Friday, December 5, 2008

Thankful for Deborah

I know it's a week late after Thanksgiving, but I've had this in mind for some time. Here's a short list of some of the things I'm thankful for about Deborah. In no particular order...
  • Her thoughtfulness. She notices all of the little things that I like and don't like...even things that I've never thought about! She never neglects to give the "little attentions" like little notes in my lunches, learning to cook food that I like (and avoiding food that I don't like!), complimenting me for my little (often insignificant) accomplishments.
It is the little attentions, the numerous small incidents and simple courtesies of life, that make up the sum of life's happiness; and it is the neglect of kindly, encouraging, affectionate words, and the little courtesies of life, which helps compose the sum of life's wretchedness. [AH 108.2]
  • Her prayers. It seems that whenever she prays, God answers. From the smallest things like praying that the girls in her dorm will go to bed without fussing to praying about major decisions in her life, God has always answered her prayers in marked and undeniable ways. It also is because she is particularly sensitive to the Lord's moving in her life. I am always encouraged to know that she's praying for me.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man (and woman!) availeth much. [James 5:16]
  • Her frugality. She's thrifty but not stingy. It's fun and so refreshing to be able to laugh about how "cheap" we were able to get something, or to devise new methods to save. The leftovers she's been able to resurrect have been simply unbelievable! Yet, I'm amazed at how willing she has been to give freely and liberally to others.
Is [she] an economist, or will she, if married, not only use all her own earnings, but all of yours to gratify a vanity, a love of appearance? Are her principles correct in this direction? Has she anything now to depend upon? . . . I know that to the mind of a man infatuated with love and thoughts of marriage these questions will be brushed away as though they were of no consequence. But these things should be duly considered, for they have a bearing upon your future life. . . . [AH 46.2]
  • Her cooking. This may seem trivial, but to me it isn't! Being an Asian in Arkansas isn't easy, but I'll refer you here to see for yourself. The criteria for a girl to be able to cook authentic Asian food for me was on the "Would Like To Have in a Wife" list...but honestly, it was so high up there that it might as well have been in the "Essential To Have" list. Phew! I think I'm safe...
To the health and happiness of the whole family nothing is more vital than skill and intelligence on the part of the cook. By ill-prepared, unwholesome food she may hinder and even ruin both the adult's usefulness and the child's development. Or by providing food adapted to the needs of the body, and at the same time inviting and palatable, she can accomplish as much in the right as otherwise she accomplishes in the wrong direction. So, in many ways, life's happiness is bound up with faithfulness in common duties. {AH 89.3}
  • Her depth. I've always known that women were complicated creatures. But I think as most guys, at some point in my life I thought that I had them all figured out. Ha! Boy, was I wrong. On more than one occasion, I've been utterly baffled by the unique perspective that she's able to see things from. (Confession: It's more like frustration when she's right and I'm wrong...and she's usually right!) Also, her gentle and tactful way of communicating when I've stepped out of line has given me pause many times. Perhaps most of all, I've come to realize that I haven't even begun to fully learn all of the neat and wonderful things about this girl! (I have to leave the door open for future lists like this, right?)
I can honestly say that I'm a better person for having known Deborah!
(Taken at Winding Stairs, Arkansas)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What I had for lunch...

Yes, I even made it. (With a lot of help from Deborah, of course.) It was yummy. :-)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

AudioVerse is Bad

Most readers of this blog will probably be shocked to find such a blog title from me. That is because they know that I have been an loyal fan of AudioVerse ever since its inception. In fact, I have avidly promoted AudioVerse as I've traveled domestically or overseas. What more, I have many sermons on AudioVerse myself! But, I've come to the realization that AudioVerse is not always a good thing. In fact, I've learned that it can even be a bad thing. Please allow me to explain.

Here at Ouachita Hills we have a unique arrangement for internet access. The entire campus' computers share one satellite connection, which has a service provider imposed 30-day bandwidth limit. In other words, we have a limit of the total amount of data we can download through this satellite internet connection and we share this limit with every single computer on campus. If we exceed the 30-day limit, the service provider scales back our speed to the equivalent of a 56k dial-up connection for a certain period of time (not indefinitely, but had to explain). Imagine that--for the ENTIRE CAMPUS.

Here at Ouachita Hills, a high concentration of the student body are also avid AudioVerse fans. (You can see where this is headed.) I learned in staff meeting yesterday that we have had trouble in recent times with students (particularly the male, college variety of which I was recently one) downloading copious amounts of sermons online. So much so, that it caused a surpassing of the bandwidth limit several times plunging the entire campus' back to sharing a 56k connection. Needless to say this wreaked havoc on all the work that needed to be done via the Web, and drove the inhabitants to undescribable anguish and frustration.

So you see, AudioVerse is sometimes bad...but you also see that there is no doubt that we at Ouachita Hills love AudioVerse!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A New Chapter

Life is like a book. It is comprised of chapters that generally can be marked by some significant change in the life. I just recently flipped the page to begin inking a new chapter in my life, so you guessed it, that means there are some significant changes in my life that I'm about to share.

Firstly, I'm flipping the page out of life as a full-time student (or otherwise a student whose studies were temporarily suspended). I am posting this blog from Amity, Arkansas where I will be working as a staff member at Ouachita Hills Academy. Granted, I will be completing several more classes this school year and will be officially receiving my degree thereafter; my primary responsibilities will be teaching and working as assistant to Chester Clark III. (For those of you who know Chester, you understand that the duties surrounding this position defy explanation.) It is an exciting change as I fully believe in the principles and philosophy on which Ouachita Hills Academy is founded. I am especially eager to begin working directly in the shaping of young lives for the Lord's service. It is exciting in a different way as well because, as many of you know, after my sudden illness last December, it was uncertain whether I would be able to return to normal life. I am very thankful to God that He has allowed me to have a new chapter in life at all!

Secondly (and probably what most readers will take greater interest in), I'm also beginning a new chapter in the relationship arena of life as well. I am currently dating a young lady named Deborah Arakawa, who happens to also be the assistant girls' dean at Ouachita Hills Academy. I first met Deborah many years ago in Loma Linda, but have remained only distance acquaintances mostly since then. Although it was during those intervening years I became very good friends with her brother, Tim (who recently got married), it wasn't until a little under two years ago did I really get to know Deborah. She volunteered as my assistant in the logistics department of GYC and through that interaction we became good friends. Well, rather than laboriously tracing the details of how we've gotten to this point (yes, there are a lot of details), I think it is more important that it was through many hours on our knees in prayer, counsel with godly individuals, study of inspired counsel, deep soul-searching, and watching for Divine Providence that this relationship came about. God has made Himself very real to us through the whole journey thus far, and we trust that He won't cease to continue leading us from here.

Now, see for yourself. :-)





Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Summer is Upon Us

I have not posted in a while, mainly because not very much happened that I felt particularly compelled to blog about. However, I think now is a good time to share a little about how things have been going and what's around the corner for me.

My recovery is still going slow by steady. Pretty much all function is back, except for the deltoid muscles on both arms. It's slow going, but I still detect minute improvements. I'm no longer visiting anyrehab facilities, just doing a home exercise program. Okay, that's the boring update, here's the exciting part.

I will be traveling for the next few weeks to several places, which will really test the quality of my physical endurance. Here they are in order:
  1. Laurelbrook Academy Graduation - I've been invited back as the graduation speaker at the school where I did my student teaching last Fall. I am excited and honored to have this marvelous privilege. I will try my best to take some pictures.
  2. Sarawak, Malaysia - Shortly after graduation, I will be flying with my family back to Malaysia to visit my dad's side of the family. They live in Sarawak, East Malaysia. It will be a grueling 30+ hour trip from Loma Linda to our first stop!
  3. Melaka, Malaysia - After a long weekend with extended family, we will fly back to West Malaysia to the province of Melaka for the annual AYC youth camp. I will be speaking together with Randy Skeete. My parents are also speaking for a Family Seminar, and true to form, they drafted me to do several of the presentations for them also.
  4. Singapore - A few days after AYC, I will be driving down to Singapore for SYC! It is a youth camp for some of youth groups in the Singapore area, and I will be the main speaker for that event as well.
  5. Hong Kong - Immediately following SYC, my family will jet off to Hong Kong for a final few days of "ration replenishment" (i.e. SHOPPING!). Being that we have a layover in HK anyway, we are taking the opportunity to import some good Asian food that can't be found here in the US, and also update our wardrobe since we tend to have trouble with US-sized clothing. :-)
Phew! Ready or not, this trip is right upon me. I'm thankful that the Lord has healed my body enough that I can still actively participate in ministry opportunities around the world. Please do pray for the various souls that will hear the Gospel preached to them this summer, as you remember. My travels conclude at the end of June after which I will be taking summer school in California and also helping prepare for the wedding of some dear friends. I hope that those who visit this blog will have a blessed, productive, and safe summer!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Latest on AudioVerse

The first official recording of my personal testimony has been uploaded to AudioVerse.org. I know that many have been wondering just exactly what happened when I got sick, and since I am not able to visit everyone who has such concerns, I'm thankful that AudioVerse is able to distribute this testimony to all who are interested to listen. Here is the link that will take you to the exact page where you can download the message entitled, When Troubles Come.

Blessings to you!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What Accent Do You Have?

I recently stumbled upon an online quiz that tests what type of accent a person has. Surprisingly, I supposedly have the Midland accent even though I've never lived in that region. Since it's the "no-accent" accent, I wonder how they determine that that's really the "pure" one? I'm sure the proponents of the Queen's English would have some thoughts on that. I guess at the very least I can be thankful that all those years in the South hasn't rubbed off on my speech! Perhaps all that TV I watched as a kid was good for something after all? (I still don't recommend it.) ;-)

Here are some sound bits of linguistic counsel to cogitate on:

The guidance of the Spirit never leads to indistinctness of speech. The Spirit takes the things of God and presents them through the human instrument to the people. Then let them come from our lips in the most perfect manner possible. {VSS 189.3}

We should be careful not to give an incorrect pronunciation of our words. There are men among us who in theory know better than to use incorrect language, yet who in practice make frequent mistakes. The Lord would have us careful to do our best, making wise use of our faculties and opportunities...In reading or in recitation the pronunciation should be clear. A nasal tone or an ungainly attitude should be at once corrected. Any lack of distinctness should be marked as defective. Many have allowed themselves to form the habit of speaking in a thick, indistinct way, as if their tongue were too large for their mouth. This habit has greatly hindered their usefulness. {CT 238-239}

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
Boston
North Central
The Inland North
The South
Philadelphia
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ellen on Romance

I've noticed that the advertisement industry recently has turned up the ante in anticipation of the Feburary 14 holiday. From flashy posters of brand new pink colored iPods to craftily clever montages of "The Top 10 Worst Valentines Gifts," advertisers are attempting to convince consumers that their products will be just the ticket to melting the heart of the love of your life. Valentines Day is all about exhibitions of people's true love, isn't it? But should conscientious and [gasp!] "CONSERVATIVE" Adventists have any part in such activities? I mean, can you imagine Ellen White participating in a public exchange of affection with her husband, James? Doesn't she frown on all this "romantic stuff?" So, what DOES Ellen have to say about this?
  1. Let each give love rather than exact it. Cultivate that which is noblest in yourselves, and be quick to recognize the good qualities in each other. The consciousness of being appreciated is a wonderful stimulus and satisfaction. Sympathy and respect encourage the striving after excellence, and love itself increases as it stimulates to nobler aims. {AH 107.3}
  2. (Speaking of married couples) Determine to be all that it is possible to be to each other. Continue the early attentions. In every way encourage each other in fighting the battles of life. Study to advance the happiness of each other. Let there be mutual love, mutual forbearance. Then marriage, instead of being the end of love, will be as it were the very beginning of love. {MH 360.2}
  3. (Speaking to a husband who fails to express affection) At present she feels that she has not your heart's affections. You have given her occasion to feel thus. You perform the necessary duties devolving upon you as head of the family, but there is a lack. There is a serious lack of love's precious influence which leads to kindly attentions. Love should be seen in the looks and manners and heard in the tones of the voice. {AH 109.1}
  4. Love can no more exist without revealing itself in outward acts than fire can be kept alive without fuel. You, Brother C, have felt that it was beneath your dignity to manifest tenderness by kindly acts and to watch for an opportunity to evince affection for your wife by words of tenderness and kind regard. You are changeable in your feelings and are very much affected by surrounding circumstances. . . . Come to your family with a cheerful countenance, with sympathy, tenderness, and love. This will be better than expending money for medicines or physicians for your wife. It will be health to the body and strength to the soul. {AH 111.2}
  5. Love cannot long exist without expression. Let not the heart of one connected with you starve for the want of kindness and sympathy. {MH 360.1}
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive study, but here's my synopsis: There is nothing wrong for husband and wife to seek fresh methods for openly expressing their love for each other. In fact, expressions of love ought not just be reserved for February 14 each year, but should be regular and frequent. Ellen quite emphatically states that if you don't have outward acts of love, then you aren't truly loving at all! Naturally, there must be a difference of application for those married and those not married, but the principle that "Love cannot long exist without expression" holds true across the board. Contrary to popular misconception, it appears that Ellen White was not so anti-romance after all!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

LL Sabbath Destinations

This is a picture of my grandma (far right), my mom (middle), and me on the steps of Burden Hall, home of Advent HOPE Sabbath School. This is where I normally attend Sabbath School when in Loma Linda. I was very happy that I was able to teach one of the Sabbath school classes today. This particular class has been going through a verse-by-verse study of the book of Daniel. We got to go through the first four verses of Daniel 12. I was encouraged doubly, 1) that although slightly impaired, I'm still capable of teaching (I am an education major afterall) and 2) several individuals commented afterwards how the study made them eager to dive into the study of Daniel again. I must confess that I was slightly distracted by the decreased mobility of my arms (it's amazing how much I talk with my hands!) I just hope the students weren't too distracted by their teacher's arms flopping all over!

This Sabbath afternoon some friends and I were able to go to Azusa Indonesian Church to hear a teacher and good friend, Peter Gregory preach. I was promptly reminded where I learned to preach so much with my hands. ;-) His message was on Ezekiel 8 & 9, and the need for us to root out the abominations in our lives and to learn to sigh and cry like Jesus. Powerful stuff. Peter and I used to be workout partners at the Drayson Center gym when he lived in Loma Linda. It was great to see him, and he's eager for me to get well so we can do push-ups together again. I can't wait. :-)

You may wonder why I'm wearing that strange white sling on my right arm. You see, because I have had significant weakness in the muscles of my right shoulder, the sling is there to help prevent my arm from sliding out of socket. There is a secondary purpose for the sling, also though. The first day I went to church without the sling, nearly everyone gave me a good whack on my right shoulder in greating. There was even o
ne sincere but overzealous gentlemen who patted my sore shoulder repeatedly for our entire dialog. I quickly learned that the sling can be an effective form of passive self-defense.

Wishing everyone a happy new week.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Happy New Year!



No, I'm not a month late. Today, February 7, is Chinese New Year. It is the year of the rat, and it happens that I was born into the year of the rat as well. I don't believe in horoscopes, but it's remarkable how many traits of the rat applies to me. (I'm sure I would probably feel the same way when I look at all of the other 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals.) If you're curious about what the rat year means to those who are superstitious enough to buy all of that, you can check it out at Wikipedia. I found no instances of the word "rat" in the Bible, 2 hits for the word "mouse," 4 hits for the word "mice," and none for "rodent." (Am I missing any synonyms?) Suffice it to say that the Bible doesn't have many flattering things to say about the rat or their near relatives. :-(

Since I was languishing in a hospital on January 1, I'd like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a blessed new year. A few things I especially want to take to heart in this new year is to cherish and value the important people in my life more. We never know when we will see each other for the last time. Additionally, I've been indelibly impressed with the urgency of the time we live in. God's work demands our utmost and fullest attention. We can't live "normal" lives any longer. God's appointed work for us is of far more consequence than the office of President of the United States, which is getting so much attention lately. I hope this new year brings to you a deeper appreciation to the VIP's in your life, and also a renewed dedication to God's work too.

Happy New Year of the Rat!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Friday, February 1, 2008

Post-Viral Transverse Myelitis

I've received a few requests for an update on my status since having returned home two weeks ago, so here it is. My weeks have been filled with an assortment of irregularly timed events from doctors appointments (I'm following up with three), outpatient rehab therapy (6 sessions each week), and lots of visitors. I also was able to visit the Loma Linda Chinese Church last Sabbath for two of three meetings with Alden Ho. My strength has been improving steadily, albeit in minute proportions. Weakness still persists in my deltoid and bicep muscles. Literally everything else is working at a normal level.

Perhaps the most substantial update has to do with my latest diagnosis. The neurology team here in Loma Linda has reviewed my case and done more tests. They conclude that I actually did not have a spinal cord infarct, but that I had a condition called transverse myelitis, which is a condition which the myelin insulation on my nerves are stripped off. This condition offers a more positive prognosis, but has a much broader base of sources that may have caused it. The worse case scenario being that I have multiple sclerosis or a variant of it. So far, all the tests indicate otherwise and there are one or two more to be done for some other possible super-rare viruses (one that I'm being tested for is a strange virus that is only found in Okinawa...where I've never been.) At this point, the most likely explanation is that the virus I fought during the cold I had in November caused an autoimmune response in my body that attacked my spinal cord, a condition called Post-viral Transverse Myelitis. This is a transient event that rarely occurs a second time. At any rate, the neurologist will continue to follow up on my case just to make sure nothing is creeping up on me over the next few months and years, but it appears that there will be no more surprises on this most interesting case. Special thanks to Dr. Norman McNulty for managing to get a neurology grand round to take a look at my case.

I've intended to post some photos up, but have not had the convenience of a camera handy during any Kodak moments lately. Hopefully I'll be able to get some up before too long. Happy Sabbath!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Home & Advent HOPE

I am very happy to be posting this latest entry from the comfort of my own home. Not to mention, I am typing after attending Sabbath School at Advent HOPE. No, I am not discharged from rehab yet. I was granted a six hour day pass today, and I was able to leave the hospital for the first time since I was admitted three weeks ago. My official discharge date is Friday, January 18. I was admitted to the hospital in Minneapolis on December 19--one month in the hospital is long enough!

Once again, I was thoroughly amazed by all the people who knew about my condition and have been praying for me. My soul has been warmed to hear various persons, many of whom I am but vaguely acquainted, share how my ordeal has brought about renewed prayer and earnestness in their faith. If my sickness may be the influence that leads some wandering soul to Christ, what a small price to pay in light of eternity! Truly, from the bottom of my heart, I thank all of you who has continued to uplift my health before the Lord.

Improvements to my infirmity continues to be sure and steady. Therapists all have agreed that they've noticed marked advances to my strength even in the one week that I've been in rehab. Many of the nurses and therapists joke that I'm doing so well that they should start using me as a therapist!
One of the PT's uses me as an excuse to take walks around the hospital outside. I'm largely independent in regards to activities of daily living now even though I still can't lift my arms above my head. (I've come up with some rather creative adaptations to get stuff done, many of which tests the flexibility of many other parts of my anatomy. :-) After I'm discharged, I will be continuing outpatient rehab for sometime, but I will be living at home.

I'm eager to get back to living "real" life, but I've realized more than ever that a life worth living is a life with Jesus--no matter what physical infirmity I might have. Hope you, the reader, may also experience the most abundant life! Happy Sabbath.

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. [John 10:10]

Monday, January 7, 2008

Greetings from Loma Linda

My family and I arrived back in Loma Linda on Friday and I was admitted into the Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus Acute Rehabilitation Center. Since being here for the past 3 days, I think I've had at least 100 visitors. I am thoroughly deluged with love and care from all of my friends here. In addition, I've already noticed improvements to the strength and range of motion in my upper arms too. My shoulders continue to be extremely weak, but nearly all other muscles are working at a "functional" level now. The therapists and nurses all are hopeful for a very quick discharge. Currently, I am expected to be a patient here at the rehab center for two weeks.

I also received another unexpected blessing today. The facility where I am at does not have wireless internet for the patients. Unbeknownst to me, Nick Tay, and old friend from the Loma Linda Chinese Church works in the IT department here. He was given clearance by the director of the rehab center, also a family friend, to let me borrow one of the IT department's laptops so I can get online. So here I am updating my blog. (For those of you who care, the computer they gave me is not a Mac...it's an IBM Thinkpad. :)

Congratulations to Luke and Audrey Whiting on your wedding yesterday! A piece of me was definitely there with you guys. Have a great time on your honeymoon! May the Lord bless you as you combine your forces for His ministry.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

We're Going Home!

It's official. We're going home tomorrow. Loma Linda, here we come! PTL

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Lord Answers Prayers

For those of you who have been keeping the three specific items I listed in my previous post in prayer, here's a brief update on all three fronts so you can be encouraged at how the Lord continues to work:

1. Blood Tests - I underwent a trans-esophageal echocardiogram on Monday (a procedure where they stick a hose down your throat to take images of the back side of the heart), and the doctors were impressed at my very normal, and healthy heart. All but one of the blood tests for abnormal tendency to form blood clots have come back, and they all look normal. So far the Lord has answered prayer request number one!

2. Departure Home - As previously mentioned, the attending neurology physician caring for me intended to keep me indefinitely (until he found the cause of my condition, to use his words). This was a major blow to my family's morale, and we were getting terribly discouraged. He said that on Sunday, the day of my last post. After much prayer and a re-surrender of my life to the Lord's will, I had peace about the situation. Miraculously, the following morning my case was switched to the care of an entirely different neurology attending physician AND an entirely new team of residents! The new attending was much more understanding and has enthusiastically worked toward an earliest discharge possible. Currently, we have plane tickets to California from Minneapolis at 11:25am on Friday! Unless something unexpected occurs, we will be back in Loma Linda this Sabbath. The Lord continues to answer prayers!

3. Full Recovery - There are still gradual improvements to my condition noted every day. Tim Riesenberger took it upon himself to request several consults from some trusted physical medicine/rehabilitation doctors on my case. One of those physicians have worked specifically with spinal cord injury patients before and having heard the amount that I've recovered in the amount of time, was confident that I would have a full recovery. The occupational therapist who has been working with me the past few days (today was the last day she would be seeing me) also expressed high hopes for a great recovery also. One of the new neurology residents also commented that my rapid recovery so far is a great prognosticator of a very successful recovery. Of course, the Lord ultimately is in control of my healing, but I believe that He allowed such words to encouragement to help us not faint in our trust of Him. The Lord continues to answer prayer!

As of this post today, I have walked over 10 laps around this entire unit, and have also walked up and down a flight of stairs. The only two muscles that are still too weak to oppose gravity are my deltoids and biceps (I still can't lift either arm up). I have either full or near full use of all other muscles in my body. Rehab is going to be a lot of hard work, but I'm confident that the Lord will add His grace to my deficiency.

Thank you all for your continued prayers. Hope to see many of you back in Loma Linda very soon. Happy New Year!