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January 2015

Homeward Bound

Inside the classroom, we talked about being at home with the gospel. We were challenged to present the gospel in such a way that the listeners “feel at home” with the demands of Christian discipleship. Home here means feeling natural about Jesus’ prophetic call to loving God and acting justly. We looked at the life of Zaccheaus, the Samaritan woman, and many others who felt close to Jesus, and yet responded to the gospel of holiness to God and service to humanity.

I am home here in Butuan City, Philippines, for about a week, teaching a course on Contextual Theology to a group of pastors from the Philippine General Conference of the Free Methodist Church (PGC-FMC). I feel at home here but, my heart is pulling to Taiwan. It is obvious that I am thinking of my family back in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. However, I am also thinking of where God is calling me for the moment. His call is for me to be at Holy Light Theological Seminary and teaching Taiwanese students in the area of missions and theology. In so many ways, I will always be at home in places where God has called me to. Home is where God is present and working.

While His Guitar Gently Weeps

He is playing his guitar. I sit in front of him silently listening to the soulful music coming out of this wooden instrument. Josh is here because he wants to share a struggle he is going through. I listen and try to get a glimpse of his heart, past the notes and the plucking of the strings. I wait. I quiet my spirit so that I can hear his heart beating to the rhythm of some intimate reflection. And finally, he pauses and says, “I am not sure anymore if this is the right decision.”

Josh is a first year student here at the seminary. Before coming to the seminary he had been working at a hotel and also as an interpreter for another company. He has been making enough money to support his mother and even his mother’s relatives. Now that he is studying at the seminary and no longer working, his relatives have been asking him for financial support. He feels compelled to give in to his relatives. At present, his mother is incapacitated. His two uncles are also struggling. Everyone seems to look to Josh for financial support. But he knows he must obey God and follow God’s call in his life. And yet, he is toying with the idea that maybe he can find work while he is studying part-time at the seminary. I stay quiet and try to give him the space to speak from his heart.

Last week, Josh and I met for about two hours. He shared that he needed to discuss with me some decision he is going through. He was thinking of moving down to the part-time evening program of the seminary so that he can help out his relatives. He brought his guitar. For the first thirty minutes, we talked about guitars, music, and songs. He played me some tunes. Later, he started sharing about his inner struggles of giving respect to his mother and other relatives. However, he was also aware that the temptation could be fatal and would slowly destroy his desire to follow God’s direction in his life. I gave him some advice. More so, I listened carefully to his outpouring. I knew God is working in Josh’s life. God is at work and our Lord will help Josh.

We prayed. We gently wept. We sought God’s guidance and comfort. Next week, Josh will go to Japan to see his mother. Pray with us that God will shower His blessings on Josh and his mother. Pray that Josh’s inner spirit will follow the beating of the heart of God.

(P. S. I shared about Josh a few months back. Click here to read more about him.)

Stinkbug is a Good Word

"I cannot believe my little brother's already 10 years old! He is just growing up too fast. He's still my little stinkbug. Happy birthday Jake!"

These were the words Carmen posted on her Facebook page. They were so endearing. Carmen made a collage of photos of her brother and described him as a "stinkbug," in a very loving way. I just smiled when I saw that. See the photo below and get a glimpse of how Jacob's sister feels for her brother.

Jacob - 10 yrs old

This past year, 2014, my children have grown so much, physically and in all aspects of their personal development. What stands out for me is how they have grown closer more than the past few years. They play well together. They have different interests but both take time to learn the interest of the other. They talk like they are bossom buddies. I praise God for two beautiful children who are close to each other. This is truly God's blessing to our family. 

Jacob's tenth birthday will always be a memorable day.