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He Sees March 27, 2006

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Hi Folks, I am back from the NYC from another whirlwind of festivities. It was good to be back in New York City for another stint of meetings with friends and family.

Special thanks for Gordo for creating this logo for me! I am planning on developing a website for ministry updates and also for blogging. I am still investigating any good services out there. I am not looking for anything too fancy, just suitable enough for updates and blogging and photojournaling. If you know of any good web-hosting services, I would appreciate your counsel.

I went to attend the wedding of Eugene Lee and Grace Chen from Overseas Chinese Mission. It was a beautiful wedding where I had the privelege of serving as a Master of Ceremonies with Sook Yee, one of the teens I have seek grow up.

Jamie and I went back to Chinese Conservative Baptist Church, Jamie’s home church and to our surprise, Greg Jao, Intervarsity NY/NJ Field Director, was the guest speaker! He gave a great talk about the first chapter of the book of Daniel which spoke about relevance and engagement with our culture. I didn’t realize he was a corporate lawyer who went into ministry. Very thankful for his work and his excellence in the ministry he is involved in. I am especially thankful for his encouragement and his support of the Asian American laity Project.

Experiencing God
Jamie and I are still working together to lead with a smallgroup study on “Experiencing God” by Henry Blackaby. The men’s group had some new members. Overall there has been such an overwhelming blessing on my part as I prepare and also go through the study. I have felt a new sense of intimacy and focus in my worship.

Pressing Forth
I am making some inroads in planning for a Laity Project launch in September and there are some things up the pipeline that are very exciting. I am gathering some local leaders and national leaders to be part of a forum to form strategic planning for the next year or so. Pray for wisdom and continued perseverance.

Jehovah -Jireh
I was asked to be on-call at my part-time job in Syracuse. So once again, the issue of finances have come up. I hope that my next prayer support letter will inspire brothers and sisters to partner with me on this project. I have invited several people to become formal prayer partners to commit to consistently pray for the ministry and the provision. But Jamie and I have peace that God will provide and I am going to start looking for other opportunities in the meantime. Reminded that the Hebrew word for Jehovah Jireh literally means “God sees” and that is a great comfort.

Discouragement
I have to confess that the lack of funding has been a source of some of questioning on how to proceed. But tonight a special gift was offered. I was going to buy groceries while Jamie was finishing up her take-home exam…when the cashier finished ringing up my items…I realized I forgot my wallet…I was so upset and realized that dinner was going to be late and while my plans to help Jamie seemed to be in jeopardy…I went home and then went back to the grocery store when there was a long line and I didn’t want the cashier to re-ring my items. But then there was this older South Asian woman who needed help getting her groceries into her car…it was cold and I just had a sweater but there was a stirring in my heart to help her…I offered my help and decided to come back…as I was pushing her cart, she asked me if I was a student, I said no but told her that my wife is a grad student. She then asked me if I knew Dr. Koshy, and I replied “of course…He is the chaplain at Syracuse… (and pastor at International Friendship Evangelism in Syracuse)” She then told me, “I am his wife, I was praying that God would send someone to help me…” As I walked her to her, she was limping, she asked me what I did and I shared that I organize ministry to serve Asian American laity, she responded “Praise God, I often pray for young people to get a vision for God’s work and He has given you that. You are such an answered prayer…” As I placed her groceries in her car and said “good night” she invited to visit her home and church. I told her that I would. In that, all my insecurities about ministry seem to melt into the kindness of God’s provision for two simple children of God to help each other. I was really blessed.

Thank you God for this little woman who in my helping her, she renewed my faith. Pray for me that I would have the confidence in spite of the funding to know that God can use me…just as He did when I was in NYC.

Misc. Prayers

Please continue to pray for my mom and dad who are on vacation in Indonesia. They are visiting my uncle whose family members are all Christian, I pray that this journey will be part of the story of their salvation.

I found out two good friends of mine who were engaged broke off the engagement. I know them both and it has brought back a lot of pain for my own journey but I see how much I feel for them and the pain they are going through. Please pray for the two of them to continue to seek peace in the midst of this.

Jamie and I are trying to plan out our future with her new dual graduate program at Maxwell School, which would mean that we are going to stay here a bit longer. I pray that God will give us wisdom and perspective that is beyond our speculations and planning. To be practical but also ready to surrender our plans for Him.

Please continue to pray for my sister and her divorce, the more I think about it and the more I talk to her, there seems to be such a despair in her voice and the way things are turning out. I pray for authentic moments for her and God.

These past few weeks, I have been yearning to discover more about the ministries in Syracuse, not to “work” but to explore how I can use some of what God has placed in my heart to serve. We are going to start visiting some other churches this month and just see where God is leading us. I am seeking a deeper engagement with this community and Jamie and I are wanting to explore more of what God is doing here.

Thanks for praying for me in my Chinese class, I aced the midterm and today I did a presentation about the Church in China, I am developing some good friendships with these students and hope to grab coffee to learn about their lives.

Pray for Cornell IVCF as Joel Miller, the stalwart staffworker is resigning this year and they need help, I am considering helping out…but only as a volunteer…pray for wisdom and discernment.

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urban reversion March 19, 2006

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Jamie and I are back from a trek from New York City for some meetings and also for some leisure with friends and family. I felt so alive taking the subway again.

I had a Pastoral and Laity Ministries fellowship meeting with Asian American pastors and ministry. They are participating in an ongoing study on Shaped by God’s Heart. We had an engaging discussion on “Authenticity.” I was able to spend some time sharing about ministry with Pastor Donald Yee at Boon Church of Overseas Chinese Mission.

I was able to spend some quality time with my parents who are heading out to Indonesia to see my uncle who is recovering from a stroke. It was a wonderful time of sharing and reconnecting with them. Pray for their experiences in their travels to be filled with understanding of the testimony of my father’s family who are Christian in a such a hostile country. It is the largest Muslim country in the world. Please refer to this page for prayer items.

I was able to meet briefly with Jennifer Ikoma who is the new recruitment director of Multi-ethnic Ministries and who is also assisting with the Asian American ministry for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship National office. It is always such a blessing to hear of her stories of her engagement (congratulations!) and to see how much God is doing through the ministry of IV. She asked me to consider helping out with Cornell because their staff leader is transitioning out.

We were able to spend some time with my good friend Eshean who just had a beautiful baby Maya. You can see more of her pictures here. It was a good time for Jamie and I to hold a baby and realize the miracle of this gift of children. Pray for our continued pursuit of seeking after His will in this area in our lives.

We had a great time at the Jinny Kim CD launch concert, it was a breathtaking performance with her beautiful words to match that voice. She is a saint who pursues beauty for ashes. I ran into some old friends and some youth. Pray that God continues to work through the work of artists, I am developing a strategic engagement of artists with seekers and how powerfully God speaks through people like Jinny.

On Sunday, I was able to attend my old home church Redeemer Presbyterian Church and once again, I am speechless by the simplicity and beauty in which Pastor Tim presents the gospel and the steps towards discipleship. I was so moved by His call for us to “go down so we can go up…” I love that church.

I wasn’t able to meet with any of leaders of EPIC, the Campus Crusades Asian American ministry. I hope to connect with them online and to seek some partnership.

Congratulations and Praises! Jamie just got into the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs for a dual Masters program. It has been ranked as the #1 Graduate School for Public Affairs according to U.S. News and World Report. Pray for us as this would mean an additional time here in Syracuse.

I have been invited to speak at other groups and I have decided to cut back and not do any more speaking engagements till the summer. Pray that I prepare well for the New York Summer Conference. Pray for good preparation for Teen Eastern Chinese Bible Conference, they asked me to do a workshop, I am praying about doing something on evangelism…

We are approaching our second official session of Experiencing God and last week only two men showed up. I was a bit surprised but satisfied with who God brought. I know it is a blessing for me to serve this group and I pray that whoever God brings, it be filled with His glory.

I am doing a presentation for my Chinese class at Syracuse University. The teacher asked us to do a presentation about what interests you about China and I decided to do it on the Churches in China. Pray for a time for sincere sharing and for engagement with the students on who Jesus is.

Misc Prayer Items
For provision for the Laity Ministry. Next Fall, is the determining moment for us…it is going to be a challenging time for us financially to pursue ministry without funding. Pray for more diligence on my part to share the vision of the ministry and for faith to grow in the process.

Please continue to pray for my sister since my niece have moved out and now lives with the father. My niece refuses to talk to my sister. It makes me so sad that there is so much brokenness.

Pray for the youth, who are the most vulnerable in this country, this past week we have learned of such horrendous crimes that are being inflicted on youth…please pray for these innocents.

Pray for our settling into a home church, we are thinking about looking and prayerfully seek out how we can serve the church.

Restless Intimacy March 12, 2006

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a sunset view at from the lakeview of Stella Maris Retreat and Renewal Center

I am back from the my renewal retreat from Stella Maris Retreat and Renewal Center. I arrrived around noon and they provided me a wonderful suite called the Potter’s House. I was able to enter in…restless, I prayed in a chapel filled with sacred silence. Things that I learned…

1. stillness doesn’t mean intimacy…
2. my restlessness is a form of intimacy…
3. i am wounded…
4. i am in reach of healing
5. i am not alone…
6. God is everpresent
7. peace resides in the future grace of God

Although it was shorter than I hoped, it was a first step towards a deeper communion with God. The story has just begun…

Jamie and I had a wonderful weekend of exploring the wonders of God’s creation at Chittenango Falls, being part of community by attending a surprise birthday party for a sister (where I met an old acquaintance from New York City! Such a small world!). I sense that Jamie and I are uncovering a yearning for a direction for our future…we are finding so many possibilities for us…We want to serve God…to the broken and to the people of God. To be a vessel to provide “living water.” Pray for our planning to be drenched with a sense of surrender to whatever He desires. To be joyous in our love for Him and for others.

Thank you for your prayers for our Experiencing God fellowship group where Jamie and I are co-leading a men’s and women’s group. It was a great start and already God is teaching me so much through this despite the fact that this is my fourth time I am going through this study. There is always something new and exciting on this journey. Pray for our co-leaders Dan and Yu-ting and for our group, that we all grow through this experience.

Prayer letters are coming soon. Look for it on your inbox and I will send them out soon. Pray for provision and inspiration for the work that God desires to do through the Asian American laity. I am finalizing my invitations for core group of brothers and sisters to be my prayer partners. If you would like to be a prayer partner, please let me know.

I have made some comments in DJ Chuang’s on-line blog discussion. I am still working on the article I am writing regarding issues with the generational churches. Will keep you posted about this.

We are coming back into New York City this week to spend some time with friends and with family. My uncle in Indonesia had a stroke so my parents are going to Asia to see him. Pray that they experience God through the testimony of my family there (almost all of his siblings have come to Christ in Indonesia and some of them in full-time ministry!) Amazing! Pray that their pilgrimage home will be a spiritual return.

I am waiting for the launch for the English CCHC website! The content is about finished and I have some follow up with the different directors for some final CCHC specifics to be posted. Pray for an unveiling of this site.

I won’t go into detail regarding my speaking engagements but I praise God for the invitations from groups to speak but I am learning to say “no” and having to engage in focusing on the laity ministry that is before me. Part of the issue is funding and the other is wanting to speak with a sense of devotion and not desperation.

Pray for all our friends who are getting married or contemplating marriage in the next few months. We have so many weddings and we are looking forward to sharing this blessing with all our friends.

Love you guys, hope to talk to you all very soon!

Peter O

sabbath delivered March 6, 2006

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This was a weekend of some deep rest for me. I had some time reflecting on faith, love and intimacy. I have been reading a lot C.S. Lewis and traveling with Donald Miller and exploring worlds and words with Frederick Buechner. It was much needed pause and interruption for me to listen, to feed my soul and to seek His face.

I am working on a reflection on Asian American ministry called “Exit Wounds” that will discuss some of my thoughts regarding the apparent splits that are happening in the Asian American Church. I would appreciate any insights that you may have to me at peter@palmny.org.

I just finished my Chinese midterms today and enjoying the opportunity to learn and glad to know that despite my age I am able to do reasonable job in learning the language. I am hoping that this will help in my future work in overseas or immigrant ministry.

If you have time join the blog-based discussion hosted by DJ Chuang on the book Growing Healthy Asian American Ministries by Peter Cha.

I am preparing for my trip to New Y ork City in two weeks for the long-awaited CD release of Jinny Kim’sFinding Ophelia” which reached #1 on Independent Band’s Website! Here was my last year’s reflection I had about musicians and their role in expressing the gospel.

During my time in New York City, I hope to connect with some pastors at the Pastoral and Laity Minsitries Monthly fellowship. I am hoping to meet with some leaders for the Campus Crusades for Christ EPIC movement. I will also spend some time with parents before they head out to East Asia to be with my uncle who suffered a stroke. Please pray for my sister as she is still undergoing some pretty rough patches in her divorce.

The Chinese Christian Herald Crusades English website template is completed and it looks great. Now we need to put in some of that content and we are ready to go. I am excited to launch this website in the upcoming weeks. Pray that this online ministry will help a larger body of believers to be inspired by what God is doing through this minsitry.

I am procrastinating on getting those prayer letters out. Spending too much time planning it and praying about it that I am really not looking forward to this part. Pray for a deeper faith for provision and understanding the importance of this call. I promise to have them out this week.

Jamie and I are leading an “Experiencing God” Study by Henry Blackaby and Claude King study. I remember meeting and getting to know Claude King as he was moving toward the New Hope, New York Prayer movement. It was a book that was very close to my heart in my early years of discipleship and my subsequent years of ministry. I pray that we can use this to impact the members of Syracuse Alliance Church’s adult fellowship called Grace in Motion. Pray for us as we are leading a guys and gals group with another couple Dan and Yu-Ting.

I have been invited to speak at Overseas Chinese Mission Church’s Hosanna Fellowship, the adult’s career group for a Friends Night on June 19th. The theme will be “Are We There Yet?” to communicate hope to the driven focused people.

I have also been invited to speak at the Summer Conference for Grace Alliance Church in Brooklyn. I spoke there a few years ago for their Summer Conference, they are asking me to speak on July 4th Weekend which is the week before the New York Summer Conference. So pray for wisdom to decide.

I booked myself for a one-day retreat to Stella Maris Retreat and Renewal Center this Thursday, I am looking forward to a day of just basking in the beauty of God’s creation and just reading and refreshing.

Thank you again and I miss you guys. Hope to see you in a few weeks! We might have another friend’s gathering. Look forward to it. Be well!

So as I think of you, I leave you a quote from Mr. Buechner:

“Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too. ”

May God’s peace that surpasses all understanding be with you.