The last month has included some rough realities for me, my team and for the business.
There was one week that the plumber had to come 4 times to fix the water heater, fix water leaking from the walls of both my bathrooms, then fix more water leaking on the roof, and re-fix a leak he hadn’t plugged correctly. That same week I also had to have the electrician come several times as he’s trying to figure out voltage fluctuations in about half the rooms of the house which has fried a couple of appliances. Then this past week we’ve received no gas from the city so we haven’t had hot water or gas to cook with.
Worse than that one of my teammates and her roommate were robbed last week (they’re fine and just frustrated that they had to get new phones, credit cards, file a police report etc.).
In my business, my two key guys accepted offers from a much larger corporation so I had to scramble to find replacements. We also have about five outstanding payments that are overdue, as our clients have not paid us, so we need money to meet this month’s payroll.
There are definitely days that it’s very frustrating and can feel overwhelming, but I also feel that God has been using all that I’ve faced to deepen me in ways I’m only sort of understanding. I felt quite happy last night when I came home and realized I needed to cook dinner on my grill outside for the 9th day in a row. I was quite content heating multiple kettles of water in my electric kettle to take a shower in the morning. I was surprised too to see my teammate’s response to being robbed. She reflected that it wasn’t a fun thing but it’s part of God’s assignment for us. Trials and trouble are a part of His training program for us. We’re also promised peace, hope, and even joy when the hard times come.
The reality here isn’t changing, but somehow, I’m learning steadfastness and the joy that comes with it (James 1). I am learning that our enemy hates us being in this country. It’s a country long held in darkness. It’s ground the enemy doesn’t want to give up and our being here threatens that. He will do whatever it takes to discourage and dissuade us from being here. Thankfully by God’s grace and in His power, we overcome and there is always hope because He will win. This isn’t just an ultimate victory for Christ over the world or this nation, but it is also His winning my own mind and my own heart. It is also the small victories we see in what we do here and in the people around us.
We have an internet based business. Just this morning we had an issue where all three of the internet connections in our office were down (yes, we have three because it’s quite normal for one or maybe two to be offline). It was frustrating because we couldn’t work. We tried several practical things, resetting routers, calling the internet company but internet only came back when I went into our conference room and simply said God we need internet today and whether it’s a coincidental thing or a spiritual issue that’s causing this very real technical problem we need you to help us overcome it. When I re-entered the office, the internet was working. It doesn’t always happen this way but I’m learning there is always hope that it will because we have a God who cares.
Something else that happened this month. I was doing dishes after lunch with one of my employees and he stopped and said he wanted to tell me something. He went on to tell me that that morning was the first time in his entire life that he’d done the dishes in his home. He said his grandmother had come into the kitchen and asked him what he was doing (as it’s typically a women’s job here) and he told her that he’s learned that he can serve the family not just by going to his job, but by helping out at home too. He told her it’s how God would want him to do it and he was excited to share that with me because that is what he’s learned at our company.
Bless God. The stones and weeds are being removed from the soil. Soon the soil will be ready for God’s seed – His Word.
PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.