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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gifts of Love for Christmas

Are there any people around you that may need help this Christmas? Is there someone who you could bless? I know it’s a bit last minute, but I want you all to think outside the ‘gift boxes’ for just a minute…
In the bible, Jesus encourages us all to take care of the poor, the orphans & the widows. Our family has spent time this week serving the poor, bringing them groceries & meals & even a very special gift to one young family that we wanted to encourage. The boys & I are also planning to use some of our leftover chocolates (we got a HUGE box from friends!) to wrap up & give to our neighbors here on the 51st floor of our apartment tower. We will wrap them up in some tissue paper, put a handwritten note & a story about Jesus (in English & Cantonese) inside & tie a pretty bow on the outside. We hope to catch each of them when they are home, but if not, we’ll leave it by their doors… Seems like such a ‘country’ gesture in this slick & fast moving city – but maybe, just maybe it will open a door to new friendships right down the hall! This is how we teach our children to love others, think of others & have a servant’s heart like Jesus. One day, we pray they will become servant leaders, in many ways – they already are… Makes a Mama proud to hear them brainstorm how to bless those around them instead of themselves!!
I’ve been spending so much time looking through pictures & files of “waiting children” on all these adoption websites. It makes my heart ache because so many of them aren’t even in that “too fragile to handle” category with their Special Needs… but there they sit, waiting for someone to call Mom/Dad because their conditions sound/look so scary… While praying for God to show us the RIGHT ONE for us, the one He’s already chosen for us – thinking of ways that I can make a difference for another family RIGHT NOW… that makes me smile & lightens my burdened heart just a little. A lightened heart is the gift that God gives back to us when we give from our hearts & even our brokenness & sacrifice in the midst of our own pain & need. That is part of the Christmas gift that IS Christ! You see, He gives us a choice to become more & more like Him everyday. He’ll do the work in us, but only if we choose it!
This year, instead of buying tons & tons of gifts for your family… instead of over drawing your credit cards… instead of sitting on Facebook all day “Sharing” things that other people did or said… think about how you can give something from your heart, even if you don’t have the money or the time to give a store-bought gift. Most likely you do though.

christmas is love

Here’s some ideas on how to help &/or to find a few extra dollars. Use these any time of year, not just at Christmas! If you still think you just need to share on FB – then please share this post so others can ‘pay it fwd’ & ‘be blessed to be a blessing’ while sharing the love of Jesus just like you! I dare you to try some of these & see how Jesus’ love flowing through you just might actually change, heal & bless YOU! Be transformed friends! – Be sure to tell us how it went in the comments – your story will inspire countless others!

Time & $ Saving Gift Ideas:

  • skip a few trips to Starbucks to pay for a gift for a poor family in your community. Ask your church if you don’t already know who needs help. {No ‘extra’ $$!}

  • get the kids involved, explain that one less gift for each of them = they can pick out one gift for a child in need. Call a children’s hospital & see what age kids they have with few visitors. A prayer & a smile go a long way!  {No ‘extra’ $$!}

  • keep a ‘help the poor’ jar all year – throw all your loose change in, it adds up quick. {No ‘extra’ $$!}

  • with the money you save, help the kids fill a box (or 2 or 3) for “Operation Christmas Child” with Samaritan’s Purse. (for info & drop off locations go here.)

  • call a local church & sign up to help their holiday outreach. {No $$$!}

  • ask if anyone know of a clothes collection.  {NO TIME shopping & NO $ spent!}

  • go out for dessert instead of dinner or skip a few McDonald’s trips. (remind the family who the saved $ will go to, “remember, you’re helping me buy/make cookies for the neighbors!”)  {No ‘extra’ $$!}

  • give plates of cookies to neighbors, using a real plate – say something like “just bring it back when you’re done!” – when they do, invite them in for coffee & maybe a new friendship will emerge.  {NO TIME shopping!}

  • keep only ONE of those store-bought boxes of goodies (chocolate, popcorn, etc.) that you get at all the various work, church, scouts & family parties – open the rest, divvy it up in left over cellophane or tissue wraps & hand them out! Works great with a ‘track’ about Jesus & a hand written note saying you’re praying for them! {NO TIME shopping & NO $ spent!}

  • send the kids out to rake leaves or shovel snow – give them cards to hand out when they are thanked “I’m blessed to be a blessing! Merry Christmas!” {NO TIME shopping & NO $ spent!}

  • call your MOM! (or someone else’s Mom that is a blessing to you!) {NO TIME shopping & NO $ spent!}

I could probably go on & on, but the point is for you & your family to get together & make YOUR plan! Then PRAY for the people you’ll be blessing. Then go out & DO IT! I guarantee it will get you all smiling & totally help reduce your stress! The whole point of Christmas is Jesus! The whole point of Jesus is LOVE – HIS love for ALL of us – so go SHARE ABOUT THAT!!!

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ -Mathew 25:40

-JK

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