Friday, December 21, 2018

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

You've heard how James and I got married after only three months of dating. We were best friends and thought we would live happily ever after.  But life and marriage are not that simple!

By 1988, we had so many arguments (especially on how to raise our five years old son) that I thought it was inevitable for us to go separate ways or remain miserable living under the same roof for the rest of our lives.  I often wondered, "Is that all there is?"

That year, we accepted the invitation from two friends to attend a Christmas celebration. The drama that night compared and contrasted the lives of two women. I saw a glimpse of hope.

On January 1, 1989, I started attending church in Palo Alto, intentionally arriving late and leaving early to avoid talking with people. On Saturday, January 28, I attended an evangelistic meeting in the evening. The speaker was a medical doctor. Just like me, he came from Hong Kong for college. My high-tech career successes seemed small compared to his achievements, yet he had felt the same emptiness I was feeling! When diagnosed with cancer, he cried out to God for help.

Amazingly God healed him both physically and spiritually. I sobbed when I heard how he asked for forgiveness and reconciled with God before reconciling with his wife. His talk about writing letters to his young children ahead of their growing up years really broke my heart. I thought about my husband and our young son.

After his testimony, someone led a song "What a Friend we have in Jesus." I heard "Oh, what peace we often forfeit? Oh, what needless pain we bear? All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!" loud and clear. That night, I received Jesus as my personal Savior.

As you gather with family and friends this Christmas, don't forget Jesus is the reason for the season. Jesus came to earth, Word became flesh, to show the way. Like Mary and Joseph, we don't have to be afraid when unexpected things happened. Read Luke 1:30-33 and Matthew 1:20-21 about a young engaged couple, Mary and Joseph, and what the angel told them about the birth of Jesus.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:22-23).

The year 2018 has its ups and downs. I am grateful for our church co-workers and our son's family. Being united with Christ has given us sufficient grace to live together and love one another.

Almost thirty years ago, Jesus gave me a new life. Before long, God renewed my marriage and family. In 2016, my calling church recorded a video of this special song of my heart. At that time, James and I only had three grandchildren. Now we have four, and are looking forward to having another granddaughter in Spring. You may watch the 6.5-minute video of my sharing, singing and playing the piano by clicking HERE.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Love, Joy and Peace to you,
Winnis Chiang

Friday, July 27, 2018

Turning Relational Conflicts into Blessings and Holding Hands

James and I are celebrating our 43rd anniversary this month! We have come a long way, considering the fact that we got married after only three months of dating.

It was Spring 1975 at Cal (U.C. Berkeley). I was a college student from Hong Kong and James was in graduate school. We met in a digital design class in EECS (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science).
Dating was easy. Long before we heard of the 5 Love Languages from Gary Chapman, we were filling each other’s love tank effortlessly. James spent plenty of “Quality Time” with me; and I appreciated his words and actions with many “Words of Affirmations.” Loving one another, we did not have to argue or defend ourselves.

It did not even matter that we had to communicate in English instead of his Mandarin or my Cantonese. Somehow the pressure, stress and loneliness we previously felt in a foreign land all faded away.

A month or so after seeing each other almost every day, James proposed on the phone.

"If everything turns out fine, I would like to marry you."

"But I don't know how to cook!"

“No problem. We can eat out every day.”

I expected to live happily ever after. Therefore, I was disillusioned and hurt when James asked why I squeezed his toothpaste the wrong way – from the middle of the tube. Things went downhill and our honeymoon was over before long.

But there is hope in Christ! As written in the feature article this month, there are ways to “Turn Relational Conflicts into Blessings” when couples are willing to handle conflicts constructively.

Fast forward to earlier this week, we walked up the hills together, hand in hand, to celebrate life.

The Chinese article “Holding Hands” (中文文章 - 牽手) is our love story.

I will never forget my first impression of his parents when we met for dinner in San Francisco Chinatown. His mom and dad were over fifty years old, but they were still holding hands and talking with each other while walking towards their 4 children and me. It was right then and there that I knew I wanted a love just like that!

Marriage is not easy. James and I have gone through many ups and downs. Thank God that we are still talking, holding hands, and walking together. What a journey we have traveled as a couple, parents, grandparents, and co-laborers in Christ in spite of our differences. Glory to God!

You may read the July 27th 2018 Newsletter by clicking HERE.

結婚週年快樂 Happy Anniversary James!

Joy and Peace to you,
Winnis Chiang

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Befriending Anger and Remembering Father

How did you feel when you heard about children being separated from their families?

What are we supposed to do when someone or something triggers anger and stirs up our personally history?

Recently, I had a great vacation visiting my sister in Texas. On my first night there, I saw something very familiar on her coffee table and asked, “What is that?”

It’s Dad’s ash tray!

Although I haven’t seen it for decades, it still brought back my bittersweet childhood memories. My dad broke my mom’s heart when he had an affair. But both of them tried their best to keep our family together.  I felt peaceful and grateful sitting with my sister.

This month’s feature article “Befriending Anger” reminds us to befriend our anger so that we can find out what is really going on.

The Chinese article (中文文章 - 懷念爸爸) is a real-life story about disappointment, hurt and pain in my family of origin and the resurrecting power of Christ in healing brokenness. May our Heavenly Father God be glorified!

You may read the June 23rd 2018 Newsletter by clicking HERE.

Belated Happy Father’s Day! 親節快樂

Joy and Peace to you,
Winnis Chiang

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Life Stages and a Love that Reconciles

December 31, 2017 marked the transition into a new phase for our family. James’ mom (age 95) was moved into her daughter’s place. Thank God for my sister-in-law and her husband who remodeled and “senior proof” their basement apartment with an outside entrance. Now mom does not have to climb stairs to her 3rd-floor flat.  

That transition allowed James and me the freedom to participate in a vision trip to South Korea with other ethnic ministry leaders in early April. One place we visited was near the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) near the 38th parallel, the line dividing North and South Korea. Imagine praying with a group from all nations for the then upcoming summit between the North and South Korea leaders.
Here is a photo taken by Resonate Global Mission of the Christian Reformed Church of North America (CRCNA).

As explored in the feature article "Life Stages" this month, life goes through stages but we could still grow by getting out of our comfort zone at any age!

I'm grateful for both my mother-in-law and my own mother. Although my mommy passed away in 1975 at age 48, I still remember her love. You may read about "Love that Reconciles" written in Chinese (中文文章 - 主動和解的愛). Let’s bless others with the love of Christ! 

You may read the May 9th 2018 Newsletter by clicking HERE.

母親節快樂!  Happy Mother’s Day! 

Joy and Peace to you,
Winnis Chiang

Monday, February 5, 2018

English-Chinese version of Say It! Hear It! Communication Report is Here

Does your family have people who speak, read and write different languages? In my extended family, we have people born in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, the UK and of course the United States. Our Asian American family is multi-lingual and multi-cultural, but we can read English or Chinese and learn together! How about yours?
Last year I first published a special report titled Say it! Hear it! The Power of Effective Communication written in EnglishBy popular requests, I published a Chinese version. It turns out some of you wanted to read the report with your loved ones. So I decided to provide a 2-column report with English and Chinese printed side by side on each topic.
As a special gift, here is an ENGLISH-CHINESE version of Say it! Hear it! The Power of Effective Communication. I hope you will find it useful as a tool to improve communication in your family!
Learning and practicing effective 2-way communication will change family dynamics:
  • Getting along instead of having constant conflicts
  • Enjoying conversations that promote understanding and support
  • Closing the cultural, gender and generational gaps
  • Building an emotionally healthy family
When one person is courageous enough to start changing, the system will change. I know because that's how my family and the families of my clients got changed. It has to start with one person, and having two persons learning together will be amazing!
Just click on the link below that says "Click HERE to download ..."
If you don't have communication problem with anyone, congratulations!
Feel free to forward this entire e-mail to your Chinese and/or English speaking friend or family member who might find this report helpful.
Happy Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year!