Sunday, February 3, 2013

Livin Like a Local

Well, I seem to be truly settling into place here in the HK; hence the reason for my non-weekly blog updates that I promised to some, my deepest apologies. It is such a good feeling to have figured out a some-what normal routine though, and I am really beginning to feel at home here. I was reminded of the importance of community within those first few weeks of scrambling, which were mixed in with an occasional bout of loneliness and culture shock that I suppose is expected when you move to the other side of the world.

I can't even remember what I covered last time so I'll just throw out random updates. KIBC has become such an awesome community for me. Every Wednesday the college group, Crosspointe, comes together for a weekly Bible study where we are currently reading through Ephesians. It's different than the small groups I'm used to back home that follow the typical structure of worship - message - discussion - prayer requests - end. Nope, we're much less formal at KIBC and Bible study is as simple as a group of people coming together, opening up the Bible, reading, and talking. What comes out of it is incredible debate and discussion over literally every single passage - what does this mean? What does your version say? What was going on at that time and where else in Scripture does it talk about this? I love the lack-of structure, it really brings out everyone's different ideas and it's incredible to hear all the different ways that people read and interpret a passage. It's a uniqueness that is often lost when we come together and are told a certain message that we are expected to understand and agree with - making groups more receptive than analytical. I'm a fan of how Crosspointe does it, despite the at times frustrating debates, I always come out of it feeling like I'm an inkling more appreciative of the diversity of Christ's body and closer to learning that my way of thinking is definitely NOT the only way of thinking, and that's a beautiful (and probably good) thing!

So people have asked me about where I've decided to get plugged in as far as ministry, and that leads me to a funny story. I told everyone that the primary reason for me coming here was not to study or travel or explore but to learn about the Asian culture and submit myself to serving the local community. This being my focus I felt pretty anxious to get plugged into a ministry right away - after all, I'm only here for 5 months and relationships don't just form over night! (Well technically they can, but you know what I mean).  So here I am being my usual self - researching ministry opportunities in the city, narrowing my church search to places that would provide an opportunity to serve, and getting frustrated when after a few weeks I was still floating, and not serving. To be honest, I heard that KIBC was very focused on ministering to international students which left me apprehensive because I wanted to be the one serving, not the one being served. HAH. Yes, this is laughable. Because how many Christian leaders take this stance and get burned out because of it? Many close to me have experienced this, as Christians who have felt called to some kind of leadership or vocational ministry we feel almost obligated to give, give, give and forget that we ourselves need to be poured into, we need to be kept accountable, and we need to be served as well. Because if not we risk the danger of burn out, passivity, increased temptations, etc.etc. I mean obviously we are still people of flesh. So then the Lord completely broke me of my arrogance, reminding me that I am most definitely not above being poured into - and I needed to take a humble position to be a servant NOT a savior. I got on my knees right then and there, and before I knew it my bed was stained with mascara - I. Was. Broken.

The beautiful thing about brokenness is the submission that follows - something I have to intentionally seek on a daily basis. For a planner like me, trust and submission is tough. Yet the Lord is faithful, and every time I submit and take a leap of faith into the unknown by trusting in His provision - the reward is so much greater than I could have imagined. Okay so to the funny part, once I surrendered my plans and said okay, if it is God's plan that this season is to be used for me to be poured into and taught then so be it! I give up my plans to find some leadership position or mission outreach on my own.

Then, BOOM.

I'm getting e-mails about serving with the children at KIBC, teaching an English Conversation under the HKBU Chaplain's Office, and potentially helping a missions coordinator at another local church. OKAY LORD I GET IT! It was never about the fact that He didn't want me to serve or wanted me to second guess my calling, it was simply surrendering my control over this ministry and allowing Him to lead me where He wanted me - in His own time, in His own way.

It's so funny, we always stress about the details. How am I going to do this? When will this happen? Where do I need to be? What do I need to be doing? How often do we stop and say, okay - I don't know but the Lord knows - and I TRUST that. When we remember to trust the unknown the Lord always faithfully works out the details for us, when we become willing!

Oh boy, I am such a wordy writer. It's kind of unfortunate because I always have so much to say but I realize most will stop after the first paragraph (if they read at all, because I myself may want to read something until I open it up to see a novel-sized entry and then move on to other things). How about I bullet proof the rest of my life updates? Everyone likes notes in this time-obsessed world (me included).

Okay, for the busy and faint of heart - here's your bullet list:
- I feel settled!
- I have an awesome church family at KIBC
- I finally went hiking! Lion Rock last weekend and Tai Mui yesterday, incredible how in HK you can be in the city one minute and the mountains and beach in another - love love love
- I had an interview to serve in the AmeriCorps this past Wednesday and it went really well :) we shall seeeeee
- A couple of churches in Fort Wayne e-mailed me about serving with them over the summer, another we shall seeeee
- Chinese New Year is in a week and I'm going to the PHILIPPINES. Hasn't hit me yet. I've officially designated it my graduation trip. We have a huge beach house. It's gon be fun.
- I'm going to be working with toddlers in Sunday School and excited to plug back in with kids. I think I've slowly become more uptight within my break from kids and not being able to goof around like a 5-year-old - yes, I like doing that. I'll admit it.
- I'll be teaching English conversation classes twice a week starting after Chinese New Year
- I may possibly help the missions coordinator at a church called ECC, ironically she is from TX, was an exchange student from HKBU, moved to HK and married a local, and now works as the missions coordinator for a church. Her story is so similar to mine! Except don't worry I don't think I'll marry a local - happily taken ;)
- Last but certainly not least: I miss and love everyone dearly.

Until next time - over and out.

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