Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Year 2.12

Year 2.12 was a blessed week. On Monday morning I alerted others my disciple book was on sale for rmb$20 at taobao instead of it's HK$110 price. The response was hilarious. Some were furious, others were fine saying I am famous or others can benefit. At lunch with Doris' friends I asked her lawyer friend what guarantees do HK churches have if 一地兩檢 passed. The answer was none because law will be reinterpreted to governments wishes. Our churches must start diversifying her assets and properties.

Day 2 was men's fellowship. The attendance was encouraging, now at 13 studying Moses (Num 12), more young men than old. It was the fourth in our men series after Adam, Abraham and Jacob. 

Wednesday was the last of this year's preaching class. The coworkers wanted to study ot to complement nt study. They were good by now at grammar. Before class I spent half an hour to help E prepare to preach ten days later for the first time as a minister.

Day 4 I went to an optometrist to make an uneven pair of glasses. Rev Leung from Texas and I had dinner. I had ran out of schedule slots, but impromptu worked. He is always so considerate thinking of visiting me.

I woke to a dream of Doris on Friday, her gift to me less than a week to my birthday. In the dream I asked where was Doris when a small fire occurred in the small cottage across street where she was at that time. A member Michelle said she left by herself. When we met later she said she left because she had made an appointment with two girls who were bothered  by demon objects or voices. I started working on my CCOWE discipleship devotion. Unfortunately I stepped on my present pair of glasses before fellowship, so I wore an old pair that was out of focus.

Day 6 i decided to see if my glasses can be fixed because today was a wild day, attending a major concert, my first in HK, eight rows from front. Praise God it was fixed. A song 鐵塔凌雲 made me realized I am more local now.

On Sunday tears welled up every time the chorus was sung:
But I know whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day.
At night I joined an intern for home made dinner, talking till 11pm.

Aug 15, 2017

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Year 2.11

Year 2.11 was one, of my fondest weeks, in which Monday was the best. For the first time I dreamed of Doris not once or twice, but thrice in a night. In the first dream she laughed, having solved a problem for all. I said, It'll be great to have a mind like yours. In the second dream she wanted to be the car driver but her sisters objected. In the third dream I turned around to pick her up after barely dropping her off at a dilapidated neighborhood which she insisted was ok, but I could not find her nor the right neighborhood later. At 3pm I met with old friend Ben to see if we want to the Old Testament Grammar Bible. We were willing to try on the Pentateuch and Psalms.

Day 2 was prayer and meeting day, but there  too much talking disrupted everything. I was still not making too much headway in sermon preparation but there is no pressing need because I have plenty in stock. At night I had dinner back at the island with a new overseas coworker.

Wednesday was a slow day. It has been like this on summer days with a lack of sermon assignments. Even my August date is cancelled. The preaching class after lunch was one of the best class with new coworkers and summer interns. They truly enjoyed the class, including the new coworker with two classes left. 

Day 4 Morning was my day off. I called a neighbor to enjoy buy one, free one coffee locally. In return I was given a small, pointed physio rubber ball by a neighbor to help me with my tennis elbow. At night met a missionary friend for dinner but he overslept from the jet lag. 

On Friday I had a short breakfast with a missionary, followed by a staff meeting and birthday lunch for a coworker. Our two interns joined us, adding new energy to the team. After lunch I gave an hour's interview to the missionary to complete his doctoral dissertation.

Day 6 After my hand treatment in the morning I got flowers in Prince Edward to get ready for home visits tomorrow from Doris' Vancouver friend and her USA sister. Two prestudy lessons were awaiting me, but I gave one hour to the newer coworkers, who did a commendable job.

On Sunday staff had lunch with a few volunteers who felt neglected. It went well, but complaints are complaints. At 3pm Doris' Kingston friends came by to pay respects to her with her favorite lilies, so did Doris' eldest sister from San Diego on her way to two months missions in Thailand. The family had dinner together in Sheung Wan at one of Doris' favorite restaurants, ordering Doris' beloved winter melon soup to end the day.

August 8, 2017

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Year 2.10

Year 2.10 Ten weeks into Doris' second year loss had already gotten underway. On Monday I went to Doris friend's office to get a certified copy of her will to complete another USA estate task. Her family on the USA side has been patiently doing all the paperwork for me. Lunch was with a buddy, who is a big flower guy. Besides lilies for Doris, he also bought a dozen roses for himself. One bunch was more than enough for me. At 5pm I sat more than an hour and a half at the pier bench to remember the love of Doris for the spot.

Day 2 was a busy day. A departing USA friend wanted to have breakfast together, followed by September sermon group at 11am on Matt 7, and more meeting at 2pm. Dinner was with neighbor and son over spaghetti , with prayer walk for compensation.

On Wednesday I sent the estate papers, hopefully the last I have to file. Shortly before I left office I was told my on and off language work offer is on again with some explanation given. I had no feelings for it. The night ended with the culmination of the Lent series as I finished the last sermon, on Mary Magdalene entitled THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL JOHN 20):
1. Be Poised to Persist (vv 11-13)
2. Be Prepared to Persuade (vv 14-15)
3. Be Passionate to Proclaim (vv 16-18)

Day 4 I prayed that I did not have to lead the language work. The morning was with friend Justin over a cup of coffee after our failed Habitu breakfast. It was a good break for me on Thursday after the Lent series. If not most Thursday mornings I work on sermons. At night I met with Doris' Kingston friends for dinner because a Canadian alum was in HK. The Singapore food at Mira was ordinary.

Friday was an unmotivated day, so I did my sermon preparation café style at the pantry. Surpringly I did quite well even with a lot of foot traffic. There was a break  from fellowship at night, so I left early for prayer walk.

Day 6 was lunch with couples staff. It was all good until controversial subjects surfaced. Late noon was spent with buddy at the fruit market. My under pressure friend lightened up at the sight of various fruits. We had dinner together before I left.

Sundays song 耶穌我愛你 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=G6XewDvplVc
really touched me with its lyrics: 我一生要尋求祢 and 我願意一生不要離開你. After worship a senior lady wanted to recommend a lady to me with her photo on her we chat app! Later I enjoyed the singing talent show at church. I retire to bed early because of the sweltering heat.

August 1, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Year 2.9

Year 2.9 was far better than the uneasy previous week. On Monday a friend 關 and I took Paul Lai and wife to 黃石碼頭 and Geopark, a place few locals knew about. On the day when it was raining like no tomorrow I was grateful to see sunshine twice, at Sai Kung for breakfast and after the 黃石碼頭 boat trip. We scraped afternoon plans because of the downpour and went to Kwan's place for high tea. Without him the day was wasted. Early dinner was with a buddy ruminating over work tensions.

Day 2 morning was with Paul and wife again but this time with pastor. The rest of the day was study, meeting and chat. The tensions were lowered but shimmering below the surface.

Wednesday was a packed day. I went through with a coworker his sermon coming Sunday, followed by preaching class after lunch. As soon as class was over, I visited the funeral parlor to pay respects to a group leader's mother. At night meeting I asked "Did all parties know," but was checked by a neutral "We work very closely" answer. On the way home a disgruntled person texted I was unfair to him, so we set up a meeting tomorrow.

Day 4 was a busy day. The morning study on John 20 made little headway. I was invited by interns for lunch and waited for my crunch talk at 3pm. It turned out to be a friendly and brotherly talk. I can only offer to pray for him daily as we settled matters. Next I talked to a grad who decided his calling is at TST. At night I treated a neighbor friend and his boy to homemade spaghetti.

Friday meetings began with pth staff. We are a very cohesive bunch, so the meeting was an hour short. After lunch I had a haircut from a coworker to remember Doris' loss one year two months the next day and then began in earnest for night devotion on Acts 4:32. Praise God it touched hearts and the day was over with prayer walk.

Day 6 was hand treatment followed by couples staff lunch. We are really gelling together for service. The afternoon was blurry and the night ended with splitting time between two pth couples groups.

Sunday was a shocker. There was a crowd waiting for the supermarket to open. A typhoon warning was in effect when I was swimming. I returned home to more than one hundred messages on coworkers chat group. All worship meetings were cancelled. On the pth side a young adult moaned, “Why in this hi-tech world can't we broadcast worship?” I asked a coworker if it was possible to do Facebook live. When he said yes I hurried to church before the weather was in effect. At church I bought breakfast for two, opened a departed coworker guitar case to practice and look for suitable songs to lead. In the meantime my coworker and speaker that day got  Facebook live ready. At 11am I led worship songs, my coworker spoke and the worship ended with Lord's Prayer. All applauded our effort. At night I had dinner with neighbor and son because I got home earlier than usual over cancelled activities. 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

July 25, 2017

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Year 2.8

Year 2.8 ended with a big relief. On Monday I met last minute with a leader to talk more about his recent retirement, vacation and leadership experience near where I got flowers for Doris that day. It was so hard to find time to get together except on my day off but I have appointments the next two Mondays.

Day 2 I finally finished my second last sermon to my Lent series entitled WHO'S IN CHARGE? ( MATT 26:57-68)
1. Defend Yourself Without Apology or Arguing (57-61)
2. Disclose Yourself Without Ambiguity or Arrogance (62-64)
3. Dignify Yourself Without Animosity or Anger (65-68)
My couples team had lunch with an intern and her friend. Noon meeting did not reap much. At night we had men's fellowship, where we have 12 men studying on Jacob. For the first time the younger ones outnumbered the adults.

On Wednesday I woke to a dream of buying something from a convenience store and losing my small cart along the way, tricked by vendors who persuaded me to accept a laundry basket in exchange. The worst part was that when I realized Doris was alone at home, I remembered Doris had passed away. I also had slight coughing. My preaching class was a breakthrough. At least the students could speak in bits and pieces. At night I found a popular cable drama series with bahasa subtitles.

Day 4 collective meeting was frank, direct and tensed. Many were given opportunities to say or write their opinion. I had to reschedule a seminarian appointment because of the four hour long meeting. At night I bought dinner for an USA friend who brought me a DTS T-shirt.

Friday was a busy day with pth meeting before lunc with seminarians. Later in the afternoon we had a two hour 預prestudy due the busy day tomorrow. I was so tired after the meeting that I slept, waking 15 minutes late for dinner with sister in-law before fellowship.

Day 6 The town hall turnout won over a lot of folks. The explanations were generally acceptable. The gaps were narrowed. The response from pth was good. After a drink I joined fellowship.

Sunday was a good day. Paul Lai blessed us with a wondrous message and later I attended a small group to support a leader who gave much of his service to the church. By the time I got home I was so tired that I napped half hour before dinner.

July 18, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Year 2.7

Year 2.7 was not an ideal one professionally. On Monday it was raining as I got flowers for Doris. Later I found out that the flowers were sprayed rather than natural, such a shame. No matter how I try, my Lent series is slowing to a snail's pace, not for the lack of effort. It is very hard to understand the full dynamics of Jesus' trial under Caiaphas (Matt 26:57-68 ).

Day 2 At work we examined the merits of using the Revised Chinese CUV Bible for the whole church. The compromise is coworkers and putonghua worship can choose their own text. At lunch I joined the summer interns welcome  lunch. 

On Wednesday I went through with a coworker his Sunday sermon, and his passionate illustration touched me. At lunch I greeted a friend and the sixty three years old told me he was let go from his job. Still, he was passionate about his continuing education.    After lunch the interns joined us for preaching class for the first time.

Day 4 I took a young AV guy for lunch a day short of his birthday. It was the least I can do for his help at church and doing Doris' videos. Today I officially finished revising Grammar Bible, hoping to put out an app in the future. On the bus home I bumped into Douglas and Chou and joined them midway through their dinner in my prayer walk.

On Friday I had to forsake my quiet morning for a meeting and attend night fellowship as well. In between was hard for a buddy, so we went out for a drink. There is nothing one can do when elephants rumble. At night I had dinner with Doris' sister and her husband before fellowship.

Day 6 It was a rainy day when I went to Causeway bay to pray for a friend's new store. Lunch was with a former deacon before a pth meeting and the rest of the afternoon a group of us were trying to cheer a coworker and one another. There was no stomach for food  until after fellowship.

Before Sunday sermon a song 奔跑不放棄 already touched me. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3tNKXsR-H_E
The message by a new hand speaking putonghua worked out well with his high energy making up for lacking language skills. Later I attended prayer meeting that Doris favored. At night I ate with thankfulness the food sister in-law had prepared and the soup a leader gave.

July 11, 2017

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Year 2.6

Year 2.6 was a stable week with not much fanfare. Monday was a packed day. With a seminary graduation at night in mind I ate lunch locally, took a walk, went to swim and nap a while before I headed out. It was a fun and enjoyable night, ending before 9pm for pictures.

Day 2 After attending a seminary graduation I dreamed of returning to teach. I woke up thinking of recruiting two coworkers before realizing it was a dream. At office I worked feverishly on my coming Sunday sermon after speaking just two days ago. For the first time coworkers were encouraged to share freely their thoughts on the ruling and how it was handled. It lasted till 515pm, two and a half hours. At least most spoke their mind. At night I finally finished Luke 7:11-17 TRIP TO NAIN
1. Seek His Solace (vv11-17)
2. See His Sacrifice (v 14)
3. Speak His Splendor (vv 15-17)

On Wednesday I woke to a dream that Doris and I were renting in an upscale neighborhood and I was asking around  where to buy her quality food to eat. Doris was looking forward to good food for her body. She said 早點吃 早點好返. Wine was also served. The preaching class had fun working on Phil 2:4-11.

Thursday was panic time. I prepared the wrong message, and so I had to work harder on translation. It was not so bad because I had preached two thirds of the passage seven years ago! It was a dull and hot day at the office, so I try to sit cozily at the lobby for better air conditioning.

I was surprised Doris' pastor called me on WhatsApp Friday morning for a talk. He asked me a few questions because he was looking forward to retiring. A coworker bought lunch for me because a lot of good things were working out for him, which I had offered help. There was no night fellowship due to a fifth week, so I could do a rare Friday prayer walk.

Day 6 morning I had breakfast with Doris' two sisters, telling them how fellowship was working put for me. After breakfast I attended a church talk but the enthusiasm was not there. After the talk a coworker looked for me to talk. He was far better airing his feelings and thoughts out.

Worship Sunday came but I forgot my notes, so I had to spend more time in the office preparing in the morning. All worked out well, closing out on the last chapter of Ecclesiastes.

July 4, 2017

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Year 2.5

Year 2.5 was my best in preaching yet, inspired by my beloved Doris and dreams of her. On Monday I had lunch with a coworker and bought roses for Doris instead of the usual lilies. I walked Fa Yuen street to let the lunch go down. After a swim and a nap I had dinner with a coworker from another church, hearing his personal, ministerial and family journey and struggles. The healing might take some time.

Day 2 a funny thing happened after my swim. A small dog barked at me in the morning by the lift. I asked the dog, why are you reasonable無理取鬧? The owner pointed to the big dog that stood behind me. I had mistaken the small dog's barking was directed at me. The work day was fast and furious as I had to preach Proverbs 31 on Sunday and it's been a while since I last looked at the sermon I had prepared months ago, minus illustrations and introduction/conclusion. Praise God, at the end of the day I got two points down.

Wednesday was a big day. First the 2017 preaching class for new coworkers got off to a great start. Two pastors' wives asked for permission to join, so did two fellowship pastoral assistants. At night the deacons meeting was lively, ending at 1145pm. Progress was slow but participation had improved and unity was present. It was one of the best meetings we had because of the openness to views.

Day 4 To remember Doris' monthly loss on the 22nd, I cut my hair bald yesterday, like I did last month, since the first anniversary. My buddy who cut my hair was shocked that I kept the bald look. Today I also put on the shirt Doris borrowed from me for her first operation because all others rub her skin the wrong way. A friend in our local café said I look like a triad boss with my bald head and black and white Hawaiian shirt. I was not happy that a leader said that a vocal dissenter I hardly talked to told others I agreed with his viewpoint. That's how people go down as victims, but it's a waste of time defending myself.There was also a publisher's article on our new book as a bonus
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1617111494998255&id=100000982595692&refid=8&__tn__=%2As

On Friday I woke to a dream of Doris eagerly getting a free bag, very much like the one I got from CCOWE. I carried it for her because she was in pain. In the dream I also got her a bagel that she wanted to eat. I got home unusually early on a Friday because there was no fellowship activity.

Day 6 I had morning massage for my hand that was slowly healing. I had lunch with two coworkers, then started working on a new sermon. At night an intern gave a reasonably good message at fellowship. I also heard amazing news from a new immigrant's wife that they have both passed an insurance exam to qualify as agents, relieving them of the economic losses they suffered since arriving in HK - one of my prayer items because I really did not know how things could work out for them. The best news of the day was I finally finished revising the Grammar Bible, removing the particles with an article "the."

On Sunday I woke to another dream of Doris, a bonus second dream in a week. This time I was boiling porridge so that we can have porridge, Doris' favorite, after we get home for an outing with a friend. I was anxious preparing, but Doris was all excited. On top of that I was busy  reheating food for friends. The Sunday sermon was one of my best in tribute to Doris:
A VIRTUOUS WOMAN (PROVERBS 31:10-31)
1. Be Tough and Trustworthy (10-24)
2. Be Tender and Transparent (25-27)
3. Be Treasured and Thoughtful (28-31)
I held up quite well but the in-house apology made my tears well up so that it took me some time to come up with the benediction. I was feeling the tears the night before when I decided to stand with the speaker on the podium. The rest of the day was as peaceful as it could be.

July 27, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

Year 2.4

Year 2.4 ends with the first anniversary of Doris' memorial service, June 18. The week couldn't get off to a better start when I added more writing to John 14:1-3, a sermon for my Lent series that I did previously. I was invited for lunch by Doris' former classmate and his wife at East TST, to a very fancy restaurant HKH. They really gave me the royal attention, I am humbled. Dinner at night with a coworker's family was cancelled due the typhoon warning. I am glad I finished a prayer for relatives at work three weeks later: 
A WORK PRAYER
May the Lord
Gain your trust
Grant you grace 
Grow your wisdom
Grab your attention
Galvanize your faith
Guide your intellect
Get your confidence
Guard your emotions
Groom your potential
Gladden your motivation
Give you favor to glorify His name!

Day 2 I forgot to go work later at noon instead of morning because we have Men's Fellowship at night. At noon a new language division was proposed and all eyes were on me. The night study on Abraham's Sacrifice of Isaac was good because all was involved. A Malaysian visitor joined us, 11 altogether, including 4 for dinner. The study on Men in the Bible has book potential.

On Wednesday I woke up to a full-blown acne that surfaced the night before, probably from too much chilli and thinking of the new division. Work on Judges 7 Gideon was barely creeping along, but my prayer group had a good time after two weeks' break At night I listened with pleasure to Philemon Choi, who shared his mentoring experience.

Day 4 was a big let down because I was asked to consider taking the division assistant job instead of the head, so I declined. The work is too much and I had no control, so it does not help to reap suffering. It was a wake-up call for me that leadership is not what it seemed and not my cup of tea. It's an answer to prayer for me not to be attracted to leadership. I am more than content with my present work. 

On Friday I woke up crying dreaming of Doris. For the first time I dream of her suffering from cancer, remaining still in a standing position, but we were not at home. I went over and hugged her, but the emotional pain was too much for me, so I could only cry. When I looked at the clock it was barely one hour into my sleep. Praise God I could continue sleeping. The negative but official ruling on a long running saga arrived before lunch and put a damper on all, putting office transition plans revealed two days ago in doubt and chaos, not withstanding our anniversary celebration. Later a friend Justin came by to visit and we had a good time sharing.

Day 6 couldn't be any busier. I did two hours of writing Bible study questions with two zone leaders, then led 30 prestudy leaders for an hour, returned to office to talk to my coworker for an hour, hurried to fellowship for two hours, had dinner with five others after fellowship before returning to catch a buddy's sermon near the end.

Sunday arrived with a touching song 宣教的中國 and an inspiring message by 龍醫 followed by a somber announcement of the ruling. A buddy asked me to join him for lunch. We shared a lot and was surprised by a diner who called my name. Again the same young man at church gave me dessert. Father's Day dinner was with Doris' brother in law. The trip was 1 hour 20 minutes door to door, which was how long it took Doris' sisters to travel at least two times a week to care for her when she was sick, what sacrificial love! Returning home with two hours more before bed, I managed to finish the John 14:1-3 The Third Person of the Trinity sermon for Lent:
1. The Spirit is Our Close Companion (v 1)
2. The Holy Spirit is Our Command Center (v 2)
3. The Holy Spirit is Our Choice Comfort (v 3)

Finally I thank and praise God for giving me a poignant and passionate dream of Doris on Friday, two days before anniversary of her Memorial Service.

June 19, 2017

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Year 2.3

Year 2.3 was a fair week for me. Monday lunch appointment was a waste because I was earlier by a week and it was not due till next week, so I ate two buns from a fast food 包點, very good for the money's worth, less than ten dollars each. After swimming I met a pth friend for high tea, followed by a seminarian's graduation, the only person I interviewed to recommend for school. I arrived home near midnight with late supper  included.

Day 2 we had the shortest meeting meeting for 1 Thess 4:1-7, ending in half hour. Noon staff meeting was a dud, but I was invited by the chair to a drink, which means work. I was again asked to lead a new language department, a subject previously broached that I resisted. My answer now is, up to leadership. I have no preference nor do I want to choose. My immediate task is to find two English speaking coworkers. After work I took home flowers from mother's fellowship that I requested a year later. I missed the flowers that reminded me of Doris and the kindness of others. This time, lilies were added due Doris' fondness for it.

On Wednesday I can only remember working on Gideon's story from Judges 7 for men's fellowship. The sermon preparation has not been going smoothly. The hot weather that started this week definitely induces sleep.

Day 4 was a hot morning, so I decided to have breakfast in local café rather than have bread at home. I was comforted by the thought of Doris not having to endure last year's summer.

On Friday morning I decided to return to office to escape the heat even though I worked from noon on. Staff was surprised to see me working on my PC in the lobby. I enjoyed doing so before Doris' loss but shied away for a long time. I received soup that I requested, again a year later. I was delighted it was served in the same blue flask. 

Day 6 morning I asked masseur to treat my right leg as well now that the hand is better. The treatment on my left leg last week worked; my right knee, however, is still vulnerable from the air-conditioning chill. The person placed his elbow on the underside of my knees to separate the right veins and muscles. At lunch I got together with the new staff of couples fellowship, which we had two. We shared about our roles, how we can and should work and blend together. Coworker conflict can scar all. A song 尋求神的臉, sung in pth inspired me at pth fellowship. After fellowship I had a drink with a couple; one of them was invited to join leadership.

On Sunday morning I had a good high blood pressure reading of 130/87. I was emotional near end of song我知道我的救贖者活著. The same happened at noon prayer with the husband of soup giver present. A young man gave me homemade drink 羅漢果, so I was thankful, inviting a co-worker to drink with me at lunch. At night I had dinner with a visitor from Malaysia.

June 13, 2017