My husband and I are fond of movies. If some couples take pleasure in running together, Jason and I relish our movie time together. One of our favorite genres to watch is crime and mystery. We like following the process of how mysteries are solved and how suspects are proven guilty or not guilty.
In a crime, before a suspect is convicted guilty, three things have to be present: means, motive, and opportunity. About a month ago, Jason preached a concept of living out the teachings of Jesus parallel to carrying out a crime. He asked, “If Christianity was illegal in Thailand, would there be enough evidence in our lives to convict us guilty of following Jesus?” He went on unpacking that question suggesting the means, the motive, and the opportunity before we can be found guilty of being Jesus’ followers.
He proposed in his message that our means for serving should be exercising our spiritual gifts. Our motive should be love. Our opportunity should be the freedom we have in Christ. Continue reading “A Poem: Do I Love You?”
I grew up neither in Sunday school singing about Jesus, reading and studying the Bible, nor hearing about Him other than being a God who walked on Earth performing miracles. I grew up not knowing that He loves me or that He wants a relationship with me.
Yes, as a kid, I have heard and read stories of godly men like Moses and Noah; but I viewed these stories from the eyes of someone whose perspective of God was slanted on the belief that if you are not good enough, He will not let you “in” His circle of exceptional people.
In my eyes, these godly men and women from these remarkable stories had nothing in common with me. They sounded, to me, like perfect people who could do no wrong. Thus, God favored them. It took me awhile to understand that was not true.
When I came to personally know Jesus Christ, it wasn’t a dramatic change. It happened slowly. He gradually abolished layers and layers of lies that I held on to for most of my life.
Today was one of those days were everything just seems off.
A few hours ago, I was upset. My anger was eating me up that I unintentionally directed my displeasure to my husband as we were preparing the slideshow for his sermon tomorrow. Poor Jason, he had to deal with my lousy attitude. My irritation consumed me; I did not realize I was being, well, rotten.
After working on the slides, we got ready to leave for the regular Saturday prayer meetings. We were not expecting a lot of people today knowing that some are gone for vacations or other reasons. I almost did not want to go, but I knew I had to. In the car, I was a bit more reflective. I started pondering about how I acted earlier. (Unfortunately, I have not quite mastered thinking first before acting. I frequently fail in this area. Sigh.) I apologized to Jason, and I started pouring out to him. Continue reading “Overtaken”
Learning a language is a very humbling enterprise. In taking on Thai, my greatest hindrance from truly grasping it is fear to commit mistakes, which to me translates to looking foolish.
Pride, essentially. It was the main culprit of my slow and painful progress, but I had read enough amount of literature and accumulated sufficient personal and vicarious experiences about learning a new language to realize that if I intend to communicate with the people I live in the midst of and share the love of Jesus to them, I had to let go of that crippling mindset.
No, it was not easy. I had to basically swallow my bitter-tasting ego. I had to learn to accept that this time I was not the teacher, but the student. I also had to take my own medicine. I used to tell my students that mistakes are not entirely bad because you learn some valuable lessons that you can’t learn otherwise.
We were in a city in China, window-shopping at a mall looking for souvenirs; we happened on his store. For numerous times, we kept coming back for more of his items. The team came and bought many of his products — me, buying most of his ceramic-made bracelets.
We seem to be drawn to his quirky store, an assortment of charming accessories and knick-knacks. There was a welcoming feeling in his tiny space in this interesting mall.
On the second night (and yes we went to his store again), one of us saw his bracelet with the cross dangling on it. She burst in excitement and asked, “Are you a Christian?” He had a ready and eager answer, “Yes!” With little English on his part and virtually no Chinese on our part that question and answer prompted a heart connection among strangers who have only one common ground — Jesus.
The next morning, after that joyful discovery about the storeowner, we went to the orphanage where we were spending time with kids who suffer from brittle bone disease. Brittle bone disease is a genetic disorder characterized by fragile bones that break easily; some of these kids can’t walk due to this condition. Continue reading “The Storeowner and Joseph’s Prayer”
I have battled with insecurities, feelings of inadequacy and ugliness for as long as I can remember.
In those unpleasant moments I sometimes wonder, “Do other women feel the same way?” But a lot of times I just conclude, “I am all alone in this.” Often, consumed and blinded by the lies of what I feel, I become so self-absorbed seeing nothing but my own hurts and pains. It’s like I could not see pass my own nose. I seem to unwittingly surrender to the falsehood of my sentiment and pride; I completely succumb to the trickery of my emotions.
No, I am not trying to shame myself for the whole world to see. I know this is something you don’t admit to people especially when you are a Christian. Best to tuck it away neatly so no one would notice it. Except I know that I am not alone in this struggle even among Christian women.
I have exclaimed this famous line hundreds of times, possibly even more. I have used it to comfort a friend, to congratulate someone for success, and even to assure people that their situation is going to get better. I have thrown around this statement almost without thinking, not attentively considering if it’s even appropriate or not, or whether the implications of what I declared and when I said it upholds God.
I have recited to various groups of people — strangers and familiar ones — comments like, “God is good. Your son will be healed.” Or, “God is good. You passed the test.” Or even, “God is good. He answered what you have been praying for.”
These words accurately describe our previous week.
At least for me, these are the very words that defined how I initially felt when Jason, my husband, had to leave for Bangkok to help someone who was in a particularly unique predicament. It wasn’t in the plan, and I don’t like straying from plans especially when it involves having to be by myself at home.
I know. I should have learned a long time ago that most of the time, whether you are in ministry or not (maybe even more when you are in ministry), not everything goes as you have designed your time to be.
Last night, I read an encouraging blog that a friend shared on her wall. It talked about how easy it is to praise God when all is well in your life, and how we question if God is even there when we are suffering. Then it went on about how God is always there with us no matter our circumstances; that fear should not be our response but faith in His love for us.
I totally agree with the writer of the blog; but it did get me into a train of thought about what if suffering isn’t actually a praise killer but a trigger. Continue reading “When All Is Well”
It took me awhile to wrap my head around the implications of what I have just recently realized after living in Thailand for over 2 years. Now, I am ready to put pen to paper (or put my fingers on the keyboard), and begin marking my thoughts on a blank page that has been haunting me for weeks.
Before Jason and I got married we already knew we were going to Thailand. We knew we would be serving in fulltime ministry. Though Jason has been in the ministry for many years, this would be a leap of faith for me. I have never served fulltime especially in the mission field, which was a very foreign concept to me not too long ago. Continue reading “2013”