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  • Daniel Lui

Bless the Lord, O My Soul (re-entry).

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning;

It’s time to sing Your song again.

Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me,

Let me be singing when the evening comes.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

O my soul,

Worship His holy name.

Sing like never before,

O my soul,

I’ll worship Your holy name.

What an insane week it has been.

Let’s start with last week. Last week was a great week. We hit 8 months being in Hong Kong (HK). What was supposed to be a one week Chinese New Year visit (back in late January 2020) to see my dad turned out to be an eight month adventure — a time of (amazing) mental and spiritual growth for all of us. We finally hit our stride. We transitioned almost everything we were doing (other than seeing face-to-face patients) from before the trip to doing virtually (i.e., online) in HK. Our Heavenly Father even expanded our plates in HK and we were able to take part in a few other amazing opportunities, mainly in the areas of discipleship and training. We also had friends “stuck” in HK with us that we began to meet on a regular basis. Lily had taken over the role(s) of what seemed like the head teacher, principal, lunch lady, gym teacher, art teacher and recess attendant in our home. The kids had a routine and Lily did a fabulous job managing all of that. Then...BAM! We got the notice.

Starting September 28, people like us with valid and still active work visas and residency permits were allowed to re-enter (!!!). Think about this. We’ve been gone 8 months. These visa’s and permits need to be renewed yearly. What were the chances that ours were still valid and active? Well, right before us coming to HK we reluctantly went through the process of renewing everything (in December 2019) instead of pushing it off until AFTER our HK trip. For those that don’t know the process...we’ll save you from the boredom of hearing all the details. Just know that it’s a pain in the butt process that requires multiple stops at different bureau offices, spanning days, including a (yearly!) health check that requires an abdominal ultrasound, chest x-ray, urinalysis, blood work, EKG, and more.

Our minds started to race. We’re a few days away from the 28th! What do we need to do? Are there things we have to do before going back? What were the requirements of going back with this new policy? We had all these questions and no real answers. We kept hearing from people like us — full time field workers — stranded (temporarily) in countries all over the world. Everyone wanted information. We ended up going to a few bureau offices in HK, asked around, and discovered all we needed was a negative covid test. However, one big big big caveat — we needed to re-enter within 24 hours of a negative test! Not within 7 days. Not within 72 hours. 24 hours! What!? Worst of all, we were told the test results can come back as early as the same day OR as late as 3 business days. Oh, and by the way, labs close on the weekends (i.e., no posting of results) and will be closed for the entire mid-autumn festival holiday starting October 1st.

My mind blown. How could this be, God? Through so much prayer (by us and by those that loved on us) over the past 8 months I were confident that when the time came You would fling that door wide open. You would make Your way known. How can I buy plane tickets and time it perfectly? There’s no way! Earlier on in the pandemic I tried to go back and failed. 3 times tickets were bought and 2 times a refund was granted. However, hundreds of dollars was lost on that third time...and I didn’t want to have that happen again. It was then that a friend reminded me that we could walk across the border from HK to Shenzhen Bay.

For many many many reasons we didn’t wait. We decided we should leave before the October 1st holiday. It was a really REALLY hard decision to leave so suddenly. The hardest part was that we had to leave my dad, someone we grew to love living with and love being with. Our story with my dad and how God used these 8 months can be a story for another time. But, we made the decision, got our covid tests done, and just waited for the results to come back. While waiting, our last few days were amazing. Great time with our dear friends who we serve with in CN. Great time with my dad’s staff that we met with on a weekly basis. Even greater time with my dad...Kingston and Fiona’s yieyie.

We got the test results back on September 29th. 4 negatives! It became real. We were really going to leave. Perfect timing. One day before the start of the October 1st holiday. Thank goodness my dad was able to get a driver to bring us over the HK--Shenzhen bridge. We were dropped off on September 30th and our journey back began.

I won’t go into the details of the day, but September 30th was a day we will never forget. 10 am is when the borders open to the public to enter. We were one of the first in line. We didn’t finish the entire process of re-entering until around 1:00/1:30 pm. Lots of paperwork, going from station to station to station. I do have to say, it was pretty well organized (thank goodness). We then boarded a bus to our quarantine facility, which was about 2 hours away. On the bus, I started to hear Lily and Fiona sing:

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning;

It’s time to sing Your song again.

Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me,

Let me be singing when the evening comes.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

O my soul,

Worship His holy name.

Sing like never before,

O my soul,

I’ll worship Your holy name.

Once we got to the facility and another hour of paperwork we finally got our room keys and settled in around 4:30 pm....our room and home for the next 14 days. We were all starved so we ate a quick snack that Lily had packed and then whipped out our ukulele and started to sing, again:

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

O my soul,

Worship His holy name.

Sing like never before,

O my soul,

I’ll worship Your holy name.

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning;

It’s time to sing Your song again.

Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me,

Let me be singing when the evening comes.

Thank you to everyone that has loved on us, supported us, encouraged us, and prayed for us these last 8 months. Honestly, we are humbled. Would you continue to pray for us? We love and appreciate all of you so much.

We all crashed pretty early last night. I woke up at 3:30 am today and had to snap this picture of Kingston and Fiona...zonked out.

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