Keys to Favor and Selection from Isaiah 66

What does God consider to be evil, displeasing abominations? Blasphemy? Premeditated murder? Rape? Interestingly, while those are without a doubt all bad, the abominations listed in Isaiah 66Open Link in New Window are hallmarks of Old Testament religion: animal sacrifice, grain offerings and burnt incense. The perpetrators of such abominable sins of religion are indicted by God as having “chosen their own ways”. Yet the people who are favored by God are those who are humble, contrite in spirit and tremble at God’s word. Continue reading “Keys to Favor and Selection from Isaiah 66”

Honolulu Free Wifi Hotspot Speeds

Starbucks – Kapahulu

After trashing Starbuck’s AT&T wifi abysmallys slow speeds, I was delighted to discover that Starbucks Kapahulu switched over to Google for wifi. Speed is nice! Shweeet!
Continue reading “Honolulu Free Wifi Hotspot Speeds”

Yield Tons of Tomatoes: Grow Bags or Dutch Buckets?

Only by carefully sourcing your food can you be sure your family is eating produce that is not loaded with harmful chemicals or germs. That’s why I’ve been very interested in learning about how to easily grow food for my family the most efficient way possible. In my research, I’ve found myself increasingly drawn to hydroponics.

I am completely fascinated by the incredible yields of hydroponically tomatoes. Watch this three minute clip from How Its Made episode about how commercial growers raise tomatoes in a carefully controlled greenhouse environment.
Continue reading “Yield Tons of Tomatoes: Grow Bags or Dutch Buckets?”

Fall Down, Cast Crown

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Revelation 21:4Open Link in New Window)

Song: Alive In Us

We’ve been devastated that our baby girl, Jesse Anna, got sick so quickly and left us in just two days. We had no warning! Her death was like an earthquake and the aftermath, a tsunami. Through waves of tears, we are comforted that heaven is a much better place for her. In heaven there are no tears, there is no hunger, no thirst, no physical pain, no sickness, no infection, no respiratory distress, no fear of death, no risk of sin and no regret. In heaven, there in God’s holy presence there is fullness of joy for all eternity (Psalm 16:11Open Link in New Window). It is wonderful and amazing for Jesse to be in heaven. We can’t wait to join her there! Her physical death has made eternity MUCH more real to us than ever before. Television shows and movies seem stupid and trivial now. Why entertain ourselves with fantasy when people all around the world are suffering real pain? (Our hearts grieve with the parents of those poor children in Connecticut and Henan.) Millions are dying and going either to an eternity of joy in heaven or an eternity of suffering in hell. Our spirits long to be rid of this body, to rejoin Jesse in eternal bliss with God. Yet for us still here on earth serving out this life sentence, our spirits currently inhabit a temporal body but we have choices to make today which have eternal consequences.

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18Open Link in New Window)

God gave us amazing grace on the day of Jesse’s wake, cremation and life celebration service. We cried, yes, but there was a sweet hope, too. There was a grace to keep singing soft hallelujahs. But the next day, there was just the pain. Then family members started leaving. Life went on, but we were still grieving. Our greatest comfort was knowing Jesse was in heaven. One week later, a brother brought up the topic of the Biblical support for babies going to heaven. It was a valid question. If people are saved because they turn to the Lord for mercy, putting their faith in Jesus Christ, what about babies that never have a chance to believe in Jesus? So I spent some time searching the Scriptures and online for the answer. What first came to mind was Romans 1Open Link in New Window and 2.

Song: Indescribable

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20 ESVOpen Link in New Window)

If a baby or mentally retarded person had no ability to perceive God through creation, then we can reason that they are excused.

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. (Romans 2:6-8 ESVOpen Link in New Window)

A baby had no chance to willfully do any works to be judged.

For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (Romans 2:12-16 ESVOpen Link in New Window)

I believe we are judged according to the light that we have. If you don’t have the law, you will be judged by your own conscience. Your own conscience becomes that law by which you are judged. I think this is because humans are made in God’s image. We are created with the capability to love because God is love. We similarly can hope, grieve, rejoice and enjoy peace. I don’t think we could do all that without a spirit or soul. But God gave us a spirit and soul.

Babies haven’t had a chance to know good and evil, so they are innocents just like Adam and Eve before they ate he fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. They must have had such joy and peace. They had no guilt. They had no worries. There was no condemnation. They enjoyed wonderful fellowship with God. There was no deceit. There was also no need for repentance. There was no death and I believe the was no sickness. They were naked and felt no shame, just as there is no shame for a baby to be naked in the presence of others.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18 NIVOpen Link in New Window)

A baby has no chance to refuse to believe in Jesus Christ. A baby has no opportunity to reject the gospel and therefore be punished with everlasting destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9Open Link in New Window). People are destined to die only once, and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27Open Link in New Window). At the judgment before God seated on a great white throne, the dead will be judged according to what they have done (Revelation 20:11-15Open Link in New Window). Babies who die in infancy do not have a chance to commit willful sin. Jesus said that if we forgive others, then God will forgive us. But if we refuse to forgive others, God will not forgive our sins (Matthew 6:14-15Open Link in New Window, Matthew 18:21-35Open Link in New Window). A baby is innocent of bitter unforgiveness. But the Lord will judge with righteousness (Isaiah 11:1-4Open Link in New Window). And on that day when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea, all animals will live in peace together: wolves and lambs, leopards and goats. Calves, lions and cobras will be led by a little child and infants will play near the cobra’s den (Isaiah 11:6-9Open Link in New Window). Jesus loves the little children and proclaimed that the kingdom of heaven belonged to small children (Matthew 19:14Open Link in New Window). In fact, Jesus said that little children have angels in heaven who continually see the face of God (Matthew 18:10Open Link in New Window). Jesus also quoted Psalm 8:2Open Link in New Window saying that out of the lips of babies and unweaned infants come perfect praise (Matthew 21:16Open Link in New Window Amplified). If that is the spiritual status of little children, based on Scripture, then I can’t imagine that God would condemn to hell a baby who dies in infancy. We can also take comfort in Paul’s assertion that children of a believer are sanctified (1 Corinthians 7:12-14Open Link in New Window). We also are glad that such spiritual fathers as John Piper and Charles Spurgeon agree that infants receive mercy from God and will be in heaven.

We are so grateful to know that our perfect little baby daughter, Jesse Anna 美兰, is continually gazing on the face of our Father in heaven. She’s up there singing an endless hallelujah. The Lord Jesus said to not worry because He would go ahead of us to prepare a place for us. Jesus assures us that there will be more than enough room for us in His Father’s house to be with Him (John 14:1-3Open Link in New Window). Because Jesse is in heaven now, we want to know what heaven is like even more than ever before. As I read about heaven in the book of Revelation, I noticed the twenty-four elders.

Song: We Fall Down

Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. … And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation of John 4:4, 9-11 ESVOpen Link in New Window)

Who are these elders? I wondered. Why are they so privileged as to be given golden crowns and thrones to sit on. Their thrones are positioned just around the very throne of the Living God. And what do they do with their privileged status? They continually give all glory and honor straight back to God in worship. When I first read about the Revelations chapter 4 scene in heaven, it seems a bit mechanical to me. Over and over again the four living creatures cry “Holy, Holy, Holy”. Then the twenty-four elders fall on their faces, cast their crowns to the ground and repeat the same refrain over and over. But surely worship in heaven is not like an automated Disneyland “It’s a Small World After All” ride with mechanized “cuckoo clock”-like actors. No, I’m sure these twenty-four elders are all very close friends of God. I would imagine that during their lifetime on earth each one of them suffered greatly and each time continued to trust in God’s goodness. Like David they probably were willing to offer costly sacrifices (2 Samuel 24:24Open Link in New Window). The elders’ crowns symbolized treasure, position and authority. But they continually ascribe all glory right back to the Lord. Each time they did so, I’m sure they worshipped with deep meaning, in spirit and in truth–acceptable to God–with a faith tested by fire and proven by persistence. Jesse, our precious girl, is a treasure, taken from us against our will. Will I respond like those elders, as each of them must have done when they faced suffering on earth? Will I relinquish my “right” to have her with us or will I become bitter that she was taken? May the Lord find us willing, just like those twenty-four elders, to fall down and cast down our crowns and keep on worshipping Him.

The lyrics of the song, “Show Me,” describe the worshipper who continues to trust and adore even through pain.

Bind up these broken bones.
Mercy bend and bring me back to life.
But not before You show me how to die.

In the midst of the tears of missing Jesse, I realized that she was made in our image. She was issued from us. How painful it is for us to be separated from her. I didn’t understand this grief before! I didn’t know I could be so wrecked. But it is comforting to know that Jesse is safe in the arms of Jesus in heaven.

Jesse was made in our image. Every person is made in God’s image. If we feel great love for our children, how much more does God love His children! This past year a short clip from a young pastor in Hawaii has really made me think about my worth as a child of God. He said that he often sees angels during worship go up to people’s faces and stare at them. The reason why they do it is because they are fascinated with people because they carry the image of God Himself in them.

If I was made in God’s image, and I can experience such pain at the loss of my child, how much more does God grieve when He loses one of His children. Every person is made in God’s image. He imprints His image on every new person’s spirit at their conception. How painful it must be for God to lose the countless multitudes of His children which He created in His image to hell because of sin and their unwillingness to turn to God for mercy. We have the comfort of knowing Jesse is safe in heaven and that we will see her again one day when we go there. But for God, He has no hope to be with those of His beloved children who have rejected Him and are suffering forever in hell. We only knew Jesse for three weeks, but God knows everyone more intimately than they know themselves. We only lost one child, but God has lost untold billions. I can’t imagine the magnitude of God’s pain!

Thank You, Lord, that through this pain of losing Jesse, I can realize how much You love each and every one of Your children which You have created in Your image. Thank You for giving me a glimpse of how much You love each of us and how You grieve terribly when one is lost.

The magnitude of the love of God is incomprehensible. The eternal relationship between the Father and the Son was so close, they were One. For them to suffer separation when the Father condemned the Son to die for the sins of the world must have been unimaginably painful. But He was willing to suffer that pain for the sake of redeeming some of His children who would trust Him. How deep the Father’s love for us!

Song: How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels. (Isaiah 53:4-12 NLTOpen Link in New Window)

Lord, help us hang on to You through every trial, every pain. I give up my rights. You are good. My hope is in You!

Sweet Baby Jesse

Like all our children, our third child has been such a treasure in our life, a gift. In fact, her first name, Jesse, means gift or Jehovah exists. Her middle name, Anna, means gracious or one who gives. The Chinese part of her name, 美兰 (or 美蘭 in traditional characters), is pronounced Měi Lán and means beautiful orchid.

As we remember our precious daughter, we invite you to join us as we cherish her with a grateful heart to the Lord for giving us such a beautiful blessing. There will be song widgets throughout that you can play and listen or watch/listen to song videos.

Song: Heaven Song

Jesse Anna Meilan Leung

Born on November 5, 2012
Welcomed into heaven on November 26, 2012
We love her so much.

There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty. The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:26-27Open Link in New Window)

How do I begin to tell the most difficult story of our lives? I don’t know where to start. Most of you have probably received our newsletters from the past and knew that we were expecting our third baby so I’ll just briefly recap some of the news from this Spring and Summer.

We found out we were pregnant sometime in February and were overjoyed to be welcoming another member to our family of four. The pregnancy began with difficulty due to my (Elisabeth’s) morning sickness. For almost 3 months, I struggled through constant nausea and frequent vomiting. We made several trips to the hospital for IV hydration and endured the not-so-comfortable medical care typical in China. I was SO relieved when the nausea started to dissipate and I could finally get out of bed and be a mom and a wife again. Truman, who had carried the load of caring for me and the kids for all those months, was also very happy!

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. (John 15:4Open Link in New Window)

The second and third trimesters of the pregnancy were uneventful. We had decided to stay in China to give birth and had found a nice private hospital with an English speaking doctor. We knew other foreigners who had given birth there and had good experiences. I had given birth to my first two babies on their due dates and predicted that it would be the same this time. My mother arrived a week before and helped us get ready for the big day! Despite Elisabeth having lost weight during the first part of the pregnancy, our baby girl grew to normal weight and stayed inside her Mama’s tummy all the way until her due date.

Here is Bebe at her last weigh-in at the doctor’s office before Jesse’s birth. In all the tests and ultrasounds we were assured that we had a wonderfully healthy baby.

Song: In Christ Alone

Elisabeth started having back pains at Monday morning on November 5th at 4am. Contractions began at around 6:30am. Then she finally called the doctor to send an ambulance (included in the package we bought). Tony and Monica came over quickly around 8am to watch our kids. Then shortly afterwards, Kristin came over (she planned to come with us to the hospital). By then Elisabeth was having frequent contractions. Crazy me threw together some chili in a crock pot because I had soaked beans the night before and I didn’t want whoever was in the house watching the kids not to have food in the house. I also mopped the floor because Eva made a mess on the floor with her breakfast. Elisabeth was concentrating on her breathing while sitting on a birthing ball with Kristin and Monica around her giving great support. Then the doctor knocked on our door. Such service! Who ever heard of your OB/GYN picking you up at your apartment!? We were in the ambulance by 8:30 in rush hour traffic. Thankfully the ride only took about 30 minutes but poor Elisabeth felt every bump; it was so painful for her. Kristin thought that the ambulance driver must have been a former taxi driver, judging from the way he drove! In the ambulance, I guessed that she would give birth by 11am. The doctor thought that perhaps by noon. After arriving at the hospital and getting into the delivery room, it wasn’t too long before Elisabeth wanted to push. The midwife checked her and found she was already fully dilated! Our baby girl was born a half hour later at 9:28am on Monday, November 5th the due date Elisabeth calculated herself based on her last period. Wow, all three children were born on their due date. On time arrival, every time. Should be an airline slogan.

Jesse was born 6 pounds 15 ounces and 19 inches long. Elisabeth is doing wonderfully. She only required 1 stitch as opposed to 6-7 with Eva. One thing we didn’t know before is that with every successive child a mom’s uterus contracts more painfully after childbirth. So after-birth pains were more painful for her this time. But she’s amazing and did this birth completely naturally. Even if she wanted an epidural there was no time!

Song: Blessed Be Your Name

The hospital gave us the deluxe suite in exchange for only staying 2 nights instead of 3. It came with a large queen-sized bed, big enough to fit me. Plus there was a sitting room. Super fancy. It’s a way better setup than we ever had before in Hawaii when Noah and Eva were born. As the dad, I even got meals served to me along with Elisabeth. One weird thing here is that they do electro-shock therapy on the mom’s breasts and abdomen. It’s apparently based on Chinese medicine and designed to stimulate milk-production and perhaps womb recovery. Twice the nurses gave Jesse a fancy bath and infant massage. They even did this interesting “swimming” exercise where they put a mini life-preserver around her neck and let her float in a bucket of water. The nurse explained that giving her exercise like that will help her to sleep better!

Noah and Eva would often say, “Baby so cute!”

The nurses didn’t quite approve of me propping Jesse up on the chair but she didn’t seem to mind one bit. On the second day in the hospital after she was born, they gave Jesse her second bath. After toweling her off, the nurse put Jesse on all fours. Everyone in the room gave out a collective gasp when Jesse someone tried to crawl and ended up flipping herself on her back. What a strong kid for being only two days old!

Noah and Eva loved Jesse.

Song: Home

We are so glad that her grandmother was able to be there at her birth and hold her and take care of Jesse for the first two weeks of her life.

Jesse enjoyed getting warm baths in the sink using the inflatable pool that Elisabeth’s tutor Vivian had given her.

Our sweet little family was so happy. We were just getting used to having a family of 5.

Elisabeth’s mother returned home to Japan 2 weeks after Jesse was born and it was just just us again. Friends came to visit and we celebrated Thanksgiving at our friends’ house. Jesse slept most of the day because someone was always holding her. She loved to be held.

Song: When You Shepherd Me

That weekend, on Saturday, November 24th, the day began as usual. I breastfed Jesse and then went out that morning to run an errand with my Noah. Later that afternoon, I noticed that Jesse had spit up on her shirt. She felt sweaty and I thought she might have a fever. I breastfed her again and checked her temperature but it was below normal. She looked a little pale and felt cool to touch. I decided to bathe her and then wrapped her up in blankets and laid her down for another nap. My friend came by with baked goods and Truman and I had a nice visit with her. Talked about how people in the past really sacrificed their lives. They left their home countries, packing their belongings in a coffin, knowing that they would probably die within 3 years. My friend went home and we sat down to eat dinner. At around 7 pm, I got Jesse out of her crib and noticed that she had spit up again and looked even paler. I started to get worried and called my OB at the hospital where I gave birth. He told me to check her respirations which were 80 per minute and shallow. He told me to warm her up by getting under the bed covers and lying skin to skin. In the meantime, I called several other doctors and was waiting to hear back from them. It was the kids’ bedtime but instead of putting them to bed separately we all snuggled up under the covers in our big bed. Noah and Eva fell asleep next to me and Truman while I held Jesse. She was still cold and her breathing never got better. We heard back from some of the doctors who told us to go the ER right away. Another friend came over to stay with the kids and we rushed out the door with Jesse. It took awhile to catch a cab and we finally go to Huaxi Hospital. Praise God, we only lived a mile away from the most prestigious hospital in West China.

This was the view of the entrance to the NICU from the small elevator lobby where parents could wait. Parents were only allowed in once a week for 2 hours. Thankfully they let us in a total of five times to see Jesse over the two days because she was their most critical case. We spent many hours standing, praying, singing and crying in that elevator lobby.

Jesse was too sick to take Elisabeth’s milk so after pumping she would fertilize this potted plant by the window. Here’s a prayer request we sent out on Sunday morning:

Please pray for our daughter Jesse. Late yesterday afternoon Elisabeth found that Jesse was cold and breathing fast (over 80 breaths per minute) and very pale. We took her to the hospital where she was admitted to the NICU late last night in grave condition. They did a CT scan, chest x-ray, ultrasound and blood tests. They have diagnosed her with pneumonia, acidosis (very high 6.89 pH in her blood, anemia, high blood glucose, enlarged heart, brain hemorrhage and respiratory distress. She might have some kind of metabolic disease and perhaps some kind of genetic disorder. She’s in an incubator to try to get her body temperature up but it is still way below normal. They have intubated Jesse (put a tube down to her lungs) and is now breathing with ventilator, but still too rapidly. Her heart rate is still high and is being overworked. She’s been started with a blood transfusion. After that’s done they’ll do another blood test. Please pray for Jesse’s full recovery.

It was so hard to see Jesse with so many tubes in her. But the doctors and nurses did a valiant job trying to keep Jesse alive, bringing her back 3 or 4 times after her heart stopped.

Song: I Belong by Kathryn Scott

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39Open Link in New Window)

We are so grateful for many people around the world who prayed for Jesse and for us, many of whom we don’t even know. If you are one of them, thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts.

We are devastated and yet we are amazed at seeing the most beautiful examples of love as many friends around us did everything they could think of to come around us to love us, come along side to advocate for us, watch Noah and Eva tirelessly and heroically, make us food, help us with medical issues, visit our parents who were in another country, organize and mobilize help and prayer for us, stay with us all day and all night so we were never alone, open their homes to host our visiting family members, help us plan our memorial service, and so many more things I can’t recount or even know about because so much love, communication, prayers and effort went on behind the scenes on our behalf that I don’t know about. We are forever grateful to you our family, either by blood or by love. How beautiful is the body of Christ! How beautiful to be loved by His hands and feet here on earth.

For those in China, you can listen to Twila Paris’ “How Beautiful” via this link.

What a beautiful view of the blue sky day we had from the NICU 5th floor of the hospital on the day Jesse passed into eternity. The typical Chengdu cloud cover parted for the day and the heavens openedup to receive our daughter.

Song: Show Me by Audrey Assad

Our Jesse passed away. She will be cremated today. Tonight is the memorial. It’s hard to say goodbye. Sometimes I don’t know how to go on. But one foot in front of another, I walk. Occasionally I lift up head and close my eyes. I look to my Savior. It’s okay to cry with Him. It’s okay to keep on singing. It’s okay to be quiet. Slowly for a while strength returns and a gentle peace creeps in like a loved one who slowly comes behind you and places their arms around you. I know the Lord, my Savior, is with me and has never once left me alone.

When you lose a loved one, small talk seems so meaningless. At the moment, I’m tired of social situations, eating out, smiling for the comfort of others. I want to hold my baby girl once again, crying or sleeping, breathing against me. I want to think of her in heaven dancing joyfully with her Maker. I want to see her grown to the age of seven with long hair all fanned out as she twirls around with Jesus laughing and picking wild flowers.

We were given a wonderful gift … Jesse Anna Meilan … for a short time. What a treasure she is to us. Because of her, I will never be the same. The Giver of that gift, our precious child, is our Father God. Blessed be the name of the Lord. He gives and takes away. He is good. He is faithful. I’m thankful that I have the comfort of knowing that our baby girl is safe in the arms of Jesus.

Song: Carry Me by Audrey Assad

Would you join arms with us in spirit, singing with us and together turn our eyes to the Savior?

For those in China, you can listen to Matt Redman’s “Never Once” via this link.

For those in China, you can listen to “Forever Reign” via this link.

If you have any photos that you wish to share with us … perhaps any memories of Jesse or other photos … you can upload them here.

Love, Truman and Elisabeth

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.
Habakkuk 3:18-19Open Link in New Window

Update #1:

Here is the slideshow video which Elisabeth’s brother Peter made for us.

The wake which we held at the funeral parlor was a blessing. There was a sweet fellowship with God as we prayed and worshiped. We laid single cut orchid stems on her casket in accordance with her Chinese name which means beautiful orchid.

After we finished the viewing, the cloudy sky started parting like a scroll revealing blue sky.

At the cremation chamber, we sang the Hawaiian farewell song “Aloha Oe” as well as a chorus of Hallelujah. Then the workers lowered a shade and we couldn’t see her body anymore. As we exited the building, we were surprised to see very clearly the strong afternoon sun low in the sky shining right at us with almost the entire sky blue. Truly it was as if heaven had opened up to receive our daughter, Jesse, now a Sky Baby, a child of heaven.

Fu Rong Guo Cui – Chengdu Variety Show

There are two “must do” tourist attractions in Chengdu. The first is to visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base. The second is the “Fu Rong Guo Cui” ( 芙蓉国粹) evening variety show that highlights various acts including the Rolling Oil Lamp in local Sichuan Dialect, puppetry, hand shadow puppets and, my favorite, face changing (變臉). Whenever we have out-of-town guests visit us in Chengdu, we take them to see the show. Continue reading “Fu Rong Guo Cui – Chengdu Variety Show”

Pleasant Printer Purchase – Canon PIXMA MP259

In China, as a foreigner you are supposed to register at the local police station (派出所) within 24 hours after you enter the country, move to a new place or change your visa. When doing so, you need to bring copies of your passport info page, the China visa page and also your rental contract (if you live in a rented apartment). For the last few times I’ve done this, since I didn’t own a printer, I’ve scanned the documents into a computer file, loaded them onto a USB thumb drive and taken it to a local mom & pop print shop to get them printed out for about 0.50 RMB per page. The scary thing is that they plug your USB drive into their computer, drag the files onto their desktop and then print them. It’s up to them to delete them off their system. That’s a situation ripe for identity theft.

Today I decided it was time to finally buy a printer so that I could keep our personal information safe from any possible prying eyes. Continue reading “Pleasant Printer Purchase – Canon PIXMA MP259”

How to Buy a Bus Pass in Chengdu

In Chengdu has a great bus system. I’m impressed by the bus stops that boast metal shelters and large advertisement windows that look like bus stops in large cities in the U.S. Honolulu’s bus stops by comparison are shabby. The buses have televisions showing CCTV programs for your viewing pleasure. And an pleasant sounding auto-attendant announces each stop over the PA system just like in a modern subway.

Bus rides are either 1 kuai for a non air conditioned bus and 2 kuai for an air conditioned bus. You can buy a bus card which as far as I can tell is called a 公交卡 (gong jiao ka). It’s a plastic card with what seems to be an RFID chip. You load up the card with money and each time you get on the bus, you place it on or near the sensor next to the driver and the display will tell you how many RMB you have left on the card. This is what my card looks like. Continue reading “How to Buy a Bus Pass in Chengdu”

Prenatal Care at a Chinese Hospital in Chengdu

My wife is 23 weeks pregnant with our second child. We’ve been in Chengdu now for about one month and we plan to return home to Hawaii for the baby’s birth sometime around the 32nd week. Air China doesn’t allow pregnant women to fly beyond their 35th week. In the meantime, while still in Chengdu we needed to find an OB/GYN to provide prenatal care. in our first week here our first born son was sick so we took him to see family doctor Brian Robinson of the Heart to Heart Clinic (map). It had been a difficult weekend with Noah being ill so when Dr. Robinson saw us on Monday morning we were so relieved. He answered all our questions and was very kind. We chatted with him about various other topics from whether we should have our second baby in China to the mold problem in Chengdu due to damp weather. When we talked about where to get prenatal care, he suggested we look into the Sichuan Provincial Hospital for Women & Children and told us generally where it is but he couldn’t remember what name of the doctor there who speaks English. A few weeks later we attended the International Fellowship and met a lady who gave Elisabeth the name of a woman who recently got prenatal care here in Chengdu and had her baby in Beijing. Through that contact we were able to get detailed information on how to get to hospital that Dr. Robinson had recommended. Continue reading “Prenatal Care at a Chinese Hospital in Chengdu”

Chinese Lessons: Renting an Apartment in China

How Much Is The Rental Per Month? by AskBenny

Continue reading “Chinese Lessons: Renting an Apartment in China”

Fantastic Resources for Learning Chinese Free Online

There is an entire UNIVERSE of high quality resources on the Internet to learn Chinese absolutely free. In no particular order here are some of the great resources you can take advantage of to learn Chinese 免費! Continue reading “Fantastic Resources for Learning Chinese Free Online”

Multiple Wildcard Self-Signed SSL on MAMP

I use a MacBook Pro (MBP) to develop a SaaS product that runs on PHP and Apache. Some pages, such as login forms, require SSL. For years, up until yesterday, I had to specially configure my local development machine to specifically not use SSL during testing because I had not setup the laptop to support SSL. However, yesterday I finally did it! Here’s how I did it, in case it is a benefit to anyone.

I need two domains for my purposes: one for the app itself and another one for the CDN server. So I figured out how to set up two SSL vhosts on the same MAMP Apache server.

Using these instructions, you’ll be able to use and for testing locally. There must be a way to get around using the different port for the second vhost, but I couldn’t figure it out. But it works! If you want to add on more SSL vhosts, I’m sure you could just use different ports.

Continue reading “Multiple Wildcard Self-Signed SSL on MAMP”

Josephat Gwajima

We went to a well-attended conference today in Miyoshi, a suburb of Nagoya, where the main speaker was a pastor from Tanzania named Josephat Gwajima whose church, Glory of Christ Tanzania Church (old website), has some twenty six thousand members and 4,800 leaders. Continue reading “Josephat Gwajima”

Chengdu Office Rental Market

Q1 2010 Grade A Office Rentals

source: DTZ

City RMB/m2/month
Shanghai 185.54
Beijing 145
Hangzhou 117.71
Guangzhou 117.3
Xi’an 112.32
Chengdu 107.34
Tianjin 102.55
Nanjing 93.38
Qingdao 90.07
Dalian 86.91
Chongqing 62
Wuhan 56.4

Conventional Leased Offices

Normally leased office space require lengthy contracts and comes empty (i.e., you need to furnish the office with furniture and equipment).

According to DTZ, as of Q1 2010, Chengdu has 360,600 m2 of Grade A commercial office space with a 17 percent vacancy rate. Rent averages at 107 RMB/m2/month (this down from RMB115.9/m2/month in Q4 2008) and is projected to rise by 5 percent by the end of 2010.

For an explanation of the difference between Grades A, B & C of office space read “Categorization of office space is flexible“.

Serviced Offices

Executive suites or business centers, where office space is fully furnished and then rented out to other companies, are called serviced offices in China. Serviced offices normally allow for flexible rental terms. Continue reading “Chengdu Office Rental Market”

Chinese Rap (说唱)

Ever heard rap in Chinese? I never even listen to rap in English. I can’t really understand what they are saying in Chinese, but I think it’s very cool! Continue reading “Chinese Rap (说唱)”

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