Jainga Jargon INVITATION TO REST A month ago, Keith got an unexpected call from a long time friend whom he hasn’t seen in years. The voice at the other end asked, “Will you be free on the first week of April?” At first, Keith thought it was an invitation to preach or to do some weeklong ministry but it wasn’t anything like that. Right now, Keith and I are enjoying a weeklong personal retreat in Olympic Village Inn, near Lake Tahoe—compliments of this precious friend. God must have whispered into his ear. How did he know? A couple of months ago, Keith and I attended the National Pastors Convention which I’ve been looking forward to since late last year. After losing my mom in November, we longed for a time of personal retreat and vacation. It didn’t happen. Half way through that week, I contracted bronchitis and we headed back home a day earlier than planned. The week after that, I was sore in bed—a forced rest. The past months, Keith wasn’t in perfect health either and we had to do a lot of catching up for work. I delight in the truth that God cares and has invited us to take this break. What better week is there to spend an extended and unregimented time in rest and reflection than this holy week? As I look out the window, I see the snow-capped majestic mountains of Squaw Valley and the ski lift lights ascending and descending like angels. I lift up my hands and can only utter, with a reverent whisper, “God, You are awesome!” A FAST MOVE In California, the holy week breezes by just like any other work week except for special sales and Easter Bunnies. Last Palm Sunday, Keith challenged the church to make this week truly holy; to think of one thing we value or enjoy that we feel we can’t do without, and abstain from it during the week. It will serve as a reminder throughout the week that our dependence should be on Jesus. Keith decided to fast from TV. Though TV is not always a part of our every day, our relaxation usually includes TV & DVDs. This being a week of rest, its “absence” will be felt. In our suite right now, there is 1 in the bedroom and 1 in the living room; each with a DVD player. Downstairs, there’s a special rental fee for guests: 2 DVD’s for a dollar. Talk about temptation! As for me, I chose rice. I’m definitely going to miss it. Ironically, one of the first things I packed was a rice cooker and a bag of rice. Oh, we’ll have our temptations but nothing compared to Jesus’ temptations
newsletter done the first week of April, 2007
when he fasted from food 40 days and 40 nights. Yet He didn’t budge. That’s my Jesus! It’s amazing how I can get so attached to things of this earth. How true is it when I say, “Jesus, I can’t live without You?” Is it as true as when I say that I can’t live without rice? Jesus words’ have a new ring to it for me this week: “I am the Rice of Life.” TWO MILESTONES During our hike up a mountain yesterday, signs were sparse. Our only guides were some stones placed above each other to serve as landmarks. We do need these landmarks even in our “hike of life.” We had 2 great ones these past months: 10 years of ministry with VIBC and we celebrated Keith’s 50th year on earth last January. LOVIN’ IT There’s a little porch outside where I spent quite a few minutes watching little children slide on some patches of snow on the ground. Others were making snow balls. I watched them with a pinch of pity because earlier, Keith and I got to watch kids ski down beautiful slopes with snow galore. And now, here are these little ones making do with what patches of snow they found. I guess I felt an affinity with them. I’ve been there. While others were enjoying the fullness of the season, I was making do with what was left of it. At the risk of sounding foolish to those who lost their moms at much an early age (like Keith who lost his mom when she was only 49), I asked God why He called my mom home so soon. I argued that 75 years old was young. And I found myself making do with patches of mama’s memories. A couple of months ago, during a teary moment with God, I prayed, “This is just so much to bear Lord; I don’t like it that you took her away.” In that raw moment of honesty, God met me with a painfully tender answer, “Grace, you may not like it, but your mama’s lovin’ it.” With a tinge of jealousy, I jerked at that reply. Why, of course! What’s being with her family compared to being in the company of the God she so loves? A picture of mama dancing the cha-cha up there with no limps, no pains, caused me to finally agree with God and from the heart truly say, “Have a great time, mama. See you some day.” The laughter of the little children with the patches of snow resonated and I realized they were actually having the time of their life like I am right now. Oh, thank God for the resurrection! Happy Resurrection Day to All!