a day like today

I took Nyquil before I went to bed last night to fight off the last bits of this cold. And to make sure I could imitate bear-like hibernation to the best of my ability, slumbering, snoring, and drooling in my dark, cavernous room while the snow piled high outside. I put on The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood to wait for the Nyquil to kick in. Before long, my head and limbs felt like tree trunks. The streetlight outside my bedroom window melted into blurry concentric circles. It was lights out for this girl.

I forgot how much I loved that book, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. It reminds me of me and my mother’s relationship. Recently, I wrote a chapter for a book that my professor plans to publish. Some of it gets kind of personal because I talk about my upbringing and my family. It was mildly therapeutic to write. Short, but I thought I did a good job. I was happy that it would be my first legitimate published piece. And then my mom read it.

My sisters and I were sometimes left with a babysitter, but more often left alone because our parents worked at the restaurant all the time. And because they didn’t want us to end up in their shoes, they pushed us hard. We were rarely allowed to hang out with friends. All our time was to be focused on studying. We didn’t own a sleeping bag for the longest time because we weren’t allowed to sleep over at friends’ houses. I don’t know why this fact embarrassed me. My mom sewed up her own version of a sleeping bag using old sheets and blankets, which I quickly denied using in public. There wasn’t even a proper way out of the sleeping bag. You climb in and you climb out. It was like one big sock for your body. The few times I was allowed to sleep over at my neighbor’s house, I lied and said I forgot my sleepover stuff. My friend always had a spare, though. I felt normal inside the sleeping bag. Just like all the other girls.

Another time, I was invited to this girl’s birthday party in the neighborhood. My parents toted me along on their errands on Saturday afternoons after my math lessons in Chinatown. We were shopping for extra restaurant supplies this one particular afternoon, and I timidly asked my mom if we could go buy something for my friend’s birthday present. At first, my mom got mad because I told her so late. The party was that night. Then, she somehow convinced me that decorated plates and soup bowls would be the perfect gift for a 10 year old girl. We got a set from the restaurant supply store. When it was time to open gifts at the party, I tried to make myself invisible. The girl tore my present open and feigned excitement. At that point, I was so embarrassed I couldn’t feel my face anymore. Maybe I had actually become invisible from wishing so hard. Years down the road, this neighborhood friend became too popular to hang out with me, and the story of me giving the gift of dinnerware became a point of ridicule on the school bus.

I can laugh about these stories today and even cherish them. The younger version of me hated not being able to be like everyone else, but the older version of me recognizes moments and memories that are filled with so much sacrificial love on the part of my parents. The children of immigrant parents are blessed to know this better than most. I have no bitterness, no grudge against my parents. My childhood may have been less than ideal at times. It may have been downright humiliating during others, but I wouldn’t ever dream of changing it. My mom read what I wrote for the book chapter, and we exchanged some words in broken English, broken Chinese…and just plain brokenness.

Ma-ma feels so shame.

No, no, no. You shouldn’t. That’s not how I meant it. Did you read the part where I…?

Me and ba-ba didn’t want you girls to grow up and have the same life as us.

I know, ma-ma, I know. We are really thankful for you guys.

At one point, I knew she was about to cry. That would’ve made me start to cry. And since she didn’t want to see me cry or for me to see her cry, we let it go and made light of it. Somehow. It was hard to convince her that I thought she was a great mother. The best mother, really. She told me later that she thought I was a great writer. First time I’ve heard her say that. I wish I could’ve hugged her at that moment and told her how much I loved her. We don’t have problems doing that in our family. We hug a lot. But in that moment, it was hard to move. I just blinked away some tears and kept nodding my head. She just kept washing the dishes. And in this broken way, we’re still pushing through it.

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filled to be emptied

Often times, God’s word associates rain with a coming harvest or time of replenishing. I love that it’s raining today.

A while back, Stan and I made the decision to go to Bangladesh during the month of February. We’ll be there for a little less than a month with Medical Campus Outreach (MCO) of Augusta to set up free clinics in the northern hill tracts of Bangladesh. The core purpose of going, though, is to share the Gospel of Christ. We could really use your support.

One of my beloved friends and sisters really encouraged me a few weeks ago, reminding me that God’s ways are so much higher than our ways, and his thoughts are so much higher than our thoughts. He urges us to be strong and courageous. On one of the mornings when I was thinking and praying about Bangladesh, God pressed a pressed a passage from Deuteronomy 31 in my spirit:

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Both Stan and I, we pray to be rooted in Love that moves. By this I mean that we want God’s Love to flow in and out of us, like rain and snow that come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, making it bud and flourish. And presently, we’re hoping to make it rain in Bangladesh. Haha. Just kidding. For me, it’s kind of frightening. Not only do I not know how we’re going to get to Bangladesh financially, I also feel like I have a million things to be doing besides going. But whether we are physically moving or whether the Lord is moving in our Spirit, this Love is something we can’t contain. He is with us wherever we go, and moreover, he has gone before us.

Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge that my blog is a public site, and I have no way of telling who is reading this post (unless you leave me some lovin’!). So if you’re reading this, you may think that I’m not addressing anyone in particular. You may already know that we’re about to ask for your support, in prayer and in financial contributions. And you might be thinking that someone else will take care of these things, so you’ll just read through this post and close it out. I’ll never know.

But I’m asking for you to consider this. Asking for support is, by far, one of the most humbling experiences. Stan and I recently extended our hands out to the Church, and people were so supportive. It was amazing. It really is so awesome and moving to feel the Church having our backs. I told Stan that it’s weird receiving contributions because my impulse is to give something back. You give me a donation, and then I want to donate it right back haha. But that would be moot. I hate thinking that we aren’t able to go on our own, but I am overcome with gratitude when people say they want to send us and that we are in their thoughts and prayers. When I reflect on all of this – reaching out to the community, praying with and for one another, extending grace far beyond our reach and far beyond our own capacity – I feel Jesus’ humility, grace, and compassion from the Church. This is all about the body of Christ. We are the Church – together. You, me, Stan, Bangladesh.

Every single word spoken on our behalf will be heard and help carry us through. Every single donation will be so, so helpful in paving our way. We are still behind in our support goal, so we’re asking if you would consider supporting us on this journey, in prayer and in financial contributions. The cost will be $3,000 for each of us, a grand total of $6,000. This letter of support is from the both of us because we really believe that this is something we can do together before we embark on our lifelong journey of marriage.

We are very thankful for your support and for this opportunity, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Love,

Stan and Eileen

You can make an easy, fast, and safe one-time online donation (Mastercard/Visa):

  • Visit www.firstpresaugusta.org/onlinegiving
  • “Create a Login” if you are a new user.
  • Upon logging in, select the “5-Medical Campus Outreach” from the dropdown box in the “Give To” tab.
  • Type in the amount you are contributing.
  • On the “Optional Memo,” be sure to type in Bangladesh2011/SonuWang
  • Leave the “Recurring” box unchecked.
  • Select “Add.”
  • After adding your desired contribution, select “Give” to commit your contribution.
  • Follow the remaining prompts to submit your payment online.

You can also purchase a t-shirt for $18! Just let me know the size and number of shirts. Quantity is limited and could take a few weeks to process, but they are worth it! (Shirts made by the one and only Display by Sylvia Kim!)


If you would like specific details about what we’ll be doing, we would love to talk with you! Or leave me your e-mail address and I’ll add you to our mailing list for updates.