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  • Writer's pictureVivian Foley

Chinese New Year

We had a wonderful opportunity over this past week to experience the Lunar New Year, also know as the Chinese New Year.  Our Mission President reminded us that it gives yet another opportunity to review the year past and make plans to renew the year to come. It is also another chance to enjoy friends, family, and vacation time. We enjoyed getting out to some of the big sights in town, but really loved spending time with the young adults and missionaries here.

For Sean and I it means two months have passed since we arrived in Singapore. We often talk about our first time doing things and we are constantly learning from those firsts and seconds.  Last week in our blog Sean talked about some of his daily routine, so this week I thought I would talk about some of mine.  On Mondays while the young missionaries are having their preparation day, we often meet with my counterpart in the Asia area. That is a highlight of my week as she and I swap stories and tender mercies about our work. Sean and I also spend some time in strategic planning, catching up on emails, and sharing ideas about how to improve our work. I love the time that Sean and I spend counseling together and how that improves our work experiences.

Tuesdays through Fridays are the very busy days of working with missionaries. I generally follow a regular counseling pattern of meeting missionaries in one hour time chunks.  Since one week that went over 20 hours, I have limited those time chunks to 18 hours a week. I spend some time before each session reviewing assessments completed by the missionaries and thinking about what I hope to accomplish in a session.  That doesn’t mean we always follow that plan, but it helps to have a plan in mind going in.  After I complete the day's sessions it is note time!

The notes I write for each visit with a missionary are very different from the case notes I used to write for my clients.  I write these notes in the form of a letter to the missionary reviewing what we discussed in our session and also giving a very customized invitation for further growth.  I send these letters to the missionary with a copy to his or her mission leaders, so I work to make the note something that both will understand, and is neither too personal or too vague. In these notes I am thinking about ways to further help the missionary and ways to help the mission leaders work with the missionaries.  Another difference from the HIPAA world of my profession is that I can dictate my notes for Sean to review and ensure they are comprehendible and consistent. Afterwards I do a final review and then he sends them out from me.

The whole approach is one that includes others in the helping role, and I so appreciate being part of a team of people working to help each missionary. I can consult with the Area Medical Advisor and Consulting Psychiatrist, and appreciate having medical doctors' perspective as part of the team.

For me, both my favorite and my hardest part of doing things this way is learning how to have Jesus Christ on my team!  I recently read an explanation of how the Savior makes our burdens light when we are yoked with Him.  A yoke traditionally kept two oxen in synch while pulling a wagon.  Two oxen working in unity can pull much more weight (about 15,000 pounds) where a single oxen could only do 5,000 and the two harnessed separately 10,000.  When we work in unity with Jesus Christ we can accomplish so much more than is possible on our own.  I have been learning and relearning this lesson as I do this work.  It is hard work and takes an emotional and physical toll, but Christ makes that work doable when I yoke with Him.



1-4: Chinese New Year at Gardens by the Bay. And here's a link to a video we took of a really amazing 1500-synchronized-drone-dragon that we saw.

5: We went down to the show after dinner by our house and in doing so missed the crowds going in. This is a truly surreal photo of an empty train station.

6: Well it sure wasn't empty on the way back after the show and celebration - the stations and trains were so very, very PACKED!

7-10: Pictures of a wonderful meal and celebration with a few of our Singapore Young Single Adults, courtesy of the amazing Hsiehs (Bishop and Michelle).

11-12: Our home and church offices

13: A really thought provoking statue in our neighborhood. The end of the inscription reads: "Through the statue, our younger generations understand our forefathers' hardship and appreciate the transformation of Nee Soon from a tranquil rural estate to a modern and vibrant urban town." That's really an important story not just in Singapore, but throughout the world.

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Feb 13

It’s fun to hear about your schedule and responsibilities Vivian! It sounds difficult but rewarding and meaningful. What a blessing to be part of that! I had been thinking we might try to visit you next January if we can make it work, but now I’m wondering if we should wait and catch the Chinese New Year! That looks really fun! But actually I just looked and it is at the end of January next year, January 29. So hopefully that can happen!

Sean Foley
Sean Foley
Feb 14
Replying to

Fabulous idea!!!

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