Monday, November 30, 2009

What's new in HK

Jen here. God has much in store for us in Hong Kong. I delight in seeing His working and leading in our lives. Being in HK has brought about some new things for me. Here are a few of them:

For starters, I am now a Chess student. One great way to serve Roy is to play chess with him (whether he is blindfolded or not) and to let him teach me. I am actually putting effort forth to improve and to learn chess, and I'm growing! Every Friday night Roy runs "Quads" which is a group of 4-person mini tournaments. What happens when 11 kids show up (11 kids= 4 + 4 + 3; one quad only has 3 kids in it)? Roy's wife steps in to beat the little kids! Ha! Actually, I have won all my games except two. Last week I played a boy, and he was beating me most of the game point-wise, but I was holding my ground and looking for checkmates. We took so long Roy put a clock on our game (which happens every time I play...ha)...and I lost on time. NO! My heart was pounding. He had two queens...I just promoted one of my pawns to a queen and began checking his king over and over so he wouldn't use his two queens to kill me off...but alas, it did not work. He won, on time. :( Boo. Next time...

I am now a Chess photographer. Yep, Roy's making a flier or homework assignment and he wants a chess graphic: "Jenny, could you take some photos for me?" It's sweet because I get to use my camera and flash...and it's helpful to Roy. And look at that handsome man I get to shoot photos of once in a while!

I am coordinating a Christmas tea for women. Kathy Hamilton, director of women's ministries at IECC, volunteered me to "help Phyllis with something"...I later received an e-mail thanking me for coordinating a tea with Phyllis. Hmm... interesting. :) I have enjoyed meeting with Phyllis and working out the details...and may God provide people and ready hearts and fun times. I'll be making Christmas cookies for I look forward to that as well! Now to find some cookie cutters!

More later! Ciao!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Progress and Familiarity

Jen here. A few weeks ago I received an invite to Newcomers Coffee, hosted by some women from IBC, a Baptitst church here in HK. You may remember my blog about this in October--the women were a great encouragement and blessing. Vicki, the host, is so friendly, hospitable and loving. I felt welcome the second I set foot in her home. :) think back makes me smile.

Well, we met up again. Vicki greeted me warmly at the door and I greeted Pauline as well. How nice to set foot in a familiar place with familiar people! Yes! We sat down and chatted, sharing how things have been since last time we met. Vicki and Pauline rejoiced with me in what God has done over these few months. More than they know, He has worked mightily in my heart and my life.

For the first chunk of time in HK, I was SO lonely and not sure what to do with myself. Everything was strange, I was just learning how to use public transportation. Now I feel confident navigating to most places on the island using all forms of transportation. I am meeting people and beginning to develop friendships. I attend a womens bible study on Thursdays; we're studying the book of Daniel--oh how much I've learned and been challenged! Not to mention, I get weekly interaction with women in all different life-stages. God blessed me with the opportunity to assist Roy with three of his chess classes, so now I am able to see ~50 adorable primary school students each week. What a joy they are to me! I was even able to teach two groups of beginners the basics of Chess. What fun!

God has been working in my heart, to show me sin and other things that don't glorify Him. He unveiled my covetous heart and took it away. He's rooting my worth and view of myself in what He says of me--that I am beloved, safe in Christ, having Christ's righteousness (though I don't deserve it!), and am worth His dying for me.

God is still at work...Newcomers Coffee served as a great venue for pondering His great works. Hooray! So, praise God for loving people...who invite strangers into their home and make them friends. What a blessing these women have been to me in HK!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Religion in HK

Jen here. More footage via the Jen-spy Cam...One day I was chilling in our apartment and I heard something going on outside. I peered out the window and spotted a table with three cooked pigs and some fruit on it. People were dressed up and gathering, but just chatting. Then I saw a few of the men light some (I'm guessing) incense sticks, stand in front of the table, bow three times, and put the sticks in a pot filled with sand on the table. Intriguing. What is happening here? So I looked on...I saw a few more men do the same things...then some of the women...and I decided to grab my camera! Eventually all of them lit the sticks and bowed three times in front of the table with dead pigs on it... This occurred the day after a holiday in Hong of my American friends who married a Chinese man told me it is like Memorial Day for the Chinese. They go and visit the graves of people who have died...and apparently offer pigs and fruit to their ancestors. Interesting religion, interesting beliefs. And I mean religion.

Pictured at left is a little shrine on the 2nd floor of our building. Our neighbors in that apartment burn a stick of incense in it every morning and evening. If you look closely, you can see one stick of it burning, and a bunch of old sticks (dark red) chilling in the pot. In the some parts of HK, there are shrines tucked in the sides of buildings, in the middle of stores and even in the evening you may see fruit or other food on the sidewalk with burning sticks stuck into it. Gotta feed the ancestors, I guess.

We all need Jesus. Whether we grow up burning food to our ancestors or going to church every Sunday, we need Jesus. The act of going to church or being raised by Christian parents does not ensure eternity with God. Knowing Jesus, and seeing our need for Jesus, does. Praise God for His glorious grace and gift offered to each one of us!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Just Kidding

Jen here. So remember my previous post..."Fall is here"? Just kidding. We are having summer-like days again. Today was warm...and I almost turned the a/c on, but I decided to take a cold shower instead. Maybe by middle of November? Praise Jesus for the glimpse of fall.

Do you see that unripe, orange tomato to the right? That's dessert. Mmm... and it's not a tomato, it is a Persimmon. Cherrie brought some to share with us at Care Group. When she first brought them in and told us they were for dessert, we were thinking "tomatoes for dessert?" but I remembered seeing them in the store. Some sort of strange fruit.

At Care Group we eat dinner and chat, then watch a sermon from the Luke series at Mars Hill Church. Cherrie isn't used to an hour-long sermon, so we take a little break about half-way through to eat dessert. This dessert was interesting--another new food. First, don't eat the skin; it is very chewy (I ate a little...). Just eat the flesh. It reminded Roy of a plum, and the texture reminded me of an over-ripe peach. It tasted all right at first, but then I had enough. I need to learn to say a firm no, even to sweet little Cherrie. I don't plan to eat them again for a while...

We have Care Group tonight again. We plan to go out to eat and just hang out, getting to know one another more. It'll be Roy, me, Cherrie and one new woman. Pray that we would form great community, rooted in Jesus.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fall is Here

(Doesn't Roy look so handsome in this pic? Yes, I agree. ) Jen here…and I am pleased to say that autumn is here as well (the season, that is)! YAY! November brought cooler weather, 70s, and it is marvelous! A few days ago I went for a run in the morning; a cool breeze refreshed me. It took me back to the days of running Cross Country in high school, and made me run a little faster. Yesterday I took a stroll in a park nearby and paused on a park bench to watch people. Many older people, more men than women, walked along the park sidewalks, some younger people. All were bundled up in long-sleeved shirts, jackets or sweaters. Smiling, I acknowledge, I does feel like fall and it does feel cool compared to our previous weather. Praise Jesus it’s not humid!! Feeling inspired, I scribbled a poem onto some paper, and meandered home.

Now, here’s a note: I am not a poet, and by that I mean, what I wrote may or may not be poetry. I still don’t know what poetry is exactly. In fact, as an elementary and junior high school student, I dreaded the day when the “poetry lady” would visit our class and make us write odes and other random forms of poetry. I wasn’t taught to love poetry or to express myself through poetry. So, correct me if I am wrong, but I now think poetry is kind of like art: it can be anything. Just express yourself. Doesn’t have to rhyme. Doesn’t have to contain a certain number of lines or syllables. Just write, and space uniquely, and voila! A poem!

Autumn Arrives: 11/3/09
The weather cools
And suddenly it’s fall
Memories of mountains
And oceans flood my mind
Close my eyes, see the waves,
Feel the breeze,
Breath the crisp, cool air
Ahhh…at last
Awakened to God’s creation
The other side, Hong Kong
And I hope, I desire to set out
To explore and discover it
Even in the midst of towers
Mmm…apple crisp, pumpkin pie,
Hot chocolate, snuggling in blankets
Appeal to me and seem possible
Oh how I could share Christ’s love!
His passion for humanity
Reach out, meet people, invite
Learn Cantonese, tutor math
Will I find a place between
Laziness and craziness?
But God, You’re always with me
Leading and orchestrating
Placing people in my path
And giving desire to know
To love, with Your love
Who gave Yourself for me
So I give myself, lose my life
For Your glory, for Your purpose
Take my sails, turn them,
Gust a strong wind
Supply the water current
And provisions for the journey
For my harbor is safe
But You made me for the open sea
I’ll go there if You go with me.