Dear Friend of Bethlehem,
Families are important. My father was born and raised in Ireland, but I was born and raised in the US. But ever since 1963, my home has been here in Taiwan. So I have three major families, one in each place. In late July I returned “home” to Ireland along with four ladies who used to work with me in St. Raphael Opportunity Center in Tainan City. We shared the cost of the trip. Everywhere we went in Ireland, we experienced the quiet and lovely country at its best. My lady friends came up with the expression, “there is nothing that is not beautiful in Ireland.” Some of the best times we had there were visiting my cousins and relatives, of which there are many. At one cousin’s house both he and his wife and two of their sons put on a lovely concert for our entertainment. Both boys were six and five years old. A younger sister helped us watch and clap. At another time we were in a restaurant eating our dinner. At another table was a family – father, mother and five children. I was delighted to see that, and I pointed it out to my friends. Here in Taiwan, so few young people are getting married, and even fewer are having children. You may enjoy reading the article in this issue by Chen Hwei-ling. She talks about the joys of having children, along with the aches and pains, but mainly the joys. I grew up as the second child among seven children. While I was in Ireland I got the news from my brother that our sister Eileen had died. She was a year younger than I. She is the fourth of my siblings to die. Now there are only three of us left, a younger brother and our youngest sister including myself.
Next year I will return “home” to the US to attend my youngest nephews’ graduation from High School. They will then be going to the university. I will also visit my brother and his family in California. It will only be a short two weeks, but such times are valuable to cement family ties.
We need children here in Taiwan, and I am enthusiastic when I get the news that one of our staff members is getting married, and/or having a child. One staff member will be getting married this November, and getting married the following month. But we still have many staff members who are single. They are all beautiful and smart, so if any young man out there is looking for a bride, maybe they ought to volunteer their free time here at Bethlehem. I am sure they will find a suitable partner. You can see that my heart is here in Taiwan, and I would love to spend all of my remaining days here to share and learn from all of you. You are a wonderful people. Enjoy one another, love one another, and God will love each and everyone of you. Thank you for being my friend and a friend of Bethlehem.