Finding Peace in the Midst of Chaos

About 6 months ago, my family and I made a much anticipated trip back home to Canada. It marked 2 years of living in Hong Kong. 2 years of living in a city that challenged our family daily. 2 years of working at International Christian School. 2 years away from our family and friends. It was a long 730 days away from a place that we called Home.

It was also 6 months ago, that Hong Kong, our new home, under went some major turmoil. Politically speaking, the people of Hong Kong were angry, upset, frustrated with the direction of the HK government. Unfortunately, 6 months later, the unrest has not stopped. In fact, I think Hong Kongers are more angry and determined to “fight for freedom” than ever before. They are fighting for what they believe in. Fighting for their convictions.

Over the past 6 months we have observed: 2 million people peacefully marching the streets, HKongers holding hands in peaceful protests, we have also seen the destruction of malls, shops and much more. We have observed the MTR being flooded, vandalized. We were even asked to leave a MTR station recently. There’s graffiti everywhere – our boys vocabulary has increased, so has mine! People are being arrested, tear gas every weekend, and now almost every day, riot police, chanting at 10 pm, the singing of Glory to Hong Kong. The list could potentially go on and on. And the question remains. When will this all come to an end?

If last the couple of days is any indication, then the end is not in sight. November 11 was not a good day. November 12 evening, was a terrible sight. November 13 … today, we went out to do some grocery shopping, “just in case.”

3 years ago, when we came to Hong Kong, we questioned God. We asked, “WHY?” Up until this past summer, I still asked “Why? Why God? Why did you bring us to Hong Kong?” Over the past few months, I believe that God is answering our prayer … “For such a time as this.”

Our family has settled much better this year. Our boys are experiencing a better year at school. Timothy has found some good friends. Malachi continues to grow in Middle School. It’s challenging for him and for us, however, he’s making some gains – now only if others could see how much he has grown over the past few years.

The book of Esther, if you are familiar with it, is a story of how Esther was brought out of her home country into a land that she was not familiar with. Because of her beauty, she became Queen. During her time, the Jews found themselves in a difficult situation, where certain individuals wanted them wiped out. God used Esther to save the Jews. It’s a story of God’s sovereignty. It’s a story of God’s faithfulness. Now obviously, we are not equating ourselves to Esther, however, the circumstances of her life, do somewhat, sort of parallel our journey to Hong Kong.

We have seen God’s faithfulness over the past 3 years. We know that God is sovereign and that we are here in Hong Kong because of His plan for our lives. God has used both Gloria and I over the past few years. We are truly thankful for the little moments as well as big moments where God has given us the opportunity to shepherd and to disciple others. And yet, in the midst of much chaos these days, even as I write, we do find peace. Peace in knowing that Hong Kong is where we ought to be. Peace in knowing that God is with us. Peace in understanding that God has us here to grow, to mold us, and to shape us into His image.

Dear friends. Hong Kong is in turmoil. Parts of Hong Kong looks like, sounds like and smells like a war zone … but God is at work. He is still on His throne. God never sleeps nor slumbers. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us. He is the ultimate promise keeper. God is faithful.

Do keep us in your prayers. Please continue to pray for Hong Kong. More importantly, please pray that people would come to know Christ. That many would have a relationship with Jesus. That God would continue to use our family and many others for His Kingdom.

You are loved.

Learning to Listen

I tell my grade 4 class – especially a few boys –  okay, let’s be honest, most of my boys, that listening is a skill. They’re not quite at the stage of understanding what this actually means nor do they understand the application of it.  It’s quite frustrating.  Teachers, friends, parents, you know exactly what I mean.

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The Bible recounts for us a story about a boy named Samuel (1 Samuel 3).  He was placed in the care of Eli and God calls him several times.  Each time God speaks, Samuel responds by saying “Here I am, for you called me” thinking that Eli is the one calling. Eli in his wisdom instructs Samuel how he ought to respond if he hears his name again. God, indeed, calls again a fourth time, and Samuel responds by saying, “Speak, for your servant hears.”

As we pray and seek the Lord regarding the direction of our family, I need not only to hear … but listen.  Listening involves action.  So many times we hear but so little of us respond properly, so little of us respond properly to God’s voice.

We have shared many times that living in Hong Kong is a struggle.  It’s not easy.

Grocery shopping basically takes anywhere from 2 to 5 hours.  Gloria needs to walk from our village to the MTR station, take the train for about 45 mins to her destination.  By the time she finds what she’s looking for, going through the crowds with her cart, it’s quite exhausting.  Oh, it would be easier if we had a car, but we don’t.  Thankful though, for the times when friends give her a ride and go shopping together!  You know who you are!!

The list could also include: hot weather in the summer, Mosquito-Pa-Looza every day,  pushing and shoving, lack of personal space, rude people that we encounter daily, the crazy amount of people who smoke, the constant grind of people walking, moving at lightning speed because they don’t want to miss a train, bus, tram.  Crowds.  Enough said.

Hong Kong is a love – hate relationship.

Are we complaining?  No, it’s just reality.  Are there aspects of Hong Kong that we love?  Absolutely.  However, this is Hong Kong.

And so … how do we hear God in the midst of all this crazy?

“Be still and know that I am God.”  

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Sometimes the question is: How do we be still?  Where do we find peace in the midst of chaos?  So much for desiring to leave the rat race.

What is God saying to us these days?  What are we hearing through the noise?  Are we even paying attention?

What about you?  What is God saying to you lately?  What do you hear in your noisy world?  Are you paying attention to God?

And so , we continue to pray.  We continue to seek the One who led us here to Hong Kong in the first place.  We continue to be in His Word.  We desire to be obedient.  Pray that our motives be pure.

Samuel was obedient and God used him for His glory, for His purpose.

Will continue to share with you our journey as we do our best to put Christ first in our lives.

You are loved.