NewCom Pastor Peter Hong 6/4
God’s silence is not his absence. His seeming hiddenness is not impotence or abandonment. The unbelievable truth we’re challenged with is, when things seem to be going the most wrong, that God is most working in our lives. So if we reject God based on the surface of our lives, because we can’t see what he’s doing underneath, we may be making the biggest mistake of our lives.
When life interruptions happen, we tend to ask:
1. Why is this happening?
2. When is this going to end?
But I challenge you to instead ask God:
1. What do you want to do in me through this life interruption?
2. What do you want to do through me in this life interruption?
God is less interested in my comfort than he is in my transformation. God will rarely give me what I want, but he will often give me what I need, in just the right time, in just the right way, in just the right proportions, to make me more like Him.
He gives grace to shake my confidence in me to put my confidence and trust in Him.
The story of Joseph is how a young 17 year old man grows up to be an emotionally and spiritually mature adult. Joseph, who started out an arrogant egomaniac, tells his 11 brothers who tried to kill him and sold him into slavery, “Now, do not be distressed or angry with yourselves for selling me here b/c it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance — so then it was not you who sent me here, but God.” Joseph is able to say to his brothers that what you did was evil, but God is so wise, so loving and so powerful that he took your evil and turned it into good.
You and I cannot have that perspective apart from the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
Genesis 50:15 – when Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they wondered whether he would pay him back for all the evil they did. So they told him their father gave them last words for Joseph to forgive them. Joseph then wept, b/c he knew they were lying. In weeping, he genuinely grieved and mourned the sadness and brokenness of his family.
True forgiveness can only come out of honest grieving.
Spiritually emotionally healthy people understand how their past affects their present ability to love people and to love God. The problem for most of us is that we don’t want to go back – some see it as a waste of time, or as too painful and would rather live in the denial they’re in today. You cannot truly and honestly forgive unless you genuinely mourn and grieve.
Joseph’s brothers came before him and threw themselves down and Joseph refuses to put himself in God’s chair. Here are the ways we put ourselves in God’s chair:
- We assume we can be our own moral authority.
- When you let people look to you to meet their deepest needs.
- Excessive worry – it is a refusal to give God kingship.
- Keeping a grudge – he only knows the facts by which to judge, and he’s the only one who is able to judge w/o being able to become evil himself. When you hold a grudge, the evil that was done to you moves into your heart.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended for good, to accomplish what is now being done — the saving of many lives.” Joseph is taking God’s view about the interruptions in his life. Viewing it from the top of the mountain, instead of from the bottom of the valley.
Joseph was able to ask, “Is there something God might be doing in the midst of this?”
How do we know that something people intend for evil can be meant for good? Look at the CROSS. The people meant it for evil, but God meant it for good, for the salvation of many lives.
If you ever lose hope b/c you just can’t make sense of it all, look at the cross. This means even we can’t mess up our lives. God will use even our sin, detour and mistakes to bring about good.
“The nexus of sin is man substituting ourselves for God. The essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.” – John Stott
We put ourselves where God deserves to be, God puts himself where we deserve to be.
A little late to the party (actual birthday was 6/17).
This is the third birthday that we celebrate together as a couple and I have to say, everything is lovely. Joyce, you are the best wife that any man could ever ask for. The amount of support and love that you provide, filled with so much laughter and good memories, I can’t express in words. I am so thankful for who you are and how you worked so hard to get here in life. A lot of people don’t see the struggles that you go through, or the exhaustive nature of trying to be there for everyone, but I do and I am so proud of you.
All our adventures through life are so filled with the holy spirit and I feel super blessed to be with you. What did I do to deserve someone like you and be so lucky? How did I end up with someone so goofy?
I know I’m not working right now and my confession is that because I’m not working… I feel that I shouldn’t be able to use money that I didn’t earn… I messed up and didn’t realize that concept is stupid. I should still have gotten you something, anything but my pride got in the way. Don’t worry though, I’m going to make it up to you even though your face and reaction to this is probably this –
I love you and thank you for loving me and understanding me unconditionally. I’m proud to call you my wife and my best friend. I’ll love you forever ❤
And don't forget that it was also a special birthday because the people you care about all contacted you by phone and cards, letting you know that they hold you dear in their hearts. Also the dancing at The Woods in Brooklyn! We had a great time and everyone, friendsies, squid, church people, CSM Tax Dept., and all of BK came out to show you love. It was a fun night!
My Adey baby is 6 years old today!! I can’t believe it. I remember when he was born, he was so tiny (he was a little early, maybe a couple weeks?) but looked like a little angel. 🙂
In this post I shall reflect on my nephews and nieces who live on the other side of the country. I have 2 older brothers and each has a firstborn son followed by a daughter. Ryan & Riley from BRO1/SIL1 and Adrian & Lila from BRO2/SIL2. It’s interesting b/c the boys’ names are similar (like “adrian” has “rian” in it) and the girls’ are too (in Korean pronunciation it’s like liley/lila hahaha). The boys are like an uncanny version 2.0 of my brothers (at least from seeing their baby pix together and stuff) and the girls also look like miniatures of my SILs, haha
I first became an aunt when I was 18. I was a freshman in college and my SIL1 gave birth to Ryan, my first nephew, that October. Ryan Phillip Yoon. His middle name is after my dad’s name, but it does make you think of Ryan Phillippe a bit doesn’t it? :p When he was first born, I was so excited to see how “cute” he would be… he wasn’t. HAHA. Newborn babies usually look nothing like what they look like a few days later, after recovering from their journey thru the birth canal. In Ryan’s case, his face was swollen and the first pic we saw of him, he was all slimy. I remember being kinda shocked. Of course he recovered from that and became the friggaliggin handsome boy with a killer smile that he is today. 🙂 just wanted to share in case you have a baby and freak out that they look like an alien byproduct at first. LOL. It is (hopefully) not permanent. ^__~
I lived with Ryan his first 1.5 years (on weekends and breaks when I wasn’t at the dorms), but sadly I don’t remember too much of him as a baby, other than him being covered in Aquaphor all the time hahaha and his pale white, porcelain skin. I remember he started crawling and walking really early, and once he started sitting up, he would copy his grandma (who cleaned a lot) and take towels/gauze and rub the floor making an “errrr” sound (showing the effort). He was raised with great cleanliness. :p
Once he started talking, we realized how much of a *sweetheart* he is. He would say the darnedest, most darling things. Usually about love, God or family 🙂 my SIL1 would post some interactions on FB statuses. I will retrieve some. I also remember when Peter and I got married, he kept asking us to kiss. He said he likes love. Hehehe. Today, he is such a loving older brother to Riley, a great leader of the troop if you will, really good at Korean (sadly he’s the only one of the 4 who can speak and write it haha) and extremely talented at drawing! He’s still a total sweetheart and that’ll probably follow him through life.
Then came Adrian in 2011. I remember him being so tiny, having the most beautiful fingers and toes. I remember thinking he looked a lot like my brother even from Day 1, and he wasn’t swollen (maybe I saw him a few more hours into his life than I did with Ryan). I remember a lot of our aunts being there and we had a service praying for him. That was really nice.
Adrian was a baby genius. He started spelling/reading before hitting age 2. He could say the whole alphabet and count to 100. Amazing! In fact, he enjoyed studying – he’d wake up and instead of playing with toys, he’d play with his alphabet letters, books and such. I remember before he started saying real words, he would always look up at ceilings, point, and say “SHdeesh?!” or “SHdats!” and we thought he was saying “THIS?” or “THAT!” (who knows if that’s what he was really saying, but the context worked). He always cracked up when I did the Goofy laugh (“guk-guk-guk”). He had this hilarious baby goat laugh. He was also such a chill baby, sleep-trained really early and would wake up smiling/laughing. He really liked dancing (and Bruno Mars songs), though he kinda lacked coordination (perhaps still so). Haha :p and later he got really into VBS songs. So cute. Today, he’s still an amazing genius, a silly boy and I expect him to become a rocket scientist or something along those lines.
Riley was born in 2012, just a little before I left for law school. I think Riley is the one I’ve had the least time together with 😦 b/c since I left LA, every time I visited I’ve stayed with BRO2 as they’ve always had an extra room for me (BRO1 has a very full house w/ in-laws), so I only see Riley for short periods of time. I at least had some time with Ryan when he was a baby, but Riley, I’ve just seen grow up kinda through videos and the occasional visits. But she’s a hilarious little girl, very spunky, full of attitude, LOVES singing (and is REALLY good at it — even a little scary, she sings with passionate vibrato LOL) and is so sweet to me. I feel like she loves the word “gomo” (which means “aunt from dad’s side”), she says it so sweetly to me. :)) It melts my heart. I also remember feeding her just a couple times but I thought it was so cute how she ate really well. She’s extremely girly, loves princesses, purses, shoes, etc. She also is good at acting! Lol. She records funny videos being dramatic and stuff :p I also love how when I got married, she called me “princess gomo” hehe and kept wanting to take pictures with me. So cute. I hope I get to spend more time with her ❤
The last one of the tribe is Lila, who’s blessed us with her smiles since 2013 (just 8 months after Riley was born). I went to LA for the week of her due date, but she came out 3 days past and I had to go back on her due date. 😦 so I first saw her through pictures, but I remember she had this beautiful smile and double eyelids. Hehe. This little girl is so funny. She is a piggy trashcan, just like her auntie. HAHA. Iow, she eats anything and everything. and I love that about her. She is super sweet, cuddly/touchy, loves hugs and kisses, laughs so easily and is just a truly happy girl. Her happiness is contagious and you can’t help but be happy around her or even just by thinking of her.
My nephews/nieces are probably the #1 reason I wish I lived in LA again. I just feel at bliss when I’m with them. Whenever I got stressed out, esp in law school, one videochat session with them would re-ground me and help me feel recharged, rejuvenated and motivated again. It’s crazy how little babies have this power. They are just so precious and sweet. But alas, for now, I feel called to stay here in NYC, so our LDR will continue :(. I just hope my babies know how much I love them and always will, even as they grow older and our relationships change. I hope that when they’re adults, we are friends and share our lives together, pray for one another and encourage one another. I’m so excited, and so grateful I get to be their aunt. ❤
Our good friends posted about composting in NYC on their blog and it got me inspired!
Peter and I are currently attending our church’s Midtown East home group, and in addition to all the thought-provoking and deep conversations we have while digging into the Word, we are also a passionate group of people, and several of us share a common interest in protecting the environment. Naturally, composting is part of that!
What is composting? Well, first and foremost, composting is nature’s way of recycling! Nature naturally takes decomposed organic materials and turns them into a rich soil known as compost, which allows the cycle of life to continue. What it means for city dwellers is either having your own at-home composting operation or, more likely, dropping off your food scraps at a collection site like Greenmarket (which will then take it to one of several NYC composting sites to be broken down). The resulting matter can then be used for local urban farming and gardening projects.
According to a 2013 Huffington Post article, food scraps accounted for 33% of all residential trash in NYC (and were the #1 material sent to landfills at large). The article estimated a potential annual savings of $100 million if we were to return our food to the soil instead of to landfills.
What’s so bad about food scraps going to landfills? Doesn’t it just break down once it’s there? No. Oxygen is needed to facilitate the decaying process, and because food scraps are mixed in with all the other inorganic junk/garbage at landfills, the oxygen can’t reach the compostable waste. Thus, their fate is the same as the rest of the garbage – landfill waste, which will be ultimately burned and/or buried. Landfill is responsible for ~20% of the nation’s emissions of greenhouse gases (as anaerobic decomposition produces landfill gas, which is comprised of ~50/50% of methane/carbon dioxide – significant contributors of global warming b/c of their heat-trapping properties), and the incineration process releases vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and leaves toxic ash waste.
Understanding that food scraps are the #1 material sent to landfills, this means that a significant amount of this yucky, horribly unfriendly landfill is stuff we could prevent by composting. Not only will we reduce the amount of landfill in general, protecting our earth, but the resulting compost is good for the land and soil — for the plants and other things we grow. Plus, we spend less on commercially-produced compost and lawn/garden products, whose factories depend on fossil fuels to quickly make commercial amounts of compost.
What to compost? For those dropping off at sites in NYC, Greenmarket’s guide states that accepted materials include fruit and vegetable scraps, non-greasy food scraps (rice, pasta, bread, cereal etc.), coffee grounds & filters, tea bags, egg and nut shells, pits, cut or dried flowers, houseplants and potting soil.
(Note: There are definitely more materials than listed above that can be composted, especially in your at-home operations, but these larger community facilities request that people leave out certain items that make it more difficult for these sites to maintain/handle the scraps.)
But doesn’t it smell? Peter and I collect our food scraps in gallon ziploc bags and leave them in our freezer = no smell, no mold and our food-free trash can doesn’t smell anymore! When your ziploc is full, simply transfer the frozen scraps to a paper bag and you can drop the whole bag, contents and all into the compost bin at a drop-off site. If you prefer to take the scraps still in the ziploc, just note you’ll have to empty the ziploc at the site, since ziploc isn’t compostable (then take it home and you can reuse the ziploc for your next round of scraps!).
Where to compost in NYC? Here’s a list of all the drop-off sites in NYC! You could also buy a composting bin to DIY at home, but that’s next-level stuff I won’t cover here :p
For now, we will try to minimize our contribution of food scraps to landfills by dropping off our food scraps at Greenmarket. We hope more New Yorkers will do the same! And all of earth’s inhabitants in their own accessible/feasible ways. 🙂
People often ask me what to eat in LA so I figured I’d make a list of all my faves. I’ve added each place’s Yelp page — I will note that a lot of these don’t have that great of ratings on Yelp lol but I am passionate about them and would take my friends there (and they would enjoy them too loll) 🙂 so take that however you wish.
- First of all, of course you must eat IN-N-OUT b/c it is a STAPLE of LA life
- Noshi Sushi on Hobart and Beverly, note it’s cash only and closed on Mondays – get spicy scallop sushi, spicy tuna roll (but don’t expect it to be like any spicy tuna roll you’ve had before cuz it’s very different! but delicious!), and stuff off their specials :]
- Thai Original BBQ (fave location is the one in Glendale) – so I think they have the typical popular thai dishes here (i.e. pad thai, pad see ew), but I’ve never tried those cuz this place is most delicious for its Thai style BBQ! I always get S8 (sate beef plate) 😀
- El Taurino (Mexican fast food) – tortas and tostadas with RED SAUCE (fiery spicy like halal guys red sauce haha)
- Mario’s (Peruvian) – lomo saltado + GREEN sauce 🙂
- Lazy Daisy Beverly Hills (healthy) – I love getting the turkey avocado wrap and asking for their chipotle sauce with it. They also have an AMAZING BREAKFAST BURRITO, and their burgers are also really good!
- School Food (Korean school lunch-like snack-ish food) – fave items include the kimbap with squid ink in it, carbonara ddukbokgi and gil guh ri ddukbokgi (this latter one is mad spicy!!!). free unlimited refills of odeng soup broth 🙂
- Cafe Korobokgur on 8th and Hobart, get “Mega Ddukbokgi”
- Curry House (Japanese curry and katsus), multiple locations – corn potage, chicken katsu, omelette rice, and they also have surprisingly good pastas!
- Sushi Gen in Little Tokyo – amazing lunch special, super fresh tasting fish (was $15 last I tried but maybe has gone up since inflation)
- Daikokuya (Japanese ramen) in both Little Tokyo and Sawtelle (West LA) – combos are really good (i.e. tuna bowl, fried rice, gyu don)
- Furaibo (Japanese comfort food) on Sawtelle
- Din Tai Fung (soup dumplings) in Arcadia, also Glendale (& prob bunch of locations by now)
- Panda Inn (Chinese) – original restaurant in Glendale before they made Panda Express! If you know me you know I love Panda Express so… ya. Panda Inn is pretty diff though, nothing similar on menu. but delicious! I liked the Pasadena location b/c the Glendale one is temp closed until Feb 2018
- Raffi’s (Armenian) in Glendale
- Zankou Chicken (Armenian fast food) – several locations, I used to always go to the one by my high school in Glendale 🙂
- Wako Donkasu in Koreatown (2 locations)
- Mapo Galbi (Korean chicken ribs) – dak galbi!
- Boiling Crab – several locations including Koreatown and Alhambra
- Kang Hodong Baekjung (Korean BBQ) on 6th and Kenmore in Chapman Plaza, Koreatown, get the Pork Combo! (new locations in the OC and such too)
- M Grill (Brazilian BBQ) on Wilshire and Western in Koreatown
and I am sad to learn that my fave pho place, which was in Alhambra, closed.. but you basically have to have a bowl of pho in LA. You can go anywhere for the most part.
Non-restaurants but other faves:
- Porto’s Bakery (original bakery in Glendale, but other locations) – cheese rolls, potato balls, tres leches cake, yassss
- Blockheads Shavery on Sawtelle – Taiwanese shaved ice :), can free valet park (just tip) in the parking lot to the left of the establishment
- Sul & Beans – Korean shaved ice
- and my friend is opening a soft serve ice cream place in Ktown in May so I’ll update this to add that b/c it’s gonna be booomb 🙂 here’s a preview
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any questions or comments! 🙂
My mother and father were and still are the hardest working people I’ve ever known. They emigrated from South Korea and somehow missed LA only to end up in Chicago. More on my parents in a later post. A few years later, I breathed my first breath of air and I knew then and there that I had BIG plans. While I grew up, I had many things that made me happy: pokemon cards, friends, a bike, working limbs, and my hair. The world revolved around me and my happiness would devour the world.
That is until I ended up in a pharmacy.
Now, I’m not trying to bash on pharmacists. I’m not trying to give the pharmacy world a bad rep. It just… wasn’t for me. I went to pharmacy school early, after three years of undergraduate school. As far as I know, pharmacy and nursing school don’t require a bachelor’s degree, as long as you completed the pre-requisite classes, you can apply (if it changed, that’s how it was when I applied). I was graciously accepted and decided to jump on a career path that would kickstart my world. My parents were happy (and that was the most important thing to me at the time) and I was happy. In my mind, I’d be out of school after four more years and be set. I met so many people that would forever have places in my heart and cherished every moment. After graduation, my wife and I moved to Manhattan to work. I didn’t like NYC at first but after a while, it’s charm grows on you.
I loved meeting new people, listening to stories, and sharing laughs with my coworkers. What I didn’t like was being a pharmacist. I worked for a year and a half and thought that maybe it would grow on me but nope. Not a chance.
Joyce was very supportive and encouraging when I brought up the thought of a career switch. I had expected her to tell me to be reasonable. I couldn’t have been any more excited about the potential change. I know I had gone through so much schooling just to be a pharmacist but it just wasn’t for me. The only problem was… I didn’t know what else to do…
One day, Joyce was on her flight back from LA when she sat next to a gentleman that was working on his computer. She asked what he was working on and he told her that he worked at a pharmaceutical company as a coder (or developer). That’s when Joyce thought that I would be a great coder! She brought the idea to me and I started to look into it to see if it would be something I’d be interested in.
I spoke with my friend Vinit who is a developer and he encouraged the idea. His hype and love for coding really had me serious about doing it. I searched the internet about the different types of coding bootcamps and eventually, through lots of research, ended up applying to //Flatiron School. I was accepted and now I’m learning so much. I absolutely love it and it makes me so much happier. Thank you Joyce!!!
I also have a technical blog on the side that I work on while attending Flatiron:
Check it out if you’re interested in some of the things that I’m learning!
All in all, I’m really happy about my journey to become a developer. The people that I met in my coding bootcamp are amazing individuals and are all in the same boat as me. Everyone is looking to switch careers and because of the intense workload that we’re going through, we’ve become close friends within 3 weeks of school. More to come later!