Deeper, Closer, Further
Gateway Camp Verse
(Pin1) Ging1 Mahn4
What Dale instructed about going out of our way to treat the Mainland Chinese well resonated within me. To be sure, just as the Koreans have gone out of their way to bless me so I must step out to bless and to love my Mainland brethren.
After the first meeting, Ed and I wandered off campus and found inside a shopping mall a cha chaan teng where we had a late-night snack. And hardly had we tucked into our meals when in walked several dozen volunteers, all locals, who were overcome, it seemed, by the same munchies that infected Ed and me. It’s surprising how such a primal urge, at such a time, drives everyone to no less than the same, impossibly far location.
I thus far have met so many people that, had I not brought along my iPod, I would have already lost track of the multitudinous names flying around like fireflies at night, sparkling luminously one moment and then disappearing the next. And this is only the beginning: more and more people will arrive both today and tomorrow so I had better stay awake, alert, and writing.
I am working with a partner who really challenges me, and indeed that is why I chose to work with him. From the first words that came streaming out of his mouth, I knew he would be a special one, and as if to conifrm my conjecture, indeed, the more he spoke, the more confused I became. The challenge, I have realized after much ruminating, isn’t so much the pace of his speech as his choice of words, which fall outside a normal lexical range; that is, at least with me, when he talks, he doesn’t use familiar collocations to communicate; besides, he has an uncanny Tin Shui Wai accent; those, along with his amazing resistance to Chinglish, which impresses me, by the way, have made our communication tedious, since I am bombarded by peculiar lexical constructions that I generally never encounter in Cantonese conversation and must therefore stop our flow to clarify his speech. It’s too bad that he doesn’t speak English as I would love to hear how he structures ideas in my native language to determine whether or not this strange lexis has spilled over into his other modes of communication.
Regardless, in being with him, I have learned to be patient, and if I am truly to walk away from resentment, I must continue rather to engage him than to keep him at arm’s length. It helps us, then, that he is a congenial fellow, prone more to expressing love, much in the same way that I do by warmly grabbing a forearm or a shoulder, than to venting his frustration, which with me could certainly be great. He is verily a good guy, and so long as the Lord keeps him — I am sure Daddy will — Tin Shui Wai, that small patch of concrete moon colony, is in capable, faithful human hands.
Sau2 muhn6 je2
Chong3 yi3 adjective
Chong3 jouh6 verb
Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
I cried this morning when I read these words, because they are true, and comfort my soul as water to a dry, parched land. However many times I’ve lamented this place and its people, I am still inextricably tied to this rock, per God’s will for my life; and God really is faithful in providing a way out not from this place but from these spiritual hindrances. These past few days, what with communication failures and fatigue setting in, I could have more easily give into my rationality, in defense of my weaknesses, than resisted this bait of satan. Thank God, hence, for the words which are like fuel for the refiner’s fire that burns up all my expectations, my pride and my flesh. I can survive, nay, rejoice, indeed, because of God, who, in me, day by day teaches me to suffer long with a smile.
This is what the gateway is all about, I believe: jumping head-first out of my comfort zone to confront the nations, for my brothers and sisters and I must face each other if we are to raise the banners together. Battling through enemy strongholds of mistrust ad resentment, we demolish carnal thoughts and dig deep in the Spirit for the unity that shall overcome as much language as culture; God, after all, is bigger, even, than the battlefield. In these ways can my brethren and I love each other as ourselves, as we shall be one in the Father, with audacious power and boldness laying hands on His kingdom which advances, in this kairos moment, over all of China, including, no doubt, Hong Kong. No longer will there be curses thrown upon the nations; but rather the river of life will flow through the city, and the leaves of the tree on each side of the river will be for the healing of the nations.
1) Welcoming the Father
2) Unifying the body
3) Partnering with the Chinese
4) Serving the city
5) Supporting the Chinese
Isaac and I have worked quite hard this morning, putting up signs all over campus, and as if to reward me for my assiduity, he offered to buy me a drink, an offer which I took up. Indeed, this man’s care and concern for others, genuine, doubtlessly, fills me with joy, for, to be sure, the joy of the lord is his strength. My friend is indefatigable, always encouraging and never slighting, no matter the circumstances, rain (that has happened a lot today) or shine. Praise God!
Much like my relationship with Isaac, my relationships with my other team members have improved considerably since, even, this morning’s briefing during which, the code-switching, happening too fast and too furiously for my comfort, vexed me so terribly that if Isaac had not put a generous arm around my shoulder immediately afterwards, I surely would have blown my top in frustration at the perplexing language option. Thankfully, my team and I settled our language arrangements: Isaac, Dorcas and I will intractably speak Cantonese to each other whereas my other group mates and I will use English with as little code-switching as possible; and I, along with Ed, no doubt, am satisfied. It’s best to avoid misunderstandings.
Lihng4 Mahn4 (soul)
Muhng6 Seung2 (dreams)
The Lord’s mercies are new everyday. Just now, during the morning rally, by His Spirit, hundreds of brothers and sisters received a new anointing, to be spiritual mothers and fathers of a new generation so as to minister to the next. This outpouring of the Spirit was sudden, and so captivated me that when the call came to reap, I rushed to the front to ask my father for this anointing, and naturally, my life was transformed. In the same way, the pastor called up a new generation of spiritual children to receive the love, care and support of these new parents; and likewise, so many young men and women heeded this call that verily, the pit in front of the stage was soon awash in hugs and tears between generations that, once lost, were now found. Indeed, no sooner did these people embrace their father than Dad immediately swept them up in his strong arms and showered them with audacious encouragement and support. Praise God!
I was angry this morning during our team time. I temporarily lost my ability to be merciful and to live in God’s grace. When my team leader began to address me in English, yet again, I couldn’t help but berate him for doing so when Cantonese, I argued, would be a more economical medium of delivery. And then I compounded this already incendiary situation by ranting about the hypocrisy of Hong Kong being a gateway to China but not a gateway into its own neighborhoods teeming with Chinese people, 97% of whom, according to one of the pastors at this camp, do not know the Lord Jesus. Cantonese will matter, I posit, if anyone dares to take on the onerous mission in this vexing place.
To be sure, even my brother announced that language was a prohibitive barrier to closer relationships with these local people, and therefore, since he neither speaks Cantonese nor is going to give learning the language a go, he is relegated to the outer walls of the gates into Hong Kong.
In hindsight, I thought I cared enough about God’s purposes for me in Hong Kong, but I realize now that I still care a lot about myself, and resentment. Though I have prayed and declared boldly that God is bigger than language and culture, I know I don’t believe it; and that’s upsetting. For the time being, I don’t verily believe in my heart that I can have deeper, closer relationships with Chinese people without the benefit of language and culture, patterns of action.
OK. This is actually an opportune start for my spiritual parentship, for now I have an opportunity to put aside my very compelling arguments for the necessity of language and culture in deep and close relationships, these conclusions born out of my reason, and to step out in faith, to trust in the Lord who, I pray, will show me deep and close relationships sans language and culture, and with whom my deep and close relationship shall obviously be the key to this victory.
I’m thinking about events at this camp that heretofore demonstrated loving relationships without language and culture, and I recalled two acts: the first happened yesterday when I spontaneously joined a line of ushers to high-five and to cheer the audience as they flooded out of the auditorium, the morning rally having scarcely finished; and the second, this was my meeting Yao, a man from the Ivory Coast, whom I befriended in those first, fleeting, if not frantic moments before the opening rally on Friday evening. That encounter was immediate and sudden, neither words nor habits needed; Yao and I simply high-fived, hugged and sat beside each other; and wow, that was terrific companionship — praise God!
Finally, however hard my diatribe may have struck my team members’ hearts, my merciful group mates still forgave me, not only on an personal level, but also, as I had sought forgiveness on behalf of all foreigners who have ever cursed locals or stood passively outside the gateway, on a corporate level, thereby releasing countless non-Chinese people into the freedom of these Hong Kong people’s forgiveness; just as brothers and sisters had so recently been reconciled to each other in my church, so local and non-local people have received the others’ freedom of forgiveness; more than a homecoming, that, indeed, is a breakthrough.
In listening to this morning’s sermon, I hear such verses as I know God is speaking to me through His word. 2Corinthians 4:16-18, this scripture in particular carries a buoyant, hopeful currency in my heart. My spirit soaks in this divine revelation as a sponge soaks in water and thus becomes malleable, able to be formed and shaped according to its holder’s will: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
I don’t know why my brother and I undermine each others’ comments; why we no more know consensus than the deaf music. Our interactions have been especially abrasive recently since we have spent so much time together without the benefit of our other brother to act as a natural, vociferous buffer; and as a result we argue like pieces of sand paper being rubbed against flesh, which inevitably leads to significant soreness. I feel sore now.
I think back to my outburst this morning and can appreciate my role in this evening’s embarrassing outcome; I am certainly not without fault, for I choose these days not only to venture my opinions but to do so passionately, if not emotionally. People consequently who otherwise are phlegmatic at best are put in a discomfiting position by my impassioned pleas. Besides, I recall Interrupting my brother prolifically, which understandably would not make him a happy camper; just as a hyperactive child doesn’t know when to stop pestering his sibling, so I don’t know nowadays when to hold my tongue. Indeed, I would rather not respond at all to my brother, even after he has fired off his rejoinder, than to strike him down in mid-speech.
In view of this latest incident, I have resolved to take the former course of action. To be sure, I simply stopped our petty dispute about a stupid basketball game by, awkward as it was, taking out my book and perusing it as fixedly as my tattered mind would allow. I will try my best to stay away from my brother for a spell, to create physical and spiritual space between us, so hopefully, in this way at least one of us will be able to come to his senses about this matter; better yet, now would be an opportune time for our father in his mercy to reveal to us the fault lines in our flesh so that we could surrender these tremulous spots in our soul, crucifying them to the father for our healing and the redemption of our relationship. I will pray about this.
…Praise God. If I had not separated myself from my brother’s presence, I wouldn’t have been sitting at that bench at the exact moment when Isaac came over to me in a plaintive mood. Obviously upset, he had been so recently wronged, he lamented on the verge of tears. And at that, mercy swept over my countenance, for my brother felt as aggrieved as I did earlier; and this appointment, per God’s unfailing, obstinate love, had at last come for me, convicting me to be very, very agreeable, sympathetic and kind to my fellow long-suffering brother. In this instance, thank God, language did not matter so much as empathy, carrying each others’ burdens and thus fulfilling the rule of Christ. We prayed and blessed each other in Jesus’ name, and then boldly went forward into the rally.
I suspect the enemy has infiltrated our team what with my outbursts and Isaac’s failing out as evidence. My group mates and I must be more vigilant in prayer and in digging deep into the Father’s word if we are to overcome the spies in our camp that have planted incendiary devices in our mouths and in our hearts. We certainly need such encouragement as the Lord provides for the edification and encouragement of each other, even more so, in fact, in the face of adversity, despite our fatigue and other physical ills that befall us like a hail of arrows. In faith, I’m sure, faith will see us through; and per what the pastors exhorted at the rally, we will become as if the smooth stone in David’s sling, ready to fly into the air to crush the Goliath in this world.
Sihng4 jauh6 achievement
Nggaai2 to misunderstand
Yuhn4 leuhng6 forgive
The Security Guard
At the morning rally, a security guard left an indelible impression on my heart what with her showing of unconditional support and her proffering of words of encouragement, which like a waterfall fell in force and power over my friends and me. To my amazement, I first saw her out of the corner of my eye stepping out of her role as a security guard to pray as a spiritual parent to two spiritual children during the morning rally’s prayer time; there she was, clad in her blue uniform, laying hands on those weeping kids; finally, I had witnessed someone courageous enough to step out of that rule of law, her boundary in Hong Kong, to be bound to that which is ethereal, the rule of Christ to carry each others’ burdens. Later, as the audience passed through the exit, I had time to confirm her love for the Lord and at that, we broke into a torrent of encouragement and followed this with a flurry of picture-taking. Indeed, never have I stumbled upon such good will from a dragon security guard in HK so I am hopeful, therefore, that this is but the the start of a greater movement within that particular demon-worshipping core, that at this time, God is opening up the heavenly armory and placing his prayer warriors inside that particular stronghold in Hong Kong to demolish every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and placing in its stead a profusion of love, gentleness and kindness. I look forward to the day when wisdom, and not languid stares, shall emanate from all the people who man the facilities in these universities.
This is special. No sooner had Isaac and I stepped into the auditorium than we heard the plaintive cry of the mainland Chinese on the stage forgiving the Hong Kong people for their trespasses against their brethren from the north. A flurry of hugs, replete with a few tears, ensued. That was, as Dale announced from the stage, a delicious moment. Jesus must have been breaking out the good champagne in heaven for a rousing celebration in view of this victory.
Sex Talk – Part One
The kids finally received the sex talk this morning; a fiery pastor delivered the message which was as much shocking as informative; and gasps and wincing abounded in the audience.
While I have recently heard the sex talk at the men’s retreat, and have furthermore by God’s grace been inoculated against this particular area of struggle, it was nonetheless refreshing to hear the news, as shocking and as sensational as it was. I am willing, in addition, to believe that some of the atrocious acts that the pastor referenced, such as gruesome abortions and bizarre sexual acts, are more prevalent than my reason will believe, because my scope is limited by experience, but as the Father witnesses everything, if the Spirit has convicted this man and has told him that the world is heading closer and closer into the mouth of Jezebel in this way, I accept this. In fact, believing this is important if I am to be a good spiritual parent who will not only protect but educate the new generation from the prowling enemy that lurks these days, even, in our computers.
The Holy Spirit fell over me this morning during my group’s team time. He convicted me to pray in Cantonese for the first time, and so I did without fear, those Chinese words pouring out of me as if perfume from an alabaster jar. Praise God: he is good; and this was the moment I have been waiting for.
I think about what happened, and am amazed at the Father’s favor; despite my critiques against this culture, and in spite of my recent lamentations, the Lord, ever faithfully, provided a way out under which I could stand and by which I could be protected from the bait of Satan. Little did I know that the escape route would, in fact, ironically, direct me to the very thing that heretofore has stood as an obstruction, a spiritual roadblock, in my mind.
A missionary on the stage just spoke into my life when she said about her experience learning Putonghua in China: the difficult part was not learning the language but learning to love those people as Jesus loves them. This will always be my mission, no matter where I am.
Lai1 hei2 (pull up)
In the afternoon, my team had a reconciliation meeting during which, in small groups, each team member at last was given an opportunity to share alternately their joys and struggles. At that time, though having staved off an open rebuke for several days, I could no longer hold back this challenge to my small group: to step out in faith to be a gateway to the nations; and second, per the morning’s message, to on their guard against the sexually explicit, insidious media. I laid out my argument with much cogency, and such a response as I saw fit knocked my group mates into a stupor, because they certainly didn’t have much to say afterwards.
Sex Talk – Part Two
1) Jesus came to show us the Father; John1:18
2) Grace First, Truth Second; John 1:24:25; 16-18
Pahn4 mohng6 (hope)
Do you believe that Jesus can heal you? Then lay hands.
Dale and I are men who have shared similar struggles. His testimony is riveting.
Suddenly, I realized that this rally is, in fact, a continuation of yesterday morning’s sex talk, because we ended the previous rally praying more against the shame of abortion than against personal sexual immorality. Notionally, what is being discussed will enable people to really experience the love of the Father such that to change permanently our behavior. So when we are tempted:
1) Call for help; Romans 10:13
2) Escape Plan; 1Corinthians 10:13
Remember not to stand and rebuke the enemy with your own strength; move physically from the situation.
3) Run Away; 2Timothy 2:22
4) Into the Father’s Arms; Hebrews 4:14
I like this talk. This might be the first time that these young people get straight sex talk from their leaders; and there is no better time than now for these young people to break through in this particular area of struggle, just as the young men of SP broke through these obstinate barriers during our men’s retreat.
5) Confess and be Healed; James 5:16
I hope these young people find faithful accountability brothers and sisters in this service.
6) Walk in Transparent Accountable Relationships; 1John 1:7
7) Resist the Enemy; James 4:7