There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
-- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
I realize that sometimes, the only audience to these blogs is myself; I don't expect anyone to be interested in re-reading some of my old blogs as I do... but if you're interested, here are links to two relatively more reflective b-day sharings: 2006 and 2004.
It's that time of year again, and as always, I don't like placing any intrinsic value on birthdays themselves; rather they are simply milestones to track this journey of life. Perhaps it's my results-oriented or measurement-oriented (accountant) nature... At least I am not as extreme as to suggest purely numerical measures... And I do embrace a balanced scorecard approach to overall evaluation. :P One such measure that recurs is that of God's blessings, which, ironically, for this purpose, cannot be measured in any case.
Last year was characterized as a year of abundant fruitfulness beyond my imagination. This year was (and still is) of a completely different pace: of observation and of waiting... things that I have not done in a while, it seems. So perhaps the passage of Ecclesiastes at the beginning of this blog best represents the situation for this year. It is a reminder that change is inevitable and even changes in pace are necessary. It is also very comforting to read this passage because all of our toil and activity happen under heaven and therefore are taken care of by our sovereign Lord. I pray that seeds continue to be sown as I enter into the second year here.
So, what did I do this first birthday in Hong Kong?
It was Sunday, which means I spent it just like any other Sunday! For that, I am very thankful to have the opportunity to praise God on that day. I am also thankful that Teresa also visited me this weekend (everything worked out... more on that later); she is one of the few people whom I have not seen at all since I left Toronto last September. We went to worship, then went to watch the Simpsons movie after lunch. :P Then she came to my fellowship at 3pm. During fellowship, there was a really good time of sharing of spiritual background and growth, when I broke down and cried. Not sure what exactly was going on in me, but I think I was deeply touched with God's grace in providing such a real community in such a short time. The search for being "real" continues as a focus in relationships, including my relationship with my God.
Taste and see that the Lord is good... -- Psalm 34:8
God is good.
I think that fellowship meeting for me was an emotional outpour in awe of his goodness. No matter where we are, no matter if we've known each other for 1 month or 5 years, we have spiritual fellowship, bounded by the Holy Spirit, in his community, all provided for us. Emmanuel! Praise Him! =) May this community continue to grow in the years to come.
Travelling with a typhoon
The timing worked out for Teresa to arrive this weekend... we arranged our flights to arrive at about the same time on Friday (Manila for me, Penang/KL for Teresa). However, Typhoon Pabuk had also made a U-turn back towards Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Observatory raised the T3 warning to a T8 warning on Friday at 2:30... about the same time we landed. A T8 warning is equivalent to a snowstorm warning where all the offices shut down. Soccer matches were postponed, concerts were postponed. I guess it was a big deal. :P People put all the precautionary measures (e.g., putting large "X's" of tape on large glass panes to minimize damage from shattering). Little did I know, the last T8 warning was 3 years ago! (i.e., they don't come often) However, praise God, both our flights got in within half an hour of each other.
Imagine everyone taking the TTC all at once... well, imagine more people in Hong Kong taking the MTR subway all at once. It was apparently crazy. However, Teresa and I avoided all of that because we stopped by her cousin's place in Tung Chung. By the time we took the MTR from Tung Chung into Central, the crowds had already subsided (even one hour before, they weren't letting people into the MTR stations because there were too many people inside) and we got home very smoothly. In fact, we did not see any significant rain and still walked out to the mall for dinner that evening.
Actually, I've avoided most of the major rainstorms this year as a result of my work travel. :P Slightly 'sheltered' that way. :P
Until next time (year?), this is Gladys Yam.