A Matter of Perspective

18 01 2011

Most of the time you won’t associate cold, winter weather with Hong Kong, but for many people here this week, they were trying to find ways to stay warm.

Shortly after Christmas, a winter monsoon began bringing colder weather to Hong Kong.  We realize that the term ‘colder weather’ is very relative, especially for those in Canada and the United States experiencing frigid weather conditions around -30° F.  The coldest temperature ever recorded in Hong Kong was -4° C (25° F) – and the only time it snows here is either on the peaks of nearby mountains, or at the Disneyland Christmas display.

But because Hong Kong’s climate is subtropical, cold weather creates unique challenges for people living here.  Most people have learned to put on additional layers of clothing when the cold winds begin to blow, but the more difficult aspect is learning to deal with the cold weather inside your apartment.

With single pane windows, and ‘leaky’/vented air conditioners, there’s no way to keep the cold air from seeping into your apartment.  Also, since there’s no central heating in our apartment complex, it is up to each individual to find a way to keep their apartment warm in rooms where the temperature will drop to 13° C (55° F). We’ve been able to use a portable electric heater to help stay warm.  While our heater is not able to heat our entire apartment all at once, it does provide enough heat for one room at a time – up to a balmy 18° C (64° F)!

It’s not the ideal, and it can be a little cold early in the morning – but it’s a lot better than some of the homes Joel has visited in rural mountains of southern China.  Some time ago Joel went with local church leaders to meet with a group of believers in a mountain village in the southern province of Guangxi. After climbing up to the village where a group of believers were meeting, they walked into a dark and smoky room where the believers had gathered for a time of fellowship and prayer.  A few of the side windows were left open just enough to provide some ambient light and ventilation for the charcoal fires that were heating the room – but the warmth of the room was a nice change from the outside cool weather.  It took Joel several minutes before he could keep his eyes open and not have his eyes tear up because of the charcoal fumes – but for everyone else, they were warm and comfortable.

We realize that in another week or so, the weather is likely to change, and we won’t remember the discomfort we felt with the cooler temperatures. After all it won’t be long before we’ll be dealing with high humidity and hot weather.  But this week’s blog is not about comparing the climate conditions in various parts of the world, but rather about finding contentment wherever we are. In Philippians 4, the apostle Paul wrote the following: “I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances”.  We don’t always enjoy the cold weather, (or the heat & humidity) but there is contentment in knowing that this is where God wants us to be.  We are thankful for God’s leading us back to Asia and the ministry He has given to both of us here in Hong Kong & China.  May you too experience God-given contentment this week, wherever He has led you to be.

Until next week,
Joel & Debbie Chute

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One response

19 01 2011
Bethany

Great perspective!

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