harmony with Language

We’ve been in language school for almost six months now. Here’s a video to give you just a taste of how we’re progressing. šŸ™‚ Mark introduces his song for our language school’s Culture Expo, he sings the first verse/chorus in his native Cantonese, then singes the rest in Mandarin. He’s learning so fast! Of course, my lessons are a bit slower since I am learning it all from scratch, reading/writing/speaking. I will post more on that later, lol. Enjoy the video!

-JK

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where is HOME?

We spent the 4th of July here in HK preparing for our one & only official Homestudy visit for our adoption paperwork. But we DID manage to grab a hot dog & a cinnamon roll at Ikea – plus I made some “4th of July mini-cupcakes” for the kids a few days in advance… forget that the only sprinkles we could find were Christmas colors! LOL – But that’s just life living overseas & we love it! Good, bad & ugly, we know that we are right where we are supposed to be. So we celebrated in little ways with each other (not many other Americans nearby or in our ‘circle’), we called a few friends & we watched a couple movies that remind of us ‘our USA home’ this week. – Turns out the kids LOVED ‘the Three Stooges’! šŸ™‚ Anyway, many people from both sides of the world ask us, “Do you miss home?” & another hard-to-answer question is the even more frequent “Where are you from?” – My answer is either “It’s complicated…” or the below, which is much LESS complicated!

As world travelers, expats & TCKs… Our home is wherever God plants us!

We have been transplanted several times.

Each time we experience some homesickness for certain experiences & people we love.

But when God does the planting, he always surrounds us with exactly what/who we need in every home we’ve had.

There have been lonely days when I thank Him for reminding me that He is our closest friend.

As well as amazing friends/adventures we never would have if we hadn’t trusted Him & left our ‘home’.

One day we will all be in our ‘forever home’, our eternal home in heaven.

Until then…


Home is in the center of God’s will.

Happy belated 4th of July Friends/Family!!!

We are blessed to be US citizens. 4 of us born into it, 1 (soon to be 2) of us ‘naturalized’ into it. We celebrate the Freedoms & Privileges that come with being American. This is a day that we DO miss being with friends/family & enjoying our traditions of BBQ, pools & fellowship – BUT we are grateful that those very freedoms give us the opportunity to share love & hope with others all over the world! With much privilege comes much responsibility my friends. We pray we use ours wisely…

Sacramento - Our 'USA home'

Sacramento – Our ‘USA home’

God Bless America! ONE OF our ‘home’ sweet ‘home(s)’!!

-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,Ā  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

small space, big Blessings {tour of HK flat}

After our first yr in HK, we finally got this video made for all our friends back in the States. This flat is listed as 905sqft but the “real” ‘Usable Floor Space’ is more like 680sqft! We are blessed & happy with it. Just so glad to be here! There is really a lot you learn about your family when you cram 5ppl into this size apartment tho… And we have home group here with 5 families every Friday night too! Just imagine how crowded it will be when we finally adopt our little girl that God’s picked out!!

While waiting for the vid’s to upload I was reading an interesting blog about a young woman who decided to build herself a tiny house on a trailer. From the looks of it, she probably has 100-150sqft. She did some good work & now lives in her mobile cabin on the Northern California coast… my home turf. šŸ™‚ [The Little Yellow Door]

Once you watch our video, go read about the folks we visit in the Cage Homes & the Sub-Divided Homes. They live in spaces that are only 40-80sqft. One family that recently immigrated from China squeezes 6 people into only 40sqft. We’re working on a post that tells that family’s amazing journey, so be sure to come back & read that… It’s humbling to serve these neighbors & we appreciate your prayers as we look for new & creative ways to share our hope & Jesus’ love with each of them!

-JK