Tell us about yourself.
My name is Terri Payk. My husband, Chris, and our two children, Kent (15) and Anna (13), and I moved here in 2009 at the invitation of a Free Methodist Church in Taipei. Chris and I studied Chinese full-time for two years and then Chris interned at the church for a year learning what it is like to be a pastor of a Taiwanese church. In 2012, when our main supporting church in Canada was unable to continue to financially support us, Chris got a job teaching English so that we could stay here as we felt that God was not finished with us in Taiwan. In 2014, God called me to teach at an international school that provides education for the children of missionaries in Taiwan as well as many Taiwanese students; I teach English and Bible classes to middle and high school students. This past summer, Chris finished his PhD in Chinese Christianity and is now the elementary chaplain at the school.
What is the name of your devotional book?
Adjectives & Analogies: A Fresh Look into the Face of God
How did you come up with the title and image for the cover?
As an avid reader and an English teacher by profession, I often think in analogies and metaphors. I find it really helpful when people use an analogy to explain or teach something. Growing up in a Christian family and as a pastor’s daughter, I grew spiritually through hearing analogies of God as our Father, Light, Christ as our Shepherd, etc. Reading through the scriptures, I felt that there were other analogies as well that could help us look at God in a different way.
The image for the cover was an answer to prayer. Living here in Taiwan for 12 years has really impacted us, and so I wanted a picture that would portray that and also the idea of a kaleidoscope since, to me, looking at these various adjectives and analogies of God is like an explosion of colors, shapes, and patterns. I found this picture of an adorable Asian girl, but unfortunately, the owner of the picture was unwilling for it to be used for anything for sale. I saw that he wrote in Chinese, so I wondered if maybe I could appeal to him. I messaged him explaining that I am a Christian, that I was writing a devotional book, and how the purpose of this book was to share with family and friends some things I’ve learned about God. The owner wrote back and told me that a) he lives HERE in Taiwan, about an hour away! b) he is a Christian too and c) that I could use the picture. I was elated! It was so clearly put together by God.
Why a devotional book?
I love stories, both telling my own and hearing other people’s. At the same time, I have been really blessed by devotionals, learning from others’ insights into the Bible. I thought that a semi-autobiographical devotional would be a fun way to “marry” those two loves.
What was your writing process? How long did it take to write the book?
The entire process took about three years: writing the rough draft, having two friends and hubby read through the book and give me feedback, doing revisions, revisions, and more revisions, and finally working with the formatter and book cover designer.
What was the most challenging part of writing the book?
Working with the formatter was challenging as I wanted the book to be mid-range between an academic book and a mainstream book; his comfort zone was more along the lines of a mainstream book. It was good for me though; it forced me again and again to submit the whole project to God.
Do you have a favourite devotional in the book?
My two favorites are “Defender” and “Partythrower.” The idea for the “Defender” chapter came from a sermon Chris preached at the Taiwanese church. Revelations 12:10b refers to “the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night.” Thankfully, someday this enemy will be “hurled down,” but until then, Satan is busy at a workaholic level trying to take out believers with his accusations and lies. As a writer, I had a blast painting the picture of Satan pouring out indictment after indictment against the saints and our Savior Jesus coming to our defense. Christ is our sole defense and a powerful One at that!
I had a lot of fun writing “Party Thrower” as well. As an extrovert who gets jazzed up by being with people, I love a good party. The fifteenth chapter of Luke refers to four parties, a few which most believers are likely familiar with and perhaps a few subtle ones that might not be seen as parties at first glance. The Bible tells us that “there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10). I think there are many reasons to celebrate, and I wanted to highlight this perhaps under-studied aspect of God.
Where can we purchase your book?
Adjectives & Analogies: A Fresh Look into the Face of God is available in paperback and ebook versions on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com. My prayer is that each reader of the book will be convicted, challenged, and comforted by considering some new aspects of God.