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Encountering God

Photo by emdot

Photo by emdot

By Melanie Mar Chow

When it is time to follow God, you will know.  Not only does God call, but He makes it clear that He is calling you, and be forewarned if you ask for a sign.

When I decided to follow God into leadership, I was invited to attend a conference while I was in seminary.  I was to go to northern California — Marin County, to be exact — in February, during the very rainy season.

But one of my co-workers was getting married and I really didn’t want to miss their wedding, so I decided to ask God to determine if I was to go.  I told God I would buy a ticket, but being that I was a seasoned Southwest Airlines flyer, I had the option of canceling my flight last minute without consequence.  So I was ready.  But the rain poured the entire night before I was to leave, thundering and lightning all night.

I told my hubby that I would only go if there was a sense of peace and God’s provision to go.  So I packed the wedding gift, ate a quick breakfast and told my friends I was making the drive to Oakland airport, 2 hours away.  Well as I walked up to my car, I was amazed: there was a sun spot on my car, I kid you not.  Yes, there was still rain, but it was beginning to break.  So with the sun on my car, I got in and began driving, still open to turning around at any time.  But the weirdest thing happened — I could see the cars coming towards me with their wipers on and I could see the people behind me using their wipers, but it was dry wherever I was driving; like in the Bible with the cloud that the Israelites followed.  All the way to Oakland airport, it was sunny wherever I was.

Then upon landing in LA, it WAS pouring but Bruce drove me to the wedding where we had a good time, and then after the reception he drove me back to the airport.  Rain was scheduled, but  again upon arriving in Oakland, it was dry.  So I drove off and sure enough, same scenario.  Clear skies over me, but ahead of me there was rain and behind me, rain.  I finished the last two days of the retreat and was thankful for God’s provision and encounter.

People think I’m crazy when I tell these stories, but the awestruck wonder of life is such that if  only we would take the time to spend and wait upon God to show us more of who He is, it is there.  I am grateful that God shows Himself to me in the wonderment of things that take time to see: the small things of life, such as a clownfish in a bowl, the penny on the street that the crowds in front of me walked by, the just-barely-still-warm chocolate chip that fell out of the last cookie that begs to be eaten, and the list goes on.  Maybe one day I’ll blog about the wonderful list of crazy things that come daily, weekly, or whenever me and God hang out.  What things will You add to my list, God?  This is all music to God’s ears.

Rev. Melanie Mar Chow serves God through Asian American Christian Fellowship, the campus ministry division of the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society (JEMS). She has been an ordained American Baptist minister since 2004. A Pacific Northwest native, she currently lives with her husband and daughter in Southern California.

Photo by Luke Detwiler

Photo by Luke Detwiler

By Diana Gee

My father is a man of few words. Because we live in different cities now, our interactions have been reduced to short, simple sentences flung back and forth through cyberspace.

“ How are you?”

“ Still kicking” Continue Reading »

Photo by Jesse Wagstaff

Photo by Jesse Wagstaff

By Ann Chen

Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve always had dreams about what it’d be like to be in full-time ministry. My senior year of college, I had a conversation with God wrestling with Him because He was leading me away from full-time vocational ministry into the marketplace. I remember when I asked Him why, I remember Him distinctly telling me that if I were to go into full-time ministry at that point, it’d kill my faith because it’d be too comfortable. Continue Reading »

Eating Alone?

Photo by Ushi Sama

Photo by Ushi Sama

By Young Lee Hertig

Last year  when visiting Korea, I read a newspaper article on the plane about a growing open table fellowship phenomenon at some restaurants in Seoul. Urbanization having displaced a large population from their families, many live as migrants to big cities which robs them of table fellowship with their families.  Rapidly more people in Seoul have become strangers and lone diners. Continue Reading »

Photo by Nate Steiner

Photo by Nate Steiner

By Eun Joo Angela Ryo

I never knew that moving could be so difficult.  So stressful.  So painful.  So…hollow.  I never really left Chicago since I had immigrated there at age 9.  I went to a state university that was only three hours away and came back home upon graduation to attend a nearby seminary, got married, had children, and bought a house and settled in the suburb of Chicago until a few months ago, when my husband landed a job near Ann Arbor.  Continue Reading »

Photo by neiljs

Photo by neiljs

By Chloe Sun

Most of us like the familiar and feel ambivalent about the foreign. When we experience something new, our brain tends to search our database to see if there is anything familiar about these new experiences. The new experiences are being interpreted in light of the old familiar experiences. Our brain seems to do this automatically as a way to process and to make sense with the foreign.

Having lived in China, Hong Kong and the US for decades and having visited a few other places, London is both a familiar and a foreign place to me. I have been visiting London for about two weeks now. There are many familiar scenes and experiences. Continue Reading »

Be Still…

Photo by Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho

Photo by Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho

By Maria Liu Wong

It is a gift to be able to say “no.” And it is a gift also to be able to say “yes.”

No matter who I talk to — whether women leaders in Christian theological education in Africa, Asia and North America, a collaborative mentoring group of female colleagues who are alumnae from my doctoral program at Columbia, or the local church women’s fellowship group I host and lead — the pressure, internal and external, to achieve holds our lives in sway. The world tells us it is normative to be known and valued by our actions and achievements. Continue Reading »

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