24 lives in 24 hours

How did you spend the last 24 hours? Did you go to work, drive through traffic, stop at Starbucks, eat some take out, play with your kids, take your wife on a date, call your Gramma, walk the dog, watch the news, read your bible, listen to music, rock a baby to sleep, pray, play on your iPhone, read a book, watch a movie, exercise or catch a little sleep?? Or maybe you went to school, skipped a class, shopped online, did some homework, fed the cat, rode a bike, stayed up late, fought with a friend/parent/spouse, spilled the milk, went on Facebook, read this blog, broke a nail & stubbed your toe… again!?

Whatever you did, was it important? Was it time well spent? Are you glad you did it? Did it make a difference?

24 hours seems like enough time to do a lot of things. Or not. You could be very effective or totally useless. You could be helpful, be a blessing to others… Or not.

Why does it matter? Well to me it makes a world of difference what I do with my time, because I happen to know what happens every 24 hours on an island far away where hope is lost & the people are forgotten. Someone is dying every hour, their time has run out. In the last 24 hours, 24 precious islanders have died. 24, every day. In the last 12 months, while we’ve been in the States, 9,500 have been laid to rest. Before we could get there, before we met them. Before they knew our story… His story… THEIR story…

What can we do with the next 24 hours? We could save a life or two… or 24.

24-left

One for every hour.

We need just 24 people to help us, so we can be WITH the 24 that die every 24 hours…

Please Contact us below & ask HOW you can help!  

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how the [ Other Half ] live

“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him,

how does God’s love abide in him?” -1 John 3:17

 

Many new & often strange food surrounds me in this land. From steamed chicken feet to cubed pig’s blood & of course, the bird’s nest soup! That last one definitely fell in the category of “Eating Ministry” adventures… Every now & then you take a risk that pays off, as I did with the Parma Ham with Melon a few weeks ago. Of course, this is not a big risk, unless you’re an avid ham avoider like myself… Turns out to be my new favorite fancy Italian dish & I’m sure I will find a way to make it for Thanksgiving! I am so grateful to our new friends for introducing me to it over a lovely meal at the beautiful Italian Restaurant, it was great to relax with them & enjoy the view of the city…

Parma Ham with Melon @ the Regal Hotel in HK.

Our friends happen to Manage the hotel where we ate with them. Many of our new friends & co-workers here seem to live in a different world – ‘On the other side’ as my grandfather might say… At first we didn’t quite know how we would fit or where, among people who clearly did not live like us. Didn’t we expect that? you ask… Sure, we expected to serve the poor & homeless, we hadn’t thought much about ‘the other half’… God is teaching us new things every day. – How can a housewife from California relate to a working mom who employs a live-in Nanny/Maid?? Well, I try to be real & genuine in everything I do & say. When I’m asked how can I possibly cook, clean AND homeschool my kids each day – I tell them the simple truth, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” I even share my failures, the times I lose my cool & yell at a kid… but I tell them how I’ve learned to ask for forgiveness from my boys as well. Sometimes we take for granted that an educated or wealthy person already has everything they need.

Our view from the Regal Hotel in Causeway Bay.

Lamborghinis parked in front of ‘box collectors’ (local elderly often recycle cardboard to pay their rent), church secretaries with their own private drivers; meanwhile, just down the street, Mark & I brought a box of flea collars to a man in a ‘cage home’. This city is one of contradiction & hypocrisy. Poor & wealthy share the same sidewalk without a glance at the other. The poor are often eager to hear our stories of Hope & Redemption… the rich are not as interested… So how DO you offer that which cannot be bought to someone who truly thinks they CAN buy happiness?? I don’t have the answers, but God does… I live my life unto Him. I trust that He will guide my relationships. Many of the people I come across cannot imagine simple daily tasks without paying someone to do it, they cannot fathom raising their own kids or making sacrifices in order to BE with their kids… I find it isn’t always just because they CAN, but sometimes because it’s the only way they know HOW to live. Those that are already grounded in a firm faith in Christ, like our friends at the hotel, they know the truth of God’s generosity & the purpose for their blessings… they give it away & they serve with their time in prayer & with their hands to heal & help others in the name of Jesus.

Boxes collected & waiting in North Point, HK.

The other day in our home group, one friend was sharing with another about how spending time doing devotions with her kids has brought them closer together. The other mother smiled politely & said she was sure it had, but she wouldn’t know how to begin. The first friend told her, “Well I learned from watching Joy with her kids – she will help you too & we can all do it together!” Thank you Lord, for showing me why you placed me here among people who don’t ‘look’ like they need anything I have to give. Thank you for humbling me everyday & reminding me how you work in the very simple & mundane tasks of washing dishes & sweeping floors – which is when I do devotions with my kids. So these ladies don’t have to wash, but they see the need for teaching their babies about Jesus. For that I am so grateful.

May my heart be tender & my ears open to the Holy Spirit every day I spend with my new friends. May I continue to trust Him more, serve Him better & walk humbly among both rich & poor – wherever He may lead me.

 

Joy & Jo with their English Students

a day in the life… Fridays in Hong Kong

Joseph & Wesley’s favorite building in HK.

I woke up feeling stuffy, realized the dehumidifier tank wasn’t emptied before bed last night. I kiss the hubby & oldest boy goodbye while I grab a quick cup of coffee. Having a long day ahead, I decide to actually eat breakfast today… Only to find out the milk was left out last night (not gonna work for cereal) & there’s NO TIME for eggs. Can’t do toast either on a ‘wheat free’ diet. So it’s time to get dressed then.

Kids dressed, snacks packed, can’t find the umbrella but at least we have deodorant. Gonna be a hot & sticky/wet day! We’re out the door an hour later, walking the half mile to the subway. But only after the elevator stops three times on the way down from the 51st floor! Hurry, get to the train…. Iyaahhh, missed it – so we waited 10m to catch the next one. (Most stations have trains every 2-5m, but we live at the end of the line.) Two trains and 45m later, the lil’s & I hiked another mile uphill at breakneck speed to make it on time to our appointment at the US Consulate. Trying to renew Mom & Dad’s passports. hen we arrived, we saw that everyone ELSE has a printed confirmation letter for their appointment. Not us. Quick prayer that the guard speaks decent English & that my name is on the list… After a few minutes of back and forth- I notice my name at the bottom of the page. 10:45 appointment instead of 10:15! Sigh!!! Well, at least we’re not late then.

The next guard kept our phone & video games in a locked box & we got through the metal detectors ok. Up the stairs, turn left, stand in line… “I haft to use the bathroom Mom!”… uh, not until we’re done kiddo! LOL Fill out the forms, stand in line again, go pay the cashier & wait. “Don’t have to go now Mom.” ??? Is that good or bad?? Hmmmm… We weren’t bored in the waiting area, plenty of interesting people to watch. A newly married couple getting a passport for their son. A man with a 1m baby asking how to prove his citizenship. The standard screaming toddler with older parents that don’t seem to care if she screams. Adorable sisters playing with the blocks. An older man with his much younger asian bride… The African-American (I know this only because he had an American passport, I suppose that might not mean anything though!) with his large bag of files, probably on his lunch break… A bit refreshing to see a few ‘Westerners’ all in one room I must say. The boys enjoyed the posters showing scenes from various US cities as well. Finally our turn. Turns out they don’t have to keep our passports! A relief to me. But also turns out I can’t get Mark’s renewed, not because he’s not there – but because somehow his picture is not in the same envelope as the rest of ours & therefore not in my purse as I had thought. Guess he’ll have to hike up the hill on his own some other time. Time to head out, come back next week to get my new passport!

On the way back to the train, we stop for some fun pics with whatever strikes the boy’s fancy. They are thrilled to have the day off school! We found their favorite building, they call it “The X building”, the Bank of China in Central. They love that it lights up & changes colors at night! – We arrived in North Point too early for lunch, so we hang out in Dad’s office for a bit saying “Hi” to friends as they come/go. The boys never tire of being the welcome committee or the center of attention! 🙂 Once we leave, we decide to work through lunch – that means helping Dad, Tryston & Miss Kam Gee (pronounced “Gum Gee”) to pack some of the food bags for the monthly distribution at ICAHK the next day. As we begin, there are groans & moans because the kids are all hungry. Pretty soon though, their conversation reflects the job. “So glad we can give this stuff to the poor people here in HK… they need some help sometimes”, “I’d rather be doing this than playing video games anyway, that game never made hungry people smile, but this bag will.”, “Yeah, at first we didn’t want to help & we were going slow… but now we’re into it because it’s great to show people how God has helped us so we can help them.”, “Yup, we’re going faster now too – how many bags can you pack per minute?!” — Aren’t these boys wonderful! All three were loving it before we left for lunch! As for me, it reminds me of days spent helping out at the San Fransisco Rescue Mission with our friends from City Impact Church.Mark & I hope to raise our boys to be Servant Leaders with a Servant’s Heart. It’s our daily prayer that we can each humble ourselves to serve everyone around us as Jesus did…

After a very Chinese lunch (the usual when we go out, or when we cook at home), it was time to teach English. We met up with our co-teachers at Chan’s Creative School & headed up to the 5th floor & our two classes. I don’t love walking them, but the view of the harbor from the outdoor stairs is lovely! Of course, now i wish i had taken a picture to show you… Mark & John teach 4/5th graders while Jo & I teach 28 First graders. It’s a fun challenge & the kids are all so eager to learn, especially when we hand out candy! After class Tryston told me about his new assignment from his piano teacher earlier in the morning… Hugs & goodbyes again, won’t see him until bedtime because he stayed at the church for Youth Group. It’s such a blessing that we can adjust our homeschool schedule to make it all work!

About the time we arrived home (walk to train, 20m on train, walk to complex, elevator, etc.) I had a pretty good headache brewing. no  doubt thanks to the crazy drastic weather changes. Thursday was bright, sunny & clear… while Friday was muggy, rainy & the air full of all types of pollution. The 90% humidity sure doesn’t help when it’s already 84* too! So I declared a resting afternoon, since we had to be out again at Home Group by 7:30… I managed to get myself ready to go by 7:15, mark walked in as we were walking out… Walking to our Host’s home was the easiest part of the day, they live only 2 towers (buildings) away in our 8 tower complex, which is all connected by the bottom 6 floors made of a parking garage, lobby/clubhouse & observation floors. Once again running late, only to find the Host wasn’t ready for us yet. Seems like everything in Hong Kong has a bit of the Hurry Up & Wait element. But we are getting used to it… however slowly.

We enjoyed the evening with friends. The boys watched a movie with the other kids & the adults simply shared how their week was & their needs for prayer & support. This is what fellowship is all about. There are times when we teach & discuss scripture lessons, but then on nights like this – the Holy Spirit shows us that true fellowship is balanced well. After prayer, there was food of course! I headed home early because that headache had hit full-blown migraine. One of the ladies gave me a pain-killer & I hit the pillow as soon as I walked in. Thankful to be so close to home… Whatever was in that pill did the trick tho- I was up about an hour later (after mark had come home & put everyone to bed) working on email & this blog… Maybe I should get me some of those pills!??

*Whew* There you have it friends. An average Friday with the Kwongs in Hong Kong! Now it’s Saturday, time for school with the kids while Dad is working… the weekend starts at 4pm & we get Sunday/Monday off so we can be on Dad’s schedule… It’s an adventure every week & every day… I keep praying that we make the most of it, shining for Jesus & learning as we go.

Servant Leaders – World Changers – Men of God!

Mark praying with a friend that received a food package.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you enjoy walking the journey with us. Tell us about the memories you’re family is making!Joy & Jo with their English Students