“Something big is about to happen. We’re meant for something greater than this,” my roommate and I tell each other in our small Brooklyn apartment – a place of hurt and healing, a place of waiting and wanting, a place that would propel us onward to the next chapter. We wait and push for our destinies to happen. Months pass. Hearts break and heal. Our souls are destroyed and rebuilt. Every ending has a new beginning.

I spent 13 months in our small Brooklyn home. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s the longest place I’ve stayed in the United States without packing everything and moving. My restless soul fears stability and uncertainty. My aching heart desires home and change.

❤️

I used to travel to run away and find fulfillment elsewhere because I felt empty. I didn’t know who I was. I hated myself. Now, I can care less about seeing a new city and finding all the tourist attractions. I barely explored LA this summer, and I haven’t seen more of SF in the last 2 months.

My soul craves for human connection on a deeper level – to join my Light with my siblings’ Light here and around the world. That is where I feel God’s presence the strongest – when the Light, Love, and Beauty within us connect. I see God’s image in those around me, and my heart breaks when others suffer. Are we not united by our Creator’s Love? Why don’t we act that way?

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Wednesday

respite from a weekend of heartache
sitting in the stillness of the Spirit
reading your favourite author
drinking ginger ale in the park
watching a duck couple find food
basking in the sun’s warmth
before shivering in the night’s chill
a day for yourself and no one else
lost in life but found in Love
knowing that this shall pass

I am…

…a child of a loving Creator
loved beyond words
accepted beyond comprehension

…an activist, agitator, and advocate
fueled by love, anger, and sorrow
driven by pain, passion, and progress

…a child of immigrants
forced by war to find refuge
forced by poverty to find new life

…an Asian-American
standing in the space of in-between
neither Eastern nor Western

…beautiful in my brokenness
cracked bowl put together with gold
pieced together with love

I am part of you. We are.

20 –

IT’S MY LAST DAY AS A GMF! Where has the time gone?! The last 2 years has been an adventure! I thank everyone who journeyed with me, whether you’re with me in Hong Kong or abroad. Thank you for your messages, financial support, visits, or nonjudgmental ears. I would not have made it this far without y’all!

I don’t know how to process the last 2 years, except through the ways I know best – poems and lists. So… here are 20 things I learned during my 20 months as a young adult missionary!

  1. Missions isn’t talking about Jesus but loving like Jesus. And that is difficult.
  2. God is everywhere, in so many forms, on so many faces. God cannot be confined to the 4 walls of a church but on the streets, in the mountains, within the trees.
  3. Sometimes, we need to be rather than do.
  4. Being alone isn’t that bad. I don’t love it, and I really prefer roommates, but I can live – I mean, I have lived – alone. *shudder*
  5. Rest. Seriously.
  6. Invest in relationships that build up, not tear down. There are toxic people, and nobody got time for them. There were so many moments when I met people whose souls I connected with on such a deep level, but I understand it was only for that moment. Then, there are people who I had the joy to spend months with, who have enriched my life. Appreciate them; don’t focus on the ones who make you cry.
  7. Guilt will be there, but so will grace. Give some to yourself.
  8. Speak your truth. Be fearless.. or scared. That’s okay too. As long as you speak.
  9. Society tells us to do too much. It’s even more confusing when cultures clash. Who really cares? Embrace who you are – weirdness and all. Learn to laugh at yourself, and find the ridiculous in life.
  10. ..and find people who appreciate your weirdness.
  11. People care more than given credit to. For example, so many people reached out to me after I did my plastic-free fast. It gave me hope. Use reusable water bottles and coffee mugs (to start hehe)!
  12. On that note, it’s easier to focus on individuals rather than the system. Think bigger, so we can make bigger changes!
  13. Our journeys are ours. There will be people who journey alongside us, but no two people’s are the exact same. Appreciate these differences. Learn from them.
  14. It’s okay not to know what you want.
  15. But I do know that I love being creative with my work.
  16. God answers prayers of your heart and the prayers of your soul.
  17. Don’t worry. Trust that the way has been prepared for you.
  18. Traveling is overrated. Learning locals’ narratives and understanding their struggles are more amazing then finding Lonely Planet’s top 10 things to do.
  19. Temperature’s subjective.
  20. “When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place.”

xx, sushi

journey

Two years ago, I began my missionary journey, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
Two years later, I finish my missioner journey, tired and in desperate need of rest.

Two years ago, I knew what I wanted out of life.
Two years later, I feel like it’s the senior year of college.

Each road I’ve taken in this journey has brought me to where I am today – loves, losses, joys, sorrows, disappointments, adventures. All had an impact on me, and no matter how how small has shaped me to be who God intended me to be. Perhaps the scariest, yet most exciting, part is what’s to come.

Heather once told me that life is about knowing the big 3’s – who, what, where. At any given point, I knew at least one of those answers. Now? Now, I know nothing. I am open. I am empty.

Now? Anything is possible. Let this next journey begin.

poetry

In the last few months, poetry has been how I process my world. I love the freedom of how words look on paper, how they play with each other to form thoughts and emotions, how they can convey nothing and everything at the same time.

As I write, as I process, as I (re-)cross cultures, I know that God stands with me in my pain and pushes me forward in love – the same love that embraced me as I lamented, the same love that brought me to kasamas in Hong Kong, the same love that guided me through the loneliness of service with communities. It is in this love that I have faith for the future.

it’s been a month

It’s been a month since
I got on the plane for LAX –
I left my (almost-)home.

It’s been a month of constant flying,
adjusting, and saying hello
followed shortly by good-bye.

It’s been a month of missing
and hurting
and yearning.

It’s been a month of emotional survival.

1 week can feel like eternity.

It’s been 1 week since I landed at LAX and found myself overwhelmed by the enormous amount of space, chilly air, and diversity of people. It’s strange to be back in this country. It’s strange to speak American English all the time. It’s strange how 1 week feels like forever when you miss people.

I don’t miss the humidity though. That’s something I can live without.

“Passover Remembered”

Alla Bozarth-Campbell

Pack nothing.
Bring only
your determination to serve
and your willingness to be free.

Don’t wait for the bread to rise.
Take nourishment for the journey,
but eat standing, be ready
to move at a moment’s notice.

Do not hesitate to leave
your old ways behind —
fear, silence, submission.

Only surrender to the need
of the time — to love
justice and walk humbly
with your God.

Do not take time
to explain to the neighbors.
Tell only a few trusted
friends and family members.

Then begin quickly,
before you have time
to sink back into
the old slavery.

Set out in the dark.
I will send fire
to warm and encourage you.
I will be with you in the fire
and I will be with you in the cloud.

You will learn to eat new food
and find refuge in new places.
I will give you dreams in the desert
to guide you safely to that place
you have not yet seen.
The stories you tell
one another around the fires
in the dark will make you
strong and wise.

Outsiders will attack you,
and some follow you,
and at times you will get weary
and turn on each other
from fear and fatigue and
blind forgetfulness.

You have been preparing
for this for hundreds of years.
I am sending you into the wilderness
to make a new way and to learn my ways
more deeply.

Some of you will be so changed
by weathers and wanderings
that even your closest friends
will have to learn your features
as though for the first time.

Some of you will not change at all.
Some will be abandoned
by your dearest loves
and misunderstood by those
who have known you since birth
and feel abandoned by you.
Some will find new friendships
in unlikely faces, and old friends
as faithful and true
as the pillar of God’s flame.

Sing songs as you go,
and hold close together.
You may at times grow confused
and lose your way.
Continue to call each other
by the names I’ve given you,
to help remember who you are.
You will get where you are going
by remembering who you are.
Touch each other and keep telling the stories.

Make maps as you go
remembering the way back
from before you were born.

So you will be only the first
of many waves of deliverance on these desert seas.
It is the first of many beginnings —
your Paschaltide.

Remain true to this mystery.
Pass on the whole story.
Do not go back.
I am with you now
and I am waiting for you.

almost-home

“When do you leave?” plagues my last few weeks of service in Hong Kong. The answer is simple – 15 June. I can handle this question.

“What’s next?” “How do you feel?” “What do you want to do after this?”

Well… that’s an entirely different story.

I can’t put into words my emotions, my thoughts, my desires in a succinct 1 minute answer. Honestly, do you even want to hear more than that? Are you asking out the politeness of seeing me?

For the first time, I don’t want to leave somewhere. Not because I’m going back to a country I’m supposed to call “home” but has never felt like home. Only in the last few months have I begun to feel like I’m finding my place here. It’s not home, but it’s the closest I’ve been. And I’m leaving it. My almost-home.

To answer your questions: “I don’t know what’s next.” “I feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, excited.” “I want to keep serving with those in the margins.”