Monday, September 23, 2013

Critical Time of Need

With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Matthew 19:26

Grace International School in Thailand is facing its most severe test!

It received an eviction notice so EVICTION of 340 students from the secondary school is imminent. It may occur this November as a result of a court's ruling. Unless God, through the court intervenes, the school will implement its contingency plans to be able to continue education of its students. The school owns land for a new facility, but lacks the funds to build on it. 

GIS urgently needs people who will come along side to assist through prayer, donations and active involvement with sharing the needs of the school. 

Will you help? For more information, please log on to    Thank you!!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

In the Midst of Hardships

I believe the Holy Spirit is here today strengthening us to hear God's truth that we are greatly LOVED by God. Also, that we may be in the midst of hardships on every side, but His grace is here to strengthen us to stand in the days ahead.
Tiffany Ann Lewis

Our students and their buddy in a braiding session.
Last Friday, I visited Agape Home with several students from the school I worked at. Our students were there for their scheduled visit with their buddies. They were paired up with the children from the home and for over an hour, time was spent with them playing, braiding hair, talking about life, praying, or simply hanging out. I was impressed with how huge the place was! What was even more impressive to witness was the enthusiasm that each student showed while spending time with their buddy. Each child there had either HIV or AIDS. Yet, they were loved and valued just for who they were in spite their illness. For more information on the ministry and how it got started in 1996, please log onto for the complete story. The place was founded by Avis Rideout who while volunteering at an orphanage dared to ask if she could bring home an abandoned baby with HIV. She wanted the baby loved and cared for. From there birthed the idea of raising other babies with HIV/AIDS and that grew into what Agape Home is today. Apparently, since the children there are given medicine, they are able to have the energy to play, study, and function as a typical child.
This boy was nursed back to
health after he and his mom
were found in the Burmese border.
While the playing continued with the children, I asked to tour the place. I saw the younger babies, the toddlers, and two women who were dying of AIDS. One was suffering from excruciating pain from her back that she couldn't even sit up. She was bent over in agony. Another was blind and Avis told me that she was ready to go to heaven but didn't want to die. My heart broke when I saw their pain and emaciated bodies. They were cared for and loved but their disease was taking its toll and winning. I groped for something to comfort them with, even with words, but I came up short. I ended up praying for them that the Lord would minister His grace and healing.

Later that night, I went to the airport to see my son's friend off. They lived in Chiang Mai for 13 years, but had to leave for good. She was a senior and studied at our school since Kindergarten but with their family situation changed, she wouldn't finish and graduate here. In spite that, she praised God for her friends in Chiang Mai, the life she lived here and this place always being home to her. My son was naturally grieved with the news of her leaving. They had been friends since 3rd grade. In her last few days, they spent as much time as they could together but the pain of parting was hard nonetheless. It will take another lifetime for me to forget the scene when I watched my son looked through the glass, as she walked to her gate. 
His friend is the small, distant, person in brown
further up in the picture. He stood there
until she could no longer be seen.
Sometimes, we go through life and we just can't find easy answers. We just have to store our questions in our head. We can ask God for understanding when we get to heaven. Still, the reality is that Papa God loves us deeply in spite what we go through and because of what we go through. His ways are higher than our ways and so are His thoughts but His great love for us is steady and constant. And this explains why there is a deep yearning in me to tell my son constantly that I love him these days. It's also why I also want to go back to Agape Home to tell those ladies that I love them. It's Papa God in me who is doing it. He loves them and as I pray to be His mouthpiece, He wants to do just that. I love them! It's His love for them that I feel in me thereby enabling me to feel love for them also. What a fascinating process! I first saw it in Nick Vujicic because he kept saying to the crowd of 10,000 people a few weeks ago that he loved them. When I got close to take his picture, I saw his eyes and I immediately realized that he meant every word! And now I know! Papa God's love was pouring out from him, that's why he could love! I get it! So in the book of Daniel, this is why verses 9:23, 10:11, and 10:19 all say a similar message, he was greatly loved. May we always remember it. We are greatly loved! No matter what we go through and how we go through it; painfully, oddly, confusingly, whatever-ly. Papa God GREATLY LOVES US! AMEN!

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Year Later

But God said to him, "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded
from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?"
Luke 12:20

Exactly a year ago, my mother fell down the basement stairs of their house after having a stroke. Because of her typical low tolerance to pain, I was glad that she lost consciousness because of that fall. An hour and a half later, she passed away surrounded by my father and all my siblings in Toronto. She lingered just long enough to receive the priest's last rites. As soon as the prayer was finished, she breathed her last.  

My mother loved flowers especially the red ones like this.
I had a half hour to process that she had fallen and was in a serious state before another call came through informing me that she was gone. Shocked at the tragic news, I went about the rest of that morning literally in a daze. I went to our two sons in the school to tell them that my mother died. I didn't want them to find out any other way than from me. Somehow in that unbelievable morning, I called Eng to share the news. The next time he talked to me, he told me that I had a flight to Toronto late that night. I went home to pack and was soon with my father, a mere day and a half after my mother passed away. We rallied together to deal with the wake, visitations, memorial, funeral, and, our collective loss. To read those stories, please look at: “The Departure Date, I Love My Husband, and Being Sustained” which are postings from September 10-24, 2012.

Soon after that, we lived life without her. Understandably, my father was distraught. My heart broke more when I saw his grief than over my mother's dying. I loved my mother but with her having Alzheimer's for over eight years, my grieving over losing her had started long before she physically left us. In the end, she mostly just sat: expressionless, joyless, in her own little world. The only way I could reach her then was when I played her favorite songs on the piano. Her foot tapped to the beat and on a good day, she nodded her head to the music, too. Otherwise, she only looked like my mother but she stopped being truly her so long ago.

As for us siblings, relational differences brought about by various reasons became exacerbated with the distribution of properties that my parents owned. It didn't take long before grievances from years past started to re-surface. Soon, some of us weren't talking to each other. The worst happened when a heated discussion between two of my siblings transpired right in front of my father. He was deeply saddened by the state of our relationships and wisely decided to meet with us.

He expressed his unhappiness over the broken relationships in the family and encouraged all of us to openly share our grievances. He implored on us not to give in to envy. He narrated the "Parable of the Rich Fool "to help us not to focus on what we can't take with us when we die. And finally, he declared that if it mattered to us that he was our father, he wanted us to choose to reconcile no matter how long it took each of us. He reminded us of how when we were kids, our mother would give us a choice of stopping our argument and making up, or getting spanked. We very quickly chose the former with a kiss and a hug. After all, no one wanted to be spanked then! That threat to a spanking disappeared long ago but the meeting ended with kisses and hugs all around. I unfortunately had to go to work and ended our Skype call. I missed the best part, seeing middle aged adults (our youngest sibling just turned 50) kissing and hugging one another. =)

My mother would have been proud. Even a year after her death, what she used to do with us worked to bring harmony back into our family. What a blessing to have her be a part of our lives. Thank you, Papa God, for allowing it. We praise you for her and for
our reconciliation.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

His Arms and Legs

Nick Vijucic as he was cheered by the crowd.
Today was the first time I actually couldn’t pray what I normally prayed for someone. Often, I would ask the Lord to use me (or whoever I was praying for) to be His arms and legs, and mouthpiece. When I started to pray that, I realized that Nick Vujicic had no limbs. He couldn’t literally be the Lord’s arms and legs because He is completely limbless. Because that is so, I prayed even harder that the Lord would use Nick as His mouthpiece. I wasn’t disappointed. Tonight, Ethan, his friend, and I, listened as Nick shared his life story to a packed convention center full of 10,000 (mostly Thai) people. By the time we headed home, it was almost 10:00 p.m. but as Ethan said, it unfortunately started late but it was surely worth going to hear him. Nick only spoke for about an hour but he was powerfully used by God.

Born with a rare disorder, Nick grew up without any of his limbs. Yet, overcoming his disability and depression at a young age, he’d grown up full of faith and joy. He’s lived his life doing what normal people did, play sports, go to school, and enjoy life as best he can. He shared that he believed he could do all things because of Christ who strengthened him. At 19, he discovered that his purpose in life was to encourage so he decided to be a motivational speaker. He shamelessly talked about where his hope came from and whom He believed in. He encouraged people to never give up. He pleaded with us not to allow our limitations to stop us from trying. He reasoned with us that just because we fail doesn’t mean we’re failures. He taught us that each failed attempt in selling himself as a speaker taught him to learn how to speak better. He encouraged us to learn from our mistakes.

Nick at different stages of his life.
He never stopped trying.
He shared a whole LOT more but as I listened to him, I knew that what I was witnessing, Nick himself, was God’s miracle. That Nick today is full of joy, peace, and love, in spite what he doesn’t physically have, is a testimony of what our Lord is capable of doing. Papa God had transformed Nick into a contented and joyous man who loves Him and who knows that his purpose in life is to encourage others and to share about our destiny if we believe in Jesus. Nick is now happily married and has a healthy boy. All the more, joy wells up from within him. As he shared about that joy, his love for all of us, and his God who loves, he asked if he could pray for us. Then, he prayed an earnest and heartfelt prayer of blessing for everyone. He implored that we would all know the love and the joy that comes from the Lord. Truly, nothing is impossible for our God. In the absence of arms and legs, the Lord used Nick Vijucic to speak into the hearts of all of us there. Judging from the many teary eyes I saw, many were moved. And I know that a LOT of that movement is towards God. May the Lord be praised for His goodness and love and for His amazing wisdom in using the limbless to bring people to Himself.