International Ministries

A Time for Everything

March 17, 2014 Journal
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Time flies.  Six months have passed since we left for Macau. Because we did not yet have approval of our visas for Macau, we stayed in Hong Kong in the missionary apartment. We were disappointed but were thankful for a place to live and thought perhaps God was giving us time to adjust to the culture, customs, transportation and financial systems, weather and time to learn Cantonese. But it was taking so long that we began to wonder if God really wanted us to serve at Macau. 

Praise the Lord! We were finally informed in January that our work permit was approved, and we traveled back and forth from Macau and Hong Kong completing visa paper work, finding an apartment and purchasing a few things we needed for the new place. After moving, we were physically exhausted, but we were excited and wanted to quickly settle down so that we could start to serve. Very soon, however, the vision in Ivy’s left eye was blocked by lots of black floating specks so we quickly went to see the doctor.  The doctor in Macau called Hong Kong’s hospital and arranged an appointment for her and instructed us to go to Hong Kong immediately. Believing it was an extreme emergency, we hurried. But going to Hong Kong and waiting for the doctor took three hours. While we waited, Ivy went to get a cup of coffee. I was anxious about her eye, but when she returned, she was smiling. Then she showed me what was written on her cup, “Take a break”. How marvelous! God had given us a reassuring message even before seeing the eye doctor. Ivy’s eye would be fine; we just needed to take a break from our frantically busy time.

Regarding our assignment, we work at Macau Bible Institute (MBI) from Tuesday to Friday. Ivy serves as Lecturer and student counselor; Emerson serves as Administrator. We both are Sunday school teachers for Evangelize China Fellowship (ECF) children. Ivy preaches in churches when she is called. We also have ministries for ECF Children Center alumni fellowship and youth fellowship, and for some activities we open our apartment. Currently we are mentoring an 8th grade girl who was one of three girls who guided us to see Macau’s famous street and casino when we had our four-day vision trip to Macau in 2012. After we left Macau in 2012, her spiritual journey was up and down, resulting in her walking away from the Lord. Now that we have reconnected with her, she has returned to Christ. Ivy counsels and mentors her for life transformation, and Emerson coaches her for academic work. 

While we were still in the States, many people asked, "Why Macau?" Now that we are in Macau, many Macanese ask the same question. When we came to Macau last fall for our first meeting with our visa sponsor/partner MBI, we found them in chaos. The principal of MBI had resigned, and the administrator, who was on sabbatical, later resigned also. After those two resigned, MBI had only one full-time faculty memberand was in need of more. The other partner, ECF Grace Chapel, had a similar circumstance. Important personnel had retired. Our reason for being in Macau was clear. This is where we were needed. After our move to Macau and assessment of our situation, IM sent a Conflict Transformation team to lead a conference from which there have been good results. We are thankful and deeply appreciative of their guidance and leadership. We will also help Dr. Dan Buttry and Rev. Ben Chan to arrange a three years conflict transformation training in Macau. God is so good.

If you have been reading our newsletters, you know that Macau has a casino environment which brings alcohol, sex, drugs and gambling issues to the people, especially the youth. Satan uses the casino to destroy family relationships. For the benefit of earning a good living, many parents sacrifice family time, especially with their children, opening the door for them to look elsewhere for love and emotional support. Youth are easily trapped in temptation. How would we have known that we would be the ones called to fill the needs? God's timing is always right. Our omniscient God knew what was needed and when it was needed two years before we came. Although Macau is affected by sin and also a city that God will not give up. God has not forsaken His love for the people of Macau.  Macau desperately needs the gospel and His servants to serve here. So why Macau? Our answer is consistently “It is God’s calling.” Through these months on the field, we have realized that mission is not what we want or can do, but what God wants. Our desire is but to follow His will.  

Prayer request:

            that God’s love will melt the hard-hearted people

            that God’s light will shine on every dark corner

            that God’s word will grow in the hearts of the youth

            that God’s protection will cover these young people