1- My Watch
Several weeks ago, I was running around the lake in the center of town for a bit of exercise. To avoid colliding with a man walking towards us, I moved to the left of the sidewalk, but my left arm barely hit a light pole. Actually, my arm didn't hit it, but my watch did- causing a small but important piece (like a little pin) to fall to the ground never to be found again. My watch is a cheapo Wal-Mart one- but I LOVE it- and can't find any like it in Dalat (with a velcro band). Anyway, it was one of those moments where I just wanted to cry. I use my watch every day for class- it's a must. However, after our run I saw a watch shop. I thought I would just look to see if they had any similar ones. While I held my broken watch in my hand- the man at the counter took it, saw the problem, and immediately found a replacement piece and had it fixed within two minutes for just a few thousand Dong (maybe 20 cents). I didn't even think it could be fixed- I was just looking for a new one. I didn't have any Vietnamese words to explain, and yet it all worked out. I wanted to cry for joy this time!! And some things this 'minor' mishap taught me included:
-One small watch part, or one seemingly small/insignificant person, can make such a difference... each member of the body is so important.
-I had no idea the watch could be fixed at all- and there ended up being a simple, quick, cheap, nearby solution. How often do I see no solutions to life's problems, when the Father is above all of that and we cannot comprehend what He might bring about. Ah... I'm overwhelmed with His goodness and love.
-Just like the man at the watch store, how quick the Father is to heal our hearts and mend our brokenness- He continually makes us new.
-The verse that kept playing over in my mind that night was the one about how our Father delights in giving us good gifts... taste and see that He is good. Sometimes it strikes me most through the small things- like watch parts :)
2- The Flame
This past Sunday night our team of four was invited to dine at the home of Momma and Poppa Kim (some prominent Korean teachers here at Dalat University). Poppa Kim has brought several Korean teachers to the school, and has quite a bit of influence in Vietnam and South Korea and has played an important role in building relations between the countries. Both of them speak a good bit of English (their daughter and son-in-law live in Atlanta, GA). Anyway, we had some DELICIOUS Korean food- and it was a very unique experience to say the least. They live in a VERY nice (very non-VN-style) home that they designed and built. Their home was filled with very nice things- a 24 karat gold silverware type of home :) Anyway, the electricity was out that night, so we had dinner by candlelight. After we finished dinner and were enjoying a good conversation, I noticed a candle flame by the window that was getting dangerously high. I debated whether or not to say anything in my mind. I didn't want to offend these very important people, and I wasn't sure what would be appropriate to say or do in Korean culture. I couldn't stop staring at the flame, and yet wasn't sure if I should interrupt? Finally my teammate Maren also noticed and she said something right away, the candle was blown out, and there was a big black mark on the wall. Momma and Poppa were thankful (their backs were to the candle). This little mishap was a great challenge to me:
-How many times do I see something in someone's life that I know isn't healthy or helpful, and yet for fear of offending them or of making the relationship awkward, I keep silent? Afraid I will be viewed as judgmental or prideful?
-This made me think about how harmful it could be if I keep silent... worse case scenario (the beautiful wood home would have burned to the ground).
-And on the other hand, I know how thankful I am when someone speaks into my life to keep me from living in sin, or making poor choices... so why am I not quick to do the same?
-I think sometimes the people-pleasing side of me wins too often.
Well folks, "Life is fast, it doesn't wait nobody." So don't spend time worrying about little watch parts- the Father is bigger than any perceived problem. And don't waste time keeping silent... but in the words of John Mayer- say what you need to say.
Cheers! (A common VN-English ending to e-mail messages)