sit still Mom… just rest

Sometimes I forget to stop & breathe for a while… Do you ever do that? Just run & run until you crash??

Today, I had no choice but to sit still for a bit. All three of our boys are in a Christmas musical this year. I have been sitting here watching, praying & reflecting for almost 5 hours while they rehearse. Ahhh, such a nice break in routine… so why am I still worried about all the things not getting done while I just sit here??? Sigh… praying for all of us busy Mamas that find it hard to rest!!

“Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.” -Mark 6:31

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” -Psalm 46:10

While I’m waiting for the guys to finish up, let me share some pics with you from our adventures this week…

Mark took Mr. Cheng, one of our friends living a sub-divided flat, to see his new public housing flat. Afterwards they stopped in to visit Mr. Miu who has already moved in to a flat exactly the same… to get an idea of how it will look/feel with furniture. Here’s the pics. (Story/pics about Mr. Miu’s moving day.)

image

image

image

Mark took the guys to lunch after.

image

Another one of our English students completed the first book we gave her… & came back for another one during class this morning!!

image

Pretty cakes in the bakery window.

image

image

image

Musical practice today. 🙂

image

Finally done w rehearsal… grabbed some veggies at the street market, now heading home on the train… rest time over! Until next time, praying you get a break today too!

-JK

Advertisements

Upgraded life… 150sq ft > 40sq ft {1×1}

When I met Mr. Miu, he was in his 40’s & sick with cancer. (He is still doing Chemotherapy.) His home was a 40 square foot room in a sub-divided flat in Sai Wan, a very old area of Hong Kong with many Shark Fin shops. For almost 2 years I’ve been visiting him there every Saturday. We talk about life, we swap stories & we talk about how we both got to ‘where we are today’… we’ve walked a while together now, we’ve become friends. When I don’t find my friend at home, I go looking for him just to be sure he’s alright. I usually find him at his favorite haunt around the corner from his building. He goes there to find room to stretch out, even a booth at McDonald’s has more space than his tiny “apartment”.

Mr. Miu & I have lived two very different lives, but we have many things in common. We were both born in Hong Kong, we share our native language & love for HK street food, etc. But most important is our mutual need for spiritual wisdom & guidance in this life. I often tell the cage-home residents I visit about the different ways Father has helped me over the years & how much better things are for my family now that I trust Him with everything. Which is how we find ourselves spending many evenings, discussing the truths revealed in the world around us & taking turns praying for one another.

One of those prayers has been for a Public Housing Flat to open up for Mr. Miu. After 6 years on the waiting list, the call finally came. (Public housing flats are often much larger & cheaper than the cage-homes many of our friends live in.) So last month David , one of my volunteers, went with me to help Mr. Miu move into his brand new flat in a brand new building! My friend was worried about how to furnish his 150 square foot apartment, all he owned was a mini-fridge and a fan. Then, about a week before he had to move, I was able to get an appointment for us to take Mr. Miu to ‘shop’ for furniture at a place called Cornerstone. The warehouse is full of all sorts of donated furniture in excellent condition – all that you can collect in 2 hours is FREE. Like one of those shopping-spree game-shows where you can fill your cart until the time runs out… What a huge blessing that was for Mr. Miu! Watching peoples lives get upgraded… {1×1}

Below are the pictures of Mr. Miu’s old & new flats, he now pays HALF the rent, has almost 4x  the space & 100% privacy, without sharing a bathroom/kitchen with 10+ other renters, etc…. I think you will agree – he certainly got an upgrade!

Unfortunately, I’m not able to visit my friend as often now that he’s living in a new area, but I make a point to at least call him once a week. As long as I’ve known him, he’s been fighting cancer, but the bigger struggle is with his faith. We know God can heal him, & he can live with the hope of Heaven, if he chooses Jesus. Will you pray with me for Mr. Miu to have two more life upgrades, that his body will be healed & that he will find the peace that surpasses understanding? (Philippians 4:7)

-MK

Mr. Miu’s new flat

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mr. Miu’s old flat

1x1 logo copywright

Mr. Cheng just after "Joining the Family", with Mark & volunteers: Pia, Josh (brother-in-law) & Andrew.

three men & a big God {1×1}

Meet Mr. Chan, Mr. Au & Mr. Cheng… 3 men who followed different paths to find themselves in the same unwanted circumstances. Each has their own struggles, their own journey & their own heartache. We met them separately over the past 16months of visiting the cage homes & sub-divided homes of Hong Kong. We’ve talked here before about the way folks live in these small & dark units… today we want to share the personal side of the story by opening just a small window into the lives of these three friends of ours. We hope, once you know their story, that you’ll pray for them & their families as they continue on. We hope you’ll pray for us too, as we strive to mentor & encourage them and the many others that are so much like them…

Mr. Chan – Almost too late {1×1 – 2012}

Mr Chan2The good book tells us The Father knows the number of hairs we have because he cares for us, He even knows the number of our days on earth…  Well, let me share a story with you.  Mr. Chan is 78yrs old and he has been living in a sub-divided unit of 30sqft for over 20yrs.  He lives off his $500/m welfare check from the Hong Kong government; more than ½ of it goes directly to the landlord every month.  I started visiting Mr. Chan last March, along with 6 other seniors that live in the same 11 unit flat.  In September 2012 I invited him to join OUR Family, and he said “Yes”.  In October he had to move due to the landlord remodeling the flat.  Then, right before Chinese New Year in early February, his new landlord started to look for him.  Mr. Chan had gone into the hospital in late January, and had not been heard from since. After calling all the hospitals in Hong Kong to search for him, I finally went to file a ‘missing person report’ in the Police Department having exhausted all other ideas.  The nice police officer told me that Mr. Chan went in the hospital on Jan. 22nd, and passed away on Jan. 29th.  Just like that, 4 months after he made a life changing decision, he was gone. I’m sad that I was too late to say ‘goodbye’ to my new friend, but I am so grateful that Father was right on time to meet Mr. Chan & overjoyed that He was there to welcome him Home on Jan. 29th…  Friends, tomorrow isn’t a promise, but everyone can choose today where they will go after their time in this world, you can help to reach & teach them – {1×1}.  -MK

Mr ChanMr Chan3cage guys dinner 2012 7

 

Mr. Au – one step Forward… {1×1 – 2012}

MrAu bwIdle hands lead to destruction… but what about overworked & underpaid hands? There’s danger in those too, but often that’s exactly the work required of the parents we meet, just to feed their family… As a father of 4 children and the sole breadwinner for 8 people (including his elderly parents he still supports back in mainland China), Mr. Au puts in about 60hrs/wk at work. That’s a lot of physical/hard work at the local vegetable wholesale market, making no more than $1200US/m. With his wife in the hospital for the last 3 months, due to recurring depression, he has no choice but to put his 3 younger children in a boarding home until things change…  Yet, at our Manna New Year’s Event (Pun Choi Banquet) back in Jan., Mr. Au made a commitment to The Father. We’re excited to have a new Brother in the Family & we continue to visit him regularly at his 40sqft subdivided home, sharing from our hearts & encouraging him in the Lord whenever & however we can.  We are also doing our best to help steer his 16yr old son onto the right path by taking time to get to know him, playing basketball & inviting him to join our English classes. Walking alongside families in need, this is our commitment to the people of Hong Kong. Thank you for your prayers that strengthen us & release the Spirit’s power into every situation – {1×1}. You’re prayers are felt most in those moments where we don’t have the words, yet He supplies them.  -MK

MrAu familyMrAu prayercagehome 7

 

Mr. Cheng- The Flea Man {1×1 – 2013}

FleaMan 2012 bw2Everyone has a story. Some are easier to understand & some are simply harder to tell. Mr. Cheng has never given us the blow-by-blow of how he came to be living in a sub-divided unit that is literally crawling with fleas, with tiny brown bugs climbing out from under his shirt collar. All we know is that he was once considered an educated man, he had a desk job all his life, mostly as an accountant… and now he is known by his 10 neighbors in the flat as ‘The Flea Man’… I’ve visited him every week for over a year now, sharing a lot about God & life with him, hearing his stories about his life before the small 30sqft sub-divided unit… However, having to move twice in the last 4 months has made things harder for him these days. Knowing how the Lord lifts our burdens, I’ve been asking him to join Our Family every week for the last 2 months; “Let me think about it.” has been his answer every time.  My reply remained, “Ok, let me know next week.” Last week a group of volunteers, including my wife & brother-in-law, came with me to see Mr. Cheng. As we were all praying for his poor health, I said, “Why don’t we say a prayer to have you join The Family while we pray for your health.”  This time he said “Alright, alright.” And he repeated the prayer after me! When I return next week I will bring him a Bible & show him where to start, what a privilege to witness these first moments of Mr. Cheng’s transformation! If I’ve learned anything from this, it is to be persistent. When we are unrelenting in our love for others & in our prayers, like ‘the Persistent Widow” was, amazing things can happen – lives can be transformed! {1×1} Nothing is more important than the eternal choice we all must make, to walk in truth & love with The Father, or to walk away without it…  -MK

cage guys dinner 2012 4FleaMan8FleaMan7FleaMan old flat

Mr. Cheng just after "Joining the Family", with Mark & volunteers: Pia, Josh (brother-in-law) & Andrew.

Mr. Cheng just after “Joining the Family”, with Mark & volunteers: Pia, Josh (brother-in-law) & Andrew.

Mark & I want to thank you all again & again. Your prayers encourage, uplift & strengthen us! Please know that because of every prayer you offer, these men’s lives were instantly transformed by encountering the Father… Many, many more lives are being changed too, seeds are being planted & tangible love is being wrapped around the hurting & lost in this busy city! We are forever grateful to all of you & we know that you rejoice with us in every victory, however great or small! Know that we are constantly praying for all of you as well! In the meanwhile, our job in this city continues, 1 day at a time, 1 person at a time as we go out & share with the poor in spirit & hurting in Hong Kong. Loving, reaching & teaching them – {1×1}.

1x1 logo copywright  -JK

reaching, touching, Loving {1×1}

Mr. and Mrs. Au (sounds like “ow”) live with their 4 children in a room that is less than 40 sq.ft. Mr. Au works 6- 12 hours day, 6 days a week at the vegetable outlet nearby to earn about $1100 USD a month. That’s what keeps the Au family off the streets, this is how many families in Hong Kong survive. Their rent and utilities often take about 50% of their monthly income. On top of that, Mr. Au has the burden & duty of supporting his parents financially in rural mainland China. We met Mr. & Mrs. Au last November, nine years after they moved to HK. Some of our elderly friends from an older sub-divided flat had moved into the flat where the Au’s live. It was during our weekly visit with these friends, that we met the Au’s & others living there.

Mark & his volunteers took the Au Family to dinner one night last year for their weekly visit.

Mark & his volunteers took the Au Family to dinner one night last year for their weekly visit.

The whole unit is about 700 sqft, divided into 11 cubicles with plywood walls & doors. Each unit fits 1 or 2 bunk beds & a mini-fridge, with about 3 feet of floor space left over. The bathroom, kitchen & laundry ‘rooms’ are all ‘common area’ shared by all 11 units. The Au family is blessed with one of the larger units. Still, they manage to squeeze 3 small children, a teenage boy, mom & dad all into their 30 sqft cubicle, which is almost twice the size of their neighbor’s. They pay a pretty penny for the space too. The average sub-divided unit costs about $1800 HKD/m ($230 USD), which comes to approx. $6.60USD per square feet. To put that in perspective, the rent for our home in HK (about 680 sqft) is only $2.50USD per square foot… Our house in California is currently rented for less than $1 USD per square foot…

1x1 logo copywrightGetting to know new families in need is a regular part of life for us. It’s wonderful to bring groceries & deliver hot meals, but to really know someone & show them you care about them is to really make an impact & offer hope that brings new life! We want to impact our world, one family, one person, one SOUL at a time. {1×1} We have lived in HK for over a year, but we are only now beginning to see tiny, life changing moments that come from years of prayer & faithfully chasing after the dreams placed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Ours is not a swift journey nor a race for sprinters, it is a long & meticulous trek… meant to be run with endurance, patience & diligence. Paying attention to details & knowing people by name, caring for the individuals – which one day will make all the difference in the world, even if only to that one special person that God chose YOU to reach, touch or love for Him! We may not be able to save them all, but as “The Star Thrower” reminds us: “It made a difference to THAT ONE!

This family was fairly friendly from the start & the little ones looked forward to the little treats Mark brings on his weekly visits. In conversation with Mr. Au, Mark learned that Mrs. Au had struggled with depression when they lived in China. Part of her husband’s decision to move his family to HK was her health. He needed to go where he could earn enough money for his wife to be at home with the kids, where she wanted to be most of all. Instead of needing for both parents to work, only to never have enough to live on in China. It was clear to Mark, this man wanted the very best for his family & he loved his wife & children very much… So now we pray together for the Au’s often, the Lord puts them on our hearts 3-4 times a week. I enjoy hearing the updates after each of Mark’s visits, since I have only been out to their house once so far.

A couple months after meeting them, Mark invited Mr. & Mrs. Au to bring the whole family to a field trip & banquet day that he had organized through our work. They all came to the Pun Choy event in Jan., except for Mrs. Au who was not feeling well that day. I was excited to see them again & as we went through the different tours, I watched the kids laughing & playing with their dad. Over 300 people that we serve attended the outing, Mark & Kum Gee (“Gum Gee”), his co-worker,  had over 40 volunteers to help keep things in order. (The boys & I were there trying to help, but we certainly need to work on our Cantonese before the next time!) We toured a bakery that specializes in a Chinese specialty called “Wife Cake”. Then we took buses to an older area of HK where we had a walking tour of a “Heritage Village”. It was very neat to see a bit of Hong Kong’s colonial days through the old buildings that connect to each other with tiny, intertwined alleys.

Mr. Au & family eating at the Pun Choy with volunteers & other guests.

Mr. Au & family eating at the Pun Choy with volunteers & other guests.

Last stop for the day was the main event, the Pun Choy Dinner. Basically, it’s a huge pot of enormous amounts of food all cooking together over a small table top burner. While everyone ate, we had our team entertaining & teaching them. There were games & raffles, worship songs & prayer, & then a testimony of God’s faithfulness in the life of someone who had been part of our program in the past… This all ended with a time of fellowship while finishing the meal. Then came the opportunity for anyone that wanted to pray, for anything at all. Mr. Au prayed for his family & he prayed for Christ to change him & his life. He was instantly adopted into the family of God! What a wonderful day for the Au family!!!

Mr. Au prayed over his son & made a decision to follow Christ!

Mr. Au prayed over his son & made a decision to follow Christ while a volunteer prayed for his daughter.

When we go out in the world, we hope to make a difference. When we go home to our families, we hope to make a difference. The difference Mr. Au’s decision is making for his family is eternal. We are excited to walk with him through this time of change & growth. He will need support & encouragement, just like you & I do. This story is not the first of it’s kind, but it is one that touches my heart to the core. So many husbands & fathers make tough choices to help their families, thinking they are doing all they can. Striving in their own strength to get things right & make ends meet, wanting to teach their children right from wrong… Only to find out that it wasn’t enough. It’s never enough without Jesus. But now Mr. Au is getting the help, the peace, grace & power he’s been needing all these years. We’re so happy & excited for him, we’re blessed to be walking this journey with him! You might not think knowing this family is a big deal, but them knowing the Savior IS! When you & I make the time to love others, He makes ALL the difference! And He usually does it ONE BY ONE{1×1}

Recently we brought a Chinese children’s bible to the Au kids. On a later visit, the 5 year old told Mark that they had been reading it together (the 3 younger kids), & sometimes Mom was reading it too. What a sweet family they are! Will you join us in praying for the Au family? We just KNOW that God is doing a miraculous work in our midst, what a great day to be alive, a day when lives are changed & Christ is glorified!

-JK