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August 2009

Each Generation

"Let the children come to me!" (Matthew 19:14)

This weekend, we met a lot of children. It was a long and fruitful weekend. On Friday, we went to meet with our friends from Harvest Ministry at Troy, IL. We stayed at Tim and Suzanne Price's home. Ruby was there to greet Carmen and Jacob. It was a blast watching them play in the Price's living room. Ruby, who is about Jacob's age, was very generous with her toys. Later that evening, little three-year old Jasmine, the daughter of Willie Jones, came to join us with her dad and mom. All the adults had a great time watching these four kids play the marching band game. The next day, Ruby went outside and let us play with her bikes, scooters and toy-jeep. It was one memorable weekend.

Saturday, after saying goodbye to the Price family, we headed out to Hillsboro to see Randy and Barb Sands. In the afternoon, we stayed around the Atkins home for burgers and chit-chat. Brian and Debbie Atkins had two twin boys, Isaiah and Eli, who are about Carmen's age. They also had a one-year old toddler girl, a foster kid under their care. After dinner, we went out to a neighbor's farm to feed the horses. Except, we all forgot to bring an apple for the horse. Everyone was cool about it, and just enjoyed the walk and fellowship. Even the horses were not making a fuss about their missed snack.

Sunday, after sharing at Hillsboro FMC, we continued our trip to Bethany, IL, to speak at a gathering attended by FM members from Bethany and Pana, IL. Barry Long was there to welcome us. He shared about how the Bethany congregation is growing with more children and youth coming to church. I saw about five boys playing football at the church yard where we were having a cookout fellowship. Of course, Jacob did not join them. He was too busy with his own freesbie game. It was excillarating to see this church expanding God's kingdom through the boys and children from this small Illinois town. Because, to such of them belong the kingdom (Matthew 19:14).

During my devotions, I read in Psalms 145:4 that "One generation shall laud thy works to another, And shall declare thy mighty acts" (ASV). It is this next generation, the children around us, who will continue what we have started. They will take what they see from us and share God's story of salvation to others.

It was a fruitful weekend. I pray that the children we met will "talk about your fearsome deeds, and [they] will tell all nations how great you are" (Psalms 145:6).

Waiting in an Airport

In a few hours, I will see Sarah and the children and be back in Avon, Illinois. I am sitting here in an airport waiting to board my plane. God is so good. He has been with me in my time in California.

Last Sunday, I was in New Life Church (a congregation of different races and cultures) in the morning and Christian Fellowship Church International (a Filipino group) in the afternoon. They were so gracious. They accepted my missions presentation with so much passion and enthusiasm. I was so humbled. Now, I look forward to God bringing us together again in Taiwan. I will wait on God to bring my brothers and sisters to Taiwan and greater Asia.

Asian Children in America

Today, I am in Pasadena, California, staying in the home of the Dizon family. I am here visiting three congregations with the Worldwide Church of God (the evangelical denomination). Bermie is a pastor of New Life church, a multi-cultural church here in Pasadena belonging to this denomination. This is such a blessing to be a recipient of this family’s hospitality. Even better is that I am witnessing this family’s passion for world mission. Everyone in the family is deeply involved in the Lord’s work. Such passion! God is truly here.

This morning we were at the LA congregation, an Afro-American church of about 30 or so members. I spoke about the experiences of the Asian migrant workers in Taiwan. Later, one lady, a retired school teacher came to me and shared her stories with Asian children at her former school. She mentioned how the school principal and the other teachers always referred the Asian students to her. Later on, she told me of the many letters she would received from these Asian students after they have gone on to high school and college. They would thank her for her assistance and love for them.

I praise God for Melba, Felix, Steven, Gloria and other church leaders who are passionate about helping Asian children residing in other countries. God is please with them.

"Salt and Pepper"

Yesterday, we were at Moundford FM church (Decatur, IL) and Rushville FM church (Rushville, IL). On both places, when I shared about missions, I felt like I was “preaching to the choir.” I could have said “salt and pepper” (or whatever) and they would still be resolved in helping missionaries like us. Both these churches are very mission minded and greatly involved in our pilgrimage there in Asia. They are two of our supporting churches. In addition to this support, church members are also participating in other missions work. I am proud of their involvement.

Prayer Shawl

Last Wednesday, a pastor gave me a prayer shawl. After I thanked her, I told her that I have been looking at different ways of “enhancing” my prayer life. I mentioned to her that this prayer shawl would be a great tool during my times of meditation and prayer.

Today, I have my prayer shawl and reading Psalms 142. Here in this chapter, it refers to the time when David was hiding in the cave and running away from King Saul. He says, “I pray to you, Lord! You are my place of safety, and you are my choice in the land of the living” (Ps. 142:5, CEV). I cover myself with this prayer shawl and imagine myself in that cave with David and raise my hands in praise to our Lord. I join many other believers in choosing God amidst the many difficulties around us. I do not pretend to exactly know these difficulties. I cannot compare “my trials” to David’s struggles in that cave, nor to the many persecuted Christians around the world, such as my brothers and sisters in India. But, I know that God knows us all. I know that He cares for all the Asian migrant workers in Taiwan and helps them in the midst of their woes and difficulties. So, I join them in their prayers, and we all declare our choice to follow Him. We praise God because he has already chosen us as His very own.

Praise the Lord! I sing: “Praise the Lord . . . even with my dying breath!” Right now, I am listening to the song Praise The Lord, from the album Glory Revealed II, sung by Natalie Grant and Laura Story. I join these artists in praising our God and Creator. I sing: “Praise the Lord, oh my soul! I will praise the Lord, as long as I live.”

Small-Town America

I am here in small-town America, in the Midwest of Illinois, and I am enjoying every little thing I am encountering here. Wide open spaces and vast cornfields are just reflections of the openness of the people here and the big heart they have for missionaries like me as well as for my family. I love America!

Last night, Sarah and I shared at Avon United Methodist Church (AUMC), the original home church of Sarah. We talked about the work in Taiwan. I told stories of the experiences of migrant workers in Taiwan. I mentioned the efforts of Ghoa and the Vietnamese work in Taipei and Tessa and the ministry in Nantze. The stories I shared were well received. I knew then that this group of Christians here would be interceding for us in prayer and petition God for help in our behalf. I thank the Lord for John, Judy, Elaine, Bill, David, Dee, Trish, Joyce, Martha, and many others I cannot remember right now. I praise God for His people.

There were friends from two other churches in the area who came. All in all we represented four or five different denominations at yesterday’s mission presentation. I was very humbled at the sight of these friends who came and listened to us. It was a picture of heaven!

I praise the Lord for small-town America, for country churches in this region that are engaged in cross-cultural work and global missions. If you are reading this right now and you belong to a small country church like AUMC, then glory to God! God has a special place for you in heaven. Thank you for your commitment to missions.

A Typical "Avon Day"

I am listening to the album Glory Revealed II while working on photos and powerpoint presentations for tomorrow at Avon United Methodist Church. I feel I need a break so here I am writing this blog entry. Carmen is writing a story for her school. I hear her say she will send this story to Miss Thatcher at MAK, Taiwan. Sarah is sorting through our stored stuff trying to decide which ones we are going to give away which ones we are going to throw away. Why did we ever store some of these things? I guess I will never find out. Jacob is playing with Grandma outside. He has a broom in his hands. I think he wants to sweep the garage floor and help out. Grandpa is somewhere in Macomb getting a flat tire fixed. It is a beautiful sunny day, not too hot. I wish I could go out and run. Maybe sometime this afternoon.

I just finished playing basketball with Carmen. We went nextdoor to the Elting's front yard, and practiced some shooting techniques. I enjoyed playing PE teacher to Carmen. It was better than laying around nursing my aching muscles. The past weekend's driving was very hard on this almost-50-year-old body of mine. Right now, I am glad to be home here in Avon for a few days before we hit the road again this coming weekend.

I am so encouraged from my last visit at Cowden FMC and Knox Knolls FMC (Springfield), both from this state, Illinois. These pair of churches are so missions-minded. I praise the Lord for the leadership of Jon, Stephanie, David, Darleen, Annette, Hendrikk, Mark and others. Their presence in these local churches does make a difference. I am looking forward to hearing more from members of these churches and the ways they are practicing cross-cultural missions work. I love this job! I praise God for local FM churches who step up to the plate and do their part in God's work for this world. I am encouraged.

It is lunch time. It is hard to get off this computer. The song "Cup of Salvation" is currently playing. This is my prayer for all those who need God's salvation and healing. I pray that they will call on the Name of the Lord.

Tropical Storm in Taiwan

Pray for Taiwan. I just read in the paper today of all the devastation caused by the visit of Tropical Storm Marakot. People are suffering. There are still no exact figures of all the deaths and casualties, most especially in the southern parts of Taiwan.

Today, I received different emails from our friends in Taiwan expressing their feelings of sadness after witnessing this natural disaster. I also saw some photos posted at MSNBC detailing some of the heart-moving attempts of rescue and relief work. Please pray, pray and pray some more.

First Church Visit

We are on the road again. We are going back to Avon, but not until I get to an appointment with a chiropractor for an examination this afternoon. I need to have my neck checked and see if there is something that can be done to take away this perennial pain and constant soreness. It gets worse when I am in a stressful situation. I pray there will be some relief.

Yesterday, we visited Ferges Free Methodist Church located in the vicinity of Marion, here in southern Illinois. There were about 30 people, about a third were children. It was a good group. We had an uneventful mission presentation. The church members were very gracious. They expressed their appreciation to us after the church service was over. We had lunch after the service. Most of the members went home to get their food and we stayed on for another hour or so.

I noticed that about five people who were not at church came to join us for dinner. Found out later they were joining their families for fellowship. At meal time, most of the church people congregated together according to their families. All during the fellowship around the tables, I sensed God’s healing among the families. It seemed to me that these church fellowship meal times were a good time for these people to talk to their family members and catch up on things. I consulted with Pastor Ted later about these observations and he concurred with me. Church was happening. People were experiencing God’s love and healing for those who were broken and in need of restoration. I was praising God.

I praise God for he has given me the opportunity to meet the people of Ferges FMC. God is working in their midst. I will be praying for Ted, Linda, Benjamin, Andrew, Hannah, Jim, Martin, David, Dillon, and Juda. The Lord is good.