how to live – full of JOY {be transformed}

Today I ran across an old FB note from 2010 – before this blog began… I thought it’d be good to share with you all here, starting with a quote from one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met:

“A person who is obsessed with Jesus is more concerned with his or her character than comfort. Obsessed people know that true joy doesn’t depend on circumstance or environment;
it is a gift that must be chosen and cultivated, a gift that ultimately comes from God.”
-Francis Chan

July 27, 2010
“Dear Joy: How do you stay so positive and joyful? I am always blessed by your posts. You shine Jesus, keep it up and share your secrets.”
-Blessings from Sacramento

joyful_heart_cheerful_face_pocket_prayer_cardHAHA, well it prolly helps that my name is JOY. LOL So glad I can bless you! You bless me every time I see you! =) So I guess we’re even! I don’t know that it’s a secret, but I truly do LIVE to WORSHIP & that is where I am renewed daily. You can’t shine for or with Jesus’ love if you are not first filled with it, right?! But… you know that already!

((Also, I figure if Face Book {or WordPress} is going to be any good at all, I should look at it as a Mission Field of sorts… I represent Christ WHEREVER I go, even on FB… so I try to check any negative attitudes at the ‘door’ & not just “barf up” my most recent struggle/drama online for everyone else to be polluted by it! It encourages ME when I FORCE myself to come up with an uplifting comment to share with others, esp. on those days I don’t feel very positive!))

Here’s a good pointer though, to keep from DISCOURAGING yourself or others: If you feel rotten, discouraged, angry, etc (anything NOT good)… give your FLESH exactly 5 minutes to FEEL it & to express it to God… sometimes I take 5 to feel & another 5 to tell God! LOL – But the KEY is that after that, you GIVE it to God & CHOOSE life & love as your response from that moment on! It isn’t easy, but we can do that if we ask God to help us! =) Of course He WILL since this is the way He has instructed us to respond!

joyful_heart_foundation_inspired_nails_by_samikelly-d6cfze9The hardest for me is when people who KNOW BETTER still hurt me, I find that I have to remind myself how Jesus treated those closest to Him, even while they questioned Him, lost trust, & then betrayed Him… He forgave in love, taught them, came alongside them, & asked His Father to forgive them!

To sum it up:

  • KNOW that you KNOW that you KNOW “WHO Jesus is & Who YOU are IN HIM” ((this happens through relationship/communion with the Father, Spirit, & Son through worship, prayer, & study/meditation of the Word & Truth!))
  • SPEAK (& THINK) only LIFE, that which is edifying.
  • DON’T sin in ANGER, better to do nothing than the wrong thing.
  • FORGIVE, as you have been forgiven.
  • PRAISE & WORSHIP the God that gave you life more abundantly!

This is the way to live IN the SPIRIT, even while your flesh is struggling to adapt to/survive in your circumstance/the world. (See Rev. 1:9-10a)

"Be JOYFUL always!" -1 Thessalonians 5:16

My joyful boys – Wesley & Joseph in San Fransisco, CA @2010

“Be JOYFUL always!” -1 Thessalonians 5:16
-JK
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children of Hope {1×1}

Joy! It’s the look you see on the face of a child who has a reason to be proud, and someone else has acknowledged their hard work & potential for greatness. It’s what we were hoping to capture in these pictures. These kiddos bring such joy into OUR lives, we love teaching them & watching them grow. We are thrilled when one of our volunteer tutors shares how one of these sweet children has mastered a new skill or even an important exam. THIS is why we do it, THIS is why we’re here… because of the HOPE we have in Jesus & how He shines that Hope through the eyes of each child we meet!

The following pics are from last semester’s Manna Tutoring Awards Day. The music students performed, an older boy shared his testimony & one of our ICA friends spoke to the students & parents about the program. Then there was a message of Hope given before we closed in prayer & broke for a wonderful lunch together. It was a great time to meet the parents & tell them just how proud we are of their kids!

Mark brought a small kids bible & stuffed animal for each of the 6 girls in his English tutoring group. He promised them that if they finished reading the bible, they could call him & he’d give them another great book! We’ve already given out 2 more books, these kids are working very hard to improve their English. They know it’s the best tool for them to do big things in their lives. We are so encouraged by these girls & we know the Truth they are reading is doing so much more than helping their grammar & comprehension! This is what it’s all about! Making a difference… {1×1}

“It is the same with my word.I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” -Isaiah 55:11

1x1 logo copywright-JK

redeeming our Victory lap… {be transformed}

Today started out like any other Friday… I had stayed up too late working on adoption grants & FB, so I slept in while Mark cooked me bacon/eggs/hash for breakfast. Tryston took the train to piano lessons. The other boys played & messed around instead of school because mom was asleep, until Daddy cracked the whip & they got to work. Once I was sipping coffee around 9, Dad left to run errands (Friday is his study/work at home day, so he also runs errands that must be done during work hrs-VERY helpful!) & we all got started on some projects…

Somewhere around 11, Mark & I both had the same idea for a fun family outing everyone had been trying to fit into our busy schedule. This was no small miracle, since we weren’t together or even on the phone/texting each other when this happened… As soon as he got home, I asked if he had seen my text about my idea. “He said no, but can we talk in the other room?” LOL Short story is, we agreed it was the perfect day & weather for a day at the public pool! YAY for taking the afternoon off from school!!

And THAT’S when it happened. Out of nowhere, the house seemed to be in a fog. Kids started bickering, parents were nit-picking & the teenager was huffing around… What is this all about? We were having a great morning & planning a fun afternoon??!! What the heck?

So.Not.Cool.

This was going nowhere fast friends, I was about fit to be tied. With everything we’ve been working on lately for work & the adoption, we have had precious little time as a family to go have fun & relax. How can we throw it all away? People were already suggesting that we just stay home… 😦 I was about to cry…

Instead, I made a DECISION. A choice. We are NOT going down without a fight. Fear Not little family! This is NOT how this battle ends. The devil can go play around with someone else’s family because we’re not defeated today! — So I told my family all that. I reminded them who we are, Children of God. I acknowledged that we have plenty of ‘issues’ that need to be addressed from time to time. (Every family does, if they’re honest!) I told them how we have a CHOICE to get into all of it today, right now, when we KNOW we are planning to leave for a much needed family day… knowing also that the ‘discussions’ may ruin our plans altogether… Or we can CHOOSE to set an appointed time to calmly/rationally address these little dust bunnies that get swept under our rug now & then… when we are rested & can come prepared with rational & well thought out opinions, rather than feeling defensive & angry at not being heard ‘right this second’… For everything has its rightful time & place. But THIS was neither the time OR the place. Not today, not on my family’s ‘family time’!

Of course, I’d like to say we all held hands, prayed & sang ‘Jesus loves me’ at that exact moment. But that would just be a silly lie & you wouldn’t buy it anyway… right? Well not if you know us very well! Ha ha. What we DID do is take a deep breath, go to separate rooms (admittedly, the hardest thing to do in a 680sqft flat with 5 people!), & cool down until lunch was ready… The rest is history. We had a perfectly lovely day at the pool & water slide playground! We had a delicious dinner at a little noodle shop, bought some groceries & topped it off with some soft serve from McDs & a short tv show before bed… Successful fun family day! – Praise the Lord for His grace – our victory lap for today was indeed redeemed!

Moral: NEVER let the enemy steal your joy! Protect your family! PRAY! Mark & I pray constantly pray for our family, our kids & our marriage. The Holy Spirit lives in our home & I’m certain HE is the reason I had the clarity to grab ahold of our quickly spiraling day this time! Be ready to kick the devil out of your house friends! Be ready in & out of season! KNOW that you are God’s children, He is WITH you always. But because of that, the enemy of your soul is out to attack everything he can to derail you from God’s calling & plans for your life! It’s no surprise to us that we’ve had more & more moments where we’ve identified enemy attacks like today’s on our family since starting our adoption of AnnaBelleYou can be sure, if you are following God’s will for your life, it’s not a matter of OF the devil will attack your life/work/ministry/family/health/finances… but a matter of WHEN! – Don’t LET him beat you! He only wins when we stand down… but why should you? With God on your side, who can be against you? The VICTORY is won friends – CLAIM IT IN JESUS’ NAME!

“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” -1 John 4:4

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” -Joshua 24:15

As always, feel free to leave a comment about your experiences or how this peel into our world may have helped you… But please also email me if you have any questions or if you would like prayer for your family!

-JK

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