Archive for August, 2007

Sai Kung

Monday, August 27th, 2007

We took an adventure trip to a hundred year-old coastal village called Sai Kung. It was nice to get away from the city and enjoy the village pace. We saw tons of sea creatures of which we didn’t even know the names, and we took a sampan boat to Ma Shun island to play in the sand and swim around in the water. It was so beautiful with so many islands popping out of the China Sea. This family outing did actually bring a big issue to the forefront for me. In Hong Kong there are so many people in such tight quarters (very little land space on very little islands) that thinking about the individual is disregarded because it just takes so much energy and seems impossible in light of the masses. So, the culture is passive aggressive which shows up in the work place, in families, and in the public transport (the hardest one for me).  The subway system (MTR) has very few turnstile areas for strollers or wheelchairs and very few elevators as well but many escalators.  Also, seats on the MTR are hard to come by at times. Most people avoid looking at me (as I push the double stroller of two preschoolers) while cutting me off as I try to get in the elevator or while pushing past me to get the only available train seat or running up ahead of me to get in the line of people with nothing in their hands who want to go through  the big turnstile instead of going through any of the 12 other normal-sized ones. Even when walking, people will come straight for you as they look down texting on their phone so that you have to go out of your way with the double stroller to miss them and then try to maneuver the big stroller up or down (scary) the escalator because the elevator was taken twice now by individuals with no reason to take it over the escalator.  Since we are daily on public transport, I have had some frustration building up that has turned to anger and bitterness. God used our trip to Sai Kung, some scripture and recent devotions to remind me of His grace to us. We are so undeserving and so despicable at times, yet Jesus died that we might live and He sends us new mercies each morning to offer us an abundant life.  With his last breaths, he said to forgive those crucifying him because they didn’t know what they were doing! And I have trouble showing grace and love to the Chinese woman who took the last seat on the MTR or the man who cut me off from getting into the elevator. If we who love the Lord can’t show His love to the lost, how will they know of His salvation? Shine through me, Lamb of God. Love through me that all may see – the glory of the Lord. (Click here to view pictures.)

Three Countries and a New Island

Friday, August 10th, 2007

“Don’t let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, only what is helpful in building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

I have heard this verse or read it or even referred to it I don’t know how many times. And today it is like I see it for the first time – if I put this up against my life, I don’t make a very good grade. Something so fundamental to the Christian life, seemingly small and taken for granted. Yet, it feels impossible to live up to (especially with two preschoolers by your side 24/7) Thank the Lord for his grace and the empowering by the Holy Spirit. (click here to view pictures)

Now for logistics – in the last two weeks we have been to mainland China to see the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall and yes, Walmart in Beijing. You knew I would find out if the rumors were true – it does exist in China and it does have some hints of a normal American Walmart. Just close your eyes to the locals slinging around the have-live large squids and other various sea creatures on ice. We visited the silk market and ate Peking Duck (a whole deep fried duck) and filled our longing for home by finding TGIF’s and a DQ (of sorts). We even found a church to go to on Sunday in Beijing, but the sign out front stated that you had to show your foreign passport to get in.(See the pictures.) It broke my heart to see such restriction of the Gospel. I thanked the Lord again for my freedoms.

When we got back to Hong Kong, we found that our residential visas were finally approved which meant we had to leave the country again in order to re-enter which would activate our Hong Kong visas. So, we took a very fast boat to Macau, known for its casinos and European feel. We liked touring the various cathedrals and European alleyways, and we even found a great little Italian Cafe. Macau is a funny place because all of the people are Chinese and the language is Cantonese, yet until recently, it was held by the Portuguese so it feels European in a lot of ways. We spent several hours there and then took the boat back to Hong Kong so we could pack up – to move.

Yes, we are truly like the Hong Kong people now as they pick up and move quite often. The community here is very transient since land is scarce and you can only sign a lease for a 2 year max and then rents get raised so people have to move. It is an exhausting cycle. We are happy to leave the jackhammering on our ceiling but sad to leave our friends in our apartment tower. The two families on our 8th floor had a going away party/Jay’s birthday party for us before we moved. It brought us joy that we have been blessed with such good relationships so quickly with our neighbors.

We have now moved out to another island of Hong Kong called Lantau. It is a bit isolated but we have a great view of the South China Sea and a handful of unihabited islands. I pray that the Lord establishes us here quickly. We are learning to trust him if for no other reason than we have no alternative. It is a no brainer when you are on an isolated island in the China Sea out with two small children during your first major typhoon – trusting the Lord comes naturally at that point (and praying and a few heart palpitations, too).

The Lord might have had to take me to China to mold my heart as he intends it to be, and I am so glad he loves us enough to go to such great lengths for our own good. I pray you will turn to Him in even the slightest worry today and trust Him.