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Support Letter

April 15th, 2010 Comments off

Dear Family and Friends:

It is with great excitement that I write this email because of a recent opportunity that has been given to me.  I have been asked to serve in Haiti for one week (4/17 – 4/24) along with a team of 6 other people.  We are going under the California Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief organization (much like the Red Cross but comprised of Southern Baptist churches).  We will be going in to do demolition and cleanup work, as well as moving and distributing food supplies that many of the Southern Baptist Churches have donated through an effort called Buckets of Hope (It will be pretty amazing if I actually get to handle the 60 buckets my church put together for this effort).  As far as I know, we will be camping at the site where we will be cleaning, and I am not too sure the conditions or what to expect there.

Many of you may have already heard this news, but for those who have not, I would still consider it “news” because I was only asked last Thursday, and decided to go on last Friday.  The past week, I have been making the necessary preparations to be able to go to Haiti, and I realized because everything was coming together so well that this is truly God’s will for me.  There have been absolutely NO major setbacks as I have been in the process of preparing, and being much of a worrier myself, I found peace knowing that God was taking care of me every step of the way.

I wanted to take this chance I had before things get hectic again to send out a support letter.  I thank all of you for your partnership in this short-term mission trip I am embarking on, and when I get back I will definitely give you all a full debriefing on everything I can.  For now, here are a couple praises and prayer requests:

  • Praise God for opening this door and calling me to Haiti, especially when I’ve been feeling the compassion and burden to help those who are in need.
  • Praise God that the preparation process has been going so smoothly, and as of right now, I am pretty much all set to go.
  • Pray for the people in Haiti.  Even though the earthquake struck over 3 months ago, it will take many months to rebuild their country to a new “normal”.
  • Pray for the Haitian government, that they would serve their people and that there would be less corruption and greed.
  • Pray for the area we will be working at, and the Haitian people there that we will be able to minister to them through our love for Jesus Christ.
  • Pray for all the helpers, both outside and in Haiti, making these Disaster Relief efforts possible.  Without their help, we can bring no HOPE to the Haitian people.
  • Pray for the team that we will be physically and emotionally ready to do the work we are called to do.

Some of you expressed interest in supporting me financially.  If you want to support me financially as well, please let me know individually (before or after I leave), and I can help you with that.  Please feel free to forward this email to any others (and sorry if you got this email twice).  If there are any more details you wish to know, feel free to ask me!  Thanks again for your support!  I am anxious yet excited to go as this will be my FRIST Disaster Relief response. =)

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ~Numbers 6:24-25.

Blessings,

Nick Tam

Categories: Personal Life Tags:

God’s Hand is AWESOME!

April 10th, 2010 Comments off

Wow…I’m sorry for always updating whenever something major happens….but its times like these I just want to shout from the top of my lungs on how AMAZING God is!!! I hope this blog encourages you as it has to others that I have shared this testimony with. Maybe sharing how I have seen God’s hand move in my life will allow you to see how His hands are working in YOUR life today big or small.

The story begins on January 12, 2010, a day of devastation for Haiti. Honestly, I was so wrapped up in my own little world I paid absolutely no attention to the news about Haiti, but as the weeks progressed, I started to see the real needs and suffering of Haitian people. My heart began to truly see the devastation and yet I became conflicted with the inability to do anything for them other than just giving money and praying. I felt that just wasn’t enough for me. I began to have that urge or calling so to speak to do something as drastic as going to Haiti. The idea of me going to Haiti seemed impossible and quite frankly too big of a task for me and quickly went to the back of my head.

The calling resurrected when I learned about training in February for California Southern Baptist Convention (CSBC) Disaster Relief response team. Knowing that they respond to many types of disasters both nationally and internationally, I was excited to be trained into part of a network that would enable me to help others in times of a crisis, especially Haiti. I thought that by being trained, I could make my request to be sent to Haiti and help out with whatever I can. Unfortunately that calling was once again shattered, when I heard the director mention that Haiti is in a very fragile state and they would only consider sending “seasoned veterans”. Since this was my first time being trained and having never responded to a disaster, I felt disappointed about not being able to go to Haiti again.

Though I was disappointed, I felt that this training should not go to waste, and I quickly emailed the director of CSBC Disaster Relief after the training and mentioned my desire to go to Haiti, but would love to serve in any opportunities that I could gain experience in responding to disasters, and so, somehow, gain enough experience to be sent off to Haiti, or any other international response in case it takes years for me to gain the status of a “seasoned veteran”. The director responded and said that I just need to let a coordinator know when I am available and she will do her best to schedule me in. This email correspondence was about the end of February. After his response, I never responded back since all I had to do was let a coordinator know when I am available.

After this period I casually talked to a few people of my interest in going out of my comfort zone and serving and just being a very missional person. I even expressed interest into going to the Philippines with my brother this summer. Whatever it was, I felt that I needed to get out of LA, California, the US to experience a different kind of world in need. Even Mexico wouldn’t count because I was too familiar with it and I have been there before. I just wanted to be able to put myself out there so I would experience somewhat of the sufferings that Christ tells us to expect in John 15:20. If we honestly believe in God’s Word, then as a Christian, we should expect suffering, and in my mind, if we aren’t experiencing suffering that Jesus himself says many times during His ministry, I think something is quite wrong. Maybe churches in the Western World have successfully created a comfortable bubble around Christians and the worst kind of suffering we will experience is being ignored or…GASP…yelled at. Christians all over the world are still being martyred, beaten, humiliated, and cursed upon; and we whine about being scared because of what people think about us. I began to realize that my faith needed to be tested, and I was fearful that when it comes to real suffering my faith would snap with just even an itsy bitsy tiny amount of pressure like a toothpick.

I think my faith began to be tested in March because that month happened to be quite a busy month, with events pretty much every Saturday and Sunday. It was stretched even further when my car overheated one day and the radiator burst, causing much stress and energy to fix it. When I finally fixed it, that very next day I brought it to church… it was broken into and my radio, iPod, and Bluetooth headset were all stolen. It happened right in front of church, which makes it very strange because this is the first time anyone’s car has ever been broken into since they moved to this location, AND my car has had that stereo for like 5 years….it’s not even worth like $20 on the market today. It was almost as if Satan was warning me that he can inflict worse things to me and not just my car should I continue to be faithful and serve God. The busyness and car troubles took quite a toll on my spiritual life, as I was becoming gloomier about everything really having no life in anything I did. Whatever I read during my devotions, and His Word never seemed applicable.

That finally brings us to recent happenings!!! Yesterday, I received a phone call from the coordinator asking me if I want to go to Haiti for one week!!! Keep in mind that I never told her my availability, but she was copied on the director’s email and she had made a note that I wanted to go to Haiti and because one of the team members had to back out, she decided to ask me to go in place of that team member. My initial thought was to go because I’ve had that sense that I wanted to go before, but because it was such last minute, I didn’t know if I could do it. Nevertheless I was given a day to think about it and give my final answer. I immediately told my parents (and later the rest of the family), the Board of Deacons, and Pastor, because I knew I needed their support if I were to go. I became more and more anxious/nervous about whether or not I should go, and my heart was literally pounding from the call until I began to play the guitar and pray for direction and God’s will. Its ironic how I chose to sing the song “Trust and Obey” because one of the verses says: “Where He sends we will go”, and I felt at that point it was God’s will for me to go.

Later that night, I sought after my parent’s thoughts and they had a lot of reservations that made it seem like I should not go. They never technically said “no, you should not go,” but in their hearts I knew they were concerned for my well being. It brought me too much confusion, because I thought that God would confirm His will with the overwhelming approval from my parents, and when I did not get that I began to wonder what God really intended for me. I decided to fast until I made my decision and told the coordinator whether or not I was going. After much thinking, I just went to sleep because I wasn’t getting anywhere in finding God’s will.

This morning, I talked to my Pastor and after much discussion; I realized that God’s will was always for me to go to Haiti. I thought Haiti was impossible to get into so I thought that door was closed and looked for other opportunities (like the Philippines). Little did I know that God had been closing the door on the Philippines mission trip (some complications), and flung the Haiti door WIDE OPEN. All I really had to do was say “God, where you send, I will GO!” And in regards to the confusion I was experiencing last night, it was really because I placed my parents concerns over God’s concerns. Not to say that my parents concerns are not important, but compared to God’s, they are nothing. Jesus implicates this when he rebukes Peter in Matthew 16:23 when He tells Peter he does “not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

What really brought me back was a profound devotion that Pastor shared with me…and it talked about a professor named Dr. Baker James Cauthen. He resigned from his position at Southwestern Seminary and pastoral position at a church to take his family to China in 1939 (which was in the midst of war). No logical person would ever uproot his family and move them to an entirely new country AND in the midst of war. But the profound part of the devotion happens to be his response to every: “the safest place in all the world to be is the center of the will of God.” That did it for me, I KNEW this was God’s will already, and I had nothing to fear anymore (stuff like my parents concerns), and nothing would stop me from doing the will of God. The added benefit was that Pastor said he and the entire church would support me as a “missionary” and a representative of God’s Kingdom and Chinese Grace Baptist Church.

I quickly called my parents and the coordinator to let them know of my decision to go to Haiti. You must realize that I decided to go to Haiti within 24 hours of the initial call, but the story doesn’t end there, in fact it gets so much better…because now you will actually see God’s hand working.

The next step I needed to take care of right away is to get an appointment to update my shots for traveling outside of the country. While they are not required, they are highly recommended and would probably ease my parents mind in going. I figured Kaiser, being such a large organization the earliest I would be able to get an appointment would be Monday. When I called for an appointment, I was told I needed to call some travel immunization department before making an appointment to get the shots. The thing was, you basically leave a message with that department answering basic questions like where are you going, and how long and they would get back to you within 2 business days. That meant the earliest they would get back to me would be Monday or Tuesday given today was a Friday and I called about 11:30am. I haven’t mentioned when I was going to Haiti so far, but I would be leaving Friday night. So it was looking like I wouldn’t be able to get those shots by Wednesday which is cutting it quite close. About 12:30pm my phone rang, and it was the travel department returning the call!!! The interesting thing was that I realized they were calling me during their lunch break, because when I left a message, they asked what time would be best to call back and stated that their lunch break is between 12:15 – 1:30pm. I am starting to see God’s might hand in all of this…

After I finished with the travel department, they said they would send an order of all shots and pills I needed to the Baldwin Park facility, so the next step was to make an appointment with that facility. When I called, the nurse was out to lunch, so I had to leave a message and I would get a call back when the nurse returns. I get the call at 1:40pm and I straight out asked if there was any possibility for me to get an appointment today, because I needed to get the anti-malaria pills today to start taking them tomorrow. The nurse said they have one available appointment at 3:30pm so I book it and think how incredible God has been so far! Before going to Baldwin Park, I purchased my airline tickets and then headed out the Kaiser.

When I got there, they were ready with my appointment and three shots (Tetanus, Typhoid, and Hepatitis A) that took all of 5 minutes in which I got to share with the nurse why I was going to Haiti. They then sent me down to the pharmacy to pick up the antibiotics (in case anything happens), and anti-malaria drugs that I was told I needed to start tomorrow. After waiting for about 20 minutes, my prescriptions were ready and when I picked it up, I noticed they didn’t give me the anti-malaria drug. When I asked them about it, they replied that they had to order it and it would be available to pick up on Tuesday. I told the pharmacist my situation, in that I needed them today in order to start the regimen tomorrow, he asked me to wait for a moment. After going to the back and discussing with I think the head pharmacist and making a call, he came back and told me that the next door pharmacy had the pills I needed and it would only take a couple of minutes to walk it over. This is where I go ballistic, ecstatic and recognize God is truly AMAZING. I felt it was such a HUGE confirmation that God is calling me to Haiti (even if it is just for one week) that I posted a status on Facebook.

That concludes the work of God for today! I would be lying if I said I had COMPLETE trust in God all the time, because there were moments where I was worried that something might go wrong, and I may not get to do everything I need to. But after today, and God helping me take care of a big portion of the TODO list, comforts me that He is with me, and nothing can stop my sovereign God. The story is far from over, and there is still a lot to prepare for my trip to Haiti. I’m positive God’s awesome hand will continue to be doing some miraculous things before, during and after Haiti. I hope this testimony has encouraged you that our God is alive and moving. Take this time to see how He might be working in your life.

Categories: Devotions Tags: