Sunday, December 28, 2008

(D-34) Surprise! Amanda is now engaged!

We had a family reunion in Englewood, CO over the Christmas. On the 26th of December, James Hansen asked for my permission to marry Amanda. That evening, James proposed to Amanda to marry him and Amanda accepted the proposal. Praise God for the wonderful and exciting news to our family! Now I know that God had another reason for the delay in our departure for Rwanda until January 2009: he wanted us to experience this moment of excitement.

Both James and Amanda have graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy. James is the class of 2007 and Amanda is the class of 2008. James is now in pilot training in Oklahoma while Amanda is in inteligence training in Texas. They hoped to be stationed at the same location after their trainings are over in May for Amanda and in August for James. They both love and worship Jesus as their Savior and Lord. At their request, today (December 27) I have reviewed the biblical principles for Christian financial stewardship so that they may establish their understanding of stewardship printicples on the right foundation. Praise the Lord for their desire to learn the stewardship principles and to develop their biblical lifestyle. They have been dating for the past two and half years. They have proudly kept their relationship pure and I am happy to bless their engagement for marriage.

Amanda is our first child and thus we do not have any experience in getting our children married. We have heard several tips, but without direct experience Kristin and I feel lost somewhat. What makes the matters a little more complicated is the logistics. They plan to get married in Denver, CO in May 2009 as soon as Amanda finishes her training and while Kristin and I will be back to the states to attend the graduation ceremony for Joyce in May. So all preparation will have to be done remotely since Kris and I will be in Rwanda, Amanda will be in Texas, James will be in Oklahoma while the wedding will take place in Colorado. Oh boy...

These issues will somehow find their answers and solutions as time goes by. For the moment, we are excited about the great news and about the change in our family dynamics, which will result from Amanda's marriage. We will have a new son!

Please pray that:

* the good Lord will walk with them in their wedding preparation process remotely while they continue their training;
* the good Lord will bond their love and commitment more strongly while they go through the preparation and when they begin a new life as a couple; and
* the good Lord will help them learn the biblical principles in financial management correctly and apply them to their lives to be living witnesses to the world.

It is the awesome God who has prepared all these blessings in advance to give us joy and excitement. Praise the Lord! - Jeffrey

Monday, December 22, 2008

(D-40) A Fasting that God has chosen...

Fasting helps focus on God when we pray. It helps partake the pain that comes from refraining from foods, but it also helps reduce the life noises so that we may focus on prayer and God.

At times, fasting has been used to fight against injustice. Many political leaders have used the fasting as a way to emphasize their points on certain issues. In this case, fasting is a threat tactic, attracting attention from people.

Isa. 58:6,7 describes the fasting that God has chosen and desires.

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loosen the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter - when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?...

I see two implications in this passage:

First, our religious acts, such as fasting, should be in tune with the will of the creator. Clearly, the creator's will in this passage is in seeing the least taken care of.

Second, our religious acts, such as fasting, should be pragmatic enough to do His will, rather than passively refraining from eating food. When we partake in taking care of the poor, the oppressed, the homeless, the naked, and the family, it represents the fasting in the eyes of God.

Please pray that:

* we remain in tune with God's will all the time;
* we do what God desires for fasting; and
* we will help the underprivileged as a mission for the godly purpose.

What a pragmatic way to do fasting it is to help the underprivileged! Praise the Lord for His divine revelation in helping the underprivileged! - Jeffrey

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

(D-45) The Last Board Meeting Day...

Once a month, there has been the regular board meeting at the bank. Today was the day.

Each board meeting requires a lot of time and energy for the preparation. Today was no exception.

However it ends, there has been great relief after the meeting. Today was no exception.

Today's board meeting was the last one for 2008 and the last one for me at this bank. Today was the day.

- Jeffrey

Monday, December 15, 2008

(D-47) A sailboat, not a power boat...

You may wonder what the title means. It was about what our ministry model should be. Let me elaborate.

A power boat moves by the power of the engine, regardless of the direction of the wind. It is controlled usually by the captain of the boat. Other crews have certain roles, but usually assisting ones.

On the other hand, a sail boat moves by the power of the wind. It has a captain, too, but the captain coordinates the crews to take actions towards one goal: sailing into a direction in light of the power and direction of the wind. The crews will have to work together: partnership.

This discussion was part of the Project BGAN Executive Committee's Retreat over the last weekend (Dec. 12-14) in the Pocono Mountains. The sail boat theory appealed to me strongly because it compares very well to many ministry or organizational models.

An organization led by a strong leader is like a power boat while an organization led by an effective team or partnership is like a sail boat. The sail boat model depicts more of a biblical model because it requires all stakeholders to sense the direction of the wind (discerning the will of the Holy Spirit) instead of trying to bulldoze everything with a strong leadership. The power boat model depicts more of a self-righteous organization that depends on its own resources more than the Lord and His power. It makes great sense and draws a nice picture. I need to study more on this analogy.

It was a blessing to fellowship with three missionaries currently focusing on mobilization. Just being together with these godly people was encouraging. Sharing thoughts on where the divine wind is blowing was uplifting and enlightening. Sharing how God has been working in our lives was enriching. Praying for each other was greatly empowering. And exploring various options for Project BGAN's future ministry foci was inspiring and challenging.

They will continue to trot the world, preaching the gospel, presenting biblical mission models, providing safe harbor ministries for Kingdom workers, teaching leaders effective leadership, networking God's people for the Kingdom purposes, and pulling resources for the Kingdom causes. May God bless them wherever they go!

Please pray that:

* the Lord will give us the clarity on the Mission and Vision Statements for Project BGAN;
* the Lord will provide us with His people and resources for re-defined Kingdom purposes; and
* the Lord will guide us through the transition time swiftly before we leave for Rwanda.

Praise the Lord for the blessings that we received from the retreat! - Jeffrey

Friday, December 12, 2008

(D-50) Two More Remaining Projects Done...

Today was one of productive days for transition. I took MC Kim, my successor, to be introduced to the regulators at the FDIC and NY State Banking Department, along with three other senior officers. The meeting went very well. MC Kim presented himself effectively and the regulators appeared to accept him well. I felt very good about the way the introductory meeting went. Praise the Lord!

In the evening, there was the Shinhan Society gathering at Double Tree Hotel in Fort Lee, NJ. The guest speaker was Dr. Woon Chan Chung, former president of Seoul National University. As a renowned economist, Dr. Chung explained very clearly about various economic issues. It was a blessing to listen to him and to meet him in person over the dinner. I also had an opportunity to explain to the Shinhan Society members about the background for my departure and to introduce MC Kim to them. It was an opportunity to tell the truth for clarification.

What a relief! Thank you, Lord, for your gracious guidance during this transition period.

Please pray that:

* the Lord will continue to guide us through our transition period;
* the Lord will make our communication clear and transparent; and
* the Lord will open up more doors of communication to people to be our prayer partners.
- Jeffrey

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

(D-53) Good Works that God Desires...

On Sunday, December 7th, I preached to the English congregation and the Korean congregation at Crossroads Community Church in Fullerton. The semon title was "Good Works" based on Ephesians 2:10.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

God designed the work to be good because He works. His creation was a work, for example. Since the sin entered into humanity, God cursed the ground and man had to work for life. (Genesis 3:17) Somehow man started associating work with something undesirable or a "curse." Also man started separating holy works from secular works. Those who are in "holy works" felt proud and those who are in "secular works" felt like the second class citizens.
Not so, Jesus said, because it was the Pharisees and Saducees that Jesus called "hypocrites" pointing to their external religious activities without internal integrity while He complemented those who were then considered outcasts of the society referring to their good works that pleased Him and God. God's standard on works was only "good works" or "evil works."

What is good, then? Good traces back to the Genesis 1 where God saw that it was "good" after he completed each day's creation. So "good" has to be good from God's standpoint. Do you see "God" in the word "Good?" That is right! If you take "o" out of the word "good" then you have "god." On the other hand, if you take "god" out of "good" then there is "o" or nothing. In other words, there is nothing left in your "good" if you take God out of it. Make sense?

The scripture says that we Christians have to do good works because we were created to do so. It is a mandate, not an option. These good works must have good purpose and good process. The good purpose is "to bring God's glory." (1 Cor. 10:31) The good process should include "works done in Jesus name" (Col. 3:17) and "as if working for the Lord" (Col. 3:23) We should therefore ask ourselves if what I am doing has God's glory embedded in it. We should also ask if what we are trying to do is done in Jesus name and if what I am doing is done as if it is done for the Lord.

There were more, but I will stop here because it is getting too long.

Please pray that:

* the Lord helps us always remember our works have to be done for the glory of God;
* the Lord helps us do our works in the name of Jesus; and
* the Lord helps us do our works as if we do it for the Lord, not for men.
Praise the Lord for His clear explanation on good works! - Jeffrey

(D-53) Rwanda Ministry Partners - CA

Last week, Kristin and I had a trip to Los Angeles. On Saturday, I had breakfast with a lawyer couple who are still seeking a God-provided opportunity of ministry. The husband is a prominent real estate lawyer and a son of a prominent Christian pastor. We had a great fellowship time.

In the evening, we hosted a dinner for Rwanda Ministry Partners (RMP) in California. Many are old friends of the Oriental Mission Church. It was a great joy to see them again and to share with them how God has been leading us to this point and to Rwand. It is purely the grace of God!

This group of friends includes a former bank CEO, a current CEO of a large financial institution, dean of a seminary, a senior pastor of a local church, a medical doctor who plans to go to Ethiopia for medical ministry next year, five nurses, a bank senior officer, a seminary student, an aerospace engineer, a few businessmen and several others who are spouses of our friends. What a wonderfu bunch of godly people! It was truly a blessing to have their commitments to supporting our ministry in Rwanda in prayer, which will be the greatest support that we will need for our ministry. Look at their Christlike smiles! There are many others who could be not be there because of conflict, but who will join us with their prayer support. Praise the Lord!

Please pray that:

* the Lord will continue to increase the prayer supporters;
* the Lord will bless them so that they have more testimonials about God's grace; and
* the Lord will answer their prayers in order for His glory to be unveiled.

Praise God for His faithful provision of the prayer warriors for His Kingdom and His glory!
- Jeffrey

Monday, December 1, 2008

(D-60) Remaining Schedule before Departure...

Now we have only 60 days left before we take off to Rwanda. Below are the updates and remaining schedules:


November 15-22 I traveled to Rwanda to attend the Urwego Opportunity Bank Board meeting and to meet with the Rwanda central bank officials. All things went well.

November 17 We shipped our household stuff to Rwanda. It will take approximately three months before arrival in Rwanda.

November 27 Thanksgiving Day. We had the family reunion in New York with Kristin, Amanda, Joyce, James (Amanda's friend), Sujin (my niece studying in New York) and my mother-in-law. It was a joyous blessing!

November 28 I made the announcement to the bank employees. Now it is official.

Remaining Schedule

December 5-7 We will travel to Los Angeles and hold the RMP (Rwanda Ministry Partners) Night at Yongsoosan at 6PM. I will also preach on Sunday at Crossroads Church in Fullerton.

December 12-14 We will hold the Project BGAN's Executive Committee Retreat in the Poconos Mountains, PA.

December 22-29 I will travel to California, Colorado, Georgia, and New York to say farewell to all staff of the bank. I will stay at home over the Christmas time.
January 2-9, 2009 I will travel to Korea to see my family, friends, ministry partners, and to say farewell to the bank colleagues.
January 10 We will move out of the New York apartment.
January 12-16 We will travel with Kristin's friends and their husbands.
January 17-18 We will visit Philadelphia to celebrate Joyce's 21st birthday and to speak at Jubilee Presbyterian Church.

January 19-21 I will travel to Opportunity International office in Oak Brook (Chicago).
January 22 I will visit OI's Denver IT Service Center.

January 24 We will hold the RMP Night with Colorado friends.

January 25 We will be commissioned at the Logos Central Chapel.

January 29 We will hold the RMP Night with New York friends.

January 29-30 I will attend a conference on microfinance in New York.

January 30 We will take off to Rwanda!

Please pray that:

* we will focus on our spiritual preparedness in the midst of busy schedules;
* we will focus on the Lord while being distracted by others; and
* we will focus on souls while activities keep us physically busy.

Praise the faithful Lord who never fails to hold our hands in our daily lives! - Jeffrey