Archive for July, 2007

Cheung Chau Island Adventure

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Hong Kong is made up of a few hundred islands. While we will never get to all them, we did take a boat to one of the outlying islands in the South China Sea. Our next door neighbors came with us, and we were glad to have them as they are from Hong Kong and have two kids, Stanely age 4.5 and Suki age 5.5.(click here to view pictures)

The island has the basic Taoist temple and fishing boats, no cars allowed and beautiful beaches. This one even had a pirate cave on one end of the island, so we took a little boat to find it. It felt like it was over 100 degrees most of the day and with no transportation, we were exhausted by the time the day was over.

We just tried our hardest to be a godly witness to our neighbors and show Jesus’ love to them and each other:) When we were looking at one of the Taoist temples, the people were bowing and lighting the incense sticks and Sarah loudly proclaimed that they were worshipping the pretend god and that Jesus is the real God. We were glad to see another prophet in the family, but we did have a little talk about sensitivity.

We pray our neighbors, along with many here in Asia, will come to know the real God. Thank you for praying along with us. I have attached pictures of our trip and our neighbors.

Plan, Purpose and Power

Friday, July 20th, 2007

In our world of customized products and fast delivery, I sometimes get confused with the world and my spiritual life.  Lately God has been showing me that the path we are on is not my path, my family’s path or anyone else’s path, it is His path.  Two verses have illustrated this to me.  The first is Psalm 138:8 ESV “The LORD will fullfill his purpose for me;” and in 2 Thessolonians 1: 11 Paul prays “…, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power. 12. so THAT the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you….”

Wow, what verses to remember. I fall into the trap of thinking that I come up with the strategy and God is the great implementor.  The type of “I dream of jennie” type God that comes rushing in when I have trouble and sorts it out so I can finish my plans and make myself happy and comfortable.  I did not realize that this type of belief had so much of my mind when we left the U.S., but now I surely see that I struggle with this entitlement. This sin which my flesh believes gives me “rights” causes so much anxiety, pain, despair and loneliness.

Through our Father’s mercy and grace, I am starting to slowly re-learn that I have a purpose and plan for my life.  It is not mine, but it is God’s purpose.  He created me and the plan/purpose.  Now I go out and through His power I fulfill this purpose so that the wonderful name of Jesus is glorified.  When I meditate on this truth, I see how the Psalmist finishes the verse in 138:8 with “your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” In my words, “Lord don’t stop now and don’t forget me because I will drown in the mud slop of this world unless you provide the plan, purpose and power.”

Please be praying for us that we will have the resolve to lean on His power and that we will not feel entitled to certain plans, but to give up our life for His plan. This is the freedom that produces joy, hope, love, peace and faith. 

It reminds me of one of my favorite hymns:

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

God Bless,


Botanical Gardens and Mini-Zoo

Sunday, July 15th, 2007

After getting out the book A Parent’s Guide to Hong Kong for Kids that someone gave me when I got here, I am planning out everything I want to see and do with the girls. So, this Saturday we went to the Hong Kong Botanical Gardens and Zoo. It is near the center of town up on some little mountains. It even had a playground with swings, which are not easy to come by here. The girls had such a good time seeing all of the tropical plants and birds and monkeys and a jaguar. It was a bit hot and the walking was steep, but we made it until lunch time. We decided to be good and get the bus instead of paying the expensive taxi. The hardest part about getting around in Hong Kong is the bus system. It is hard to find the stops and which bus to take, and they come at random times. So, we waited and waited for the right bus to come and after more than 40 minutes, we were all so tired and confused and couldn’t believe we were just standing there so long on the side of the steep mountain road. So, we jumped on another bus we thought would be ok, and it took us toward the opposite side of the island from our house. Once we realized it, we jumped off and of course, caught the first taxi we could see. (Click here to view pictures)

Experiences like these are grounds for real spiritual growth. The family time at the Garden and Zoo was so fun. Then, we get to the bus stop and we almost fall apart in the heat, everyone’s tired, the cars and buses are smoggy, we keep standing and standing hoping to see our bus coming and each time, it’s not our bus. That is when living in a foreign land can get to you. But God was merciful and gave us the strength to endure and no one even yelled or fought with each other.

I feel entitled sometimes to the right to get where I want when I want. And I get upset when it doesn’t happen with efficiency and speed. But when it is out of my hands, I have no choice but to wait. Our time is so important, and we want to make use of every minute, but the moments waiting on the journey are just as important, maybe even the most important. In those moments, our true character shows. Will we respond with gentleness, patience, kindness and compassion or irritability, anxiety and rudeness? But when we remember that God holds the skys and seas and lands in his hand, it makes it easier to trust that even the waiting moments are in his hand, too.

The Peak

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

We went to the highest place on Hong Kong Island called The Peak. You have to take a tram that goes straight up the mountain. At the top are shops and trails and look-out points and a playground. The girls had a great time seeing Hong Kong from so high up, and they always love a good playground. Jay and I just couldn’t get enough of the views from the playground. (click here to view pictures.)

We had such a wonderful day and turned to God in thanksgiving. I am seeing more and more that all good things really do come from God. We can try to make some good things happen in our lives. But when we are at a place with no control or understanding (like in a foreign country with a foreign language and culture), it is so easy to see the hand of the Lord – good things in the midst of a hard world. God gave me a love for travel and other places and peoples. But living overseas is also the hottest furnace I’ve known – and I thank Him for loving me to make me into something pure and holy for His glory. I’ve been thinking why I always want to go to new places and foreign lands when that is the very place of struggle, where I come to the end of myself and all is really stripped away. I guess, I love adventure and a good romantic journey – and that is what the Christian life is to the fullest. And it really does have a secure and happy ending! I can sometimes glimpse a vision of a life lived completely sold out for God totally for His glory and walking in His will. And the desire to have that life and to intimately know my Maker and to share His salvation that others might have this adventure, too – that is why I choose the furnace. And only by God’s grace and mercy am I able to stay and to stand it during the hard times. For He is good and all good things, truly good things, really do come from Him.

Removing the High Places

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

In the view from our living room, we look out over the bay and see the Kowloon side of Hong Kong.  Behind the tall buildings are even taller mountains.  On top of these mountains are small structures.  I believe some of these are observatories while others are possibly shrines or temples.  (For the sake of this blog, we will say they are shrines.) Over the past few weeks I have been reading through 1 and 2 Kings.  I admit that I usually skim the last part of 2 Kings because it seems like it is saying the same thing because all of the kings of Israel did horrible things while the kings of Judah averaged around 50%.  This time around something caught my eye.  For the kings of Judah you had some who chose the way of the kings of Israel, but others who did right in the eyes of God.  Although a few did right in the eyes of the Lord they still were not completely obedient. For example, in 2 Kings 15 verses 4-6 we see that Azariah reigned 52 years in Jerusalem and he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.  Then you see another common verse, “nevertheless, the high places were not taken away. The people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places.” These were not sacrifices to Jehovah, but to other gods that were initiated back with Solomon due to him trying to please 300 wives. 

Ok, what does this mean? The other day I looked out and saw the shrines on the mountains across the bay.  I thought about the struggles we have experienced over the past three months of selling cars, moving to a temporary house, storage, flying overseas, starting a company overseas, etc and etc, and I thought why has this been so hard.  In the midst of this very uncomfortable journey, it jarred my eyes so that I began seeing things in my life.  Even though I was like Azariah and did things right in the eyes of the Lord, I was still not being a leader that challenged myself to take away the high places.  I started to see that I had so many little gods in my life that were controlling how I made decisions, placed my hope and trust, and whom I even worshiped at times.  As our loving Father began stripping me of my comforts I recognized these gods.  The bible tells us that God is making us to be crucibles of silver that are pure and without defect.  In order to make silver you have to produce a very hot furnace for a long period.  I see now that I need the furnace to be hot to melt away the filth of the world and to be able to worship, adore and abide in my Savior in the way that He desires.  We serve a very jealous God who does not share His children with no one.  So in order to take away those high places He sends trials that point us to our Hope. (In my mind I am thinking that the jackhammer that continues to work above our apartment seemed a little over the top, but God knows best. haha)

I pray that we all become like Josiah and tear down the shrines on the high places (2 Kings 23) and was written “Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.”

Blessings, Jay