Monday, September 24, 2007

Our First Visitors!

Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming our first visitors to Boston/South Hamilton! It was great to see the familiar faces of our Houstonian friends Laura, Audrey, Teresa and Arlene. They had an action-packed trip, touring all kinds of famous Boston sites, and we were able to accompany them on adventures to the Salem Witch Museum, the Boylston/Arlington street area, the Boston Public Garden, the New England Aquarium, Legal Sea Foods, the North End and various other sites along the way. A few fun photos (last two courtesy of Audrey - thanks!):

Fun with hats at the Salem Witch Museum

Fun with hats at Marshalls

Part of the women's Bible study group reunited at Boston Public Garden

Hanging out in the hotel

Monday, September 17, 2007


A big question on both Rachel's and my mind these days is "what is my calling"? For me, I worry alot about my I have what it takes to be a pastor or to plant a church? What kind of ministry is God preparing me for? Now that I'm surrounded by people who are pursuing the same goal, I am so tempted to always be comparing myself with others: would I be a better/worse pastor than him or her? Rachel is also struggling with this question as she seeks to find a job here. She is unsure about her career and what she wants to pursue, and her worries go even deeper: what is my purpose?

We went to a seminar at the seminary last week, and the leader led us through passages in Scripture in which the word "call" appeared in the New Testament. Maybe surprisingly, the word usually does not refer to a specific vocation. Instead, I noticed that usually it referred to being called simply to follow Christ. Romans 1:6 puts it this way: "you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ." We are not primarily called to a career. We are called to belong to Jesus Christ. I was reminded of the tremendous freedom that really understanding that gives me. Instead of striving and grinding my soul in the pursuit of finding my "call", trying to prove to myself and to others that I really do have a purpose, I can instead just focus on my first call: to belong to Christ. I can rest; because no matter what I do with my life -- if I die tomorrow and never accomplish anything or if I become a pastor of a 10,000 member church, I belong to God -- my status before Him does not change. So instead of second guessing all of my decisions and wondering if I'm following God's will, I can just rest, do my best with the gifts God's given me, and let God do the rest, taking steps of faith along the way. God, help me to live each day with that goal. What an incredible freedom it is to just let go and to rest.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Boston Plunge/Football

One of the things that appealed to Ben about Gordon-Conwell was its emphasis on urban ministry - reaching and meeting the needs of the populations of city centers. Today we participated in a GCTS-organized event called the Boston Plunge! where we went to Boston with other GCTS students and spouses to hear from urban church/ministry leaders about what God is doing in the urban areas and how we can get involved. We visited the historical landmark Park Street Church and heard from leaders of ethnically-targeted churches and ministries, and also went to GCTS's Boston campus, the Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME) and heard from leaders of ministries aimed more at meeting physical, educational and social service needs of the general urban population of Boston. God is definitely doing great things in the city -- among both ethnic minorities and young professionals -- and it's exciting to think about how we can get involved. I think it made us wish even more than we do already that we lived in the city. We'll probably consider moving later on, but we'll see how God leads.

On a completed unrelated note, I am very happy that football is back, both college and pro! We're back on the fantasy scene, and I am still keeping up with my beloved 'Horns from afar. It's sad that I can't watch the games live, though. :( But at least they're winning, even if the games have been much closer than I would like. I attribute much of this to the loss of our defensive coordinator, Gene Chizik. Upon discussing this with our friend Preston, I just learned that as the new head coach at Iowa State, Gene Chizik is now commemorated on a coin in Iowa. Check it out. I feel like this belongs on Jay Leno's "Headlines" or something.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Weekend in L.A.

This past weekend we took a VERY brief trip to L.A. for the wedding of our friends Anthony and Tina. Having both lived in more centrally located cities, we were sort of dreading the length of the flight from the Northeast to the West Coast, but it wasn't too bad (despite the fact that we got to the gate a little late on our last leg back and had to board in the C group, meaning we didn't get to sit together - argh). It was great to celebrate with Ant and Tina, as well as hang out with many of our Houston friends. We also saw some interesting sights during our stay. No, not Hollywood or anything like that. See examples at the bottom.

Lims and Puns


Puns and Hammills

We searched for an extra outlet in our hotel room to plug in our phone chargers, laptop, etc. and we could only find one way up high.

A sign in the window of a Chinese business. So, where did they actually move to?

If you can't tell, those are spiderwebs coming off the hubcap. Amazingly, the car had not yet received a citation for violating the posted 3-hour parking limit.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Adventures at Super 88

You know you've matured as an Asian American when you start wanting things that can only be bought at a Chinese grocery store. As Ben and I have been getting settled in, we've made a list of Chinese groceries that we needed to make some of our favorite Chinese dishes (or at least attempt to). At the recommendation of one of my MA relatives, this past Sunday we found Super 88 Market in Boston's Chinatown. I remember actually looking at Ben and saying, "I'm so excited!" as we entered the store and breathed in that half-disgusting/half-delicious aroma of fresh fish, dried herbs, and various other products unique to Asian stores. We were happily filling our basket with lop cheung, sriracha sauce, dried black mushrooms, steamed fish sauce and more when all of the sudden the lights went out! It was about 6:30 pm, so it was still light outside, but since the windows were only at the front of the store, it was pretty dark in the back aisles where we were at the time. Everyone was a little startled and there were some Cantonese exclamations heard, but mostly everyone continued shopping in the near-dark, including us. We used our cell phones and keychain flashlight to look for more things. Then the manager announced that everyone needed to come up to the front and pay for their stuff and leave as soon as possible. So we went up, and I stood in line for several minutes (Ben ran off to find dumplings), until finally a security guard told us they were closing down for the day and everyone had to leave their groceries there and just leave the store. So, we were pretty disappointed that we couldn't take our treasures home with us. Oh, well. Just another day in Chinatown, I guess.

A quote from a crazy greek/hebrew professor heard by Ben during new student orientation: "We treat homework like quizzes, quizzes like exams, and exams like...the end of the world!" Goodness gracious. I think he was only half kidding, unfortunately.