Following our Hero and learning to become a hero for others…(Thanks for praying for our Epic Movement Student Conferences!)

One of two Epic student Confs. (this is from Philly)

One of two Epic student Confs. (this is from Philly)

One of my heroes in life is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His life has profoundly impacted me. Because of him, I think of service, integrity and courage in a different way. Since his influence is so positive, he has definitely help shape my values and commitments to godly causes.

So, it was an honor for our Epic Movement nationwide to serve and lead Asian American college students to think about what it means to follow our Hero, Jesus and to become a hero for God’s kingdom; all during the MLK weekend. For students to learn what it means to be all that God wants them to be and be truly themselves and using their God given gifts to serve God and people. We also got to serve the various communities even on that Sunday. I think that honors Dr. King having us serve the community as it reflects his values. We went from passing out boxes of love for those in need. We survey people about their lives and communities. In fact, we saw Asian American students able to initiate so many spiritual conversations that Sunday We were able to see 13 people receive Christ into their lives on that day. These students and their faith also made heroic efforts to trust God and serve others. (We were so proud of these students faith and their hearts!)

We had 2 conferences in San Fran and Philly. It was so fun to have it simultaneously. That is the power of what God is doing in Epic. We were able to see the diversity of His works and yet, the work of his Holy Spirit yet so similar. We were able to be involved in also seeing God deepen their relationships with Him. God moved many of them to give their allegiance to Him.

Thanks for praying for me and our students for that weekend.

Your efforts help all of us to continue to share about the Hero of our lives, Jesus Christ to our communities. We long to see God raise up the next generation of heroes of faith for our communities of faith.

My own voice….(I found an old post from last year)

Recently at a conference where I had to do a presentation on the state of our ministry, I found myself learning about me and how I deal with stress. Since I had not planned on doing this presentation earlier, I wanted my director’s notes on this presentation and what he wanted represented.
It turned out pretty frustrating when I discovered that all of his notes to me were just a plain old power point presentation.

I was flustered. I was also very tired since I was already very busy at the conference.
However, I did have some excitement as I love giving the direction or the vision of our ministry.
During those 24 hours, I found myself face to face with the real me.

My first encounter with myself again was to realised that when I am stressed, I turn into a more time conscious person. I also had a strong incident with my teammates because I felt they were not aware of the time. I sort of snapped at them. They were gracious. I did apologize once I heard my own voice of emotions or reactions. I heard my own voice of reactions or my heart.

I also found out that I am different from others who cannot embrace doing things like doing a power point. Although I do not prefer that style of communication as it feels so corporate and not as friendly, I can do use it if I had to. I learned that I definitely prefer a different style. I again found that I have been richly blessed with a different set of experiences as a woman leader than most. I have had to make many more of these types of presentation and I was not overwhelmed by it as much as others who were on my team.

Secondly, I discovered that when I was stressed and tired that I am not as calm. I saw this in myself in how I led the first part of our meeting. I was just nervous or stressed or tired.
I could feel it. I so long to be that calming leader. And yet, I see that I may never be that.
I was a bit down on myself when another older woman leader from another ministry commented on how the second day of my presentation, that I was really in my stride (which I felt as well.).
She noted that I was very much myself (which I always pray for.) and was able to engage all of us since I was so open about myself. She appreciated that.

Upon reflection, I was grateful for her comments. Because in some ways, I love the idea of being a calm presence, yet, I am not sure if I will ever be that given my personality. Perhaps the non anxious presence of leaders that help move a nation or a company or ministry to great works will never be my prototype. I am not sure? I do know that I can provide a presence that looks inward to being ourselves and being open to trust God for what he has for us. I think I can communicate the heart of the matter with a heart to connect with others. I think more than anything else, my desire to be myself can be my best gift to those that I lead and serve.
So, I think I may never be that calming non anxious leader. But I can be me.

Thanks Matty for my moment of Christmas!

It had been a tiring but good day on Dec. 30. Sitting there on the bench, while my visiting nephew and niece were engaging at the fun train set display at the Discovery museum, I was just kind of out of it.

Earlier that day, I had been reflecting over my Christmas break thus far. I was reminded of how this break was good in terms of having family fly in to visit and having some time in Las Vegas. My brother and his family surprised my parents by flying into Las Vegas where we also met up with another family friend. It was a great surprise and all were shocked. We ate and we checked out the various hotels and the new city center. Parents enjoyed being able to play slots as well. It was very hectic and full of people. Then, after Christmas day, we all drove home to my house. So, my home was wall to wall people; but very cozy. My nephew and niece are the cutest ever. (I am biased.) Thus, my week had been very eventful and fast paced.
But again, this kind of Christmas break was more common place for my childhood as I did not grow up in a Christian home. Sad to say, I do not have many memories of celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.

So, there I was just sitting and resting when I spotted Matty. Matty was this little boy of 7 or 8 years who sat in a wheel chair near where I was sitting. It seemed that Matty probably has Cerebral Palsy and was not able to function as well in terms of moving around. In my short time of watching him and his Father, I never heard him say a word or move very much. But his eyes were on his family. As I became absorbed in his story for that moment, I began to feel really sad for him; almost pitying him. There he was sitting there, while all of the other children were running around trying to capture all of the fun and mischief. There he was not able to communicate to his family, while my nephew and niece and other children were chatting and gabbing away with their family and other kids. As I was feeling sad for Matty, I began to cry. Matty was so helpless and so fragile and vulnerable. He could do nothing by himself. His Father made sure that Matty was shuttled to and about to various displays and fun stations as he would seek to get Matty to receive the full fun experience.

It was at that moment that God confirmed in my heart that I did not need to feel sorry for Matty. But that I needed to look around to his family, esp. Matty’s Father. I was brought to mind by God how even though Matty could do nothing for his Dad, that this Dad was still pouring out patience and love to him. In that moment, I did not see helplessness per se, but I saw love flowing out. I saw the love of a Father for his son who would do everything within his power to make this a great afternoon for Matty. I also saw the trust and love that Matty had for his family, how much his family also needed Matty’s love and presence. He was a viable part of the family.

For that moment, I saw myself in Matty’s shoes or wheelchair. I am just like him, helpless in my human condition of weaknesses and sin. And yet, my Heavenly Father saw fit to make sure that he would love me no matter how I inept I was in repaying that love. That He loves me no matter how incapable I am at times of doing anything right for him. Really, that his love is not based on my actions or non actions. It simply is his love to me lived out in grace. And as Matty’s Father’s love also gave Matty dignity and the ability to love his Father back, I also relished in how Jesus gave me so much more in that while I was helpless or a sinner, God gave me dignity by dying on the cross for me in order to demonstrate his love. (Romans 5:8) Like Matty, I have so much worth from God, and thus I so long to love my Heavenly Father and others back. I so want to love him back for how he loves me first and foremost. (I John 4:10)

God also reminded me that he does not pity us in our frailty. But he actually gives us dignity and a new way of loving back with our response to him and others. God at that moment taught me again why Jesus came to be born on Christmas day. It is for people like me and Matty who are vulnerable, helpless or even at times hopeless. He came so that we could have dignity and learn the way of love…from Him and through him to others. My vulnerability is really for the way of love to be demonstrated.

I left the museum with my precious moment of Christmas. So, it was a great Christmas for me!
(Thank You, Matty!)

P.S. Since that time, I have had more thoughts on this. I think I cried because I am not comfortable with Matty or my own vulnerability. If I could have it my way, I rather not be fragile or vulnerable. It is scary and it is out of control as others can have power to help or hurt you. The Lord has been teaching me that vulnerability that seems most fearful can actually be a blessing for when God’s love can flow through supernaturally.

Jan 1: Sitting with a friend of mine who is a survivor of breast cancer, I learn so much about this way of love. My friend lives in fear of her cancer coming back and the potential of early death. She has never felt as vulnerable as she does today. Yet, in those moments of fear and panic, she is learning to lean into God and his love.

It is the way of love and it is the way the Father has carried her this past year. I cried with her, too.
For the way to learning about love is through her vulnerable state. I wish it was a different story. But it is actually the Christmas story in her life. (I love my friend and how like Matty, her vulnerability has taught me to receive love and to love.) It is the Christmas story in my life, too.

Thanks for praying for the Job Seekers club!

It was a privilege to be able to just share with about 18 job seekers near where I live. It was a God thing to be able to serve them on Dec. 17. Thanks for praying for this opportunity. I sense that God used it.
The club itself is geared towards people who are job seeking; not a spiritual club.

I was asked to share about getting through the holidays while dealing with the stresses of job seeking. I gave a few pointers. But I just shared with them how being a job seeker requires mental and spiritual well being. I just encouraged folks to gain a holistic picture of job seeking. My gift to them was that I brought with me a few books that I had recommended….some Christian, some not. I brought out about 15 and folks took most of these, including one Bible.

I was much encouraged that others were encouraged by what I shared. So, thanks for praying.
Continue to pray for these job seekers and job seekers in our nation. Pray that during these hard times, that people will find their true calling from God to be his children and to live out his purposes.

One overall highlight was that when I finished, some of the club members stood up and said that they were Christian, too and that they encouraged resources for networking at a great church nearby our town. It was neat to see their hearts be so open about their faith with the other club members. My personal highlight was having a friend from my church come out and support me and pray for me during that hour.

God is so good. My cup runneth over that we can serve in the midst of this economical depression.

Women’s Brunch Update

harvest women Big group picture 09Thanks for praying for our church’s women’s brunch. The fun thing about this was that it was first time that the team was made up of newer Harvest Church women. It was 1/2 by the women’s ministry team and 1/2 new women who wanted to serve. I had the privilege of coordinating our efforts.

Our highlights were hearing 5 women share their passion or ways that they are using their gifts. We also had a moment where we all sang Silent Night. It was as if we all slowed down and realised what this season is all about. We had prayed for women to feel pampered and loved on as well as feeling encouraged to share their gifts to serve God and others. God answered our prayers.

My first Christmas brunch was last year and I loved it. This year was even more fun to just serve and not speak and hear others share. We were very blessed and we felt the Spirit of God upon us. Originally we were a bit nervous with a count of 16 who rsvp’ed. But as with this time of year, we actually saw about 63 join us. It was such a refreshing time for me.

I also highly enjoyed serving with the other women who were so talented and gifted. I loved their hearts for women and serving others. I loved even their heart for women who don’t know God’s love. I believed God was honored by their faith and love and service.

I love my church and what God is doing. Thanks for praying! (Also, had yummy food!)