Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Week 48

Week forty eight was a memorable week with my brother and his wife in town and Doris' 11th month of loss. Monday was a holiday due Easter the day before but it was more like a weekend, a sleepy one for me too in the morning. Nevertheless I started working on the Emmaus sermon I did not get to preach over Easter, giving the opportunity to my predecessor. I plan to include it into Doris' Lent devotions that she left behind. At night I spent dinner with my predecessor, the smartest guy at work in his heyday. It was his last day in HK after two months here. The sharing was good because he could talk transparently, partly because he too had spent decades overseas, so we are on the same wavelength.

Day 2 begins a comedy of errors and a lot of sweat in trying to obtain a new visa to China. When I finally submitted my application I signed at the wrong place, so there was another delay. Then the agent did not submit my application for fear of rejection and being blacklisted. China is becoming a nightmare for believers with a foreign passport like me. My travel agent and I spent the next three days getting the information right. Even then I won't know by next week if my visa is approved. I also gave a few hundred dollars to support a young seminarian to missions.

On Wednesday I went through a co-workers upcoming sermon with him. A passionate speaker, he is very thorough but still lacked understanding in structure. It was a joy and a challenge to explain again to him because of his high intelligence and full China upbringing but he's still unsure if structure is that important and meaningful.

Day 4 is delivery of our new book 求祢使我痊癒. I ordered 700 books, of which 300 of them is meant for 三宗 that meets the anniversary week of Doris memorial service. Last year I started giving the participants, so may the Lord bless it's use. At night my brother David and Siew Huay took a direct shuttle to the island all by themselves. We had northern food at Tsing Yi.

On Friday we had breakfast with two buddies who witnessed to my brother over yum cha. I had to leave earlier for meeting and left the job to my two trusted friends. At noon I had my evaluation, something I did not look forward to because of a previous misunderstanding not on my part. Tough talk does nothing, only soft power works. It ended well. I even apologized for any embarrassment I caused. I agree I have not reached my potential, but I believe in helping others succeed, not helping promote myself. I had prayer with my group and a buddy cut my hair for Doris' 11th month of loss tomorrow. At night I took my brother out for wonton noodles and dessert.

Day 6 I took compensated leave to take my brother David and his wife to Stanley, a place he recognized for the prison from Chinese movies. For dinner we had Korean food at Sorabol. We had a good make-up time because we seldom see each other. Today was the 11th month of Doris' loss but my brother kept me busy enough to lose focus.

On Sunday I took David and wife to church. Praise God for once they were not bored after past failed experiments  attending church to find unimpressive speakers, in his view. At night they wanted to eat Cantonese food, so went to Tsing yi for food and mall.

April 25, 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Week 47

Week forty seven was another good dream week. On Monday Doris' little school "sister" came from Toronto and brought a beautiful bouquet of flowers to visit Doris rest at home. We searched some of Doris' old letters to find two cards that belonged to her. One of my goals is to return to the sender's the old cards they sent to Doris. 

On Day 2 the flowers I bought for Doris during Ching Ming bloomed to a rich fragrance. The flowers her sister brought as well as from  the Canadian visitor yesterday made the room a sight to behold, so much so that I told Doris, "You look good, Baby!"

On Wednesday a swimmer told me her pool story. She suffered from 左骨神經線 and walked with a limp on her right foot. After various treatments she asked her acupuncturist, "Would swimming work?" "They can," said the doctor. Further, her island daughter urged her saying, Would you rather spend money seeing doctors or swim? Her daughter even offered to pay the $350 an hour training for her swimming, altogether more than $10,000 for her mother to finally learn how to swim. She called herself dumb and old - over 60, but now  she travels daily to the island clubhouse for her swim.

Day 4 morning I woke up to a dream of Doris and I introducing her niece to L A. Regent Cafeteria, telling the niece we had taken a distant relative there for lunch before. We realized our error because the two girls are rivals. After lunch I picked up Doris' will and lawyer forms to apply for probate in order to get our tax refund. The lawyer was Doris friend who did not charge us. When the paperwork was done tears rolled down from my eyes near MTR thinking of the will I saw for the first time and the blessing from her friend. At night I had a bigger Thanksgiving, finally finishing the 38 chapter 職場 book Doris almost completed. I had finished it more than a month earlier than the expected date of Doris' loss, May 22.  Now I pray for a publisher with similar vision, intent and passion.

On Friday morning I returned to our favoriteTung Chung cafeteria to relive old memories. At noon I wiped the tears from my eyes to the Good Friday message. I mingled Jesus' sacrifice, Doris' suffering and the speaker's sickness to a good cry. 

The holidays continued through Saturday. I went to morning dim sum with Doris' sisters to get her original death certificate for probate because mine is in USA. Departing at 330pm ferry I even found a store that has celery for a drink. I definitely need one for my high blood pressure, even ordering one more for take-out.

I joined the early Easter 630am worship but to a lack of sleep. The Emmaus sermons gave me a lot of thought since I had checked out the passage a day earlier. My next project is to work with the Lent devotions Doris left behind. From the gospel accounts the texts I need to work on include three gospel texts, one from Isiah and no more than five from Paul.

Finally a song from Good Friday that touched me:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PddS4i_U-IE

May 18, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Week 46

Week forty six was a week of dreams but none with Doris in it. On Monday I woke up to a USA friend remarking that my pants were too big or fashionable. In the morning I ended up telling another friend I did not appreciate what he said to me the night before. It was embarrassing and possibly detrimental to a new-found friendship. May the Lord heal. At night Doris' school friend texted me: Tomorrow is Ching Ming festival. Hope u r ok. Remember u in prayer
Victor Yap: Her sisters with me
Friend: Good !
Victor Yap: She lives in my heart
Friend: Yes

Tuesday was Ching Ming  holiday for folks to sweep tombs. I woke up at 4am to these questions: What does it mean to me? How do I feel? One thing was different: Doris was at home, not at tombs! It was a serene day actually. After a bit of writing in the morning I went back to bed near 10am because I woke up too early. Near noon I went to Prince Edward to get flowers for Doris even though her sisters said they'll do it. The day was too beautiful and too special to stay at home. After having a quick lunch at my favorite place introduced by a buddy I bought resurrection lilies for Doris and some cookies for friends. At 6pm her sisters arrived to bring flowers to show their love for baby sister. We had hotpot with the food I bought for the occasion.

On Wednesday night I watched the first chapter of 2017 Condor Heroes on the tube. The night before I was fascinated by its showing on CCTV, but one of the villains has died, so I had to start from the beginning.

On Thursday I woke to my second dream of having a sports car that has a handy sloping underground parking spot exactly the size of one car. The purpose was to get away from bad guys.

On Friday I used the compensated day to revised more chapters. A friend asked me to listen to his talk, which I had a great time doing since I can lend a ear to something important to him and give my feedback. I secretly wished I can help him get his article published.

On Saturday I had a masseur to work on my stiff right arm for two hours. It has been stiff for more than two months, increasingly getting worse, so it was high time to attend to it. At noon I had to rush to the office to do prestudy questions with two new reps from another fellowship zone. All enjoy it tremendously. After study I was so spent a buddy and I went to tea before I head to fellowship, eat and head home. What a long day.

The next day was longer still. I spoke at North point before heading back to church, ate a burger , then sat on a waiting car to Ma On Shan for fellowship leaders retreat. For three hours they expertly learned the grammar Bible, practised writing a short devotion and acted a sketch. Praise God at night I have finished revising 30 職場 chapters. All's well that ends well for the day. At the camp an old song touched me, reminding me the fair and frail bride of Christ:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oKd3wUNfrrs

April 11, 2017

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Week 45

Week forty five continues my dream week. On Monday  I went with a fellowship friend to watch the movie Silence. He was disturbed by the negative depiction, I can understand, so I won't recommend it unhesitatingly. Most moviegoers forget about the other heroic missionary who sacrificed his life to rescue believers who were drowned for their faith. Another thing to bear in mind is the Catholic priest's burden as the representative of God, thereby the key element in the inquisitor's plan was to make him apostatize to cause others to stumble when previously the believers would not apostatize. The third observation is that believers did prosper in Japan for a while until the priests' apostasy.

Tuesday was another boring week, unchallenged by the lack of preaching new sermons. Now I have eight half done sermons. The only new thing is welcoming a new coworker W at lunch.

Wednesday I woke up to a fourth week dreaming of Doris. She asked me, "Do you wanna go for a walk at the beach?" As usual, we were also driving, but this time to a strange house. At one time, I was looking for a restroom. At night a neighbor and his wife offered a ear massage to treat my high blood pressure, bless their heart!

On Thursday I received news that my former church chairman suddenly died of leukemia. The person who notified me talked to him on Sunday but he was hospitalized on Tuesday and died Thursday 1am. Poor family, there is no grief like no preparation for the family, Doris used to say. At night I had dinner at Sheung Wan with my prayer partners and my mentor, who will be returning to L.A. after a short but rewarding stint at ABS. He's such a wonderful person, I cannot say enough of Herman. However, he too failed trying to encourage me to move on; maybe what I need is just not to stand still or be stuck. At night a buddy's wife had a dream:
"Last night I dreamed of Doris for the first time. The background was unknown, she looked healthy but serious, she told me there were many good restaurants near her office,西餐廳、cafe  and bakery ...then she laughed."

On Friday our department had a birthday lunch as well as to welcome my department predecessor. Our department has grown stronger and the relationship sweeter the three years I have been here. By God's grace I have matured in the mentoring part. On Friday I wept as I searched for the emails Doris sent to Herman and another good friend in USA, of which I will release the second below: 
Dear Michael, Michelle, Herman & Eleanor, 
I have previously sent very similar emails to you asking for support for Victor.

I am so very eager to be with the Lord but I know it is difficult for Victor to let go. Please pray that God will guide us on the same page so we can have peace about His will together. We want to embrace God's will for us individually and as a couple. 

Thanks!
Doris

Saturday was the first week I returned to lead prestudy for my fellowship after a prolonged absence to care for Doris. Thankfully, the group was receptive to the study. I had inherited a lot of pointers from Doris and experience from fellowship talks since on how to run a group. The laughable moment was I wanted to eat a durian mochi from a foam box, but got a mango version instead from a wrong box , and later a strawberry version until one of the members grabbed the final correct durian onr for me!

After teaching my last Sunday school lesson the week before, I was free on Sunday to exercise without hurry in the pool. I found my weak toes were strengthened from a swimmer's tip to jog on top of the drainage manhole in the pool where the irregular surface can massage my feet. It really worked today on the second day of exercise. At night a flood of tears swept over me thinking of going to Shanghai two years after our last trip together. I later had a misunderstanding with a friend who tried to care for me with a Bible verse, but I was not up for it, taking it as another call to move on. It made me regret even sharing my pain. It was not entirely the person's fault, but it was not the remedy I need. By the end of the week I had finished all 16 chapters of the OT marketplace passages in two weeks of revision, praise God!

Apr 4, 2017

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Week 44

Week forty four is a good week for the third dream week in a row. On Monday a coworkers and I were invited to lunch by a leader. I was uneasy for five days over the sudden invitation. The talk was pleasant, but my advocacy for younger coworkers failed. At night I attended a wonderful  prayer meeting where a buddy said in introduction over a touchy situation, 我問神點解,神對我說,因為你學得唔夠 I asked God why? He said, because you have more to learn. That set the right tone for the night.

Tuesday was another start to the office week but I was bored because I had no new sermon coming up except assigned passages on discipleship I had done previously. A coworker cut my hair to remember Doris the next day. I have also added two friends' request for prayer to my list:
1. L, family crisis
2. H, refreshing
On top of that, I have been praying daily for the food I eat, the people I meet and the tasks I do.

Wednesday was ten months without Doris. I try to wear black usually for every month's anniversary, and this was no different. At late noon I talked to a friend and his wife as he had tendered his resignation at his job. Now I understand they both think the same way but I felt two years at a job is too short. At night I crawled under the blanket and had a good cry. I still missed Doris a lot!

The next day I had coffee with Doris' former pastor from Kingston, Canada. Rev Lo had such a kind heart to visit me, bless him! I gave him all our previous books published and two systematic theology books since he had intended to buy some books on the subject.

On Friday I had a sweet dream of Doris. It came from an interview a friend was having the same day for an overseas job. In my dream I explained to Doris how the job was available and my part in it.

On Saturday I had completed five chapters of our new 職場 marketplace book in four days. I have much motivation and energy for the book and conscious of the need to pray for its production. The earlier chapters are easier because the materials were previously written. 

On Sunday the speaker had a fainting spell while speaking. One minute into her sermon she felt dizzy and asked me to pray for her. I left the praying job to my coworker as I rushed to the office for a replacement sermon. By the time I came back the coworkers had a better idea to read her perfectly written sermon as the praise team sang to give us time. The last song brought a lot of tears to my eyes out of grief and gratitude:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pyIljkJKZso

March 28, 2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Week 43

Week forty three was a stable week, as it has been since our putonghua revival. On Monday I went to our favorite faraway cafeteria for breakfast, later chomping down on a new Signature ANGUS beef for lunch, eating half the fries and drinking half the coke to curtail my high blood, if it is of any use. At 1pm I swam and jogged for an hour at the pool, and dashed off to meet my buddy who took me to Prince Edward to buy roses for Doris.

On Tuesday I woke to a dream of Doris. We bought BBQ pork and roast pork for our car travel. Many of our travels are by car reminiscent of our USA days. Doris gave me a hug, telling me she was bitten by bugs, and ended by saying, "Let's boil rice." Later we went to a store that was eyeing at my usa dollars. It's such a sweet dream.

On Wednesday I felt bad for my demanding requirement on a co-worker who was scheduled to preach a few days away. Old style coworkers have a hard time with Greek grammar, Bible study and communication skills. I felt bad and apologized. At night I left deacons meeting earlier so that I can still do my prayer walk before the day was over.

The next day was a light day at work because the putonghua department was headed to Cheung Chau for team building. We met with four former and present interns and we had a great time strolling on the island. I felt that our department has grown a lot and the team organized the revivals well, with some even considering it fun. A coworker's surgery and the use of morphine as painkiller evoked memories of Doris' use of morphine to battle pain. It was touching but tough.

On Friday I met an old friend from USA for breakfast and he had slimmed down considerably, saying his diet is more balanced over there. Friday night I was scheduled to speak at a couples fellowship. The invitation to talk on 同作門徒 arose two weeks ago when I did a chapter for one cell group and received a follow-up invitation to speak to all joint groups (300 strong attendance) that went down well, but unexpectedly a lot of interest was focused on 文法聖經.

On Saturday my own couples fellowship Bible study questions writing team got off to a good start. The three members were so mature and excited that I did not have to do all. Their job was to write the answers to my study questions and to write the corresponding application questions to my study questions. There was no rest later as I had to talk to a person and go through another coworkers sermon, but it was good for all. At the end of the day I volunteered to do benediction for a worship lacking ordained pastors. The speaker that day did a great job, selfishly speaking, benefiting from our study together.

Sunday was the last week to this quarter's Sunday school and the class ended on a high note. In the afternoon I met a co-worker from another organization for drinks. At the end of the day I did my prayer walk and worked hard on the final chapter of Doris' new book.

Mar 21, 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Week 42

Week forty two is a healthy week in more ways than one. On Monday the putonghua expository preaching revival got under way. For the next few days morning attendance was around 125, night 250.I was the chair for the night meeting and I did my pth best. When I told the speaker, an old acquaintance my wife passed away nine months ago, Some listener added, It's been quite awhile 都有一段時間." How annoying and classless, but that's the way people view a loss that is not theirs to begin with. For the rest of the week I delighted in Au's teaching. On the first night I walked old acquaintance the speaker home to his guest lodge fifteen minutes away and we shared old and new times together. He inspired me as a person, a teacher and a gentleman.

On Tuesday the revival was in full swing and I took a back seat to my two coworkers who truly ran the show with bravado while I ended up copying printouts for a days seminar, for a change. It was the least I could do compared with the frenetic pace of my coworkers.

The next day was the sweetest because I had a long and pleasant dream of Doris and I. We were parked in a quiet deserted corner with trees by the side where Doris and I slept for a long time in a comfortable mattress. To wake her up, as always, I said we better get going for fear of strangers, which usually works. When she drove, she was too close to other cars, causing consternation in me. When I said to a little girl on the street, "Girl, stay close to yout family so you don't get lost," Doris rebutted in a fun, "係唔係趁機會講我 Are you taking advantage to talk (the same) to me?" 

On Thursday I picked up my medical report to find no other complications except for my earlier on the spot reported high blood pressure.  At noon a co-worker asked to see me concerning my talk next Friday at her fellowship and later we shared a drink with her husband. At night an old song at the revival brought tears to my eyes because Doris used to play the song at home. It's another discovery to realize how old songs we sang touched me. 

Friday could not come fast enough for me. I had western lunch for a change, with four others and a speaker. It was a nice week at fellowship with the speaker but all party had to end, thankfully for my tired coworkers good.

Saturday was not any easier because I had to meet a guest for dinner and I was tired by that time. At least the talk on politics by the expert was interesting. The reality of my high blood pressure recently afforded me half an hour in exercise and prayer exercising, so wrote down these prayer reminders for a prayer ministry like Doris:
1. Parkinson's disease friend
2. James to share gospel with business partner
3. C, financial trap
4. K, legal issue
5. K, nursing home dad
6. L, breast cancer

Sunday arrived and I attended campus marketplace talk at noon, gave Doris blog books to the speaker to give to her colleagues who know Doris, and then left with a friend who wanted to take me to Shek Kong, a place he once took Doris and I to see flowers bloom. At night I did my prayer walk. My hbp after 16 days exercise had gone down to 143/93 from 155/96 , praise God!

Finally, the song that triggered memories of Doris and tears in me:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fvUsgi3gxJU

Mar 10, 2017

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Week 41

Already this is week forty one. On Monday I had lunch with Doris former classmates. The topic was none other but politics, Lam or Tsang? At night I had dinner with my predecessor and his wife. We always treated each other as friends even when he was more senior than me at work. As time goes by, we established a friendly relationship. Our progressive dinner includes wanton noodles in one store, bread n milk in another, and fruit or 湯圓 in the last. We had a great time at food and fellowship.

On Tuesday I met a man who accepted Christ two years ago. He told me how he had not cheated at taxes for the last two years and God has blessed his finances with the same gain. At night I returned to help a fellowship at their core meeting, confirming I will help in prestudy, and once a month devotion.

After I was diagnosed with high blood pressure I was careful with my lifestyle. Besides keeping to a regimen of jogging 1,000 times or steps in the pool, I no longer drink my favorite HK milk tea but turned to Ovaltine instead. Wednesday was the start.

By Thursday I finished my coming Sunday sermon, so it was a good day. Today's diet drink was Horlicks instead of milk tea. My friend has favorable news on his early Parkinson's report in that his doctor cannot confirm or rule out Parkinson's.

On Friday I met with a HK praise team ministry founder and his staff person. He happened to be the brother of one HKs most renowned Christian. Lunch was with a good USA friend who brought my purchases and his gift for me. At night I gave a 同作門徒 talk to a cell group with the response: Thanks, we enjoyed it a lot.

On Saturday a dearly beloved USA friend dropped by to visit me but I sensed he wanted me to stop crying, which made me feel uncomfortable. I clarified with him and he replied, "You are too deep into your sentiments, so a little reminder was fine." Few understand the deep pain of losing a spouse at the prime of the spouse's life, not even a very dearly beloved friend could empathize. I was disappointed.

On Sunday the sermon was well received, which made me cry longer than usual  the moment I got to sit down after the sermon. At night I went with my neighbor to a friends place for hotpot.

Finally a song Doris once quoted in her blog that meant something to me in declining health:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=M5keJHZdWYM
Breathe on me, breath of God

Mar 7, 2017

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Week 40

Week forty is a bad week for my health. On Monday I returned to support a leader on a case and prayed for him in the afternoon. At night I do my prayer walk and worked on our next book.

On Tuesday we had two busy meetings, eating into study and sermon preparation time.  At night I attended men's fellowship with a few members. When I arrived home at night Doris beautiful lilies were in full bloom and sweet fragrance.

The next day 22nd was mourning day. A friend had cut my hair short yesterday to remember the ninth month without Doris today. I dressed in all black including vest but nobody seemed to notice now because I do it monthly and black is common in the cold weather. A friend in his late 40s requested prayer time with me because he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, with MRI to come. We cried and prayed together. Please remember him and his young family in prayer.

On Thursday I had more bad medical news. My checkup indicated I had high blood pressure, with 155/96 on second reading. A nurse asked me to consider medication. I would have to think about it. At noon I bought a high blood pressure gauge to monitor myself daily. I read up on high blood pressure. It's down to exercise and diet now.

On Friday a few workers visited an old friend to find him in a jolly good mood even without work for the moment. I returned for a wondrous sharing and prayer. At night I went for prayer walk and rested early to calm my blood.

I slept eight hours and jogged 1,000 times at the pool, which I used to do in USA. I thought this would be a good way to counter it because I had none of these diseases previously.

I left for church after swimming and jogging another 500 times in the pool on Sunday. I checked myself after Sunday school and the reading went down 1 point to 154 from 155. We had 35 mainland pastors from ABS attending our worship, so we gave a half hour talk as requested to them. I also gave each 文法聖經.

Finally, a song that touched me on Saturday, no matter how I fought it:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nuK3oi7-YoM

Feb 28, 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Week 39

Week thirty nine was an uneventful week, praise God. On Monday I went with a buddy to hear a case. As expected it boils down to the three P's - proof, privacy and procedures. I was glad I took a quick nap so that I can concentrate better.

The next day 8:15am, I texted Doris: Happy Valentine's Day, Baby! Back to church I had to speed up my work for Sunday sermon on Ecclesiastes 11, including translation, but the day was disrupted by a 10am meeting, and more meeting at 2pm. I joined the earlier meeting at least 15 minutes late so that I could finish translating the first point. At night I did prayer walk and successfully bypassed Valentine's Day.

On Wednesday night I noticed a different me at deacons meeting. I looked for my fellowship deacons to shake their hands or say Hi. It can only mean I was getting better, and not avoid others.

The following day I had to work on additional sermons for our new book just as I thought I was almost done. The reason was that Doris had entered at least four more biblical passages for our book on the Maketplace 職場 which I did not realize because the new passages were scrolled on the back page of a note. The book could be too big at thirty six chapters.

On Friday as usual I had dinner with no. 2 sister and husband. Because the fellowship had a big group joining all cell groups, I was able to observe how brother in law was doing since he accepted Christ and was attending new believers class. It is good to know he truly enjoyed the joint meeting talk. Doris prayed for him for many years and the staunch Buddhist accepted Christ several months before Doris left us.

The next day was tiring. I attended a noon funeral, talked 文法聖經 at a buddy's fellowship and attended putonghua joint fellowship. Doris' cancer made me more aware of people's need and a pastors presence at a funeral was always appreciated, even though I am no longer active in the fellowship. As I took the bus to tsing yi to attend the funeral,  a little girl stepped into the crowded bus, whining for a seat. After give seconds or so I gave her mine but the father's said, 老人家 冇啦! He's old 😨😰! I got my seat back.

Sunday was challenging. I got up for my morning swim, caught the 750am bus to teach Sunday school, followed by the Sunday sermon that was well received. Two teardrops,  left followed by right, fell from my eyes as I sat on my chair after the message, remembering Doris. A youth's invitation to attend youth fellowship prompted more calls from a youth who asked, pastor, why have you not joined us anymore?"

Feb 21, 2017