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On the flight to Vancouver, the lady next to me was watching a program on the world’s famous resorts. I glanced at it for a bit & thought, “We’ve been so busy in ministry that I’ve seldom taken Molica for a vacation in years, and even when we did, we often ended up ministering, should really give her a treat.” My heart was suddenly filled with gratitude. Arriving in Vancouver, went online & quickly sent her an email before I could settle my heart to go to Papa Gideon’s church prayer meeting. My short email went like this, “Dear Molica, I have arrived in Cindy’s home. All the way here, my heart was filled with appreciation for you. I went full time right after we got married, & you were with me in ministry, in pastoring, & in raising our children. Besides concerning them as they grew up, you had to put up with my many personality flaws. For these I am forever grateful. Just the heart you put into preparing the three daily meals touches me. My full time serving to the Lord was the result of my mom’s vow so God had no choice but to use me. And He found a way—arranging you to help, it’s all His plan. I am doing OK, but you are much better. I believe you will receive greater rewards when we see the Lord. I hope I’ll be more relax & joyful by His grace, & in the next phase of our life together we will love God more & cherish each other more—& find opportunity for vacation as well. The Lord be with you ministering in Taiwan & China, and spending time taking care of your parents. May the Lord continue to bless you with a rich life that enriches many.”

During worship at the prayer meeting, I began to feel that the years of sacrifice of the Church of Zion has even touched heavenly Father’s heart & He was saying to this church, “Thank you.” I shared this & as I returned to my seat, I felt heavenly Father was also saying “Thank you” to the faithful coworkers in my church. Is it possible for a father to thank his son? Jesus said, “If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:26) Not long ago, my four grandchildren came to visit & they all fell asleep in the car on the way home. Since their mommy was not with them at that time, daddy first carried the one year old into the house while he asked his 8 year old son to look after his 6 year old sister, fearing that she might cry if she woke. When daddy came out later, he saw his son holding the little sister’s hand, leading her into the house, bringing her upstairs & putting her to bed. As he came downstairs, daddy couldn’t help saying to his son, “Aidan, thank you!”

This was the 30th anniversary of the Church of Zion, I stayed a few more days, not only attending the Gathering but also staying with a church member & with Pastor Gideon. I got to spend time with COZ family, enjoy meals with the core leadership & have deep fellowship with different people. I admire this big family where God reigns. She is the birth place of the Homecoming in Hong Kong & in the nations & is a really rare kind of church in the world—healthy, full of love, functioning in the five-fold ministry yet so approachable! As I was with them I learned so much and said to myself, “Let’s bring all this back home!”

On my flight back to New Jersey, I started to hum a popular song from my college days, ”I’ve tried so hard, so hard to please. Oh, oh, oh, my darling, what more can I do? Doing the best, the best I can, but it’s not good enough for you.” I had sung this song to Molica, later sung it to myself and to God, and now am singing it to my dream church, feeling a little heavy amidst a firm hope—maybe one day the sun will come out after the rain, the gold will remain after the sand is sifted, & I will finally unearth the treasure I’ve always longed for in an endless stretch of wilderness. I remember the story of a chief choosing a successor. The chief was getting old and wanted to choose one of his three sons to succeed him. So he asked each of them to present the most precious gift to their father. After some time, the oldest son came back with a crystal, the second brought agate & jade, but the third came back empty handed. The father asked, “What have you brought back?” The youngest son said, “Father, I have heard you say: far away beyond the horizon, there is a huge piece of land & you should go see it one day. Dad, I walked towards the horizon, I crossed many mountains, & I truly saw a vast expanse of land where we can enjoy many generations!” So the chief gave his throne to this youngest son.

Father, what you have said & what I have gone to the ends of the earth to search for in all my life, I have now seen. For a church to be a truly loving family is possible! There do exist kingdom people who are true fathers & at the same time true sons! I had heard, but now I have seen! I wish I also have the privilege to be such a church & to become such a “father son”! The purpose of ministry is no longer to fulfill my personal ambitions but to please the Father’s heart. I am created for His pleasure, & His smile is my life value and my ultimate reward!

But this journey has not been easy. I asked the Lord many times, “Is it worth it?” The Lord said, “Wrong question, not ’Is it worth it’ but ‘Am I worth it?’ After dying many times, I finally understand:suffering is good, shaking and sifting is good; a land being ploughed is good—because only then will they see the joy of harvest one day. It is good to crush, grind, knead & roast the wheat—how else will we get fragrant fresh bread? It is necessary for a caterpillar to become a cocoon, to be stripped of everything & to seemingly die—How else will it become a butterfly? It is in changing that things find purpose! Life after conversion is no different. We go through a process in which we struggle while the world ridicules us & Satan tries to kill us. But our Heavenly Father restrains His tears, the angels hold their breath, and rows of trophies behind the heavenly throne await to be presented to every overcomer. The saints of old on the grandstand all rise up with hands held tight, crying out to you & me, cheering us on, “Keep going! Just a little longer, keep going!”

I come with bashfulness before my Father & say to Him, “What do I have to offer you? I have done a lot of empty work, but how much can remain when you come to test the work? How much will just be burnt to ashes?” I really desire to see a church with true family love instead of focusing on programs, ministries, number and size. A church that all generations and ethnic groups love and respect one another, a church that we all seek the Lord together, covenant with one another. A church whose leader is truly the Holy Spirit and the pastors and leaders’ job is to protect this—His Family His dwelling place and His will our ultimate goal. And only then will church have corporate authority, Satan will tremble, the world will respect and say, “They truly are Jesus’ disciples.” I seldom have seen such a church. Though there are many successful ones yet I know Daddy’s heart is still sad, Satan is still mocking and the world is still groaning and waiting for God’s sons and daughters to mature.

Dear Kingdom family, do you know heavenly Father & the world are waiting for us? I wonder, could we have the privilege to be the remnants that make our Daddy’s heart glad? Knowing myself I doubt I could, I need you because I know I can not do it alone. I also ask, “Is there anyone like this in the younger generation that I have the privilege to walk together, with one heart and one mind, and whose only ambition is not for power or fame but for the pleasure of Daddy’s heart? If there is such a person I would fly tens of thousand miles to make covenant with him and together we will one day share the crown. Together we will bow down before our Lord and hear Him say, “See, didn’t I tell you so? Come, enjoy Daddy’s happiness.” That is the treasure I have found beyond the horizon… It is rare, but it is possible!

As I thought about this, I cried, but now joy & hope were added to my sadness. It is like when Noah sent out the dove who returned after flying far away. But this time when the dove returned, it had a fresh olive leaf in its beak. The dry ground has appeared! I raise my head & through the glimmer of my tears, I see the smile of satisfaction of our Dad. My heart is filled with gratitude, bashfulness, adoration, & hope for what lies beyond the horizon…

Fred Hsu, 01/01/2013.