Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Beginnings

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 9:1

Tatay and I at Kew Beach in Toronto
I have lots to share but my plane from Korea to Chiang Mai is about to depart. I was so blessed to be able to spend some time in Toronto. Wanted to give God the glory in all that He had done. On my last day there, a singer friend even spent some time worshiping with me. I always delight in those!!!

Then, she shared that she was joining a choir on a short missions trip. Her apartment would be empty so Eric, who is arriving in Toronto from camp and will be there for 3 weeks, could stay at her place. What a wonderful provision as her place is just several blocks away from where Evan and my father lives! We have such a wonderful Father who can provide easily!

As I continue writing this, I am now in Chiang Mai and obviously jet lagged as I was up at 1:45 a.m. I hope to get a bit more sleep just as soon as I finish this post. This is kind of a disclaimer just in case what I write next don't make a lot of sense. I wish I could write all that transpired in Toronto. I just do know that memories were made and I hope to remember them for a long time to come.

Tatay playing with a game I got him.
As I thought of this post, I honestly didn't know how I could capture everything that happened. I know I would not do a great job, that I'll inevitably not describe what happened well enough, nor remember everything that went on. So I decided to pick the one last act that I asked my father to do for me. On the morning I left, he was eating breakfast. I knelt down in front of him and asked for his blessings. He turned, shifting his body to face me and put both of his hands on my shoulders. I tried hard not to cry and bowed my head as I prepared to hear what he would say. He made no sound but he pressed and released the pressure of his hands on my shoulders and kept them there. I sensed his sadness, his thanksgiving, his wishes for me, his prayers, and most of all, his love. Then he said it was over. He chose to bless me in silence, without saying a word. Thinking about it now, that was best. The Lord could always tell me if He wanted me to know. What's important for me is that I left with him expressing his thanks and love for me even though I heard nothing from his mouth. He is a quiet man and I guess, always will be.

I praise and thank you, Lord. You are so good. You gave me the understanding in my spirit. I look forward to more of the new beginnings and blessings in my life even as I literally meet this new day, August 1st. I love you.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Times with our oldest: 22 year old son,
Evan, were precious.
Before I left for Toronto, Eng gave me a gift card with over $300 in it. He said it was given to him but he didn't have a chance to use it all while he was here. There was an expiry date on it which necessitated its immediate use. He also said I should shop and just use it any way I wanted to. Pleased to have money to spend, I determined to shop and use it wisely. For the past three Sundays, Evan and I had gone to the malls after church and used the card for our lunches and for shopping. (Sundays are the days when my siblings visit my father so it is a good time to be out as he has company.)

The first time we went shopping, I tried to buy something for Evan but he wouldn't let me. Even when we did find a great looking $20 shirt on sale, he didn't want it. He said it was too expensive. He said he wanted a shirt from a second hand store. Buying some body scrubs for me, a shop clerk's eyes smiled when we explained our predicament that we were trying to use up all the money in the card. She said she'd have a "great and easy" time using the money we had. My nephew said the same thing. It shouldn't be hard to spend all that money.

So the question was, "Why were we walking back and forth in the mall and having difficulty trying to buy something?" I was in a shoe store and tried on a pair that was on sale for $89.99. I needed a pair, it looked great and it felt good on my feet. Still, I didn't buy it because I couldn't justify spending that kind of money on a pair of footwear! We kept looking and spent just over $100 on our first shopping day.

Times with Tatay, my father, were gifts.
By our third time out, we finally exhausted our funds. I'd spent it on our two lunches, clothing for Eng, Eric, Eli, and Ethan, a book for Evan, and other hygienic items for Evan and I. Proud of ourselves that we got our task accomplished, Evan then took out his gift card. He said it was for $80 from a leather shop that he wouldn't buy anything from. They sold footwear, belts, and wallets. I said I needed a wallet so we went to buy one. On the way there, I talked to Evan about learning how to receive. I told him I wanted to buy him the $20 shirt from our first day out but he wouldn't accept it because of the cost. When we got to the store, I couldn't find a wallet I liked so I started looking at their footwear. Before too long, I found one that had a 50% sale on its tag. It was all leather, it looked good, and it felt great. The price? It was almost $100!

Really? It was the second pair I liked and tried in three weeks and they cost almost the same? Was that a coincidence? Did I need to learn something? (Obviously, the prices of stuff in Toronto went way up while we weren't living here!) Could I receive that as a gift if the giver felt I deserved it? Just like Eng, Evan said I could use the card on anything. So what was my problem? My own words were still fresh on my lips! "You need to learn to receive. How can the Lord give you anything if you won't open your hands to receive it?

Well, I am learning as I am now the owner of a super comfortable, leather pair of sandals. Yesterday, our family friend insisted that she wanted to do my nails: hands and feet! I let her even though it took a long time and she re-did my right hands' fingers at 1:00 a.m.! Last night, Evan and I watched a movie with popcorn and drinks. Our outing cost us $3.00 just for the parking because of a coupon I received.

Our Lord, because of the way He loves, is extravagant, generous, and giving. Even though Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive, there is grace also needed to receive well. May we not miss out on our blessings because of our inability to receive.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Court Case Update

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

James 5:16b

Front facade of the high school building.
It is the building contested in the suit.
As a follow up to the post two weeks ago called “Prayers for Grace”, the verdict of the court in Bangkok was read in Chiang Mai on July 9th.  As it relates to Grace International School (GIS), the results were essentially the same as the decision of the lower court in 2009. GIS is still expected to:

·       vacate and turn over the property that was part of the former sports club,
·       pay about $165,000 USD for damages + interest at 7.5% from August 2008,
·       pay about $1,700 USD for legal fees,
·       pay court fees and its share of title transfer fees, and
·       restore the original condition of the facility, including maintaining it in good condition, until the neighborhood association takes over.

The school’s prayer request was for a reading that glorified the Lord. That being the case, in spite and because of the outcome of the verdict, we can be certain that the Lord is up to something and will reveal what that is in the days to come. We can trust Him. Papa God is in absolute control.

The next step for the school is a meeting on Tuesday, with the lawyers, to ask questions and presumably to work on the next steps to take. Might there be an appeal to the King of Thailand? Since the reading this time was from the Supreme Court, there may not be a higher court except the King, himself. Might that be when the King of Kings uses the King to give a proper or more appropriate verdict to this case? We will find out.

In the meantime, Don Williams, the school’s Superintendent stated the following:

We are confident that we will be able to continue to deliver the great education you have come to expect at GIS throughout this process.  We are hopeful of our future because God is firmly in control and forever faithful, forever loving, and will continue to look after us whatever trials come our way.

How comforting it is to be under his faith-filled, godly leadership. He continually asks for prayers on the following: 

·       for the school's leadership, court team, and our attorneys,
·       that those who brought this suit will see God's love displayed towards them,
·       for a sense of peace in the GIS community, locally and internationally.

Thank you for praying with us! The Lord will surely glorify Himself through this.

PS. I apologize for the look of this post. I've been having difficulty getting it to display the way I want it to. The text seem to have a life of its own and refuse to be edited to display without background color. I am trying to figure it out. Thank you!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Another "God's Suddenly"

Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;
Make music to our God on the harp.
Psalm 147:7

This piano is older than the sum of the ages of all our
four sons. It also joined our family before
any of them were born.
My father’s house in Toronto is where our old, restored pneumatic Handel player piano is. Before we worked overseas, we bought it second hand (in the 90s) at a very cheap price. A quick research shows that it was possibly made in the 1920s. It is very old and it looks it. I recently played the upright piano at our Mission Home on Avenue Road and comparing the two, I know that the sound from it is not the greatest. Furthermore, some of the keys can no longer be pressed down so those keys remain silent when I play them. Still, I’d been playing it because I am praising and grateful to be here.

Here, is in Toronto at my father’s house. =)

On Monday last week, I sheepishly asked Papa God if I could see my father again. I was a bit embarrassed to ask because my father already came to Chiang Mai for six days to visit us in January and that was an amazing answer to prayer (in a post called, “Blessings”, January 25, 2013). Still, because he’s already 92 years old and just recently had pneumonia, I wasn't sure of how much time he still had before the Lord called him home. I hoped to see him again even though I knew we didn't have the funds for me to go back to Toronto. At the back of my mind, the idea that nothing was impossible with God remained and I asked anyway, hopeful that I be answered.

I share regarding God's beauty by writing about what
He does. Nature does the same and does so effortlessly.
Imagine my surprise when I got home on Tuesday and Eng started talking to me about some funds that he said he invested two years ago. He apologized(?) that he kept it a secret. I found out that his desire was to go to South Africa someday which is why he saved up. There was more money set aside than he needed for his future trip so I inquired about his intentions for the rest of the funds. He said he didn't know. That was when I asked if I could be back in Toronto at this time. I wanted to be here while I could still take care of my father rather than come home the way I did when my mother passed away. I actually told Eng that this trip could be in lieu of that. He agreed. =)

We prayed that somehow a flight could be bought the next day as a confirmation of the Lord’s answer. Sure enough the ticket was booked and 3 days later or last Saturday night, I was on a flight which got me here by 10:00 a.m. the next day, Sunday. I will stay here until July 29th so I can look after my father for four weeks. It is such a gift! =)

I was a part of that whole, quick, and miraculous process but was amazed even as it transpired. I needed a Thai re-entry permit for example and quickly got it in all of twenty minutes! What normally took a whole morning or a great chunk of the day was done just like that. When I thought of getting my permit, I was prompted to call the school I worked in to inquire about another matter and found out that personnel were going to the Thai Immigration the next hour. (How cool is that?) They invited me to just meet them there and this was why my re-entry was quickly processed, it was through their connections.

God’s “suddenly “will never cease to amaze me. It boggles my mind! Thank you, Papa God, for what you do. In spite the faulty piano, I praise you, praise you, and praise you some more. =)  You definitely deserve the praises and I love you!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Prayers for Grace

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
James 5:16b

Grace International School opened in 1999 with 176 students. Its mission statement is to enable international Christian workers to remain in their field of service by providing for the needs of their children through an integrated education from a Christian worldview. It now has over 500 students from Kindergarten through grade 12.

Presently, GIS programs include not just core curriculum but also special needs services, fine arts, extra-curricular sports, and ministry opportunities. It also offers support and assistance to home schooling families.

In nine days, the verdict for the legal dispute that the school’s been on will be given. Please be praying for the Final Court decision on July 9th 2013. May the school’s leaders have wisdom and may God be glorified no matter what the decision is.

If you’d like to pray for the school specifically, here are the prayer points:

•   For the Lord’s will to be done and for favour in the court’s verdict on July 9th;
•   For adequate funds to begin construction before the end of 2013;
•   That the Lord would make possible the completion of both high school and middle school buildings by the end of 2014;
•   Specifically, for the equivalent of 100 partners giving $45,000 each. These could be churches, mission agencies, foundations, businesses, and individuals who catch a vision for what the Lord is doing through Grace International School and partner with us to raise the 4.5 million USD needed for this first phase of construction.

Thank you! Bless you.