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 seems that my wife and I can’t seem to figure out a place to stay for any secure length of time. This might seem deceiving since we’ve been in Hong Kong for nearly five years. However, we’ve been on a series of one or two-year contracts. Scratch that, I’ve been on one or two-year contracts, and Kristin’s contract is indefinite with a three-month-notice clause. Regardless of these details, each year or two seems to bring about the question, “What are we doing next year?”
Lately, we’ve been asking that question again.
Will I stay at Island ECC as a youth pastor?
Will I even be a youth pastor?
Will Kristin stay at Union Church?
Will Kristin enroll in graduate school full time?
We’ve talked and debated a number of ideas and plans. However, there’s no clear path just yet. Fortunately, we’ve been clear-minded enough to just let go of all this planning. There are some actions we’ve taken to open up our prospects, but nothing definite. The month of February has been and continues to be a month of praying and waiting on God to reveal some next steps for us.
If you’re reading this, please pray for us. We don’t want to be anxious about anything. We simply want to be obedient servants of God. If we’re in His hands doing His work, I think He’ll make us content wherever we end up – even if it’s exactly where we currently are doing the jobs we currently have.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
–Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)
I’m going to start with a mini rant/explanation. You’re welcome to skip to the last paragraph for the point of this post.
talk about overloaded!
Yesterday (since I fell asleep before posting my daily reflection) I had the chance to return to ICS, my former workplace, and interview some students. The goal was to interview students on camera in order to edit the clips and present them in a future school chapel. The teachers and I discussed some of the focus questions in advance, but we didn’t discuss the number of students I was to interview. The ICS teachers amassed a whopping 13 middle school students. This may not seem like a lot, but when each interview is about 10 minutes long, that comes to over 2 hours of film that needs to be edited down to a 10-15 minute video to fit within a 20 minute chapel talk. Whoa. Overload.
Anyway, the point of this post is that by stepping out of my role as a teacher and into the role of youth minister, I’ve gained a much larger perspective on working with kids. I have a newfound appreciation for the work that youth pastors do, and if I return to teaching, I’ll be much more careful about the tasks that I ask a youth pastor to help me with.