Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hong Kong...Welcome Home!

Okay people!  Here we are, one week in from arriving in HK.  

-things would be new
-things would be different
-we will eat a lot of rice
-we are going to meet new people
-it's going to be hot
-we are not in parker any more

-things are very new and very cool
-things are very different (working for a school rather than a church is VERY different!)
-we have eaten a lot of rice and noodles, so much that when we at american food, we kind of got an upset stomach
-we have met a great group of people, we have made some great friends and look forward to the new relationships
-it is very hot and humid, but getting nicer each day
-we are for sure not in parker any more and that is and okay thing

Overall, this past week has been one of orientation to the new apartment, the new job, the new town, the new city, and the new culture.  It has been an interesting ride so far, filled with the ups and downs both emotionally and physically...and it's not done yet. This is a great place, a holy place, where God is doing amazing things.  This school is centered completely on Christ's love and teaching. Student's don't have to be christians when they enter this place.  Some don't become Christians while they are here, but they are at least having the seed planted.  

I am (and we are as a couple) in a place right now of transition, learning everything new, trying not to forget where we came from.  It is a strange chaos to be in.  I refer to it as chaos because when you are in chaos at one moment you feel out of control, and in the next you are at total peace.   I know, at the end of this path of chaos is my God, cheering me on, reaching his hand out to me.  Like Peter, when he stepped out of the boat to walk on water toward's Jesus, it will be very VERY easy to look at the waves around me, but with the support of my beautiful wife, and the reminder to stay centered and focused on Christ, I know that I will be able to grow and accept this place as my own.

Prayer request:  That in the next week, my comfort level in becoming a teacher becomes better.  It's so crazy how much teachers do, and how much different Pastoring and Teaching is...on the other hand, they are SO similar, I am feeling at home in this new place in that sense.  Who needs curriculum right!?! :)

All for now, hopefully our internet and cell phones (iphone 4 by the way) will be up and we will be able to frequent Facebook and email better.  My prayers are with our family and friends in the states, can't wait to Skype soon!


Friday, July 22, 2011

The Precise Q-tip countdown...

When Stacia and I got married, we moved her out of her apartment and into the little white house.  When we combined our stuff, I noticed one thing.  We would never run out of Q-tips.  We had three packages full of 750 soft ear mops each for our cleaning pleasure.  Fast forward from January 2010 to July 2011.  Today was our last day in the white house.  Last week we moved our furniture and other stuff to the storage unit.  We had reaped the benefit of living in a church house, experiencing staff and other volunteers coming to help clean out, trash out, and prepare the house for its next tenants.  However, I noticed one thing this morning.  Our once abundant cash of q-tips was now a small pile of 15.  Stacia and I were finishing up in the bathroom, cleaning out the rest of the stuff so I took the remaining 15 and placed them into a sandwich bag, and into one of our many tubs that is going to HK.

When I think about the q-tips, I think about how God gives us timers.  Sometimes they are evident, and other times they are not.  When we moved Stacia into the white house, I was dumbfounded by the amount of q-tips in our house, not knowing that it was our timer.  So many people question God's timing.  Why are we moving now? Why did they die then?  Why was his job eliminated?  We want to control God's time.   We have a want to be God and hold onto that hourglass of life and keep it running full.  But that's the unfortunate part, we are not God.

Our timing sucks.  Period.  Let's just get that out of the way right now.

God knew that tomorrow, July 23, 2011 we would be changing everything, and moving our entire existance to Hong Kong to serve him.  Did I know that when I saw the abundance of Q-tips coming into that little white house?  Nope.  But now that I am sitting here in an airport hotel, preparing for a new adventure, I smile.  God's timing is so great, and to be able to fully trust in that timing is the most freeing feeling one can experience.

The next post that comes from me will be from HK!

Be Blessed

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Faith in the storm

Mark 4:37-40 says, "And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" 39And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?"

Tonight was the epitome of understanding what it means to have a faith that is "unshakeable."

To start though, I'll visit the mindset of the disciples.  They have been following this rabbi around that is talking against the laws that have been taught and re-taught for hundreds of years before.  The crowds are so big that Jesus tells the disciples to get on a boat and cross the sea.  

Then the storm comes, the disciples freak out, and lose faith; Jesus jumps in and saves the day.

So here's what happened.   It's only 11 days until we move to Hong Kong.  We are packing the house, saying goodbye to friends, having the last lunch break with students, the last boot camp, last staff meeting, canceling dish network, internet, changing banks, and cleaning out my office to get ready for the new change.  On top of all of this, we find out that the car won't start at Chipotle.  We were able to jump the car, get it started, and drive it back to the house with the plan to work on it after I finished stuff at work. 

After our last minute boot camp decision, we worked out, came home and started packing the bathroom (my wonderful wife has done an AMAZING job getting us organized and packed up).  Packing led to more packing and we looked up at 8pm and remembered Auto zone closed at 9!  We ate a real quick dinner, jumped the battery and drove to Auto zone.  We got the battery tested and low and behold, it was a bad battery.  

We bought a new battery and took the company's offer to install our new battery.  Have I mentioned that there is a HUGE thunderstorm moving closer and closer with each minute?!  I was standing next to our 'mighty battery installer,' holding my cell phone flashlight over the battery as he worked on removing the old one and installing the new. 

It seemed that everything that could make the process go longer, did.  He had issues getting the right bit for his ratchet, the bolt holding the battery down was huge, the rain started coming, he removeed the battery, put the grease on the components, dropped the battery felt, tightened the connection, realized the felt dropped, undid the battery, put on the felt, and reconnected the battery.

FLASH, FLASH, FLASH, FLASH  -- The lightning is all around us, but the thunder is still a good distance away.  The rain though, starts to pour.  

Finally, the battery is installed, the downpour begins, and the lightning is flashing like another 4th of July celebration.

As this all is happening, Stacia was sitting nervously in the car.  With each flash of lightning, she jumped and covered her face.  She was worried that we were going to be struck by lightning.  She was on the brink of calling off the repair and moving it till the next day, but we kept going.

As I was standing in the lightning and rain, I watched as my cell phone battery was flashing at me saying "I'm tired, turn me off, or plug me in," I felt like my faith was being pushed.  The cell phone could have died, the rain could have been hail, the lightning could have been on top of us, and so many other things could have caused me to stop the process, or not allow us to finish. 

Todd Agnew sings a great song called "This Fragile Breath".  The chorus of the song says:
     " You speak with thunder and lightning
        Your voice shakes the mountains
        The foundations of the earth
        All I can offer is this fragile breath
        With each one I'll praise You
      With each one I'll praise You more"  (take a listen)

Like the disciples, standing in the storms of the world, God tells us to be calm, and trust him.  Most times, our human-ness gets in our way and we balk on our faith.
I am starting to understand more and more that faith is going to be the key for us as we enter into this move to our new home.  The thunder and lightning are all around:  Will I be able to teach? Will the kids respect me?  Will I be able to dress like an adult?  These are all thoughts that Satan wants me to believe, but God reminds me that we are walking with Him in our move.  I don't know what is going to happen, but I know that we are boarding the boat, the storm is going to rock us, and Jesus is going to remind us of how powerful He truly is!