It’s funny the way, in such a short time, God has brought me to a point of acceptance of a future outside of Hong Kong. Less than a month ago, I was still in complete denial that I might ever leave the city that has captured my heart, provided me with deep community, and opened the gate to travel around Asia. The truly crazy part is that I’m talking as if this is a done deal. In reality, nothing is set, no decisions have been made, and I’m staying in Hong Kong indefinitely.
I realized the absurdity of how I’m talking about my future while at dinner with my accountability partner, Aaron. [SIDE NOTE shout out: Aaron is a tremendously, wonderful fellow that has made a better man out of me over the course of two years. Thanks Aaron.] Continuing, I’ve started speaking as if I’m planning to leave. And so has Kristin!
The signs certainly seem to point to us departing – Kristin submitted a fantastic application to Princeton Theological Seminary; all of her references already submitted stunning recommendations; her pastor is talking about gathering financial support for graduate school; our close friends and adopted parents are giving us the green light to go; my teaching license came through with swift efficiency and ease; my heart has been changed about needing to stay in Hong Kong; I feel strangely content nurturing the idea of leaving youth ministry after such a ridiculously short stint; & Kristin is loving her online classes and only wants more class time. I’m sure there are more reasons, but I think any readers get the point.
As Aaron said, [I paraphrase] “sometimes God can be tremendously clear, and if all these things have come together for nothing, it would seem a rather cruel joke and ordeal.” Whatever happens, I know that God only has good plans and would never actually be cruel. I’m usually the one that needs to change my perspective!
Kristin and I have decided, long before most of this chaos, to dedicate the month of February to prayer. While praying, we’ve also committed to trusting all this to His hands. Please join us in the prayer as well. I’m excited to see where all this goes…
It’s an awful, horrible, terrible, no good thing to do.
Unfortunately, I’ve been flirting with my inner eyelids a little too often recently, and I don’t feel that bad about it.
If I want to combat this “problem,” I’m sure that I simply need to change my posture from sitting to standing. However, I kind of like the idea of falling asleep in Jesus’ metaphysical arms. What better way to enter our dreams than with a little nudge from J.C. and a soft embrace from our Father?!
I mean, I want to accomplish and accumulate some serious prayer time by the end of the year, so I’ll work on getting to bed sooner. At the same time, I’m fairly certain Jesus is cool regarding my prayer shenanigans – as long as my heart is in the right place!
I’m not sure if God speaks audibly, but He certainly speaks to the heart. He’s probably speaking all the time, but I’m not always listening or aware of His presence. Fortunately, I noticed His presence in three unique ways today.
- I was on a simple mission with a colleague today to retrieve some supplies after a large group event called Resound. While we were having trouble connecting with a third-party, we decided to have some lunch. We stopped by a very local, Hong Kong-style restaurant in Wan Chai near The Vine Church and waited. It was simply eating lunch together, and I didn’t really expect anything out of the ordinary. I suppose God surprises us sometimes. We ended up talking about a lot of things, covering a wide range of topics, and I was quite encouraged by the end. The miracle of sorts that actually occurred was the way that God opened up my heart to be free to speak to someone that I don’t normally open up to so freely.
- While hanging out with some youth leaders at Starbucks, one asked me to have an end-of-the-day pint together at a local pub. After we purchased our drinks, he asked me about my job and how things were going. He’s a rather observant fellow, so I couldn’t easily hide any struggles or concerns. Instead, in his genuineness, he allowed an open window for me to share, vent, and honestly talk about my ups in downs in youth ministry. He wasn’t trying to pry, but rather provided an avenue for me to open up rather than bottle up. It was quite nice.
- 3. About twice a month I meet with a friend to practice spiritual accountability. We also share prayer requests and lift one another up in prayer to God. It’s absolutely refreshing! During our time together at another local pub, I noticed a girl drinking by herself and crying at a nearby table. I brought the situation to my friends’ attention, and we tried to figure out what to do about it. Ignoring it seemed like the easiest option, but clearly the most selfish and unhelpful. We talked about praying for her, but that seemed to passive and similar to a scripture passage in 1 John 3 that reads,
“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
With that verse in mind, we couldn’t ignore her. We decided that once we finished our drinks and cigars that we would invite her over to our table and invite her to talk if she felt like it. We had no idea what we would say or how we could comfort her without feeling creepy, but we just felt like we should put ourselves aside and give her the option to talk to us. Then the best part happens. Once we settled our hearts on helping her, a friend of hers arrived, sat at the table, and gave her a shoulder to lean on.
I was reminded how God doesn’t always use us, but sometimes is wondering if were willing to be his servants. I suppose I felt a little like Abraham when he was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac, but much less extreme! For a refresher on the story, check out Genesis 22.
Though today was a bit draining, it was a good, honest, and relationship-driven day. I am thankful that God has put so many good people in my life. Hopefully I can be a blessing to others as well.