Staring at my gray hair in the mirror, I realize that another year has come to pass. The fact is I couldn’t act, move and remember things as good as before reminds me of a Chinese old saying, “Time and tide wait for no man (歲月不饒人)”. Despite of this realization, I am thankful for God’s love never fades and His promises never fail, just like He promised to Israelites, “Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. 雅各家、以色列家一切餘剩的、要聽我言、你們自從生下、就蒙我保抱、自從出胎、便蒙我懷搋。 直到你們年老、我仍這樣、直到你們髮白、我仍懷搋。我已造作、也必保抱、我必懷抱、也必拯救。(Isaiah 46:3-4)”.
By God’s grace, my family is safe and sound under today’s turbulent world – an environment with declining morality and numerous school shootings and terrorist attacks all over the country. On the positive side, however, the day of our Lord’s second coming is drawing near. In this holiday season and end of year 2016, let me reflect a few things on my family to witness how faithful our God is.
This year, my wife and I have the opportunity to attend a Theological Education Extension (TEE) class sponsored by our church. We have 18 brothers and sisters attended the class initially and the class is full of spirit and joy, though we kept forgetting what we have just studied/learned. This memory-loss behavior makes our learning very challenging and we all realize that whether we like it or not, most of us are in the AGE (American Aging Association) club 🙂 Nevertheless, there is one thing that keeps us going and strives toward the goal – we know this class would equip us for the Great Commission. Just like apostle Peter said, we have to “revere Christ as Lord and always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect 心裡尊主基督為聖。有人問你們心中盼望的緣由，就要常做準備，以溫柔、敬畏的心回答各人 (1 Peter 3:15)”
In the past 5+ years, God has been very gracious to our church in providing a good environment for us to grow spiritually. But like an old adage says, “天下沒有不散的筵席”, two of our key co-working families had to leave us this year, as a result of job and family relocations. Though as unbearable as it could be, we thank God for being able to co-work with them with a great deal of capacity in the past years. For sure we know that God has better plans for them than we can imagine. I believe that we will be able to co-work with them in the future, if God is willing.
During summer time, my family had the opportunity to go for a sea fishing trip at Brooklyn. It is a whole day trip designed for novices like us. On that day, we had to get up in the morning 4:00am and drove down to NYC in order to catch the 7:00am fishing trip. Though we were tired and sea-sick in the beginning, all in all it is a fun and productive trip – we caught a lot of porgies and small sharks by the end of the day.
In addition to sea fishing trip, I had the privilege to accompany one of our church Sunday speakers in several trips of boating and fishing around local lakes – we used an inflatable boat to sail through the lake – for relaxing and bass fishing. The speaker was so excited during our first trip because he has not been fishing for 10+ years. Besides, we had good results too. I thank our Lord for giving me the opportunity to interact and accompany with him.
In the Fall, my wife and I finally got an opportunity to visit our daughter who lives in NYC. She toured us around the area and had good food down there. We are glad to see her adapted well in the area, though we know commuting between her apartment and work is not an ideal situation. We are thankful for our Lord’s protection and provision to her.
Time really flies, our elder son is in his senior year about to graduate from college next year while my younger son is in his sophomore year. We are worry about our elder son’s future direction as he is still unsure. All we can do is to entrust him to our Lord, as He is our peace, our joy and our guide.
One of the joyful things in this year is the high school girl we hosted got admitted to her dream college in December. She is so thrilled and we felt the load on our shoulders lightened suddenly. Certainly we hope that she would be successful in her future study in the college. But most importantly, we pray that she will know Jesus before she enters the college.
The biggest event in this year probably is the presidential election. Though we are not thrilled to have either candidates, but we learned that God’s will is above our will and His way is higher than our way. We believe that God is in control of everything, as the author of Proverbs told us, “In the LORD’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that He channels toward all who please Him. 王的心在耶和華手中、好像隴溝的水、隨意流轉。(Proverbs 21:1)”. May our God’s will be done on earth as is in heaven!
My dear brothers, sisters and friends, in this holiday season, let us remember that “Jesus is the reason for the season” and our family sincerely wish you have a joyful and peaceful Christmas!