Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Men Of Honour

The time is at hand for us to be moving on. China has been on our hearts ever since we returned from there in '04, and now five years later we are finally on the verge of going back. Right now it looks as though the move will happen at the end of May, but this is still contingent on a few things happening. The thing that put us over the top, and also spurred this post, was a substantial donation from a dear friend and mentor. When I was thinking about what he did, and thanking my Father for men like him it seemed appropriate for me to post a brief tribute to the men who have been in my life to help move me along the Way.

The first of these is Scott Fortnum who was my College and Career pastor back in Abby. Scott was the first pastor I remember who not only spoke to my potential in God, but he backed it up with actions. I was a very troubled and difficult person to get a handle on and yet he very purposefully took steps to see that I was getting discipled through the issues that were hindering me. This included looking into some things that were even somewhat doctrinally challenging for him, and when it became apparent that this was an avenue that had some merit he sought outside help and was there to help walk me through it even after I caused at least two aborted attempts to see it through. It is Scott's dedication and desire to see young men discipled in Christ that gave my life the first major push it needed in the right direction and I can honestly say that if not for his obedience to the call of God I may have ended up in a ditch somewhere back in my home town.
The next fellow that crossed my path was Dennis Melzer. This fellow kept the light in my eyes for the first year or so that I was in Kelowna and even though I was kind of the anti-Dennis in so many of my behaviors he persevered in friendship and prayer. He was instrumental in God positioning me for the big tackle. Though our friendship waned and we went our separate ways it was never due to any kind of conflict, it just seemed to be that he was the man that God used to pray me into the next season.
That season was the spring of '94 when a lady, who to this day remains nameless, prophesied over me and led me back to the kingdom for good. I am still not entirely sure whether this was the day I got saved or if it was the prodigal finally coming home, but either way it is the touchstone of my faith and the place I go back to when the storms close in. It was the Jordan crossing and I dearly love that little heap of stones that remains by the waters even now.
The next man that God put in my way to shepherd me to the places He had always intended for me to go was Kerry Donovan. For some reason that I can only attribute to God, Kerry picked me out of the crowd of God-rockers in Kelowna to be the next wag to move into the Joshua House which was a loose association of young men who wanted to be mentored into a deeper relationship with Christ. I cannot overemphasize the impact this had on my life's direction. Seeing Christ lived out in the life of Mr. Donovan has been a lasting impetus for direction and action in my life. Kerry always lived out the faith that he spoke of, and when you live with someone for 2 1/2 years you surely get to know if they are for real or not. His dedication to mentoring young men in grace and truth is a cornerstone of my desire to go to Hong Kong and mentor the young men of the Christian Zheng Sheng school. His emphasis on character over personality still resides in me today, and is a large part of what helps me get up again when I screw up. Kerry and I are still best of friends and I always look forward to chatting with him about what God is teaching us today. We are thousands of miles apart, but I still feel that we fight side by side. I thought it was so cool that God gave him a dream about a year before we heard about this opportunity in Hong Kong and he said that in the dream I was leading a squad of young men in the jungle. I sent him these pictures and asked if this was close to what he saw.

The last man I will mention is a friend who believed in me enough to tell Alman Chan (the principal of the school)about me and my family's desire to return to China. Unfortunately he and his family will be moving to the mainland shortly after we get to HK, but at least we will be in the same timezone again.
His name is Steve and he too is following God as best he knows how. I guess this is the uniting attribute of all these guys.
I am so very grateful for the influence, commitment, and friendship each of these guys have poured into my life. I know I would not be who and where I am without them.
Thanks guys.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Typhoon Season

I guess we'll have to get used to this just like all Hong Kong residents, but wow, what a change from the Okanagan Valley. Might have to take up windsurfing.
The first video is of Typhoon Hagupit the edge of which struck Hong Kong when I was there in September at my friends' place. The second one is of a typhoon pounding Cheung Chau where we will be living.

The storm got much worse that evening and we could even feel the tower my friends live in shudder every now and again. It was a pretty cool experience really and they were very nonchalant about it all, but were obviously peeved by all the water getting through the windows. Next time I think I'll go for a walk, or maybe some sidewalk surfing, who knows.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Over Halfway There!!!

I just had to do our taxes this year as I was expecting a fairly good return from last year. We just got our T4's at work and I finally did the hard part tonight and the total we are getting back puts our total at 51% (you can follow the counter on the sidebar for updates). This includes cash in hand and committed funds. This is exciting news for us and it really seems to pull the curtain back just a little bit more. Kind of like spring after a long (if you're from Kelowna) winter.
I shared with a friend at work today about the journey that God has had us on ever since we have been married and it was good to look it over again from that perspective. It is somewhat like reading through the bible and realising that the stories we read have so much more spaces between the lines than there is life lived in the lines. Our lives have been so much like that with seasons of God just downloading on us and moving us around the globe at what sometimes seemed to be His whim. In between, though, there have been much longer seasons of holding patterns and 'cloudy sky' waiting. Abraham knew what this was like. He tried to make it happen and had Ishmael. God actually gave us the leeway to call the company that I worked for in China back in '04, and nothing happened. I think He just wanted to assure us that that door was firmly shut. I can thank Him now, but it sure hurt back then (that was 2 years ago). I thank Him because we don't have an Ishmael now. I thank Him because He let us see.
So now we work towards the goal of getting to Hong Kong this year and He encourages us everystep of the way. He really doesn't have to, but He does anyway. He's a good Dad. I love Him. I want to show Him off to the boys in HK. I want them to know they can have a good Dad too.