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Finding a Chapel July 17, 2006

Posted by peterong in Personal Ministry Thoughts, Rants.

“Our Lord was pleased to assume the likeness of every poor man and compared Himself to every poor man in order that no man who believes in him should exalt himself over his brother…For ‘I was hungry,’ and ‘I was thirsty’ was said not just of one occassion, not of one day, but of the whole of life. In the same way ‘you gave me food,’ ‘you gave me drink,’ ‘you clothed me’ and so on on does not indicate one incident, but a constant attitude to everyone.” —Simeon The New Theologian (949-1022)

Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings to all of you! I hope that you are well and re-entering this new week filled with hope. I pray that you are prepared for another week of opportunities to express your journey of communion with God and with the people of God. I hope that this weeks Prayer update is a blessing to you.

I am planning a special fundraising event in New York City in late August for some of the last stretch of funding. I am hopeful and will continue with the planning until the funding comes through. I am going to continue with my networking meetings and with the ministry despite the funding. I just need 40 people who are willing to offer $25 a month for the ministry for me to raise the funds needed to move ahead with the ministry…Pray for distinct provision and for me to ask with diligence and faith.

Sonia’s wedding (community, omelettes and chapels)
Jamie and I just returned from a trip to Philadelphia for a dear couple, Sonia and Christopher. It was amazing to see how God has formed their relationship and bringing them to an adoring ceremony. I spent the weekend with my good friend Wendy and had the chance to hang out with Eric and Ray. We spent the days in community and as we broke bread we had omellettes and engaged in conversation about youth, Christ, and church. I realized how much I love and miss them. A lot of it was an opportunity to share openly in an inclusive community where there was no pretenses but a profound identification in our love for God and for each other. I find their longing for God to be so sincere expressed in their embrace of people.

As Jamie and I drove to the wedding, we had difficulty in finding the chapel despite the signs…we drove…we backtracked…we made U-turns….and in the episode, I found that there were an allegory for me at this time in Syracuse….During my time in Syracuse, I find that I have become what Goetz defines as the ethos of suburbia is catering to “the overindulged self” in an “environment of security, efficiency, and opportunities,” all of which create a faux spirituality. I have found that my faith and my journey here has been a point of complex wrestling…and I found that there is a yearning for more and settled provisionally what I feel amounts a little more than busy avoidance of a hurting community, this is what Goetz points to a “bloated, tiny soul.”

I had a meeting with the pastor and he firmly affirmed my new direction and assessed that I am in an unhealthy season of my pilgrimage and that I need a distinct community and nurturing that is not explicitly available at the church…I felt my position always bound by a deep sense of being an outsider…I expressed to him that this was a very carefully thought out decision. I apologized if I was a distraction from the ministry and he gave me such acceptance and love…I am fulfilling my duties at the church for the summer and we are looking towards a new season in Syracuse. I am so relieved…and in the words of the pastor…”you no longer have to put your hand in the fire anymore unless this your calling.” I will fulfill all my responsibilities for the summer for the youth ministry and also continue in my friendship with the youth workers. I have expressed my new direction and thankful for their understanding and support. I offer them my committed friendship and service to them.

Pray for a parting that is appropriate and with understanding and for our new home church to be opportunities of distinct community and particpatory ministry opportunities for Jamie and I to serve and grow.

Failure Moves me To Jesus
So as you know, I was laid off from my part-time work in Syracuse and I did some research and wanted to volunteer my time until I find another part-time job…Thanks to my Syracuse Friend Kati, she recommended that I contact the Interreligious Council’s Center for New Americans.

As some of you know, I had a desire to go to Sudan for short-term missions work in 2004 but due to circumstances at my former ministry, I had to stay behind before preparing for my trip there. It has haunted me for sometime and it was not clear how this would intersect at my life again…So I had a meeting with the Executive Director and we found mutual convictions and passions for the oppressed.

This Wednesday Jamie and I may have the opportunity to welcome a Sudanese family to the United States. I may volunteer with their Employment Specialist to develop a vocational program for these communities of refugees (in particular, there was a group of teens that they would like for me to work with). I can’t begin to say how much this has brought me to a place of intimacy towards God and reminds me that there is a place for me here…where this an embrace of a common passion. They expressed that there may be some paid positions available to me…Pray for this opportunity as a time for nurturing, learning and preparation…

I am preparing for my talk on Social Justice and Mercy for the unity worship night in the Fall called ONEHOUSE. I am excited to have the privilege of serving this ministry as it moves towards beyond the sake of unity towards a focus on addressing suffering on a global scale. We are partnering with World Vision to use the evening as a launchpad for the body of Christ to engage and lay a claim on our call to address the poor and the hungry.

asian emergent skypecast
I will be participating in the Asian American Emergent Skypcast tomorrow. It is coordinated by Bruce Reyes-Chow. This will be a quarterly (every 5th Sunday) discussion on Asian American Christians and the Emergent Church Movement. I look forward to exchanging ideas and thoughts on ministry.

Speaking at Herald Gospel Camp
I was asked to be the speaker at the Herald Gospel Camp at Camp Herald for their second session at camp. I am praying to see if I could be part of the ministry that was the beginning of my calling in full-time ministry.

Marriage and Moments of Love
Pray for our marriage as we are approaching our first year of marriage, it has been a joyous time but also a time of great adjustment. There is something very beautiful in this journey with one another and when our times of such fraility we find the arms of such acceptance of our wounded self…someone who sees you with a naked trust.

Please join me in praise for my beloved friend Amy who was baptized this past Sunday. She has come home after years of pursuing and I am so moved by her friendship…her authenticity and for allowing me to be part of her story…as she shared her doubts and her wonder of God’s grace.

Please pray for my friend Wendy and her new apartment which is a ministry for community and for mutual encouragement in the body of Christ. I am so amazed by her commitment to move into the community she wants to minister to…

Pray for my friend Kim who lost her dad this past week and as she is undergoing thoughts of loss that she may come to a place of peace and healing.

To Financially Support the ministry please send checks (make payable to PaLM) to:
48-19 196th Street
Fresh Meadows, New York
please mark memo: Asian American Laity Ministries or Peter Ong
All donations are tax-deductible



1. Reyes-Chow - July 18, 2006

Peter . . . glad to see you’ll be part of the Skypecast in a few weeks. I look forward to hearing more about the ministry you are serving.


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