Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Week of Grace

Praise the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all his benefits –

Psalm 103:2
Last week was slower than usual as both my online course and the school I taught at were on break. I initially thought I’d do a lot of school work but Papa God had other ideas on how I was to spend my week. A day was spent with Eng and our two sons. Since they all love to eat, we ate at a restaurant we all liked and walked around the mall. Then, our time together was topped up with us watching a borrowed movie at home. It might sound like a boring time together but it was what we could all agree on doing. Ethan couldn't get a massage with us, Eli didn't like bowling, and no movie was kid friendly so watching one at home was the next best thing to do. It was our very own Yeong family time. =)

On Tuesday, Ethan was invited by his friends to go to the houseboats on Mae Ngat Dam. At 11 years old, I’m still a bit perplexed that he was the only boy there from his class. It was an outing attended by three of his female classmates. Thankfully, the girls’ brothers (who played with Ethan) and their mothers (I had someone to talk to!) were with us, as well. It was a perfect day to look at the beautiful view, use the canoe, eat, swim, and just relax. I also enjoyed the boat ride to and from the house boats. Neither Ethan nor I had been there before. This is our eight year in Chiang Mai and I've heard all kinds of raving comments about the place but there was always someone in our family who wouldn't want to go there when I’d recommend it. What a gift to finally make it there!

From Wednesday to Saturday, Eli’s school had a soccer tournament so we spent most of our days at the soccer fields. It was hot but a LOT of FUN. It helped with the enjoyment that Eli’s team won all their games except one (tied at 4-4). =) Most of all, it was heart warming to see Eli mobbed and congratulated for scoring a goal. He had been trying so hard the first few games and had several near misses so getting one was such an answer to prayer! Papa God is so gracious!

I was able to get some school work done and managed to spend some time with Eng and Ethan separately. I particularly liked an hour long early morning walk with a friend to a breakfast place, eating heartily, and then walking back home. It was a blessing. =)

Lastly, I wanted to give God praise for letting my father find his beloved, lost, pet bird. The said bird was the partner of the first lovebird that escaped due to my distraction. The story of that first escape was posted on March 26, 2012 (called “Receiving Forgiveness”). The second bird escaped some time in August while floor renovations were done at my father’s house. Then, when Eric stayed with my father during the Canadian Thanksgiving early this month, he took a walk out of boredom. He subsequently saw a flyer from an animal shelter about a pet bird found on the street. Owners of missing birds were encouraged to send them a picture to find out if the bird belonged to them. Sure enough, even though it’s been at least six weeks since the bird flew away, it turned out to be my father’s! I say this all the time because I cannot help myself. What a mighty God we have! He truly is! Thank you, Lord!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Best of Three

It is not the piling up of knowledge. that stills and satisfies the soul,
but the tasting and savoring of things from within.

Ignatius of Loyola
The first week-end of September was extra special and busy because I was at three different resorts for three different kinds of retreats. The first one was the school’s Elementary Staff Retreat which was from Friday morning to Saturday noon. I would have been there the whole time but I was invited to sponsor the High School Chapel’s Prayer Team which had their own retreat from Friday afternoon to Saturday at 2 p.m. As a sponsor, I’m in charge of a team of students that I pray with, guide, or lead (if necessary) as they pray and encourage prayer from all the secondary students. I initially declined the invitation because attendance to its retreat was mandatory and it conflicted with our staff retreat. However, as I casually chatted with a friend and told her what I passed up, she surprisingly advised me to ask permission if I could be excused from part of our staff retreat so I wouldn’t have to miss the chapel retreat. Realizing that nothing could be lost from asking, I did ask, and sure enough, I received my “go ahead”! God definitely affirmed it for me then that I should be the chapel’s Prayer Team sponsor. Now that the first quarter is over, I’m grateful to have met five, young, and passionate prayer warriors. Our times together were interrupted by my being away in Toronto but I’m looking forward to what we’ll do together as a team in the future.

The staff retreat was FUN and entertaining as we spent most of the morning playing ice breakers and team building games to bond us as a unit. By the time the morning was over, we surely felt like we could work better together. Later in the day, we met with our own department members to deal with specific job related topics. Shortly after that, I left them to join the chapel retreat. I was at once met by the energy and exuberance of youth. They were a lively bunch and a lot louder! =)

The next morning, I heard the testimony of Chris. He talked about his childhood and his mother who became mean after difficult life changing circumstances. Due to her mean streak, he became angry, bitter, and rebellious and sought to be loved and accepted in the wrong places. He went to college and soon had a low GPA of 1.9, eventually dropping out. I was amused when he shared that he had three majors: drugs, sex, and alcohol. He also cut himself. Later, he reached the end of his rope and after a series of God ordained events, he prayed to the Lord and felt 200 lbs. lifting off of him. He felt himself made whole and holy. =) His life turned around and changed. He went back to college and made the Dean’s list and graduated Cum Laude. His mother became ill and Chris ended up taking care of her, even washing her feet. He stayed with her until she passed away. Chris ended his story by saying, “Now, I ain’t got nobody.” I sensed the Lord had something else to say about his last statement so we spent a bit of time praying so that he’d hear what the Lord would do in his life.

I left that retreat touched and elated about the events that morning. I was soon on my personal retreat, a day of quiet and stillness, just listening to Papa God and sitting by His feet. I had a great time at the other retreats but the one with the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and Papa God is the best of all three. I wrote in my journal then, “I don’t know how you do it but that you do. Oh mighty God of the universe and everything that lives, you make time for me. I am worthy in your sight.” I am grateful to be able to have that time with God. He always fills me, always satisfies. What a blessing that Eng allows me to go and that he takes over at home. Thank you, Lord, you are my everything and an ever present help. I love you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


In our hearts Lord, in this nation, awakening
Holy Spirit, we desire awakening

From the song “Awakening” by Chris Tomlin
This morning, I finally realized why the song above tugged at my heart both times when we sang it at worship. I first heard it (not for the first time) last Friday when I attended a worship meeting at school. When it played, I got a sense in my spirit about what the Holy Spirit seemed to be telling me but my mind still needed to play catch up. I had to wait to understand what He was saying. At our church’s service on Sunday, the same song was sung. Since the song above was quite new here in Chiang Mai and not very popular yet, and two different worship groups played it, it resonated even more within me. Yet, what was I to get out of it?

Since arriving here on October 3rd after three weeks in Toronto, I felt like I landed in a sprint. I spent the first four days buried deep in my textbooks, lectures, and handouts from my online course. I couldn't do any of my course work the first two weeks in Toronto because of my mother’s viewing and funeral, subsequent 9 days of prayer times with my family, and family meetings. On the last week, I purposely didn't do any of the work, choosing instead to have some quality time with my father. Although, I know I chose how to spend my time wisely, it nevertheless meant I had to catch up on 3 weeks’ worth of late online postings plus keep up with the homework on the week we were in. Typically, a week's workload is enough to keep me busy for hours. Four weeks’ worth of work in four days was just brutal! I hardly slept and subjected my body and mind to hard mental labor.

I stopped just to eat a Thanksgiving Dinner and was soon reading again about my course, the theology of the Old Testament. In the end, I finished my homework (Praise God!) but I was soon back to school and trying to make sense of what I used to do. Suffice it to say that with my mind so tired, thinking about how to teach Elementary ESL stretched me to the limit. I had to postpone eating lunch and meeting with anyone until I could have a handle on what I was doing. After a week of that, being organized and comfortable with teaching finally resurfaced today. I also began to eat at the lunch room again and met with a friend. I heard her stories and actually remembered them. =) When we prayed, the semblance of normal began to creep back in.

Finally, the certainty that the Holy Spirit had been drawing me to Himself became very clear. In the emotional three weeks there, and busyness and craziness in settling back here and doing my work, somehow, our intimacy was affected. I never stopped praying to Papa God but because I had no time to just be still to receive from Him, I was literally drying up from the inside. I haven’t had the inclination to worship the Lord using the keyboard and it’s been five weeks! I began to understand today, that as indicated by the song’s lyrics, my heart’s yearning was to be awakened. I wanted to be back in His arms receiving from Him. He’d been prompting it. And, there is no place I’d really rather be! Thank you, Lord, for calling me to yourself. Yes, please awaken me.
For You and You alone, awake my soul
Awake my soul, and sing
For the world You love, let Your will be done,
Let Your will be done in me.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

2012 Thanksgiving

Last night, together with other Canucks, we gathered at a friend's house and enjoyed turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, ribs, mashed potatoes, pickles, marshmallow salad, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, peanut butter chocolate cake, and other delicious delights!

Eng is grateful for me being back here =), his sons, and his good health.

Eli, not in order of importance, is grateful for his friends, family, school, possessions, and his life.

Just before flying back here, it was good to spend some alone time with my father. We had a chance to visit the KEW Beach in Toronto and enjoyed the cool air.

Ethan is grateful for his friends, family, soccer, his Christian community, and school.

Where do I even start to thank?

While in Canada for three weeks, it was great to see our older sons Evan and Eric, my siblings and their families, my friends, gorgeous flowers, and the beginnings of the fall colours.

I particularly enjoyed the lakes and trees on the drive back from Alumette, Quebec to Toronto. I traveled on Highway 41 from Renfrew County to Kaladar, Ontario and the sights were just wonderful!

Canada is such a beautiful country! =) Thank you, Lord, for everything!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Exceedingly Good

Taste and see that the Lord is good!
Psalm 34:8
As I write this, I am on a return flight back to Chiang Mai. It’s been a very eventful and tiring three weeks. I’ve been crying a LOT. It makes sense to do so in light of my mother’s passing away. On the days following her death, I was grateful that she’d gone to heaven where her mind’s thinking clearly again and she’s with Papa God. I’d been praying for her healing for years. I know that the healing she received was way better than a physical one. However, during the funeral, watching my four brothers and two sisters cry, especially my father, was painful. Even in the last two weeks while staying at my father’s house, I heard my father sob and weep. All I could do was cry with him and pray with him when able. I’m glad that even though it was painful for me to be there, I was able to share his pain and help him grieve. We also had several discussions on the goodness of God and I know he was encouraged

Today, after I checked in, I had an almost two hour wait for my flight so I sought out a bank machine. On the way, I stopped by a washroom (restroom/toilet) and turned right instead of where I came from. Consequently, I saw the Chaplain’s Office which also had the Airport’s Prayer Room. Wanting to process and pray over things, I went in. Now I know my steps were directly guided there. My heart was then heavy as I spoke to Eric before I left the house and as I said goodbye, I asked him to forgive Eng and I for most likely missing his college’s closing ceremony next April. He said “yes” but it saddened me anyway. I would love to be there. Also, because they dropped me off at the airport, I just said “goodbye” to my father and Evan. This is the hard part about being a missionary.

In the Prayer Room, I prayed as I mindlessly flipped reading materials. Pat Di Fonzo, the chaplain there, then walked in. He saw me and commented on how sad I looked and asked if he could do anything for me. I asked him if he wanted to pray for me and we were soon talking. I shared with him the events of the last three weeks. The Lord used Pat to encourage me. He reminded me that the Holy Spirit was able to comfort my father and take care of his needs. He also encouraged me regarding my grief in leaving my loved ones here. He had me read Psalm 128:2 which was on a bookmark he gave me, “You will eat the fruit of your labour; blessings and prosperity will be yours.

I knew the verse above but it didn’t really make it easier to leave. I only felt slightly better. And then he quoted Matthew 19:29 and it made me start to cry again. I actually was close to weeping by the time he started praying for me.

15 years ago, while pushing Eli (who was then 1-1/2 years old) on a stroller, a scary question crossed my mind. “Why was I (we) giving everything up?” There was nothing waiting for us in the Philippines. We just gave away most of our material things and sold our house and van. Eng quit his work and we (with 3 sons under 7 years old) were soon to leave for Manila. What were we doing? Some Filipinos sold their land to move to a more developed country. There we were, doing the opposite as we prepared to leave Toronto. I asked God to remind me why we were doing what we were doing. Eli had fallen asleep so I returned home from our walk and sat in the porch to watch him. I opened my Bible to read and was soon reading the passage that Pat quoted me. It became alive to me then, and now, it just makes me want to weep.
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

The Lord knew exactly what would minister to me. I was amazed! I thought I knew God but now I know I’d barely scratched the surface. He's not just a good God, He is exceedingly good. Thank you, Lord, for who you are! Praise you.