Friday, February 22, 2008

A new beginning

No, I don't do new year's resolutions for either January 1 new year's or Chinese new years. But, I do think it's important to periodically reflect back and see where we've come. So this year, it was humbling to look back on the whirlwind of November and December and see where God brought me -- by his strength and his grace.

January 1 was another trip to Guangzhou where it was awesome to see the passion of brother and sisters in Christ there. If you ascribe to the theory that the church only thrives on the 'periphery' of society, such that it started in Europe to North America yet, argubly, now only really exists in Africa and Asia, this idea was confirmed by the passion of the students that we met. They truly see their role to spread the gospel in the country. And it is encouraging to see the fruit of previous generations of 'ingrafted' Christians there to build the local church there. Of course, many difficulties continue to exist and much work needs to be done, but it is awesome to see many empassioned individuals actively and willingly take up the role as workers in the fields. Praise the Lord!

And then, despite through various business trips, January was yet another whirlwind month for me in a different way, and similarly, I can only look back and praise God for his grace and timing. Now, as I go forward into this totally unexpected new period, I am excited and scared at the same time to learn what it really means to serve, submit, sacrifice, and together, seek God's will for our lives. Praise Him!

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year!

Best wishes to you all, especially peace and joy in the love of the Lord!

It's cold this year, but then last year was extraordinarily warm. We get two days off for CNY which was nice (kind of an understatement) for me to catch up on homework and spend some time with people. I also actually did the 'bai leen' thing with my relatives, a good time since I haven't seen them in a while.

And then, there's of course, dealing with red pockets at work. The good thing is that our group is very small so it's still a personal gesture. I know that other groups had more formalized systems such that managers should shell out to give to everyone.

Last year, being my first year here, I was dreading it because it just seemed so weird. But after getting used to the culture (it's explicitly about money but not necessarily always), I can come to terms with it now. I think it also has to do with comfortability in being me too. [And maybe I used to view giving red pockets as something that is 'high above' where I am. :p] And I actually gave less red pockets than last year, since we have less staff. So, a good year!

But I was also in the office to see the 'red pockets craze'... as part of the tradition the 'big partners' (Chairman, COO, etc.) give red pockets. The COO, a new partner from the US, took the opportunity to experience the culture -- and meet all the staff in the firm -- by meeting everyone who came to his door. So whereas most other partners just give the red pocket and go, the COO ended up have a long queue...

This is on the 18th floor, the queue went down the stairwell down to the 16th floor where we sit. So all we heard was this louder and louder commotion, and it felt like an amusement park but you don't know what people are lining up for -- but has to be good if people are lining up for it! [It's quite HK, actually.] Quite a sight to see, as silly as it was. [No, I didn't join. :p]

And then the last thing that makes me smile about red pockets is... re-gifting... of money. It's not a big deal because cash is cash, but does everyone *really* have so many fresh and crisp bills to give away? They're all regifted!! It would be interesting to see how many hands a bill goes in CNY season, haha.

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Relentless pursuit

Wow, it's already February. Relentless pursuit: a strong reminder of our God who continually pursues us no matter how far we turn or run away.

For most of you who know me from Waterloo, you may know about a certain "'lil godsis" who has also turned up in Hong Kong. After a tumultuous undergrad life, which was lived out under no supervision from any "godsisters", she made her way to Hong Kong for a lifestyle which she sought since even before university.

And what a disappointment that lifestyle came to be. December was super-busy for me because I had to help her through a few crisis points... yet, despite how low it seemed to be, God provided, and now, after at least 5 years, she may have finally have found the start of picking her life up and seeking those things which are lasting.

Through her experience, I can attest that God has always continued to watch over her no matter how much she did turn away.
Through her experience, I have also learned a glimpse of God's unconditional love for us -- though discipline is a tough part of that -- and also learn to love others in the same way.

Things were going ok for about a month or so, but now, there is another fresh crisis point, and we can only pray for the next steps. But I am confident God will continue to teach us about his providence and guidance. Amen!

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.