It never fails – at the grocery store, in a crowded mall, having dinner in a tiny diner, an elevator stopping on all 50 floors, an alley beneath the freeway, a jam packed subway, even in line for a roller coaster. Basically anytime, anywhere… Mark is liable to make a friend by introducing himself to a complete stranger – for no real reason other than he doesn’t know them… yet! The most recent new friend was met on the way home from our outing to the Dragon Boat races during the Tung Ng Festival (more on that in another post).
The kids had gone home with friends while Mark, our friend Jo & I left the pier on a mini bus to the MTR station. About half way there, an elderly couple climbed aboard & as is his usual custom, Mark quickly offered up his seat. Before Jo & I could blink, Mark had introduced himself & engaged his new friends in conversation, in Cantonese of course. All I could gather at the moment was he was making sure they knew where to get off to get to a hospital where they had an appointment. I decided to snap a pic with my phone & ask him about the rest of their conversation later. Surely it was a divine appointment. I will let Mark tell you how it went:
“The husband has Parkinson’s, so it is hard for them to get around. Plus public transportation is not cheap. They have no kids (to live with or to care for them), so they live by themselves in a divided unit (One flat divided into 3-6 separate units). They live on about $800 USD a month. But she is in the process of moving him into a government run care center because she can no longer take care of him physically. I prayed for them and blessed them. They need Jesus, like many others here.” -Mark
What I find MOST amazing about this story is the transforming grace of Jesus that is evident in my husband’s life. You see, when I met him, as friendly and fun loving as he was… crowds & getting to know people were not his thing. He was very introverted & would even beg me not to make him go to parties or family holidays. He would rather be home, not meeting anyone, not having to make conversation, not having to think of what to say… Fast forward, 15 years & a few life-changing encounters with the Living God & Holy Spirit later – now he’s making friends everywhere he goes! It’s an example of a man who has laid his life down for Christ, of a man that is willing to put aside what once was hard for him & allow the Father & the Spirit to work in & through him. It’s the kind of example I wish every child had in their father. I’m so grateful my children are learning from Mark as they follow him through life. He doesn’t put on a show, this is simply who he is, who he’s becoming.
Last week, our 7 year old gave up his seat on the subway to an elderly man. No one told him to. He responded to the growing sense of compassion in his heart, that comes from his time spent daily in prayer & reading God’s Word. I pray daily that my children, myself & everyone else can continue to be transformed to look/act/think more & more like Jesus every day… Until the day we meet Him face to face. What a glorious day that will be!
Cantonese Lesson: 婆 = Po’ Po’ = elderly woman/grandmother