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.

TCP? TCF? Third Culture Parenting / Family?

img_8802Recently a good friend of ours here in Hong Kong posted a couple of articles on the topic of TCK’s.  Some of you may be wondering what this is.  We actually didn’t even know of this term until last year at some point and then questions and thoughts started to come about.  So what does TCK stand for?  Third Culture Kid.  Basically, a TCK is “a term describing people who spend a significant part of childhood living outside their passport countries.” (Tanya Crossman, The Three Cultures of a Third Culture Kid).

Gloria and I have had questions and thoughts about this – more of a reaction due to one of our sons desires to go back home.  You can see even here, that I consider home as Canada, although Hong Kong is home for us, at this moment, time, space.

How much does one have to immerse themselves into their new culture?  When do you draw the line?  Do you really have to “accept” everything your new country has to offer? Is it wrong for us to be “Canadians living in Hong Kong?”  Not only do our boys have to adjust, we do too.

Have I completely immersed myself into HK culture?  Quick answer: No.

Do I feel completely at home in HK?  Not really.

Are there things that really bother me?  Absolutely.

Are there aspects of Hong Kong simply amazing?  Yes!

And so this thought quickly turned my attention to TCP.  Third Culture Parenting.  Trying to parent children in a new culture and place, while trying to adjust yourself is quite trying at times and honestly, tiring.  We have questions, like, “Are we parenting our boys affectively here in HK?”  Are our boys immersed or just going through the days and months with an end knowing that we are going back to Canada next summer?

I’m not so sure if I have answers at the moment, however, something worth thinking through and seeking some counsel and wisdom.

As our family continues to enjoy this journey, we are thankful (although not all the time) for the many different opportunities that have been afforded to us.  We do continue to seek God with all matters, asking for wisdom and discernment.

Allow me to end this by asking, “Are we really a Third Culture Family?” or just passing through until God calls us somewhere else or back to Canada?

Until later … need some time to really wrap my mind about this and will share more.

You are loved.