I like to think of this meme as a step of faith instead of a broken promise.

I planned my New Beginning series, Books 1-3, a few years ago. The books would feature Americans partnering with New Zealanders in church planting ministry. I wrote a pretty good rough draft of all three books, one right after another. During the tightened restrictions of Covid in 2020, I worked with a designer to create covers for all three. All was going according to plan. Short Poppies released in September of 2021. Give It a Go released September of 2022. So even though we were planning a six-month furlough starting in November 2022, I posted a meme announcing Pop In for a Cuppa was “coming in 2023!” I didn’t see any reason I couldn’t release this book by the end of 2023. After all, at that point I had it all written in fairly good shape and just needed to fill in some things and give it a final polish.

That was before we located a potential local pastor and wife who could take over our mission ministry in 2023. And before we knew that 2023 would be a pivotal, transition year when we would leave our church planting ministry of 25 years in New Zealand to begin our transition to retirement in America.

During this transition, in the last 7 months of 2023 we would need to:

  • Return from a busy furlough in America
  • Pass on all the ministry responsibilities we are currently doing at our church, a bit at a time
  • Work out the details of an employment contract for the church’s first salaried pastor
  • Sell our house, car, furniture and most of our household goods
  • Say goodbye to all our New Zealand friends, not knowing if we will ever see them again
  • Return to America, ready to spend Christmas with our family

After all that we will have to buy a house and make big changes in practically every part of our life. But I’ll save that for 2024.

Back to my book 3, Pop In for a Cuppa. Announcing its release in 2023 was a step of faith for me.

Some people think that a step of faith means I have the faith, so God will deliver. If he doesn’t, either I’m a failure or He is. But I don’t see it that way. Faith isn’t about manipulating God to do my will. To me, a step of faith is just that. One step. I don’t know what the outcome will be, but as I take each step I think God has for me, I ask the Lord to lead me forward into His will for my life.

So I had planned to publish Pop In for a Cuppa in 2023, but God had a better plan. A plan for our church, our retirement, our family. Working with a new pastor and winding up our 25 years of our current ministry became more important than releasing my book on schedule in 2023.

God’s timing is always right. I now plan to publish Pop In for a Cuppa in 2024, but only God knows the future. As far as I can see, retirement should be a time when I can devote more time to write, publish, and promote my books—along with different kinds of ministry and much more time with family. It will be a different season of life for me.

Since I began writing for Christian publication since 1979, I’ve gone through many seasons of life. Some seasons of life I had more time to write than others, but God has given me opportunities to write throughout that whole time. Maybe you’re in a season of life when you have dreams, but not the time or resources to pursue them. If God is really leading you to do these things, he will show you the way.

In the past few months, I’ve been claiming this promise from God. “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.” (Psalm 138:8 NIV) What plans have you put on hold because your present season of life doesn’t allow you to pursue it? Have you given those plans to God? What can you rejoice in during your current season of life?

As I began to communicate with Ruth Whong a few months ago, I found several things we have in common.

  • Ruth grew up in Hong Kong and Taiwan. My husband and I served as missionaries to Taiwan for sixteen years.
  • Ruth is a pastor’s wife, and so am I. She and her husband served together at three churches from 1987 to 2020. My husband and I served in a couple of churches in Taiwan from 1980 to 1996 and have now served in our current New Zealand church since 1998.
  • Of course, we’re both writers. Both of our husbands encourage our writing ministries.

Ruth’s pathway to publishing novels went down different roads than mine did. Ruth works for a small biotech company and has published 120+ scientific books and papers (under a different name). She’s a latecomer to creative writing, but has published four books in the last two years. The Way We Forgive is loosely based on events in Ruth’s life but is written like fiction. Her recent release, Blazing China, reached Amazon’s #1 new release in Asian Literature in August.

During her husband’s last sabbatical, he and Ruth worked as volunteers at the Garden Tomb. She has incorporated her experiences there into Love at the Garden Tomb.  This book takes place at the same time as The Way We Forgive.

You can get this contemporary Christian romance for free when you sign up for her newsletter here.

Lily Young is content to leave love to others more qualified. Betrayed and kicked out of her family home in Taiwan at sixteen, she can’t afford to get hurt again.

Josh Ying has his own share of life’s adversities. Growing up in Hong Kong with a sick older brother, he is the invisible child until he makes a bold demand that leads to a dire consequence.

Constant interactions at Ohio State University bring two desolate souls together. Yet personal hardship and circumstances beyond their control, plus unresolved guilt and resentment, scatter them in different directions.

Years later, they run into each other again at the Garden Tomb in Israel. Under the spell of the Jerusalem Syndrome (a set of mental phenomena that involves religious, psychosis-like experiences), will they jeopardize their hearts again?

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