Monday, March 26, 2012

Receiving Forgiveness

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
1 John 1:9a
Last week, I did the unthinkable. I was at my parent’s house as usual and as in times past, I took my father’s bird cage out to their deck to clean it. I carefully set the cage down on top of the table and turned my back on it as I took the plastic bag where I intended to place the trash. When I returned and got close to the cage, the birds started flying frantically inside. That was their typical behaviour and it didn’t cause me any alarm until the smaller of the two flew right out of the cage’s open door and took off east like a rocket. I was horrified and just managed to stop the other one from flying out as well as I used my hand to block the open door. I quickly latched the door shut and prayed that the other one would come back as I looked out to the sky where it took off.

I was aghast. How could I possibly miss seeing the open door? What if the budgie never came back? What would my father say? Would he scold me? I didn’t know how he’d react to me but I was certain he’d be grief stricken. His pets (he had fish and two turtles, too) were all precious to him. If he ever leaves his house for a few days, he’d call to make sure someone’s feeding his pets. Surely, he’d be saddened by what happened. I lingered outside and prayed for that bird to miraculously fly back. The one left was visibly agitated and was saying so in no uncertain terms! I decided that it was good for us to remain outside so that his chattering would call the other one back. It didn't work. Several minutes later, I came back in and decided to tell my father the grim news.

I said I was sorry and explained that one of his birds flew off. “Huh? That bird’s going to die out there!” was all he said as he quickly went outside to do what I’d done for the last half hour: look up at the sky and the bare branches of the trees all around in the hopes of finding it. I prayed some more but that bird had other ideas than flying back home. Slowly, my father gave up hope and turned around to look at his car which was just parked to the right of where we were standing. He’d been lending the car to me to use. The week before, Eng drove it and rear ended another car. My father’s car now had a dent in the front bumper and I’d been trying to figure out how best to tell him that it was so. It was why I was distracted at the task of cleaning the cage. It was also my way of stalling from telling him yet about the car accident. The reason for my hesitance is because aside from people, my father only loves two things: his pets and his car. As it turns out, he saw the dent and asked how it got there and added "Were you in an accident?"

I sheepishly added that it was another thing I wanted to let him know about. My father didn’t say anything but proceeded to go to the car and inspect the damage. While he was checking it, Eng phoned. Eng apologized also and I anxiously waited for my father to say more but all he said was, “It’s ok, don’t worry about it.”

If my father could easily forgive about the bird and the car after finding out just seconds apart, would our heavenly father do any less? He is by far holier and good. He is faithful and just, too. He forgives us, EASILY! Can we receive His forgiveness?

I must and I do. Will you do the same?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Eric Joshua turned 19

As usual, we gathered around our birthday celebrant (this time Eric) and started singing the birthday song to wake him up. Eli, who slept beside him, managed to grunt a few lines and gave him a tap on the back. The rest of us sang with sleepy gusto as unlike the other times we’d done this; it was only 5:30 a.m.

We were staying with friends in Pasadena, Maryland and wanted to leave at 6:00 a.m. so we could visit with other friends in Bedford, Pennsylvania, before heading home. After hugs, greetings, and sleepy goodbyes, we left their home. It was just a few minutes past 6:00. We were right on schedule.

The drive took longer because of the fog and slow speed limits in the small towns we passed but we made it to the next state. We had breakfast while we visited with our friends in their farm and then we were soon shooting guns (rifle and hand gun) on can targets. This part was particularly fun for Eric, Eli, and Ethan. I must admit, it is COOL to see a pop can explode with one hit and open up like a flower.

From there, we drove back here and we’re soon eating at a pasta restaurant. We came home just before 10:00 p.m., in time to host our friends who came to greet Eric. Over tea we chatted and then ended the day with prayers for Eric. He is still looking for work while not attending school this semester and he is still uncertain about what to take in university. Still, when we prayed for him, it made me realize how special Eric is. He was greeted and blessed by Godly friends in two states. Then, he received money from our friend, an indication that he will be provided for. He could also have won candy, a balloon, or other gifts from the restaurant we ate at but instead he won a package of spaghetti, a good symbolism of long life. Finally, our friend, Joy, came and while we prayed, there was peace and reassurance that regardless of what isn’t in place in Eric’s life right now, joy has come and will keep coming. Thank you, Lord. You are good and always up to something good. It will work out for Eric and thank you for the truth that you will always be with him, wherever he goes.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9b

At 19, Eric is compassionate, gentle, very thoughtful, loving, grateful for his life, and, I think we’re all in agreement, the funniest Yeong. It’s so good to be part of his family. =)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Soccer Kicks

Ask and you will receive,
And your joy will be complete.

John 16:24b
I forgot to mention when I wrote about Eli being athletic in January that he loves to play soccer. He played for the school team in Chiang Mai and was a member of the soccer club there. Here in Markham, he joined the recreation league and just recently, was invited to join the Unionville-Milliken Soccer Club (UMSC), a more competitive league. He was the only one invited in his recreation league team. He also had to try out for the club team at least two times. When he made it and was chosen, he was obviously ecstatic and beyond himself. We’re due to leave for Thailand early in the summer so he’ll miss at least two months of the tournament but he wanted to join anyway. That he be in a more competitive league was what he really wanted. He wants to hone and improve his skills and knows that playing competitively and with players better than him is the way to go about it. In the end, instead of leaving in early July, Eng reconsidered and agreed to leave at the end of the month so Eli can keep playing on the team. The last hurdle to overcome was paying for the club fee to join UMSC and it wasn’t cheap.

Eli is the first kneeling player on the left. This is a picture with his recreational team called "Mr. Sub".
Eli didn’t have all the money and neither did we. Even if we did have all the money, we would only have helped and not pay for the whole amount. We wanted Eli to invest in himself and use some of his money (which he had). Eventually, we helped by Eng asking his 3 friends if they would be interested in sponsoring Eli. I gave Eli email addresses of some friends and my siblings and he wrote and explained his predicament, asking for help. He was hoping that if each individual he wrote to gave $20-25 each, he’ll reach the amount he needed.

The evening he sent out the email about paying the club fee, Eli and I prayed and asked the Lord to provide. No more than half an hour later, Eli came back literally jumping up and down because he had two responses totaling $400. The next day, more responses were received and they all exceeded the measly amounts he had thought people would give. One respondent asked who to write the cheque to for the FULL AMOUNT. In less than 24 hours from the time the email was sent, exceedingly and abundantly, Eli received email messages with amounts totaling just less than three times what he needed. He now needs wisdom to know who to receive from.

Needless to say, Eli couldn’t be happier about the way the Lord came through for him. I can’t say that today his joy is complete but he’s definitely grateful and well aware that if he asks, he’ll receive. Thank you, Papa God. We praise you.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dreaming Big, Part 2

What love is this that you gave your life for me?
And made a way for me to know you…

From the song “What Love is This?”

by Kari Jobe, Mia Fieldes, and Lincoln Brewster
I kept my second dream a secret. It was something I prayed to God about and told no one. I knew it wasn’t wrong but I was embarrassed to even ask the Lord for it. It’s because it wasn’t like I was dying or sick. What I wanted was something I could already do. I just wanted the miracle, the convenience, the amazing ability to see without glasses. I started wearing glasses when I was about 18 years old so I’d been using it for over 30 years. Maybe I felt around and couldn't find my glasses, my glasses fogged up again, or I just discovered I used conditioner mistaking it for shampoo. I can’t remember anymore when I first wished it. All I’m sure about is that it’d always been my impossible dream.

When I thought of my dreams early this year, I remembered my dream to see unaided. As I thought it, Eng (from nowhere) asked me whether I preferred a fancy gadget, or for my eyes to undergo laser so I could see well. We had a special anniversary to celebrate so I figured it was why he asked. I still don’t know his reason for asking. I was just surprised at my reaction. I definitely wanted to get the laser treatment! Still, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I didn’t know how much it was and what if I wasn’t even eligible? What if he wasn’t even serious?

He encouraged me to get a free consultation so I did. I found out I was eligible but I thought the cost was more than what Eng would want to pay. I also couldn’t justify it. Why should the money be spent on me and not on missions, our sons’ needs, or the poor's' needs? I thought it was better to give up the dream, use the funds for any of the above, than to have Eng sadly say “no” to me. Although I really wanted the treatment, I told him I‘d rather not because the money was better spent on what mattered more than my convenience or desires. Unknown to him, I also had a tearful talk with Papa God where I asked Him to please help me receive if He wanted to heal my eyes through laser and to literally provide some funds should Eng miraculously agree to my doing it. Eng being wise said if he had money to spend, he wouldn't give it to missions nor the poor if God didn’t tell him to do so. He said I didn’t believe I was worth it for God to bless me. He insisted instead that I get it done - miracle # 1. =D

I was ecstatic but I asked him if we could pray for affirmation that what we were doing was right. When we prayed together that Friday afternoon, we specifically asked that money come our way. On Monday morning, my mouth dropped open when I opened a letter addressed to me with a cheque enclosed in it. It wasn’t for our support; it was just a gift to help with our living here. Miracle # 2 was all I needed! =)

Today, I can see without my glasses. Miracle # 3 happened through laser.

In Niagara Falls last week, I feasted my eyes on the beauty of raging water. No glasses fogged up and I could see in spite the mists. It would have been impossible to enjoy the falls up close for as long as I did with glasses on. Then again, impossibilities and magnanimous love is what God is about. I SEE, Lord, my eyes and my heart see. Thank you, from every part of me.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

28 Years Today

While Pierre Trudeau was taking a walk and contemplating his resignation as Prime Minister of Canada, I did my own thinking. Our decisions were both precipitated by the snowstorm that bitter cold day on February 29, 1984. I remember the wind and the swirling snow all around us. The bus took longer than usual because of the snow that already accumulated. We were both freezing as we continued to wait, exposed to the elements, in the bus stop in front of Ross Building at York University. Eng, being the gentleman that he was, stood real close to me to shield me from the wind and the snow. I was grateful for it but became very much aware that he was proximity wise, too close to me, for a male person that really was only my friend at that point. He had been joining me and my friends almost daily for lunch and would sometimes even take me home by public transit. The trip to our house was an hour and a half long and he lived right by the university so he was obviously very interested in me. I liked him as well but I didn’t really consider ourselves dating then. The idea that he was just a friend quickly changed as I realized that if a man was going to stand that close to me, he better be my boyfriend or my husband. I quickly changed our status on that bus ride home. It was a leap year that I’d never forgotten. Trudeau did resign as Prime Minister. I ended up with my very first and only boyfriend.

Today, we were blessed to be out on the cold again. Thankfully, it wasn’t as cold and yes, no snowstorm! We walked just across the American Falls in Niagara Falls and took pictures. It’s been great to be here to literally chill, remember, and celebrate.