Changing Gears

As I gear up for the move to Hong Kong, it struck me that many of the things I take for granted will need to be transitioned. Boy, there are so many things, it is difficult to even know where to start.

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On the work front, I’m replacing a colleague who’s last day is on November 16th. He’s an excellent operator, and following up after him will not be easy. Organizationally, there are a number of changes. The existing IT team supports 2 business streams, and going forward, the team will be split to into two distinct teams, each supporting 1 business stream. So, we’re looking for another individual for the role supporting the other business strea, but in the mean time, I have to handle that role. Also, I am looking for a replacement for my existing role for South East Asia, and until the new headcount comes on board, I’ll have to directly manage South East Asia as well.

On the Home front, there are the childrens’ education to consider. Which school do we put them into? Are they able to get places? When does term start? How much are the school fees, can they adapt? Then housing is another key consideration. Where do we stay? How much can we afford? How large are the houses in Hong Kong? Can we as a family adapt to the smaller houses? Oh.. what about transport? Do I buy a car? How do the kids get to school? How much is a car in Hong Kong? What are the hidden costs like car parks, taxes, toll, etc? More immediately, because term starts in September, we’ve decided that I would move first by January 2013, and that Christine and the kids will move only by Sep/Oct 2013. This decision then adds a further dimension to our plans. When do i get an apartment? Should I just stay in a serviced apartment for now? Etc, etc…

Then, personally, I’ve had to also deal with a whole range of emotions on the transition. Will language become a handicap for me? Can I do well? What if I fail? Can i find good people? Will I have favour with my bosses, peers and team? So many unknowns and so many fears.

Change is never easy, can be confusing, comes with risks, but always necessary. There was a sermon I heard once from Senior Pastor Lawrence Khong about Change. In speaking about it, he used an imagery of the changing of gears in a vehicle. I know most cars are automatic nowadays, but in the good old days when many cars were still manual, shifting from 1 gear to another, requires a momentory move of the stick shift to neutral. It is at this point, where the car loses traction, disengages and goes into a free spin. This is also the point where the vehicle could potentially lose a little momentum before picking up again at the higher gear. But when the stick shift clicks and engages into the higher gear, you immediately are able to go faster, go longer and the ride carries on.

I guess, I’m in the middle of a gear change, and I’m experiencing a momentory disengagement of the gears, and feel like I’m losing momentum, and also feel a sense of uncertainty if I would like the higher gear. I’m thinking to myself, that gear 3 actually feels quite alright. Why do I need to shift to the 4th gear? I like travelling at 70km/hr. I don’t need to shift upwards.

But, I know deep in my heart that this is where God has placed me. It was important for me to understand and be convicted that Hong Kong is where I am to be for this season. And, over the last 6 weeks, spending time in prayer, hearing from God and seeing the tangible evidences and confirmations from God has convinced me that this is indeed where God wants my family and I for this season.

So, we pack our bags and obey.

This is however still not easy, but when I know where my North Star and anchor is, when the waves and winds come, I have a much better foundation.

Perhaps, what probably sums up how I should respond to the ambiguity I’m facing now is very aptly described in the recent Senior Pastors’ meeting at church (which I was unfortunately unable to attend as I was overseas).

The word came from Haggai 2:4-9.
What do we do when we are going through the fog? “Be strong” or “take courage.” Haggai 2:4

Five reasons why we can be strong and take courage — Because of the

1. Presence of God (Haggai 2:4,5b): The Lord is with us!

2. Promise of God (Haggai 2:5a): The Lord will direct us

3. Power of God (Haggai 2:6-7): The Lord will act for us!

4. Provision of God (Haggai 2:8): The Lord will provide for us!

5. Peace of God (Haggai 2:9): The Lord will give to us!

So, please help me, Lord.

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