From the monthly archives:

April 2012

Summer Project

by kwong on April 24, 2012

‘Last’ Summer project via Jennifer

For the past four years, I woke up every day at 4am and started working before the bakery opened and stayed until the bakery closed at 6pm. Some days I couldn’t go home until after 7pm.  The hours were long and baking required strenuous physical labour.  By the time I got home, I was so tired that I ate dinner, took a shower and went straight to bed.

On Tuesday July 26th, 2011, I had a chance to go home early and rest.  I made myself a nice hot cup of ginger tea, put my feet up and rested.  The house was quiet.  I just loved the quietness, the comfortable chair with my feet up, looking out the window, admiring the beautiful weather and the creation of God.  Every day I longed for this moment, my quiet time with God.  I picked up the Bible and read.  That day’s reading was on 1 Chronicles Chapter 16 David’s Psalm of Thanksgiving.   David was anointed King of Israel and greatly blessed by God.  He brought the ark of God into Jerusalem and worshipped with singing of praises to the Lord.

V8-13 “O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples.  Sing to him, sing praises to him, tell of all his wonderful works.  Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.  Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually. Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgements he uttered, O offspring of his servant Israel, children of Jacob, his chosen ones.”

As I meditated on what I had just read, I thought of the situation that I was in at that time.  Kneadings Bread & Café was not doing well.  We had been struggling financially for the past three years.  We were at the point that we would have to make a decision as to whether we should continue the business or close it down.  Mosaic was not doing well financially either.  There was not enough money to pay the pastors.  I had no income since Kneadings opened four years ago.  With Ka’s income alone, our family was living under the poverty line according to Statistic Canada. I didn’t know how we were going to survive with zero income for our family.

It was easy for David to worship and sing praises to God.  He was successful and prosperous because the Lord was with him.  I had neither success nor prosperity.  I was in great debt in the verge of filing bankruptcy.  There seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel.  How could I worship and sing praises to God in such a way as David?

As I was thinking about how bad my situation was, the “This Summer Project” came to my mind.  On Sunday, Pastor Lon asked us to think of what we would do in the summer and share our project in the fall.  Suddenly my spirit started to brighten up.  I thought to myself: David worshipped and praised God in his high time.  Will it be amazing if I could worship and praise God in my lowest and most troubled time? The song “Yet I will Praise” came to my mind.  I went back and read 1 Chronicle Chapter 16 again.  I thank God for giving me the insight.  He gave me “this summer project” despite of all the difficulties I was facing.  I told myself that I would:

1)        Give thanks to the Lord as always

2)      Call on His name daily

3)      Make known His deeds among all people.  “Remember the wonderful works He has done, the miracles…… Tell of all his wonderful works…..”

4)      Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His presence continually.

Every morning I gave thanks to the Lord as soon as I got up from bed.  As I drove to work, I called on His name and sang praises to Him.  I sought the Lord and His strength. I sought His presence continually throughout the day.  I was waiting for His wonderful works and miracles so that I could tell and share in the fall.

Those few months were the most difficult time for me.  Facing the uncertainty, the closing of Kneadings, the huge amount of money we owe to the bank, friends and relatives, and no income for our family, every day I cried to the Lord for help.  The more I cried out for help, the more I called on His name, the more I sought His strength and presence, the more frustrated I felt.  Doubt, upset, loss of hope…… all negative emotions overwhelmed the knowledge of knowing what I should do.

As summer was drawing to an end, I did not feel the Lord’s presence or strength as expected.  There was not much to tell, no wonderful works or miracles to tell.  When Lon sent out a schedule for everyone to share, I asked Lon if I could delay and share my project in January.  May be after Kneadings closed, I would have something to share.

Kneadings finally closed on December 24, 2011.   The last week was the busiest week of the year.  We closed at 4pm and rushing to finish everything before we could leave and enjoy  Christmas Eve.  Ka and the children left at 5pm.  I had to stay behind to close all the data and records for the month.  I left the place at 8pm.  I went home, checked my emails for the last time and found out that my mother had a stroke and was admitted to the hospital on that day. I called my sister wanted to find out exactly how mom was doing.  No one knew what happened to her but there were speculations from the doctor waiting for the results of more testing.

My sister wanted me to go to Hong Kong with her.  She had brain surgery a year ago and was afraid to fly alone.  I did not know if I should go.  Although the bakery was closed, I still had a lot of things to do.  We needed to clean up the place and move everything out in two days.  I needed to take care of the financial and legal matters for Kneadings.  The most important thing for me was to find a job as soon as possible.

After the phone conversation with my sister, Ka encouraged me to go and visit mom.  He asked me: “Isn’t the closing of Kneadings for a time like this?”  Maybe it was God’s plan for me to go to visit mom.  If the bakery was still opened, I definitely would not be able to go.  I called my sister back and told her that I would go with her.  At first she could not find any seats available at that time.  As she tried to call every hour, she finally got tickets for both of us.  I had to pack, leave everything behind and fly right away.  Originally, I wanted to go for two weeks.  Due to the ticket availability, I had to take whatever was available.  I ended up going for one month.

It was sad to see mom lying in the hospital bed.  Her face was skinny and yellow.  I kept on saying to myself that this was not the mom that I knew from birth.  The only function she had left was her hearing.  For the first two days, she could still eat and respond by nodding her head.  I fed her for two days and after that, she never ate again.  She had no more responses after the first two days of arrival. She died the week after.  It was very fast, sudden and unexpected.  We thought we could spend some time with her after she got out of the hospital.  The two weeks that we thought we could spend time with mom became the time of organizing and attending for her memorial and funeral services.

As I think back to what happened between this summer and now, there is indeed so much to tell about God’s wonderful works.  He was with me the whole time even though I did not feel it at that time.  David was able to praise God because He was with him.  I was able to praise God because He was with me too.  He granted me strength to go through the most difficult times.  He prepared me for my mother’s funeral.  He knew that if did not go, I would regret and blame myself for the rest of my life.  I had a good time with all my brothers and sisters.  We haven’t had such a reunion for many years.  God loves me enough to spare me from being miserable for the rest of my life.  He gave me joy that nothing or no one can take away from me.

I was sick for a few days after I came back to Canada.  I told Ka that I had to enjoy myself and relax as much as I could before I started working again.  I didn’t know what would happen to us, I only knew that God is with us.  Within two weeks of coming back home, God gave me a great job that I have never imagined.  After these four years of experience, God shaped me and moulded me into a person of His own heart. He made me understand what is to “Deny yourself, Pick up the cross and follow me”.  Now I can understand the authors of Psalm and Job better.  I can resonate with their feelings behind the words.

To sum up, God is great and good to me.  No matter what happens, I choose to follow Him.  I will continue to sing praises to Him, call on His name daily, tell people of His wonderful works, what He has done in my life.  I will continue to seek His strength and presence until I see Him face to face.

 

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