope of productivity or progress: it’s PERSONAL, it’s PERVASIVE, it’s PERMANENT. By looking at our mistakes and problems through the lens of the 3 P’s, we never get past them.
He shared this with me because I said I needed encouragement and accountablity in my fundraising. Some of you already know that I no longer teach English and will be living off support during the years 2015 & 2016 while I continue in ministry and go back to school here in Taiwan. When I heard those 3 P’s, it was like looking in a mirror. I knew what my problem was. So I’ve forgotten things, have fallen behind in things, messed some things up in this transition I’ve been going through, but I CAN stop pouting about it, I DON’T need to make the same mistakes, and things WILL change! This kind of optimism alone will begin pulling me forward again.With that said, here is an update about all of the things that happened this last month, and all of the exciting things coming up for this month!
Showing off all my “new student” gear
I started school! It’s official: I’m a full-time student again. Registration was at the end of February, orientation was at the beginning of March, and March 5 was the first day of class! I plan on studying Chinese full-time for at least 3 or 4 semesters to get my Mandarin where it needs to be in order to pass high-level tests and get into grad school. The goal is to start at the Graduate Institute of Translation and Interpretation at National Taiwan Normal University (I’m currently attending Chinese classes at the university’s Mandarin Training Center) in September of 2016.
The first week of school was actually a little rocky; my class got shut down due to students dropping like flies for various reasons and as a completely new student to the school, I had no idea what was going on. Fortunately, it all worked out and my tuition dollars transferred me into a wild and rambunctious classroom with a fast-paced teacher, where I immediately felt both challenged and at home.
I now spend 4-6 hours a day, Mon-Fri, studying Chinese. I take a Level B (Level C being the highest) proficiency exam on May 5. If I pass, I will be taking Level C in November. I’m excited about moving my Mandarin skills in the direction of an actual career. My days of teaching English are over (for now anyway)!
The winning JEOPARDY team with their gift certificates for the Aroma Coffee Shop.
It was my turn to lead Coffee Talk on March 6, and since we always try to do something extra fun on the first Friday of every month, I hosted a JEOPARDY NIGHT! (Coffee Talk is Aroma’s Friday Night English Corner Activity, and it’s our biggest non-church activity that has been connecting people to the Aroma’s community for the last 3 years now.) I’ve actually done 2 other quiz nights in the past, as I love putting together the event, coming up with the trivia questions, and emceeing the night. Quiz Nights have been a big hit, so I decided to introduce a Western TV game show this round, and it was super successful. There was a big turn out and everyone got into the habit of answering with a question: “What is the sun?”
Another unique part of this particular Coffee Talk night is that a missions team from Riverside Community Church in Monticello, Minnesota, was with us. This church has decided to partner with the Aroma through prayer and financial support and sending teams of people out here who can train us in outreach, effective church administration, and even coffee shop skills. They got to join in the JEOPARDY fun and connect with people, even inviting them to come to church on Sunday.
On the field.
ULTIMATE!!! Due to the fact I will be in the States this summer from June 7 to August 24 (!!!-That’s right, mark your calendars!!!), I will be missing Dragon Boat Festival for the first time EVER here in Taiwan, so I won’t be a part of the team and the competition this year like I have the past THREE. Fortunately, competition and physical training always ends up in my life somehow; this spring it will be in the form of ULTIMATE FRISBEE.
The Kaohsiung Hammerheads, the team I played on.
At the beginning of March, a couple of friends and I had the chance to join an Ultimate Tournament in the south of Taiwan in a city called Pingtung (屏東). All three of us played on different teams, and it was an awesome experience to be able to play Ultimate on a whole other level. The group of us that play every Monday night are planning on forming a team and playing in another tournament at the end of May.
We play in the rain, too.
The guy in the front is obviously taking this group-selfie.
The Monday night frisbee crew has actually been an extension of the Aroma community for over 2 years and has been a cool way for all of us to connect with each other and new friends through athletic interests. Our “captain” (that’s pretty much what he is, though he might beg to differ) has led us in a tradition of circling up and saying a quick prayer before the night of playing begins. We then usually play a pretty intense 2 or 3 games of Ultimate. We pray against injury, because people do get injured!
While we’re still on the topic of athletic things, I go to the gym every Wednesday morning now! What started out as a way to push myself to build up my upper-body strength has turned into a super cool opportunity to build a friendship with my trainer! Her name is Tanya, and we’re going to start “exchanging” English for fitness. I help her with English, she helps me with fitness! She initiated the idea. Tanya even lives in Ximen, not too far from me, so it’s an even more perfect friendship opportunity in the direction of connecting with Taiwanese people in my own neighborhood.
Me and Africa-bound Sweetie.
Send offs: At the Aroma, we value the “in and out” pattern of the Kingdom. As people come IN, we want to build them up and equip them to be ready for when God might sent them OUT. Our faithful friend Sweetie, who has known the Aroma and the group of foreign missionaries here from the very beginning, followed God’s call to Uganda at the beginning of March. I’ll try to post more information on what she’s doing there in future updates and here on my website.
Also at the very end of February, the Aroma participated in the Christian & Missionary Alliance’s annual Sports Day. It was a fun and long day under the sun and in the gym, competing against other churches in basketball, pingpong, dodgeball, and then finally a relay. We participated last year, and hope to keep this up as we want to cultivate our connections with the other local CMA churches here in Taiwan.
The 1st and 2nd place winners of the girls basketball tournament. (We took second.)
Me and the girls basketball team making friends.
Lots of sports! And lots of school! What’s in store for April?
Well, the month actually started out with a 4-day weekend (more about that later!!!) and Easter Sunday! We’re planning on a new semester of what we’re calling MICRO GROUPS (no more small groups, since they were literally getting too big!) starting up AND a baptism service on the 12th! There will be plenty of pictures and stories to share soon enough, so stay tuned!
THANK YOU FOR READING THIS UPDATE! 謝謝你!
Now that I am no longer an English teacher and have officially started full-time Chinese study, I am officially living off of support. I plan to live mainly on support from now to the end of 2016, two years of focused ministry and study here in Taiwan, with 3 months in America this summer.
- If you would like to make either a one-time contribution or start supporting me with a monthly gift, follow these simple instructions on how to send me a financial gift:
Write a check payable to “C&MA-Envision, Victoria Crowley” and send to:
The Christian & Missionary Alliance-Envision Office
8595 Explorer Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
2. Designate the amt of your gift, and then right below it type “ENV – Victoria Crowley” and hit the red GIVE NOW button that appears. My name will appear separately below with the amt you designated.
3. Below is a checkbox labeled “Make this a recurring gift” if you would like your contribution to be monthly. Follow the prompts to fill out your contact and billing info and submit!
- If you have any questions about my ministry and what I am doing out here, please free feel to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to connect with you!