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cancer made me more aware of people's need and a pastors presence at a funeral was always appreciated, even though I am no longer active in the fellowship.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

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week 38

Week thirty eight was a "dream" week. On Monday I took Doris' former Queens University alum and wife home to view her urn. So far the most guests are from her Queens friends living overseas, including Derek and Wilford. I even took them a walk to the old village and pier and found their old photos attending our wedding in our album, so I gave the doubles and scanned others for them.

The next day at coworkers prayer meeting was painful. Prayer meeting usually evokes memories in me, especially the songs and collective prayers of forgiveness and healing. I wept because I understand how hard it is for our group to move on or move forward because I have similar problems, so I disappear from view before the end.

On Wednesday I caught a Miyazaki movie My Neighbor Totoro and identified with the two young girls who waited for their sick mom's release from hospital. When the hospital sent a telegram to tell them their mom's release has been delayed the youngest sister decided to look for her mom in a city  hours away. I had to hold back my tears, but the father's words were heartening: "They will just postpone the enjoyment." I will have to postpone my enjoyment too.

The following day I woke to a dream of Doris bothered by flies in her sleep. She usually dreamed of dogs, rats and bugs in her sleep. When I asked her if she wants to go swimming with me, she says, "Let's go during the first session."

On Friday I had a department meeting, but I was not well for the next two days. I met Doris' sister for dinner before our fellowship. She really tried to keep my spirits up, even cooking two dishes for me to take home.

On Saturday I bought lilies for Doris because the shop closed last night after 7 pm.  My mentor and neighbors would be visiting me tomorrow. Also, the flowers at home are fading. 

On Sunday morning I had to take 750am bus to avoid the marathon traffic. In Sunday school I had a difficult discipleship passage but now I can understand how Luke 9:24-26 connects to the previous verse's   imperatives - deny, take up and follow. After church my mentor Herman 鄧灼文 and wife Eleanor went home with me to pay respect to Doris. More passionate and compassionate than me, he led in the crying. At night I hosted hotpot for a neighbor and his two young sons while their mom is on short term missions. I was a good host!

Finally Sunday's song still brings tears to my eyes:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bQ4DF3TsOt0

Feb 18, 2017

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Week 37

Week thirty seven begins with the third day of Chinese New Year. On Monday I woke up to a dream of asking Doris if she wants to have breakfast. However one of us was full. I think Doris also wanted to fill a form to do more studies! At noon we went to walk at the Peak with Doris' two sisters and two fellowship members, one of them feeling down every new years day since her mother passed away twelve years ago. Doris and I used to walk with her sisters a few years ago.

Tuesday, day four of new year, was still a holiday in HK, so I decided to return to Elements where Doris and I spent a lot of coffee time there, bringing my computer. Since I ate carrot cake in the morning, I could hold off lunch till a later time, hoping to catch lunch with a friend who lives there. After a while it was five hours. I had finished writing a gospel tract for a publisher, wrote the preface to Doris' new book 求祢使我痊癒 and answered publishers questions. Since my friend was not around I went to Tsingyi to have high tea but it was open cutthroat season, charging me $85 for my order that included additional soup. It saved me having to cook dinner. At night I have my big CNY gift when I finally recovered Doris Lent meditation questions that I had looked without success for months in her PC. Thankfully I remembered I had sent it to my email account and it was harrowing because three of the five files I sent were corrupted.

On Wednesday I could not sleep at night because of barley and ginger water I made for my mouth ulcer caused me sleeplessness. At 330am I gave up and took a sleeping pill retained from my USA trip because I had a 810am breakfast appointment with a younger coworker in the morning.

The next day my subscribed devotion text was from Psalm 73. It stirred within me a compunction to preach the text. I also wanted to find out why I did not choose the text when I preached on My Favorite Psalms last year. To my surprise I had prepared the sermon without preaching it, praise God because I did not want to miss it. Strangely I have two more Psalms in my mind to preach now, along with Psalm 13.

On Friday I bought four more coffee cards for coworkers. It came about when a coworker invited me for dinner two days ago. I gave red packets to the children but none to the parents, so I decided to give them a coffee card the next morning so they can take advantage of the buy one free one offer for the month. The more I thought about it, the more I felt that since I cannot give free coffee to Doris, who likes to sip mocha, I may as well give it to close coworkers to pay it forward. At night I joined ten former students from Queens University Canada for dinner. Three had returned to HK for the holidays.  

This CNY I had a double blessing when I woke to another dream of Doris on Saturday. I had a bad headache probably from sitting next to a friend of Doris who was coughing last night. The return was I slept for seven and a half hours, when the dream appeared last minute. It was a blurry one to which she said she cannot answer students' cable speed questions.

On Sunday the headache lingered, causing drowsiness during sermon time. After lunch I still could not concentrate, so I decided not to fight it and called it a day. At home I slept for a long two hours, yet I did not give up on my prayer walk. The week ended with gratitude I could dream twice of Doris after two silent months, unfathomable.

Jan 7, 2017

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Week 36

Week thirty six coincides with Chinese New Year, so it's a vulnerable week. On Monday we had our family reunion dinner. At first we planned to eat outside, but I did not want relatives to spend money, so I suggested to eat at older sister's home an hour away. Besides sister no. 4 can only come at 745pm because she had to feed a dog and a cat, herself last.

The next day I had dinner with my mentor Herman Tang, his wife Eleanor, Ho family, and a co-worker. It was a good fellowship and a personal honor to treat  a great and godly man.

On Wednesday night I had a bad dream that the leaders of my fellowship were split into pro-Hong Kong and international parties, more on the HK side, and feelings ran high with the fellowship leader lining up literally on the HK side as both parties came up to line on both sides at the front of the platform.

On Thursday I had a special dinner night with a buddy, his family and another family. I brought dessert and we spent some time together, ending with prayer. These buddies always think of my need, thankful.

The next day on new year's Eve I was teary early in the morning. The next surge of sentiment came as I reached office, but a co-workers presence at the MTR quickly dried it up. In the evening a buddy presented orchids to Doris for the festive season, actually a gift from two good buddies. I was touched again. At night I was glad a church leader invited me to UST for reunion dinner with his family and nephew. After that we had Chinese dessert at Whampoa, a nice gesture and a night's relief for all. I bought bakery for the family. 

On the first day of Chinese new year I got up with the feeling I should not stay home even though last night I planned to spend a quiet morning at our downstairs cafeteria. At least I was ready to tackle the day as I said, Good morning, Lord. Good morning Wife. Then I packed my PC, put the chain of Doris I had worn around my neck for my USA trip, and went to our favorite cafeteria in Tung Chung, ordering mocha and a pork roll and doing close to four hours work there. I skipped the lunch buffet nearby that shot up from $158 to $238. Since the food court was closed for good to turn into stores, I decided to go home for lunch. After a swim later I decided to go to our nearest nearby mall for high tea, but the shrewd pizza restaurant limited tea hours from three to four thirty, leaving me late by half an hour. I ate Thai food from high tea to dinner time, going home at seven to do more work at home.

After Sunday worship, the missions speaker Dr. L invited me to lunch. I asked him why he insisted on lunch together he said, I thought you have treatment我以為你有treatment 但係你睇起來都幾好精神but you look alert。Not so fast, but it's a good reminder.

Finally, my prayer for 2017 new year:
Lord,
Touch my heart,
Transform my mind,
Toughen my body,
Try my being.

Jan 31, 2017

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Week 35

Week thirty five climaxed with eight months without my beloved Doris. On Monday I stayed at home till 430pm when I arrived at Yuen Long to meet a family from Couples Fellowship at their new residence, where we were joined by a coworker couple. I enjoyed the carefree talk we had. Knowing the reception, I did my hour long prayer walk at noon after lunch at my favorite island eatery.

At Tuesday's coworker Chinese New Year lunch there were some tears from singing the song 依靠耶和華. No matter how I widened my eyes to hold back the tears, it didn't work. When the chair asked coworkers to greet each other with the song title or say God bless you, I turned to my coworker and said, How do I say it 點講好?He expertly replied, No need to say 唔洗講。

The next day I wrote down a quote from Nouwen's book: Life is from dependence to dependence. He refers to our helplessness as a babe to a senior. I met a neighbor who had cancer and she told of reading Doris' blog book many times to comfort herself, praise God! At night I attended the funeral of a parent to one of our cell group leaders. It was the least I could do knowing how tough grief was for the family.

On Thursday I was refused medical checkup because my ID was not in my wallet. Worse, I did not know when I lost it but it must be after my USA trip. What a bummer. I called immigration twice to find a next day appointment. I also wasted my overnight fasting. At office I was encouraged by study on Psalms 13 for my future sermon. Three months ago I cried like a baby hearing it read at a retreat, but now it lifted me up.

The next day I had a midnoon appointment with a seminary student that turned up well. It is not my forte to mingle with those less than 30, but I'm getting the hang of it. The new committee 交職禮 for Couples Fellowship was inaugurated at night, for lack of better word. I was designated to lead Bible study for them on the book of Acts till they find a new pastor (not much prospect).

On Saturday morning's worship I met an oncologist who saw Doris once free and gave consultation generously. I called his name and he invited me sit with him and his wife. He said he saw me but was unsure if I remembered him. It was his first time attending Saturday morning worship and my only time there as a non speaker to hear the topic of God's kingdom that was not preached.  During worship I was moved to pray for them, and they were thrilled. I learned from the day's message that asked, How did you experience God lately? Doris learned faster than me in the joy of experiencing God. Later in mid noon a buddy cut my hair to get ready for the special day tomorrow. Many are catching up to why I cut my hair short on a particular day.

Sunday is eight months without Doris. All was well until before bed when the dam broke. I asked myself, Did I do or care enough? Why did she leave me? Numerous questions, but no answers. I held on to her favorite Korean blanket to sleep the night away.

Finally the bittersweet song Tuesday that evokes memories:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oOwAENjQ4xI

Jan 24, 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Week 34

Week thirty four was a blessing in disguise. On Monday I had lunch with a friend who is returning to Canada for ministry due health reasons 四高 after five years in HK. After lunch I went to a bookstore with a USA friend who also wanted to have a look at his old church. At the bookstore a worker replied when I asked for 同作門徒:冇曬咗! Later we visited his old pastor and wife, who had insomnia for two years since her brother committed suicide twelve years ago and her sister is also depressed. She herself came out of depression lately over a verse - there is no fear in love. When she asked me how I was lately, i said my three weeks trip to USA gave me closure, but my USA friend, an established psychology professor who returns yearly to do research for one of HK's two leading universities, diplomatically chimed in, saying, "Closure is inhumane because it means you have no feelings and connection to the loved one anymore."  I was surprised this is the current view in psychology, so I have to rethink, but I was glad for this new perspective.

The next day I was back to the grind because it was sermon week on another difficult passage, Ecclesiastes 10, a sermon halfway done two months ago before my trip to USA. Worse is there were no illustrations, and translation must be done, so I knew the week and work were not looking good.

On Wednesday I woke up to a silly dream. A coworker was teasing me for being able to hold my tears while Some was eyeing me. It is a change because it is now not about Doris, but my struggles. Another dream this week was about an overcrowded cemetery where people cannot figure out which urn was that of their loved one. 

Thursday was a frustrating IT day. My phone had switched lately to SAFE mode once but it returned to normal, but this time it did not, so I thought I had to reload my WhatsApp since the icon was missing. When I did so I did not realize I had clicked uninstall, so two days of WhatsApp messages were missing when I reinstalled it because backup was two days ago. I could have kicked myself but important messages were resent to me by friends. Most important my abbreviated messages to Doris were still in her phone.

The next day a counselor from a buddy's Fellowship took us out for lunch. It was nice to have folks remembering coworkers for Chinese new year. At night I attended men's Fellowship gospel talk. The biggest surprise was my publisher announced the third edition of our book 同作門徒 in less than a year. I was touched but saddened at the same time. https://www.facebook.com/victor.yap.1401/posts/10155060077774994?notif_t=like&notif_id=1484319092543210

The next day was tiring. The department vetting was in the morning, department yearly lunch was noon, department meeting at two, coffee with a buddy after, prestudy kickoff for a Fellowship studying同作門徒, short dinner, return to fellowship, what a long day. Going home I ironed my clothes and worked on the third point of the sermon.

Sermon day arrived, but not before Sunday school lesson at 845am for 35 students. They truly enjoyed the 同作門徒 class. The sermon was a blessing from God as many thanked me and appreciated it. A critic even came up to me to call an indirect truce. A friend enthused: 感謝主!太太説今天听牧師講道有很大得著!👍🙏👏 聖靈工作,牧師也很用心! 傳道書作為講章預備很難我覺得。At night I finished reading Henri Nouwen's A Letter of Consolation, a compilation of letters to his upset father when Nouwen's mother passed away, with this concessionary piece from chapter seven: "Now I see why it is false to say that a religious person should find death easy and acceptable. Now I understand why it is wrong to think that a death without struggle and agony is a sign of great faith. These ideas do not make much sense once we realize that faith opens us to the full affirmation of life and gives us an intense desire to live more fully, more vibrantly, and more vigorously. If anyone should protest against death it is the religious person, the person who has increasingly come to know God as the God of the living."

Finally I had to hold back tears listening to this song in Couples Fellowship:
如此認識我
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PvFFG7cyU_c

Jan 17, 2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Week 33

Week thirty three was an emotional week for me because it falls within Doris' birthday. On Monday a USA friend asked me to join him for lunch that stretched to five hours. We ate wonton noodles, followed by ramen noodles, then coffee and dessert at IFC, and fruit somewhere else. In the middle of coffee when I wrote about my dream of Doris the previous week waiting for me at a terminal, teardrops fell from my eyes. My friend was kind and sensitive enough to hand me tissues without signaling.

The next day at work I could not wait to continue working on Proverbs 31, the text for Doris' memorial service on June 18, 2016, to be delivered coming May on the occasion of the first year anniversary of Doris' loss. This will be an extended version rather than the shortened version.

On Wednesday morning I went with a buddy to a cremation service for the mother of a coworker. I am more sensitive and supportive after Doris' loss, plus the instinct to keep a buddy company because he's been doing a memorial service for a few weeks now. 

The next day I finished watching the second hour of the movie Castle in the Sky that coworkers were talking about when one of them had a robot from the movie for wallscreen. I thanked God who ironically prepared the movie for me pending Doris' birthday two days later. The affection, sacrifice and freshness of youngsters Pazu and Sheeta made me wept before bed, thinking of days with Doris.

Friday was Doris' birthday, relatives alerted me. I was so mindful of the day of her loss but not so her life, so it's a reminder to cherish both. A buddy rushed me to HK's flower streets and I was content with a bunch of five short roses plus other flowers after circling the block the second time. At dinner time when I asked a close friend why her relative having dinner with us never asked me how I was doing, she explained that they do not want to face her death , a trait that runs in the family. After I sent the picture of the flowers to friends, a replied made me tear up: "Happy Birthday Doris!!! She is more beautiful than roses!"

I was invited to fellowship dinner at night. The group and spirit were excellent. I told them my plan for leading the book of Acts for them in April including recruiting leaders from the three zones to write Bible study questions with me once a month. They are far better in Chinese than me since Doris used to write the questions for Fellowship.

Sunday rolled around. A friend of mine said he wanted to dine with me and talk about my future book releases. At noon I was given 1 Cor 15 the resurrection passage and it was difficult for me emotionally at the pulpit. Two songs in two worships that day took a toll on me, 誰能使我與神的愛隔絕 and Come People of the Risen King. It was strange because I was pretty sure the public tears had dried up after USA trip. It was acceptable because I was preaching in an English speaking church. After church I prayed for a younger minister whose first baby died prematurely and the urn internment was days ago. He said he held the urn when it was first available to him and cried. I shared the same thing happened to me. I took the pot in my arms and cried all the way home by bus to the island, and shaved to short hair two days after till present. Few people understand what it feels like  to have a loved one's life shortened before reaching the prime of life.

Finally the two songs that touched me this week:
誰能使我與神的愛隔絕
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pLwpVwv7q9Q
Come People of the Risen King
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FTozNg-AaIg

Jan 10, 2017

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Week 32

Week thirty two was a tiring week snucked between Christmas and New Year. In all honesty I cannot let go of 2016 to live out 2017. On Monday I was bothered by my memory gaps, upset by a lunch I missed because dinner with Doris' brother from UK overshadowed everything. True to form, her quiet brother spoke liitle and I did not ask or attempt much after the opening question, "How long will you be in Japan?" At least he said a hearty goodbye after dinner. Part of the reason I missed lunch was also because I was engrossed in revising 文法聖經 yesterday to confirm to international standards using the NA27 manuscript instead of KJV. Also without Doris there's less motivation for food, fun or festivity.

Tuesday come with a testimony I must share. The previous week I won the office lottery $1000 winning prize, of which $787 was spent on tea group at Tang's on same day. This Tuesday when I took a neighbor coworker's family to lunch, his wife excitedly talked about how they cheered when I won the prize, so I told her we can use part of the money left for lunch that day. When the bill came, she screamed because the bill was $213, all that was left of the money! Now coworkers cannot eye my leftover money! At night I had dinner with a USA friend that used to take me out for birthday meal before Doris fell ill. It was nice to see an warm old friend.

The next day there was a HK drama of a president with amnesia, favoritism, put downs, a larger than life character and disoriented. I walked for more than an hour, praying for work, colleagues and safeguarding in HK .

On Thursday less than three weeks back from USA I was already feeling the emotional, mental and work stress, waking up at 330am for over half hour before getting back to sleep. Nearing dawn I had a dream of taking a bus or train to find Doris wearing blue top and white bottom expectedly waiting for me at the end of the terminal. Short but emotional to write it. Thankfully next morning was my day off. At night on my own time I attended an alum family memorial service. Tears rested on my eyeballs but I could hold it off now since returning from USA.

On Friday I woke up to a dream of me and a missionary and a banner that says  "I will respond to the salvation of the world." I told my missionary friend who wisely said, "Salvation belongs to the Lord as he is the Lord of the harvest. It is a privilege that we can be co-workers with God in his harvest."

Saturday morning I was groggy and napped at 11am but it gave me super strength for the rest of the day's writing of Acts 1, which I was inspired to do due a buddy's fantastic study of John. At night I attended a wedding more confident in my own skin than the last wedding before I flew to USA. Before I felt uneasy alone attending a wedding.

Sunday arrived and the pth service meets 14fl now. It was a long day as I planned to support a buddy's late noon program. I was about to go for dinner at 7pm when I saw a coworker hard at work for Sunday school next week. I coaxed him to go home as it was a holiday, even going out to dinner with him and his patient wife, in the process recruiting two others in the office as well.

Lord, let me walk along you,
Not ahead of you or away from you!

Jan 3, 2017

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Week 31

Week thirty one arrived and so did my seven months of loss. On day off Monday a friend based in Beijing had lunch with me. Surprisingly tears surged as I hugged a brother I had lost touched with for three years. The emotional side with friends had dried up since returning from USA. On my return trip home late afternoon I met a neighbor who lost his wife to cancer three months earlier than Doris. His wife shared the same ward with Doris when my wife was hospitalized for two weeks once. We had seen each other before on buses before, but not share the same seat. Lately I try to avoid most people,  except familiar ones. He shared that his dreams of his wife were always in her sickness, causing him to cry a bucket of tears 一殼水. At night he is lonely and all the carers that kept him going had all long  disappeared, even her wife's sister from China who came frequently to visit his seven year old son previously, but now he was reluctant to trouble her.

Tuesday was staff Christmas party and I won the big prize of $1,000, of which a whopping $787 was spent on coworkers high tea. They are worth more, very previous to me, having mentored some and receiving support in return. At night I walked short of an hour on my prayer walk because a neighbor friend said my tummy is showing after USA trip.

On Wednesday morning a coworker shaved my hair for Doris' seventh month tomorrow. It was a good day because a buddy invited me and another family I know to his newly renovated house for winter solstice dinner and his daughter's birthday

Thursday was seven months without Doris and I woke up wanting to visit her high school, St Paul Co-Ed. Her sister Faith was available to join me since she is retired. At night I was invited by some pth folks for restaurant dinner. We took lots of photo. They have done lots to encourage me. Before bed the pent-up emotions let loose, turning into loud cries and heavy sobs.

On Friday afternoon I bought lilies for Doris a day late for her seventh month. Before work day was over, a good friend dropped by unexpectedly and later asked me to join his brother-in-law, who lost his wife to cancer a month before Doris, for dinner. At dinnerI learned he's taking medication to allow him to sleep from 1am to 10am. I also talked to his friend who lost his father eight months ago. She had no closure because of family disputes over inheritance. I have more patience and empathy to listen and share now.

I took a young adult friend to lunch Saturday because of his birthday. It was the least I could do for old USA friends. Plus, I know his pastor dad. After lunch I bought two cakes for friends, of which one was surprised by its richness. A coworker prepared a Bible study on John 1 with the help of 文法聖經 and my  friendly coaxing. It was an instant classic and a proud moment for me to upgrade him to such a high level.

Sunday rolled along. I preached the same evangelistic passage of Matthew 11:28-30. Two raised their hands to accept Christ, ten folks so far. It was hard to motivate myself the second time. Finally on a restive evening I succeeded in walking an hour on my prayer walk.

Here's a song from an young autistic girl that touched my heart this festive week:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gfAwXDWThlo

Dec 27

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Week 30

Week thirty could be a turnaround for me in HK after my USA trip. On Monday I joined Doris' high school mates for lunch. They bought four 文法聖經 from me. I am slowly warming up to them, attending their lunch every other month. I learned my lesson  from sleeping five hours the previous day at home in the noon time as a result of jet lag, so I decided to spend the rest of the day hours writing at the office. At night I joined a friend retreating here that I bumped into the previous night and our talk today was three hours till midnight. We bared our hearts and shared our thoughts. Friend said that I was there for him the last time he was on the island depressed and Doris was instrumental in turning around his marriage one coffee meeting elsewhere, so it made me think and gave me pause. He called it double friendship. 

Tuesday was a busy day. I had to catch up to my Saturday sermon that I had put aside for weeks, if not months. By the end of the day the sermon was slowly getting in shape, but illustrations were lacking.

On Wednesday I stepped in the scales to check my weight.  It started with a coworker's wife who said, Pastor you must have put on at least ten pounds. Sure enough I weighed 168 pounds from three weeks of Thanksgiving eating, friends' dinner, cold temperature, meeting snacks and no exercise.

Thursday I woke to a short dream of my wife with me and a younger colleague "A" sharing a meal at table 23 in Marie Calendars, a restaurant I visited in USA. To me it is nothing short of a blessing to feel her as she was. The hardest thing is to lose memories of her, which is the fear of all remaining spouses. The morning was supposedly a half day off but there were three meetings to attend, of which the first is department meeting. At the meeting I announced that I would cooperate with outside church events but not participate 合作但不參加. My coworkers would deputize for me. They are the best, God's angels for me. I have little  energy or enthusiasm left for big events or vain folks around. My time is best spent writing, mentoring and theological missions.

On Friday I spent much of my time getting the Cantonese sermon translated and ppt ready for Saturday morning preaching, it was half hour past deadline 3pm when I finished merely the ppt. The disadvantage of preaching Saturday morning is that there is no Saturday cushion to work further on it. Because my sister in-law and husband could not attend Couples Fellowship that night I did not stay but went home to eat and pray. One of the things I looked forward to returning from USA is to continue the prayer walk routine that we enjoyed, even more than my morning swim.

Saturday sermon turned out much better than I expected. I gave an invitation and was shocked that seven raised their hands. I pressured the morning service team to buy lunch and we had a good time. At night a putonghua (pth) worshipper told me he attended the morning worship because he's got to work tomorrow. He said, Pastor, your Cantonese is better than your pth. I said, Shh, don't say so loud, or you'll lose your pastor to Cantonese side.

There were 137 baptized on Sunday. I and buddy Cheng split the work of baptizing and K was the speaker, no better team I must add. At the end of 68 baptisms I gave a couple from my Fellowship a big hug to howls from the congregation. It was natural to me after I'm back from USA. Hug first now.

Praise God; I had put on weight,  energy to spare and regained my touch, for the moment. Hallelujah, He heals the brokenhearted and sets His people free, Merry Christmas all!

Dec 21