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  • Writer's pictureWung & Margareth

The Path of Gratitude: A Remarkable Journey.

Nurturing Gratitude: The Essence of Grace. Grace is the breath of gratitude.

Our renewal journey, aptly named the "Gratitude Pilgrimage," was a deliberate endeavor to revisit the places and faces that Divine Grace had touched in our lives. Without the embrace of grace, embarking on a pilgrimage of gratitude becomes an arduous endeavor. Let us invite grace to manifest itself through the lens of gratitude.

Grace manifests itself through the lens of gratitude: Our family with Sylvia & Wilson's kids.

Planning: We set the course for this journey a year in advance. It was an opportunity to express our profound appreciation to those who aided us during our transition to life in the United States. This land—Illinois saw our first child's birth, etching deeper connections.

In the mosaic of generosity, a Naga couple (Imly & Sylvia) helped us with our seminary admission. Another couple (Wilson & Miseon) offered sustenance, clothing, and warm hospitality. We missed Miseon, a gentle and generous woman (Her soul is now united with God in eternal rest). These grand and seemingly small gestures collectively sculpted a transformative impact. Grace, we realized, manifests through the people we encounter along the way. Amid countless others, these kind souls made a tangible difference. Acknowledge and cherish these manifestations, for they are the conduits of gratitude. Gratitude, in turn, opens the gateway to true contentment.

Preparation: My wife prepared thoughtful small gifts to carry along, even though they possessed an abundance already, and while the recipients may have lacked for nothing, the intention behind them was the tokens of our gratitude. We hope the significance lies in the intention.

We conveyed our heartfelt gratitude to our friends (Aram and Suganthi) who invested in our calling. My husband expressed words of heartfelt thanks, articulating the depth of our gratitude.

Gratitude is the currency of grace: A family selfie with Aram & Suganthi's family.

We extended our appreciation to our dear friends who invested in our journey, and their words – "You're the one who returned to express thanks" – resonated deeply. Within the kingdom of the divine, if there were a currency, surely grace would be its denomination – a currency of gratitude indeed. Their words struck a chord, a testament to the value of gratitude expressed. Gratitude indeed thrives as a currency of grace.

Prioritize: To unlock the essence of grace – unmerited favor – prioritize gratitude. Our pilgrimage took us back to where we served immediately after seminary. Here, in Michigan, our second child came into our lives. The love we experienced in this place was boundless. We saw our children embraced by a Tennessee couple, who moved to Michigan, adopted them as their grandparents, and our kids found enduring love. These souls have now united with God in eternal rest.

Reciprocal gratitude flourishes friendships. Our family with Amy & Mark and Dena.

Reconnecting with my husband's former secretaries, we witnessed their life journeys unfold. One now stands as a lawyer, the other as a church secretary, bearing greater responsibilities. The first secretary's selfless journey to assist us during our move from Illinois to Michigan was a testament to the meaning of grace in action. We welcomed the second secretary into our lives and observed her transformation alongside her husband (My husband baptized the couple on Mother's Day). Amid the reciprocal expressions of gratitude, we were enveloped in the embodiment of grace. Reciprocal gratitude flourishes friendships.

Participate in the Dance of Gratitude: Active participation in gratitude fosters empathy. Sharing life's joys and trials with others forges bonds, fostering a genuine appreciation for our shared experiences. In this shared experience, gratitude finds fertile ground. Our youngest was born in this place—Indiana. Embrace the role of a grateful participant, enabling others to encounter divine grace through your presence.

Celebrating 200 years at First Baptist Church, Fort Wayne: with Larry & Joyce and Sandy.

The 200-year commemoration of the First Baptist Church, Fort Wayne, is a testament to an enduring legacy – a legacy we're honored to be a part of through our nine years of service. It was a pleasure to catch up with Sandy, the piano teacher of our children, as well as Larry and Joyce, who graciously shared their timeshare with us.

Active participation in gratitude fosters empathy. Our family with parents and kids of some our former soccer program.

As the evening settled, Edison, his family & Daffodil, and her husband invited us to dinner. Former members of our soccer program and youth, now young adults, wished to join the gathering. Their presence evoked profound nostalgia. My wife invited them to recount memories of our time together, and their narratives resounded with laughter and warmth. Their heartfelt stories, woven with humor and sentiment, reverberated with gratitude – an emotion that deepens our sense of community. One is a US Marine, some are studying to be an engineer, doctors, psychologists, and teachers, and some are musicians. Their narratives, both amusing and touching, illuminated our hearts. Through this exchange, the community's tapestry of gratitude grew richer.

Practice gratitude: To partake in divine grace, practice gratitude. Sharing emerges as a conduit for this practice. Share laughter, sustenance, and narratives. We transcend the snares of comparison and competition by sharing the blessings that flow from Divine grace.

Invite your families into the practice of gratitude: At Daisok and Proquila's home.

Our visit to a seminary classmate, Daisok & Proquila's family, exemplified this practice. Laughter resonated, stories flowed, and our children witnessed gratitude in action.

Our children were woven into this web of shared appreciation, witnessing the embodiment of gratitude in action. Let us invite our families into this practice, demonstrating the beauty of gratitude and thankfulness. Expressing appreciation, sharing hearty laughter, giving thanks before meals, and recounting amusing stories – no matter how whimsical. Within these acts resides the gateway to contentment – gratitude.

If you missed the previous post on our Sabbatical Journey Click Here.

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Sylvia Pongener
Sylvia Pongener
Aug 18, 2023

Laughter - what a great gift along the journey! We are grateful for you and your family, and the many laughs shared. May God deepen and multiply all the relationships. You've more than paid back, and paid forward, all the gifts, large and small. "Shine like Stars" - Philippians 2:15

Wung Valui
Wung Valui
Aug 18, 2023
Replying to

"May God deepen and multiply all the relationships"- I love that. We look forward to sharing more moments of laughter.

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