Thursday, December 31, 2009

Stepping Out

Dear Friends and Family,

Wishing you the Lord's blessings in the New Year. May it be the year we step out to new levels in God's work in our lives.

Much love,

Eng, Linda, Evan, Eric, Eli, and Ethan

Monday, September 28, 2009

September 27, 1979 to September 27, 2009

It doesn’t feel like 30 years, but that’s how long it’s been. I was 18 when we left the Philippines and was highly distressed and in anguish. I was leaving life as I knew it and friends that have been there for me for years, to face a future that was completely unknown. We left to start a new life in Canada.

Now that I am 30 years older, I can look back at that point in my life and truly know that it made me resilient. We lived for 10 months in Montreal and then moved again to Toronto. Unfortunately, I responded to what I lost and went through a lot of bitterness. I wish I hadn’t; I’m just grateful I did adjust to life in Toronto and made new friends. After that, studying and working went a lot better. If I was told then that I would someday marry a Chinese Malaysian, have four sons and be a missionary to Davao City (Philippines) and then Chiang Mai (Thailand), I would have shaken my head in disbelief. How was that possible?

I have led an impossible life. If you knew what I was like and what I did, you would have agreed with me. Now I am His daughter. I am also a wife, mother, friend, teacher, counselor, worshipper and intercessor. Nothing is impossible for our God who transforms, heals, and loves. I wish I could say that I loved Him right back when I knew Him, but I didn’t. Yet the Lord kept loving me anyway until I did love Him back. Praise you, Lord.

I look forward to the next 30 years. Maybe I’ll be an author then, a counseling teacher, a mom to an adopted child, a speaker. Who knows? I don’t, but what I know is that I’ll be blessed and with the Lord in me and His help, I’ll keep doing the impossible. Future, here I come.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Best Vacation Ever

We arrived here at The Pines in Prachuab Khiri Khan over a week ago, 3½ hours south of Bangkok. We are staying at a holiday home that hasn’t stopped surprising me since we got here. Our lodging is simple but comfortable, and a very adequate place to stay. It doesn’t have air conditioning but there is a ceiling fan right above our double bed. Our sons are in an adjoining bedroom with a bunk and a single bed. The best thing about our rooms is that they’re the closest to the beach so we can hear the soothing waves of the sea when we sleep at night. Hot drinks (coffee, tea, or Milo) are freely provided just outside our rooms. Laundry is done daily, and our clothing, pressed and clean, is available for pickup in the laundry room by the afternoon. Three bountiful, delicious meals are served every day with a special Sunday dinner of roasted chicken (or meat loaf), potatoes, stuffing, salad, fresh biscuits, and a sundae for desert. There is a freezer and a fridge which are filled with ice cream and cold drinks; a container with leftover deserts is kept in the fridge for those who may want a snack in between meals. Some of the available facilities include a trampoline, a ping pong table, a basketball hoop, a soccer field, a volleyball court, a swimming pool with a Jacuzzi, and a pathway for cyclists (or skateboarders). Bicycles for various ages are available for free use. Their library is small, but contains lots of books for everyone. A lounge area provides an excellent place for anyone to relax and read a book, crotchet or knit, work on a puzzle, chat, play games, or use the computer. Internet access is available at any time for the mere cost of 10 baht per day (a little more than a quarter). Jigsaw puzzles of varying difficulties and sizes are available as well as board games; they even have Settlers of Catan (with an expansion set!). Last, but not least, they have the Movie Room, the only air-conditioned room in the accessible areas. Stocked with numerous DVDs available for free viewing, there is a whiteboard used to reserve a time so that everyone gets a chance to watch. Aside from the comfortable chairs, lots of cushions and comforters are on hand for family viewing. Often this week, this room has provided a place for folks to cool down while watching, and it is often filled to the brim.

We’d gone fishing, viewed a nearby aquarium, shopped in town, gone swimming, kayaked, (the men played golf), walked on the beach, played ping pong, played sports and card games, eaten until our tummies bulged, watched movies (including "The Sound of Music" and all 3 "Lord of the Rings" films!), line danced, listened to musical talent (violin and singing), sang, had a bonfire, and simply visited with friends.

What a surprising place! It has been talked about as a great place to go to, and I’ve often wondered why people would rave about it. A friend envies us because we would never get bumped off our reservation if we indicated we wanted to stay here. Since they don’t belong to our organization, they have lost their reservation in the past when people in our group signed up to come and stay here. It is a very popular vacation spot and now I understand why. This place has a tranquility about it that promotes rest and relaxation. The friends you come with or meet start to become like relatives over the course of your stay. You walk in the lounge and feel like you belong there. Lying down on the comforters in the floor of the Movie Room along with the rest of the crowd becomes the most natural thing to do. Yes, The Pines is a great place to go to because of the beach and everything it has to offer, but most of all it’s because of the love and camaraderie that is in the air. The Lord is here and He is not just giving us rest and solitude, but comfort and enjoyment with His own. It is good to live in harmony with brothers and sisters in Christ. We’re living out our best vacation ever (except that we’re missing our oldest son Evan who is not with us). I’m so grateful for the 12 days we’ve been here. We are blessed.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A New Man in the House

Ever since my family left to go back to Chiang Mai and I remained in North America to begin my post-secondary education, a large gap appeared in the so-called "Yeong Family Hierarchy." As the eldest brother I had been in charge of a great deal, but being thousands of miles away didn't exactly bode well when it came to me taking care of my responsibilities, and as a result Eric was forced to take over.

These were big shoes that he had to step into (size eleven, to be exact), yet from everything I've heard he's done a really great job. From walking the dog before the rest of the family is even awake on weekdays to writing up his own contract determining the work he did around the house, Eric has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

When he is not washing the car, doing a load of laundry, or working on the yard, Eric has found time to compete in a badminton tournament, run in Track Meets, help as stage crew for a musical, and even celebrate his 16th birthday party. Academically, he's chosen to take two AP (Advanced Placement) courses next year while in Grade 11, and two more in Grade 12- a heavy workload for any student.

Between his duties as honorary eldest brother and responsible student/fun-loving teenager, Eric has a very full life. He's definitely managed to take up the torch, and to own his new role. Well done, Eric!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Dead Will Rise

As our supper guests arrived, I expected the evening to turn out like any other night with friends over; I couldn't have been more wrong! The first thing our guest said was that a man had drowned in the pond just a block from where we lived. He and his friend had been drinking beer and had decided to take a dip in the murky water. Unfortunately, he didn't resurface. His friend frantically tried to find him and immediately sought help but to no avail. Almost an hour later, the body remained submerged in the dark water. As people gathered around the pond, our friend had passed by, which is how she found out what had happened. She told us that she wanted to pray for the drowned man to be raised to life, so I went with her. We waited anxiously while scuba divers went into the man-made pond to pull the dead man out. It was then that I thought to myself that seeing a drowned dead man wasn't exactly what I wanted to do. It was unsettling for me to watch them pull him out. It was too surreal. I went home, but later realized that my friend had left her cell phone and I had no way of making her know it was time to eat. I had to go back and get her.

When I got there I saw the dead body covered by a white sheet. At that point most of the people had already left. Our friend was joined by two other Christian friends and they were all praying. I knelt down and joined them stating that nothing was impossible with God. We asked the Lord to make him live again. I commanded him to rise in Jesus' Name. We were interrupted when they drew the sheet back to take pictures. I had no choice but to look at him close-up. I’m still recovering from the shock of not just laying a hand on a dead person, but also being so close to someone who had just died. It’s just so unreal. His pale, ashen, white body had regained its brown color. I wondered later if we should have kept praying. Instead, I told my friend that Eng wanted us home to eat. We left soon after that.

At first I was disappointed with the Lord for not bringing him back to life. Now I know that although I mentally believed we would do even greater things than what Jesus did (the lame walked, the blind saw, the dead came back to life) because He is praying for us, in my spirit I had unbelief. May the Lord increase my faith. Yes, I did pray, but had that man sat up, I would have been the first one surprised by it! I’m grateful that the Lord isn’t upset with me. I learned more about my faith. I cannot conjure it up. The Lord gives us faith to raise the dead. This is my prayer. The same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is living in me. I have prayed this reality in me. That drowned 29 year old Thai man remained dead, but soon, for so long as I get the chance to pray for dead people, one day, the dead will rise in the mighty Name of Jesus Christ.

By the way, Jesus has Risen! Happy Easter.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

His Grace and Overpowering Love

Departing from Houghton, my trip to Newark was a harrowing one, to say the very, very least. This was a journey that consistently and unrelentingly tested my faith and forced me to look to the only one who could help me.

Having stayed at my roommate’s parents’ house for a night and some of the day, I was driven to the Rochester bus station by Mr. Doty at 7 pm, to arrive at 9 pm to pick up a Greyhound ticket I had already purchased. Upon arriving there, he asked me if I had everything. I assured him that everything was quite alright, and went on to get my ticket.

Showing the woman at the front desk my purchasing number, I was given a ticket. Greyhound buses only allow one large piece of baggage per passenger, and since I had already gone from Toronto to Rochester, I was prepared when she informed me that it would be ten dollars for the other bag. Heading back to my handbag and rifling around inside, I realized that I did not have my wallet.

This was only the beginning of a very long trip, and the first of many challenges to come my way. I responded in the logical way and searched through every single bag and possible pocket; I found nothing. After praying fervently I worked up the courage to ask a man sitting nearby for his cell phone and called the Dotys. Mrs. Doty told me that I had forgotten a sweater, and that inside a pocket she had found the wallet. There I was, sitting in the bus station, waiting for a bus, without a single dollar.

What happened next was the first of many blessings, and a complete and total surprise to me. The woman at the desk came out and gave me two tags to stick on my bags, saying something about their being handwritten and it being alright. Confused, I returned to the desk and asked about paying (I was fully ready to write a check, because I had stuck my check book into my back pocket for some reason before leaving). She then went on to explain, in words that I can’t recall, that it was alright.

After thanking her, and still overcome with gratefulness, I boarded the bus and proceeded to thank God for what he had done, asking that this woman be blessed a thousand times over and that the rest of my trip continue on smoothly, in spite of not having the resources to get beyond the Newark bus station.

Our bus arrived at a bus station in Syracuse, where we had a short stop. Sitting in the bus station for over thirty minutes, I took out my ticket and realized that I didn’t leave until 1:15, contrary to the 12:15 that I thought I had heard the driver say. Minutes upon minutes went by, and standing up and staring at a screen, I realized that my bus was delayed to 2:15. I sat, straining my ears to every announcement that could possibly be for a bus to Newark, and finally approached the front desk. After hearing my question about the Newark bus, the Greyhound employee told me that I had just missed my bus.

To be more specific, he had made the last announcement “just two seconds ago.” I sat down at a bench and combed my fingers through my hair. I couldn’t believe what was going on. It was almost 3 in the morning at this time, and I had no idea how I was going to get to where I needed to go.

The second blessing happened when the man came from behind his desk and told me that he would put me on another bus. He asked for my ticket, left, and came back, telling me that there was a bus to leave in twenty minutes, and that I had better listen this time. I thanked him profusely and waited for the bus to be called.

Throughout this entire time I had been praying, asking for guidance and for the perseverance to get through all of this. Sitting in the bus, I pulled out my Bible and started the next chapter of Matthew I had lined up to read. It was the 24th chapter, and the second chapter section was “The Day and the Hour Unknown.” I was struck with how this was, and the whole situation of not knowing when I would get to Newark, or how.

I woke up to the bus pulling into the parking lot of a Dunkin Donuts, and the driver talking on his cell to someone, describing the sounds the engine was making, and the burning smell. He told us that the bus had broken down, and that we would have to wait in the Dunkin Donuts to keep out of the cold.

Sitting there, for two and a half hours, I pulled out my Bible again and read the next chapter. Matthew 25, verse 13 says, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Having read this I felt admonished, yet encouraged, that I could be prepared and go on. Finishing off the chapter with “The Sheep and the Goats” I was reminded that I was chosen, and set aside by God, and that he would help me through everything.

Having climbed onto the other bus I stayed awake and aware, ready for anything to happen. I slept on and off, but never more than half an hour. Arriving at the bus station in New York City, I carried my two pieces of luggage across the entire station, making it to the next bus. Suffice to say, Newark was the first stop, and I was dropped off right outside of the bus station there.

Lugging my bags inside I set up next to a number of ATM machines. My Bank of Montreal card had been placed inside my handbag instead of my wallet after trying, and failing, to create a PayPal account. I had tried it several times at a machine at the Syracuse bus station, but had been met only with a message informing me that the transaction could not be processed.

Finally, there I was, in Newark and without a dollar on me to get to the airport. Lo and behold, the first machine refused my card despite accepting the pin number. Praying under my breath I approached the second machine and gave it my card. It worked! I withdrew a pretty large amount of money and proceeded to the information counter to find out how to get to the airport. Learning that the best way was by train, I bought a ticket and proceeded to take on the two flights of stairs to get to where they were, luggage in hand. ***

To make a long story just a little bit shorter, I got to the Newark airport safely. Once there, I waited for hours before being met by friends who took me to everyone else. My original ticket would have had me arriving in Newark at 5:40 a.m., which would probably have had me at the airport by 7 a.m., at the latest. I arrived at the airport at around noon. But here I am, sitting on my bed in London, England, barely jet lagged and happy about it.

Oh, and to really end the story off, my wallet was given to a student departing from Houghton, and was given to me at the airport. Good news, all around. I made it to Newark only by the powerful grace of God, and have not stopped thanking him since. May this little (sort of) story be a message to all of you that his love overpowers all.

Below is a picture of me, finishing this email.