Dear brothers and sisters,

It’s been an entire year since Tony’s death. God talked to me in my heart a week or so after we found out about his cancer. He told me I could not lose this battle to Satan…. Then on the very night Tony passed away, I heard His voice in my heart again, word by word - “It’s time for you to start working for me”. Someone asked me if I had ever thought about where Tony was right now……the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke came up to me……the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man died and was in torment in hell. He looked up and saw Lazarus and Abraham, who told him Lazarus was comforted there and between them a great chasm had been fixed, so that those who want to go from there to him cannot, nor can anyone cross over from hell to him. I did ask Tony if he saw any angels coming for him at the hour he was leaving. He could hardly talk by then…..yet he still tried to utter the word “yes”, not just once, through his teeth….I was pretty certain that angels came and carried him away and he is blissful and worry free now.

There were lots of paperwork and things to be done after Tony’s death. By His Grace He sent Andrew Lai to help me go thru all those somewhat frustrating and time consuming probate procedures. It took me almost 9 months to finish all matters concerned. Stephen Ip volunteers to be our financial adviser and I thank God for all the brothers and sisters who had assisted me after Tony’s gone. So far God has been providing enough for my family to go by.

I informed 3 or 4 college friends about Tony’s death last Nov. Then I escorted my sister on a trip to Japan and San Fran. in Jan. It was not till we moved to a hotel in S.F. that we had internet connections. I checked my email and realized there were like 70 unread messages – many of them were from the old Texas Tech guys sending me sympathies. I’m grateful we’ve all come to renew our old friendship back 20+ years…..We even started a TTU Yahoo group online. Miraculously God arranges an opportunity for me to witness Him through the emails I deliver to them. 

Then God gave me another chance to serve Him this fall by teaching ESL on Sundays in church. As a matter of fact, I’ve already started to talk to my students about our Lord. I know He will contrive for me to accomplish His purpose on my life… providing the right timing, a proper place, etc. 

The next thing is, by no accident, I came across a cancer patient care program from Chinese Christian Herald Crusades in our church Bulletin early October. I used to toss away the bulletin every week, without reading every single item carefully. But before I was about to discard that bulletin, some thoughts urged me to open and read particularly about that session. I attended the training class, signed up as volunteer to pray, visit, care for cancer patients, and to help whenever any special programs come up in the future. I got invited to a dedication dinner one night and met a lung cancer patient. Amazingly she looks well-composed and she even volunteers at MD Anderson. I was overjoyed when she said she could help me sign up for volunteer services at the hospital, since this is what I’ve been wishing to do even before Tony died. I attended an orientation and interview last week and probably I can start volunteering next month.

Sometimes I pray that God would stop all storm and stress for the rest of my life….and I could still get my strength in quietness and peace, if possible. I know it is easy to address “Having more hardship and affliction, better testimony for Him.” It’s true we are in great torment when we suffer. Yet it is also true that the more turbulence and turmoil we encounter, the more life experience we have to share, and much easier for us to present our testimonies. What do I have to say from my heart if my life is flat without ups and downs? This is how we are shaped to witness Him.

God is the ingenious artist. An essay online says Leonardo De Vinci was actually trying to paint a self-portrait when he was working on Mona Lisa. God is also trying to draw a self portrait on the canvas of our lives. Trying to secure us to conform to His image, He keeps erasing and redrawing earnestly. Each erasing is the pain we need to endure, and each redrawing is the time when we come out of every valley of the shadow of death. We will eventually be molded to the image of Christ after numerous repeated erasing and redrawing. All we need is patience and trust to persevere until the portrait is accomplished. It’ll be an ingenuous and memorable portrait which God Himself would retain for His own collection.

There are times I think I have too much agony and misery, yet there are always a lot of others who are worse than me. I heard a lady with 2 kids, aged 11 and 15, lost her husband with cancer in summer 2005. It wasn’t long that she lost her home in New Orleans later. Double category 5 hurricanes in a few months……. and endless despairing news from multimedia……

I know some people are skeptical about watching TV – but nowadays the quality of multimedia is much better. I think we need to use a more open attitude toward multimedia. It is not all junk soap opera or movies any more. You can practically learn a great deal from it. Every episode in Tai Cheung Kim is so touching….if it is really a true story as claimed, I wonder how many Christians can love and treat their enemies like she did. She forgave them all….even those who killed her parents directly and indirectly. As a matter of fact, today’s multimedia is a high tech product of great versatility. They present shows of traveling, gourmet cooking, problems of the society, life from different levels…. 

The stunning places around the world amaze you at God’s wonderful and incredible creations…….

Once I saw a special program interviewing a Christian lady from Hong Kong. She spent time and money helping and serving crippled children in Mainland China. Recently she adopted a severely crippled girl who can neither see nor talk nor walk. Yet the baby is blessed to have met such a compassionate lady who has a heart of Christ. Even her mother would not accept her being unmarried with an adopted child in the beginning. She won her mom’s approval and support finally when they both appeared on the show….. 

TVB (a TV station in Hong Kong) worked with Chinese Christian Herald Crusades and collected $1,600,000 in the 2004 tsunami fundraising program…… 

The children sponsoring program of World Vision, an organization which keeps reminding us there are millions of children who are surviving without much food daily…….and Hong Kong singer Andy Lau is sponsoring 15 children each year……

I watched a special program once introducing scenery at Yen Tong Shan, China. The host mentioned that we cannot see a perfect sunrise when the weather is bright and clear. Contrarily it is when mist and haze are present that we can watch a perfect sunrise with the sun looks like a salt egg yolk. This reminds us things might not come out perfect and ideal as we hope for when we are in favorable conditions. Yet something excelling and sublime might surprisingly occur when we experience unfavorable situations. The point is whether we perceive and apprehend it or not.

Let’s pray fervently that we all put our focus on God alone and strive for “our partnership in the gospel”. Base only on the truth in the Bible, we can “take our stand against the devil’s schemes, and do not give the devil a foothold.” 

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2 -3

Rossana Lai, November 2006