Archive Page 2

For whom do you work?

Today, I was sitting in an oasis in the middle of the desert. Built in 1930, the Arizona Inn back then was a luxurious get away surrounded by miles of sand and cactus. The owner, Mrs. Greenway, used to run a factory that produced furniture. But when the Depression hit, she decided that all the furniture could be put to use so  she built what became the Arizona Inn as it is today. Each room and terrace is unique and beautiful.  That’s just a little bit of history… and this new hidden treasure tucked away from the main streets…  is becoming a favorite spot for me in Tucson. 😉

I met an older gray haired gentleman who looked like a waiter at the Library today (yes, this Inn has a library!… :D).  He urged me to take part in the afternoon tea they were having. I declined, seeing the sign that this was for house guests. I mentioned that I wasn’t as guest at the Inn, but still he was very welcoming and showed me a short tour of the front of the Inn. He went on to tell me more history about how this Inn has been passed down generations in the Greenway family and coming back to the library again asked if I would partake in tea. Looking around there was only one other person in the room and before me was an exquisite assortment of delicious snacks, tea and coffee , so I gratefully obliged (little did he know that tea is a love language of mine).  But what was interesting to me was how this man talked so highly about the owner, his boss (the granddaughter of Mrs. Greenway). He also shared a love for her Inn (that his mother took him to as a child) and the way he served, addressed each person that came by and made the place feel like a home. And aside from doing his job well, I could tell that he really enjoyed it.

I  thought… this man could easily not enjoy his job. Especially with not many people coming around. Not that this couldn’t be a fun job… but I found that he genuinely enjoyed it. And from what I could gather, he enjoyed it because of the person for whom he worked.

I recall a friend telling me “Jesus is my boss.” Something his mom reminded him of as he works as a free lance consultant.  And I thought… this is true. And no matter what line of work whether its studies, an office job, teaching or ministry we have an Ultimate Boss. Of course it can be easier if your boss is Christ-like, but that’s just an added bonus.

Similarly, I remember a quote from a book called “Discipline: The glad surrender” and in one chapter it  says…

” There is no such thing as Christian work. That is, there is no work in the world which is, in and of itself, Christian. Christian work is any kind of work, from cleaning a sewer to preaching a sermon, that is done by a Christian and offered to God.” – Elizabeth Elliot

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A Time for everything

I’ve been learning a lot about TIME these past couple weeks (and how it is not in my hands).

I had a birthday and a funeral right next to each other this year. I would’ve never wished this, but that’s what happened. Two Sundays ago was my 25th birthday. And by God’s provision, on Monday & Tuesday I was able to attend my close friend’s mother’s funeral.

I left to go be with this friend, Esther (who is literally like a sister to me) on that Sunday, after hearing about her mother’s passing. And even as I received birthday wishes, thoughts of its importance seemed to just fade in the background.  Instead,  thoughts of worry and insecurity like…  “how is Esther doing?” , “how is her family?”,  “how could I help?” and other thoughts seem to cloud my mind and emotions. And again, it’s not because I’m a saint, but I also realized that grief can be a much stronger emotion than happiness. And for some reason, Sunday wasn’t a time to be happy.  Esther’s father who is a pastor, felt called to start a church in downtown LA with his family two years ago, their life of  ministry, which is true of most of their lives, has been spent, away from their immediate and extended family. Because they were not there,  it seemed like by me being present, I was making a sacrifice. However, others and I would agree that we walked away feeling like it was a privilege to be there at all.

It was a blessing to get to stay with her family and see the heart of thankfulness that they had, in spite of their loss. Her mom had been battling cancer since last November, and the timing of her death, though sudden, seemed as they saw it, to be perfectly in God’s hands.  Being able to comfort the hundreds that came, mourning the loss of their mother and at times crying with them was no easy thing. Also at the time, it made me think…

“There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”   – Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

But what was even more surprising, was after the funeral was over, I was blessed (and because I’m Korean I resisted this at first) with an intimate celebration of my birthday in the very house where we mourned earlier that day. The celebration seemed so natural, and without a doubt … genuine. There was now peace in that house where Esther’s mom had gone, and I tangibly felt it through the Christ-like love that Esther’s mom taught her family. Because Manny, Esther and her dad continued to pour it out to others around them.

These, in short, were my thoughts coming away from this time…

Outlining this time of grieving, was a sense of celebrating … a life well lived and one set free; … and then a life that at a quarter century began with renewed hope for more. Though the latter seemed much less significant… it left me with the gift to think…  How will I now Live?

Thank you, Mrs. Lim, for the gift of your life and the many that you have impacted. You have left a legacy.

roses

Kenya

A country named after the 2nd tallest set of mnt. peaks in Africa.
285px-Pt_Thomson_Batian_Nelion_Mt_Kenya

Currently, I am wishing I could be there right now. My parents are there on medical missions until Aug. 24th.  I would like to go… maybe one day.  Please be praying for my parents, when you think of them.

THINGS YOU COULD PRAY:

– clear communication.

– that they would be a refreshing presence and support to the missionaries and the local hospital doctors.

– for strength and joy.

– vision to see the needs and to see God and work along side Him.

thanks in advance.

Change

It is the end of another semester. And there are so many things that I have been wanting to post, but haven’t gotten the chance. (or a maybe just not developed a discipline like some people I know… ) Well,  here are my thoughts on a very familiar topic lately :  Change

  • Change is not easy: normally painful, humbling, and reawakening of my need for God
  • Change is a fact of life – Like growing old.
  • Change is realizing your older, and birthday’s don’t excite you as much. And instead of remembering your exact age, it would be easier to say you’re a “twenty-something” ?
  • Change is a mark of Campus Ministry
  • Change is something I’m getting use to… because as they say during this time of life you are always in  ‘transition’. But it seems to me that transition is a part of every stage, just like change.

Our ministry is going through a lot change for next semester. Jason & Mandi Barbieri, the step-in directors for  this past fall semester,  finished with SIT and are awaiting the next step. Robin, my two year wing-woman, housemate and teammate will be taking a job in Pittsburgh, PA and being a witness for Him there (she’s so made for it! ;).

So next year, my staff team will drastically change.

One of the main things I’ve been having to realize is that every staff is a gift. Not a right, not forever, and never a must. But lately  God has been reminding me of Psalm 126:3  and its good to remember that it is the LORD that has done great things for us, and because He has, we are filled with JOY.

Jason, Mandi, and especially Robin — You guys are ‘great things’ in my life and each of you have left a permanent mark. And because of what He’s done and still doing in your lives I can be  filled with JOY! 🙂

Sweet

A friend and I were talking recently and this topic came up. So instead of the list of facebook’s 25 things… here is a simple list of some things that I personally think of to be “sweet” and have been true about my life lately.

1. Gummy sweets – Swedish fish, Welches Fruit snacks, Haribo gummy bears. 🙂

2. Enjoying the beauty of the sun setting behind the mountains here in Tucson.

3. Eating s’mores past 9:00pm because you don’t care about how bad it is for you, and the awesome conversations that ensue after all the sugar and messiness. 😉

4. Having a good cup of tea and reading the good book or any book, snuggled up in a chair.

5. Enjoy sweet desserts (going out to buy a pint of ice cream, having amazing combos that make a really great dessert called a pazookie) laughing together and just enjoying each other’s company for the sake of enjoying them! 😀

5. During the day, going on a hike with friends, taking in the gorgeous scenery, having meaningful conversations and getting a good work out! (even though it is walking at a slow pace … it’s EXERCISE nonetheless)

6. Being able to celebrate birthdays, joke about your age and admit that you’re in your mid-twenties and lovin’ it!!! 😉

7. Sharing a meal (miso soup, sushi, italian, and korean food… etc) and jamming into the Night with a friend. And of course singing songs from the heart and feeling free to not care about what you sound like. 🙂

8. Knowing that I am not a perfect lover of people, and others showing me grace and forgiveness, in spite of how many times I mess up.

9. Having an awesome group of people to work with that want more than be just apart of your “work life” but all your life. The mountain tops & the valleys, and all the rough spots in between.

10. My friend was asking me, how I am doing right now and I was reflecting on this a few days ago. But I think the main reason why this past year and a half has been so great is that the gospel has never been so sweet, since the day I gave my life to Christ. —– Though I don’t think it happens as consistently as it should, I’ve realized how important the gospel is for everyday life. And you may have heard the phrase- ‘preach the gospel to yourself’. But I honestly didn’t think that made much sense when I first heard it. Because I mean, how do you tell yourself something that is so radically different from the way the world thinks, something that your flesh just despises hearing in your fits of anger, anxiousness or self-pity or how do you tell yourself to leave everything in the world behind? And I realize recently that the power of it comes in the normal, daily things in life. As I’ve been in the midst of trying to figure out what I am doing next year, the gospel came like a sweet song in the night, a gift that a loving friend wants to give specifically to me. Telling me simply “be still, child” and know that I am in control. Before the cross, I don’t have to have everything figured out, or show others that I have everything put together. The beauty of the gospel of the cross is that it welcomes exactly those kinds of people. The weary, the broken, the incompetent the mourning, the sick and the outcast – to these Jesus said – “COME to me.” I love thinking in the morning that I can run to the lap of my father and lay all my broken pieces at His feet – and that’s when I experience the gospel. But ISN’T IT SO EASY TO NOT?? I get caught up and distracted in “doing” (even Q.T. ‘s or ‘good things’), and I forget to remember, and simply rest quietly in the arms of my Father. (Isaiah 30:15, depicts this well). The gospel …. yes, is sweet. And though that’s not even coming close to describing it, my hope this year, is to get to taste a little bit more of it’s sweetness each day.

There are my 10 sweet things about my life! (maybe i fudged the # a lil’) I also came to see that what makes life sweet is really not all the desserts and sugar; it’s the people that you share them with. 🙂 I truly thank God for so many of you in my life!

And here are recent pictures of some of them! Enjoy!

Present

This semester has gone by so fast. And I can barely believe that we have about 6 weeks left to the semester. I haven’t ever felt like I have run so hard, but at the same time… loved every minute of it. I get to spend my days: meeting up with women, co-leading an upper-class student leadership group, and getting to be in the Word with small groups (which in one case recently is an Investigative bible study with some students!), and organizing fun trips.

I remember in college, I felt like I was being pulled in two different directions with studies and ministry related things. And recently, I realized that this is why I am loving where God has me right now. I get to be focused and be single-minded about something. And being able to give all my attention to it without having to change gears is … refreshing. Last year one of my biggest struggles was seeing this as a ‘job’ rather than a ‘joy’ and though I still think the enemy tries to rob me of JOY, I find that the bigger question this year has been about trusting God about the future. Over the summer when I was in Russia, one of the biggest lessons that He taught me was, how He is a God who has all of our lives set in his hands, He is Potter and I am the clay. John 14:1-6 is the verse that I come back to again and again.

Jesus starts off by saying (v.1) “Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God, trust also in me.” – in essence saying ‘don’t worry about thing, like the past’ (two days before I read this I had found out that my car had disappeared while I was in Russia :P) .

Then he says (v.2) “in my Father’s house there are many rooms; if it were not so, i would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” – here He basically says ‘I got your future with me set,’ and then it goes on and He says I will go ahead of you but come back to take you to be with me.

Then Thomas response is something I find myself doing all the time. (v.5) ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ – Translation: ‘Can’t you tell me now?!!!’, ‘where I will go or how I will even get there?’ – I can think this way about my future plans, my relationships or even ministry.

BUT for the first time, I noticed how perfect Jesus’ response was to this question.

Jesus says here (v.6) ‘I am the way, the truth, and the Life…‘ – it spoke to my heart this summer, saying ‘Diana, I AM your direction, your reality, and everything you need on this side of heaven.’ I realized then, that Jesus wanted to be my ‘Present Tense’ answer to my ‘present’ needs. He is I AM. And I found that with the situation with my car this summer He was faithful and it was found in the safest place it could have been in Phoenix (a car in-pound). And the even cooler thing was He paid the way, so it didn’t cost me a cent. 🙂 PG!

Now I am learning how to believe this to be true about my present situations, and I find myself running to His feet more than I think I ever have in my life, because there is so much more to carry on my load this semester, and sometimes even what the future holds is an afterthought.

Also for the first time in my life, I am able to understand a little better what Paul meant when He said

“But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering… I am glad and rejoice with all of you.” – Philip. 2:17

This year has been a JOY, and I love being spent for the things God has me doing right now. Thank you for all your prayers.

I COVET YOUR PRAYERS

1) This Friday -Monday Nov. 7-10th heading down to Puerto Penasco, Mexico with 130 students from ASU & U of A for a service trip.

2) This Road Rally Trip: protection/safety for the weekend; Wisdom as I help co-lead with a sister from ASU, For the people going and the people in Mexico to experience the power of the Gospel

3) For Thursdays at 4pm – Investigative Bible study in the dorm – That those that come will hear and combine what they hear with Faith. Wisdom for those that lead it.

Here are some pictures of some of the girls I meet with at a birthday party and for Halloween. 😉 – Sorry there have been so few. I haven’t had a functional camera all semester.

Multicultural

Ever since I came out to Arizona, a few people have asked me: ‘what is cross-cultural ministry like?’ I realized that they maybe assumed this to be true because most of my past experience had been in the Korean church and in an Asian college fellowship. But after experiencing this year and thinking it through, I wanted to clarify that what I am doing is NOT cross-cultural ministry, but rather multiculture ministry. If I were going overseas to a new environment and new culture, and sharing the gospel with people that did not know Jesus Christ, I would say that I am doing cross cultural ministry. However….

… America is a unique place. Many cultures and people of different backgrounds all in one country. Though I am not going to an unreached place, a multicultural ministry has not been without its challenges.

Born in the cornfields of Iowa City and raised near the eastern shores of Virginia, my family and I have made America our home and it’s the only home I’ve ever known. All my life I have considered myself a Korean-American, and at different points of my life wondered: what do I identify with more? My Korean background? or my American background? Here in America some social anthropologists dub us as a “salad blow” of cultures, where we are just mix of many different ethnicities. Others say that we are in a “melting pot” with English being the language of communication. I see how both of these can be true, but after moving away from the familiarity of my home in Richmond, VA to Tucson, AZ , a new and unfamiliar culture, I have begun to really ask the question: Who am I? And the bigger question that is tied into this is … what does God have for me here?

I feel like a fish in a big sea… a diverse one. I am currently serving on Staff at a Navigator campus ministry, which is made up of Caucasian, Spanish-speaking background, Asian and Native American students (placed in descending order of quantity). My staff team though a much smaller scale represents a similar ratio of ethnicities. Some would ask, how does it feel or what is that like? And for a long while I’ve been silent, wanting to put the puzzle together in my own head, and to really speak from my experience here.

One thing I said in my first newsletter home was: coming out to this ministry has been like a “Two-way adoption.” My adopting this ministry as my family and them adopting me. And this is the main reason why I think my situation here is not a cross-cultural ministry. I have come to partner with the existing body of Christ here in Tucson to expand the vision that God has given us collectively. And I think that in some ways this process is still happening and some days are more challenging than others.

And it’s safe to say… it’s been messy, and far from perfect. And honestly, learning how to relate to a new culture and figuring out how you are a part of that bigger picture has been challenging. One thing I’ve had to trust is that if this “unity in the body” thing was a man-made idea, it would fail miserably. But thankfully it is God-inspired. So in my lack of understanding of this topic of unity, I have been in the book of Ephesians frequently trying to find a place to begin praying, and begin understanding God’s view of this diversity found in his body.

I remembered hearing a sermon this summer on unity by a person I well-respect, concerning this topic from the book of Ephesians. The sermon was on Eph. 4:1-16 and the idea that there was “diversity found in Unity” and what we want is “unity, and not uniformity,” caught my attention. Because even though I know that the differences that I experience between the people I know can cause misunderstandings, it is all the more a reality that God has called me to “bear with one another in love.”

I am not certain what other people on my team think about this topic, but on my end this experience in multicultural ministry has pushed me all the more to ask the question “Who am I… in Christ?” And that finding my identity in Him, is more important than me finding life and identity in things that are familiar or my education/career or even what I call my ‘cultural background.’ At times it is the hardest truth to come to grips with because there are times I get frustrated with being misunderstood, not heard, or not known by those around me. But whenever I’ve asked that question: “what am I doing here?’ the constant voice I hear is “follow me.” And the verse in Philippians 2:3-5 comes to mind frequently:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

It came be easy to forget or easy to give into my flesh that I am not out here, building my own kingdom, but His. It is a hard, but a good lesson to relearn. So even though it hasn’t been easy, I have learned that I can “rejoice in the hope of the Glory of God… “(Romans 5:2b-5)
When you think of me: Please pray that I would:

  1. Bear with those around me in Love
  2. Put others before my self, and follow Christ
  3. Unity in our staff team and in this college ministry at the U of A
  4. To be Joyful and thankful hearted 😀