Saturday, January 31, 2009

Rwanda Ministry Partner Night in New York...

On Thursday, January 29th, we held the RMP Night with 40 plus New York brothers and sisters in Christ at Dae Dong Manor in Flushing.

What a bunch of wonderful people there were! Rev. Min Song Ahn, senior pastor of New York Presbyterian Church, opened the Word for us with 1 Samuel 3 on the story of Samuel listening to the voice of God while the Chief Priest Eli being unable to listen to Him. Rev. Ahn emphasize that it is a blessing to be able to listen to the voice of God.

It is indeed true that we listened to the voice of God in our relocation to Rwanda. We felt assured of His calling and direction. In that context, indeed, it is a blessing to us. May this blessing be continuing for the rest of our journey in Rwanda as Rev. Ahn stressed.

We then prayed together and we were sent off by our dear friends in prayer. What a blessing it was! Clearly we felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and we experienced the divine blessing.

The brothers and sisters in Christ included many bankers, including a bank president, three professors, many businessmen, a lawyer, public health professional, community foundation president, two pastors. Their support and encouragement will undoubtedly keep us strong in our journey.

Please pray that:

* we will continue our fellowship through prayer and correspondences;
* we will continue to share how God is working in our daily lives; and
* we will continue to encourage and edify each other through our testimonies of God's grace.
- Jeffrey (in London waiting to board a flight to Nairobi, Kenya)

Finally... we are off to Rwanda!

After a two full-day conference on microfinance on Thursday and Friday, we are finally off to Rwanda via VS10 from New York JFK to London. Currently we are waiting for a flight to Nairobi, Kenya and will continue to fly to Kigali, Rwanda.

Until the last minute, it was a hassle. my mother-in-law fell during the middle of night early this past week and had to go to the emergency room and was hospitalized because of a fracture on her shoulder and a possible heart arrythmia. As soon as we arrived from Denver on Tuesday, Kristin had to be a full-time caregiver for her. She was later discharged with the clearance on the heart side, but had to see other doctors for a follow-up. Kristin, on Friday, got into her own sickness with diarrhea and vomitting, only several hours before our departure. After I got back to my mother-in-law's apartment, I had to hurriedly pack and get ready to leave. By then, Kristin felt a lot better, but with an empty stomach. It was God's grace that she became better.

My mother-in-law has been dependent on Kristin for her medical care and she felt uncomfortable seeing Kristin go when she was sick. But after we prayed together, she felt better and gladly released us to go.

With seven pieces of luggage, we boarded the airplane. It was another immigration all over again. Both Kristin and I felt unbelievable about being able to depart as scheduled. We praised the faithful Lord for His overflowing grace.

Please pray that:

* God's grace may indwel us for the remaining travel schedule;
* God's grace will prepare us for the upcoming ministries mentally and spiritually; and
* God's grace will continue to help heal my mother-in-law and restore heavenly peace with her.
- Jeffrey

Monday, January 26, 2009

(D-4) Commissioning at Logos Central Chapel...

Yesterday on the glorious Lord's Day, Kristin and I were commissioned to Rwanda. Jesus said in John 20:21, "Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." We all are being sent by our Lord. Sent to the world and to the ends of the world. We are grateful for this wonderful opportunity to be sent overseas to participate in helping advance the Kingdom.

The commissioning was specially meaningful to us and to the church congregation because it occurred on the day the Logos Central Chapel was celebrating its 10th anniversary. ( )It was even more special because I was directly involved in the foundation of the Logos Central Chapel as the Elder responsible for Christian Education at Korea Central Presbyterian Church. I was asked to give a short presentation about the history of the LCC. I praised the Lord for His gracious and faithful blessings on the LCC over the past 10 years since the humble beginning with only 20 some members. How wonderful it is to see His body grow in number, in faith and in maturity! Under Pastor Matthew's leadership, the church members are now growing mature to live a missional life as living witnesses to the love of God. Thank God for Pastor Matthew!

Please pray that:

* the good Lord will continue to bless the LCC with greater spiritual maturity;
* the good Lord will continue to equip Pastor Matthew and the leadership to be exemplary leaders; and
* the good Lord will use the LCC in a mighty way to advance the Kingdom to the ends of the earth through their missional lifestyles. - Jeffrey

Sunday, January 25, 2009

(D-5) Rwanda Ministry Partner Night in Colorado...

[<=Pastor Matthew sharing the Word] [A good bunch of prayer partners =>]

Last night, we held the RMP Night for Colorado prayer partners at Palace Chinese Restaurant in Denver. A total of 45 brothers and sisters gathered. We listened to the message of Pastor Matthew and were challenged greatly. He quoted John Piper and preached about three "P"s of Mission. The quick summary is as follows:

Purpose of Mission: God loves all nations and thus we need to reach out to them. (Psalm 96)
Power of Mission: It is not our will or ability, but it is the power of the Holy Spirit that will enable us to do the work of mission. (Eph. 3)
Price of Mission: Mission involves certain prices. Based on the good Samaritan's story, we should expect certain sacrifices: i.e. compassion, great efforts, time, finance.

After I presented to them how the Lord has been leading us to this point after I made a commitment to a spiritual life tithing, they all put their hands on us and prayed together. How encouraging it is to know that there are such faithful partners to support us in prayer! We were greatly encouraged and empowered. Thank you, Lord and Praise you, Lord!

It was also a wonderful reunion of many old friends who used to fellowship at the same church, KCPC. All seemed to have enjoyed the gathering with deep gratitude to our Lord.

Please pray that:

* the ministry partners will join us in ministry through faithful prayers;
* the ministry partners will also experience the good works being done in Rwanda; and
* the ministry partners will also be challenged with the great commission and go to the nations that we are called to reach out. - Jeffrey Lee

(D-5) Visit to Opportunity International offices...

Last week, I visited Opportunity International's offices; administrative offices in Oak Brook (nearby Chicago) on Tuesday and Wednesday, and IT servicing center in Denver, CO on Thursday. Over three days, I met 26 people in total and I learned a lot about how the Opportunity International operates. Knowing how OI operates is important because I will be working in Rwanda administratively as part of Opportunity International, although I will have to represent three other stakeholders: i.e. World Relief, World Relief Canada and Hope International. (Their websites are linked to this blog.)

Please pray that:

* the good Lord will help learn the operational dynamics promptly;
* the good Lord will help develop good rapport with all who will my primary contacts; and
* the good Lord will help gain wisdom to maximize the use of all resources available for the poorest of the poor in Rwanda. - Jeffrey

Monday, January 19, 2009

(D-11) An oasis in the desert... it looked like...

In the midst of our tight schedule, we had a great getaway with my wife's friends and their husbands for a few days last week. When we arrived, my body was aching and my mind was tired with jet lags that resulted from continued short trips crossing the time zones back and forth. Oh... what a relief it was... We slept, ate and rested for a couple of days...

Kristin enjoyed catching up with her old college friends. (a lot of chatting and giggling... you know) I met new friends and saw some old friends again with great joy also. The nature was beautiful and wonderful, as usual, and in the midst the Creator's touch was meticulous on minor details. Words are unnecessary in describing the beauty. So here they are. - Jeffrey

(D-12) Opportunities to share the Word...the 21st birthday for Joyce

Now there are only 12 days left before we finally take off...

Since I got back from my trip to Korea and we moved out of the New York apartment the next day, I have had a couple of opportunities to share the Word: first to the young adults at New York Presbyterian Church on January 11 and second to the English Ministry congregation members at Jubilee Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA today (January 18). Also at Jubilee, I shared a testimony with the Korean congregation over two services. All opportunities were blessing to me, more than anybody else.

People were telling me about the blessings and challenges that they received. Particularly those in financial professions were sharing how greatly encouraged they were that they could also use their professional skills and knowledge for the Kingdom purposes. A young adult who is studying international development naturally showed great interest in learning more about the ministry. A young accountant desires to stay in touch to discern what God has in store for him. Many young people pledged to pray for the ministry.

Meanwhile, I have also received several contacts from the Kingdom people who pledge to support through prayer and ask for updates. I do not know many of them, but I am excited about the network of people whom the Lord is connecting me to. Praise the Lord!

While we were down in Philadelphia, we also celebrated the 21st birthday of our daughter Joyce, a few days in advance. What a wonderful journey that Joyce has come through thus far all thanks to the wonderful grace of the Lord!!! I shared with her how grateful we are to the Lord. Pastor Steve, his lovely wife Mona, and their youngest son Christen joined our dinner for Joyce. It always brings us great joy to get together as a family. As Joyce is finishing up her final semester at the college, she is searching for vocational opportunities, hopefully in an area that combines her business degree as well as her visual studies degree. While I am reasonably confident that a Wharton graduate will be able to find a job opportunity without too big a problem, I have to go to the Lord for His grace in her job search process so that she may find a right opportunity that is good in His eyes as well as satisfying to her heart.

[Kristin, me, and Joyce] [Christen, Pastor Steve, and Mona]

Tomorrow, Kristin will go back to Denver to finalize her preparation. I will travel to Chicago to visit the Opportunity International's main administrative office for a couple of days. Then I will visit the OI's IT Service Center in Denver. On January 24th, we will hold the Colorado RMP Night and on the 25th we will be commissioned at the Logos Central Chapel. On this day, the LCC will celebrate its 10th anniversary day. We never arranged to have our commissioning coincide with the anniversary day of the LCC, but with God's providence it turned out to be the same day. Since I was an elder in charge of Christian Education at the time the LCC was established and was directly involved with the founding process, my feeling about the LCC's 10th anniversary goes deeper than many others. How marvelous our God truly is!

On the 27th, we will leave Denver for New York. We will hold the New York RMP Night on the 29th and I will attend a two-day conference on microfinance on the 29th and 30th. At night on the 30th, we will finally take off to Rwanda.

Please continue to pray that:

* we will be able to handle all remaining tasks well and without compromising our health;
* we will be able to secure many genuine prayer partners who will joyfully participate in the ministry through prayer; and
* we will be able to witness God's grace on Joyce's final semester and her job search process.

All praises go to the faithful Lord! - Jeffrey

Sunday, January 11, 2009

(D-20) Trip to Korea... Move-out of the NY Apartment...

It has been only ten days into the new year 2009, but a lot have already happened.

I left for Korea through a midnight flight on January 2, arriving in the morning of January 4. Before I left Korea to come back to New York via an evening flight on Friday, January 9, my schedule was pretty hectic, but very productive.
My short trip started on Monday with meetings with Shinhan Bank's top executive officers, including Shinhan Bank CEO Mr. Shin, Shinhan Financial Group CEO Mr. Lee, and Shinhan Financial Group Chairman Mr. Rha. Monday evening, I had a meeting with my old friends of Agape Club, a Christian club to which I belonged at Yonsei University in Korea. More than a dozen old friends came, including three pastors, two professors, one lawyer, three businessmen, two musicians, and their spouses. We worshiped the faithful God with praise. An enthusiastic discussion ensued after my presentation until almost midnight and we all prayed for God's merciful guidance on our new journey. How grateful and blessed I was!

On Tuesday, I had a meeting with the CEO of Compassion Korea, Rev. Justin Suh. He is an old ministry friend to the youth when we were attending and fellowshiping at the Oriental Mission Church in Los Angeles, CA. He is a wonderful godly man and a great preacher. We prayed for each other with substantial encouragement. Compassion has a ministry in Rwanda and we agreed to work together on possible opportunities. I had lunch with CEOs of Interserv Korea, Matthew Chung, and Global Mission Fellowship (GMF), Dong Hwa Kim. We are involved together in Integral Mission Alliance and they all are great leaders on the mission frontiers. We shared how God is working in our lives and were all encouraged. I also met a few old friends in the afternoon and over dinner for blessed fellowship. What a wonderful time we had!
On Wednesday, I had an interview with eFM, a new division of TBS for 24-hour English radio broadcasting service, which started on December 1, 2008 to promote English competency for the citizens. I thought it was interesting to have an English interview in Korea while I had a Korean interview in New York. The discussion was about our relocation to Rwanda for the new ministry. Whenever there is an opportunity, I wanted to witness how God has been preparing our lives for this ministry. I had a meeting with the Head of Hangyorae Economic Research Institute on social enterprises and social enterpreneurship. It is a division of one of the popular Korean newspapers and is on the frontier on this issue. What a blasting time we had while sharing the same faith and the same calling on the issue!
[Matthew Chung (left) and Dong Hwa Kim (right)]

On Thursday, I also had a meeting with the CEO of Social Solidarity Bank, the largest microfinance institution in Korea with a 85% marketshare. Its operation is quite different from the ones in underdeveloped countries, but we agreed to cooperate on any opportunities of mutual interest.
[Kyoung-sik Kim, SVP of Operations (left) and Jong-soo Lee, President (right) of Social Solidarity Bank in Korea]
Thursday evening and Friday until I left back for the states, I spent time with my parents and my siblings. Family is an institution that God himself directly established and it is a great blessing to have both parents not only still living but also healthy and active. Praise the Lord!

After I arrived back in New York late Friday, I had to do packing for the moving out of my New York apartment where I have lived for the past four and half years. Kristin did the most of the work for the past three days, but I had to my little share.

On Saturday, we separated my household stuff into four parts: the first part to bring with us to Rwanda, second to take home to Colorado, third to take to Joyce in Philadelphia next weekend, and the last to store in a mini-storage for Amanda to take with her when she gets a station assignment after training. So it was pretty complicated, but under Kristin's well organized packing and instructions, all things went well, despite the snow that kept falling the whole day. Praise the Lord! Five of my ex-colleagues came with a U-Haul truck to help us with the moving. How blessed we are to have people like them and to have their assistance when we need it!

Now I am sitting on a couch in my mother-in-law's apartment, taking a break. Physically tired with the body aching, but we are spiritually high with great relief for the fact that another item on the to-do list has been crossed out. Thank you, Lord! This place will be our temporary shelter in New York for the time being until we leave on January 30. A cup of herbal tea that I am sipping smells good and is good enough for now for my little break.

Please pray that:

* the good Lord will keep us healthy with His grace during our transition time;
* the good Lord will put the right words of truth into my mouth as I will speak to the young adults of New York Presbyterian Church tomorrow;
* the good Lord will help us lead the process of establishing the Urwego Opportunity Bank's Mission, Vision, Core Values, and Transformation Plans with the bank's executive officers.

God is good... all the time! Amen! - Jeffrey

Thursday, January 1, 2009

(D-29) A New Year's Prayer...

Father God, what a beautiful morning you have given us today! It is a brand new one under a brand new sun, the year of 2009, which never existed before. It is the morning sun of January 1, 2009.

Father God, thank you very much for your unfailing faithfulness not only in carrying out your story (History of Grand Salvation) for the humanity but also in guiding us in our daily lives, step by step, to help us complete the sanctification by the truth.

Father God, thank you for letting us put the past behind and look forward to the future You are laying out before us. We do not see it clearly so somewhat uncertain, but we put our trust in You more than ever before so that our steps will be firm and solid. It is a great feeling of security in You, Father.

Father God, thank you for the ministry opportunity that you have allowed us to have in Rwanda this year, serving the underprivileged people to help overcome their poverty, see the Light, experience the love of God, and transform their financial, economic, social, and spiritual lives to be living witnesses of Jesus to others.

Father God, thank you for getting us excited about the ministry opportunity and getting us prepared, logistically, mentally and spiritually, little by little, but surely. How comforting it is to know and sense your presence in this process!

Father God, You already know that there is some nervousness in me, not because I am afraid of the new environments or the challenges that I will face, but beause I may fall short of the high expectations that the board and the management have on me. You know high expectations will naturally result in disappointments.

But... Father God, even this I put down before You... with an understanding that it is not I who chose Rwanda and this ministry but You who has chosen and placed us into this ministry. Thank you, God, for this assurance. I remember Your words in Phil. 4:6,7. "Do not be anxious about anything... And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." What a comfort... Thank you, my Lord... Thank you...

My Lord, Jesus, I pray for our daughters whom we leave behind in the states. Amanda will be busy finishing her intelligence training in Texas at the same time preparing for the wedding they plan to have in May. Logistically it is quite challenging, but with your guidance we trust she will handle it well. Help her come to You on her knees for guidance, wisdom and strength. Joyce will be finishing up her last semester at U Penn for graduation in May. You know she is pursuing two bachelor's degrees to be completed in four years at one of the most challenging schools in the world. I know it is not easy. But she has been doing remarkably well and I thank You for enabling her to do it. At the same time, she is applying for a job opportunity to many workplaces, which is a hassle. Besides, the job market is not that favorable because of the global crisis. Lord, I trust You will lead Her to the most appropriate job opportunity in Your eyes in Your time. I pray that You will teach her to be more dependent on You on all things.

Lord, I also pray for James Hansen, my son to be, when he marries Amanda in May. He is going through the pilot training in Oklahoma and this training is pretty intensive, I heard. May James have peace in his heart in handling multiple tasks and in the process of making numerous decisions with Amanda. I pray that James and Amanda will have stronger bonding and stronger commitment in and through this preparation process under logistical challenges of getting married in Colorado while everyone is scattered around. May your divine wisdom and godliness overflow in James so that he may be a solid leader not only as a military officer but also as the husband of the new bride.

Lord, I pray that this year many Christians around the world may be truly integral in their lives so that their lifestyles may proclaim the gospel, not just in words. It is sad to see many people turn away from the gospel and the church, criticizing the lack of integrity in the lives of Christians. So it is a constant concern for me not to fall into this trap myself. So, Lord, I pray for Your wilful intervention in the lives of all Christians, particularly Christian leaders to be truthful and integral in their lives. Oh... indeed. I believe that is the way Your Kingdom should advance further on earth.
May Your love and peace may unite peoples and nations again in 2009, reducing the conflicts around the world. Just too many people are dying innocently, Lord. May the new President of the U.S. be blessed by You with wisdom and courage so that not only the U.S. but the rest of the world may see some hope of improvement in the midst of the global crisis. May Your justice prevail in the ocean of injustice and dishonesty. May we learn to be content with what Your have entrusted with us, resisting the greed for more. May we pursue a life focussed more on 'being' than 'doing' in 2009. May we also pursue more 'significance' than 'success' in 2009. May we make the most of the days that You told us to number in our remaining lives in 2009.

Thank you, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, for the brand New Year that has just begun and for the wonderful things that You will do throughout the year. May we be somehow part of your wonderful works in Your way and in Your time. It will be our privilege and Your blessing to us. It is my prayer that You will be honored and glorified in all things.

I pray all things in the name of our Lord Jesus, Your Son. Amen. - Jeffrey

(D-30) The last day of 2008 and with Shinhan...

Today is the last day of 2008, the year of unprecedented turmoils all over the globe. The year 2008 has been pretty rough. Almost everyone has been feeling the pain, a great pain, directly or indirectly. Some have lost their homes, some their jobs. Some have seen their retirement account cut in half, some even worse. Some corporations have gone extinct while some countries barely struggle for existence. Banks have got into trouble with their liquidity and their asset quality. The fate of companies is no different. Even Toyota, one of the world's best run companies, is reporting a loss for the first time in 70 years. Real estate values have plummeted and people have seen their wealth shrink unbearably. Ah... Deep sigh. Pains in the chest...

But soon this year of many pains will be flipped over into the past. What a blessing... what a relief... It is indeed a great blessing that we can put such pains, at least the memories of them, into our past by flipping into a new year.

Starting a new year with different expectation and new hope is a tremendous blessing. It is like deep inhale of fresh air into our chest. What a relief... What a new momentum to star anew...

At this year's end, I face another reality of the end and a new beginning. Today was my last day with Shinhan Bank America. It has been planned and in the making for quite some time, and this departure was my initiative. Nonetheless, it gives me a mixed feeling because I have to leave an organization for which I have worked for the past four and half years with the 120% of my efforts poured into it. Some sadness I cannot deny, but I always look forward to the future and the new life that God has bestowed upon me and my wife in 2009. So I can smile and say, "I am content with and grateful for what God allowed me to do with Shinhan."

Soon I will head out to attend the New Year's Eve worship to thank God for His overflowing grace in 2008 and to pray for His unceasing faithfulness in 2009. It always gives me a refreshing comfort and relief to be in the house of worship when I start a brand new year. It is also a renewed time to rededicate my life to Him and for His Kingdom. He is good, really good and all the time. Amen!

Please pray that:

* we all may thank God for His abundant grace that I have enjoyed during my tenure with Shinhan Bank America;
* we all may pass the 2008's pains into the past and hopefully forget them as the year is going away; and
* we all may experience God's Shalom in 2009 with great expectations no matter how things may turn out to be beause He is soverein and reigns over the universe.

Praise the Lord for His goodness revealed to us all the time. - Jeffrey