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Shared Thoughts from Friends


Dr. Li Chun and Chen Wei
Dr. & Rev. Yungming Paul Wang
Poem written by Jialin Chen and Hope Sun
Frank Chu
Jennifer Wong
Brothers and Sisters from New Life Chinese Baptist Church, Reverend Huang's old congregation
Christine Ha
Teresa Lee

A Memory of Pastor Huang by Dr. Li Chun and Chen Wei
June 19, 2006

The news of Pastor Huang’s violent death came to me as a shocking blow. It took me a long time to comprehend the meaning of his death and to face the reality of losing a dear brother in Christ and a close friend in life. The most selfish reality is that, we no longer have the privilege to have him in our small group meetings and our fellowship activities, which we had taken for granted. Although he did not attend our group meeting regularly due to his busy travel schedule, his presence, usually unannounced, always brought us delight. One can never be wrong to guess who would dominate the conversation. Nor can one fail to enjoy the countless laughter ensued. Pastor Huang left long-lasting marks upon our lives, especially on our journey in Christian faith. While we deeply appreciate his life on earth, the sense of loss in our hearts, however, is no less profound.

The other day, while walking in the neighborhood with my husband Chun, we reflected upon our encounters with pastor Huang. “You know, I could not think of anyone who has had such an impact on us both as a friend and as a companion in our faith,” Chun sighed. I couldn’t have agreed more. Besides his outgoing, cheerful personality, and his beautiful, usually very loud voice, there is something more about him that makes him stand out. I can immediately recall him during one of our small group meeting. That particular time, he strongly recommended two books to us. They were Philip Yancey’s What So Amazing About Grace and The Jesus I Never Knew. I remembered that when he talked about the topic of grace, he was so absorbed. His usual carefree facial expression turned into a serious look. He emphasized the sinful nature of human beings and how unworthy we were apart from the grace of God. As usual, he gave a lot of examples to demonstrate his point. Although I could not remember every detail, I could still hear the one example of grace he gave often—the love of his wife.

I got the two books that Pastor Huang recommended right away and the author had become my favorite ever since. I am attracted to one outstanding characteristic the author reveals through his writings. That is honesty—the honest admission of our inability to fully comprehend the grace of God, and the fact that we could not go on living without it.

Pastor Huang was truly a people person. Whenever there was a newcomer in our group, he was always the one to greet him or her and speak with him/her using the new comer’s hometown dialog, which brought them together instantly. He was always excited whenever he saw us in church or in a party at somebody’s home. Confused as he was with my name and my husband’s, thanks to our non-gender specific names, he nevertheless called out loud “Li Chun, how are you! Oh, no, Chen Wei, how are you!” and accompanied the greetings with his signature hand gesture.

Looking back to those days of fellowship with pastor Huang, I see why he was such an unforgettable person. He was simply an honest person who sincerely felt undeserving in the face of God’s grace. He walked his faith. As his son and daughter have reflected, he always voiced for the underdogs and was there for them. Even his last action on earth was to save the life of a pregnant woman. The last time we meet with pastor Huang was at our monthly potluck in Xinlin and Guzhao’s house. There, he passionately revealed his plan of helping those AIDS patients in Hunan province in China. Of course, he never failed to humor us with his experience with fund raising for that project. He told us someone was convinced by his proposal and willing to give money to support this project, but had mistaken Hunan as the country Holland.

Pastor Huang didn’t fit in the description of a typical pastor, which he himself had claimed to many. Instead, he challenged the stereotype of pastor hood. Once he was delivering a sermon, he warned the Pharisees of our time who like to show off their achievements. When explaining Paul’s proclamation that “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him,” (Philippians 3:8-10) he told the audience that what Paul refers by “rubbish,” means human feces. “So whenever we think about our achievements and boast about it, such as introducing ourselves as such and such, (Referring to our social status) we are bragging about human feces”. Pastor Huang indeed was the only pastor I know whom dared to use this kind of language on the pulpit to vividly demonstrate the point he tried to convey. Sure enough, we did not only have smiles bursting out, but get the messages crossed as well.

I asked my older son Paul if he remembered pastor Huang, Paul answered “Ya, he is the guy who almost knocked me down on the basketball court”. Both pastor Huang and Paul played basketball for Sports for Charity at our church. Though we laughed at Paul’s response, we knew pastor Huang played to win. He played to win not only in basketball, but in life as well. He was a winner. That describes him the best.

From Atlanta, Houston to Taiwan….. by Dr. & Rev. Yungming Paul Wang
May 28, 2006

When Andy called me over the telephone from Texas to Taiwan, letting me know that Bill was killed, it was like a thundering blow. I was speechless. I appreciated Andy’s call but it was not the kind of message I expected. It was hard to swallow. Even now it is hard to believe.

It was my great privilege to come to know Bill when I came to Atlanta from Taiwan for graduate studies in 1970. Bill came before me about 2 months ahead of time. He lived with some guys from Taiwan and I lived with some others in another residence about five minutes’ walk. We went to the same Chinese Bible Class on Saturday evenings. We sang often in a Baptist church nearby and were invited from time to time to have dinners with church members. Especially, Mrs. Wadell often invited us. Bill was very keen in doing evangelism. We held separate evangelical gatherings in 1972 for non-Christian students from Taiwan. When I obtained my Master’s degree, I returned to Taiwan in 1973 and entrusted my car to Bill to sell it for me.
I came to the University of Texas in Houston with my wife, Julia, for a doctoral degree in 1978. And there we met Bill and Lena in the Houston Chinese Church. We became close friends again and visited each other’s family very often. Julia even baby-sat for their first baby girl for some time. It was really good to see and be with him and Lena. We really had a wonderful time. And then I returned to Taiwan in 1982 after I completed the degree.

In 1989, I came to study in a seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. At that time Bill had finished his seminary study and was pasturing a church in Houston. We kept close connections and my family came down to visit them in 1992, and I returned to Taiwan in 1993.

When Bill and Lena visited Taiwan, we met, ate, talked, laughed, and sometimes sang. We also often discussed issues of faith matters. It was nice to see their wonderful children also. When I visited Dallas last July (2005) because of my son Michael’s surgeries, Bill’s family came all the way to see us. We appreciated it very much. It was really good to see old friends.

As I recalled, it was amazing that we both came to Atlanta, Houston, and both became pastors and became life long friends.

Bill was a very caring, loving person. He had a tender heart. He was also very talented in various ways. Bill had a very good voice and was very humorous. He always had jokes to make people laugh. It is such a great loss for us.

We will always have the good memory of Bill. We pray that God will continue to bless Lena and their children.

With love
Paul and Julia

Poem written by Jialin Chen and Hope Sun
June 12, 2006






Letter from Fashan Frank Chu
May 23, 2006

Dear Lena and family,

As you may know Bill and I went a long way back. He first met me on the campus of Ga Tech in Atlanta, in shoulder length hair, in the fall of 1971. He was a ChE graduate student, I was in ICS. We played basketball together and were involved in the Chinese Students Assoc. He might have led a Bible study, I was not yet a believer then. Later on, he lived below us in a student housing apt. We moved to Nashville, TN in 1973, I think he visited us shortly after that, on his way to California.

Our paths would cross again, in Houston, sometime after 1976. And I was also fortunate to have Lena as a colleague at United Gas Pipeline, in the late 70's and early 80's. We helped you celebrate Jade's first birthday, as I recall. Bill, Roger Chen and myself were like the "three musketeers from Atlanta". I am the only one left with a lot of fond memories... (And Mrs. Dora Pan Elliott is the "you-know-who" of this group formerly from Atlanta.)

Bill was such a multi-talented athlete that even his opponents admired his abilities. As a uniquely gifted preacher, he was invited by the Northwest Chinese Baptist Church, where I have been a member, many times to fill the void at the pulpit. He was the most energetic and humorous guest speaker we ever had during a 3-year period. I even served as his interpreter numerous times. And as a singer, he had few peers who could match his rich, strong voice and his genuine love for performing.

Paula, Patricia, Randy and I will always remember this one "Brilliant Bill".

May God bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you.

Love in Christ,
Fashan Frank Chu

Journal Entry by Jennifer Wong
May 1, 2006

It still seems surreal to me. Like others, I remember the sinking feeling I had when I read Jade’s email. How could someone so full of life and so good die this way? How could anyone die this way? There are many experiences in life that I will never understand, but I know that I can cling to God’s promise in Philippians 4 – “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I also know that we can rejoice because Reverend Huang is dancing (and probably singing) with Jesus in heaven.

Having had little experience with death, I had no idea what I would say to Jade, how I could support her and her family, what I should do, how her family would be able to cope, or what my own grieving would look like, but I knew that I wanted to see Jade.

I have never cried more in one day than I did at Reverend Huang’s funeral. The first person I saw was Shane, and the minute I hugged him, tears overflowed. Seeing Jade made it even harder to maintain my composure. Jade, who is usually always laughing and smiling, looked so fragile. But at the same time, she was so strong, and I knew her strength came from above. The funeral was a wonderful tribute to Reverend Huang, and it brought back many happy memories. Most recently, I remember being at Jade’s house just before her wedding. Reverend Huang was running through the ceremony program with Jade, and as always, entertaining all of us. Not surprisingly, he was so passionate about his role as pastor, father, soloist, and more. Always so welcoming and full of life, he was never afraid to boldly and joyfully preach the gospel to Jade’s friends. He didn’t care what we thought because he knew that sharing the gospel was more important, and we all enjoyed his stories. He truly was a fisher of men.

Although it is heartbreaking to know that Reverend Huang is not with us on Earth, we can celebrate his eternal life in heaven and his spirit with us. It is awesome to know that our Savior is also our God of Comfort and Prince of Peace for the moments that seem unbearable. Jade’s family will persevere because they are grounded in Jesus, and He never gives us more than we can handle. Moreover, their dad is looking over them from heaven. I know it sounds like simple faith, but thankfully, it is not the measure of our faith that sustains us but the object of our faith.

The day after the funeral, I went with Teresa and Christine to visit Jade and her family. It was just like the good old days. Lots of people, food, warmth, and laughter exuded from their home, which I know will continue. It was fun to see Reverend Huang’s personality shine through his siblings, and it was nice to chat with Charlotte and Christian, who have matured so much. Charlotte, the little chatterbox I knew, has become a beautiful young woman. I remember taking Christian to McDonald’s as a baby, and now at ten years old, he is so thoughtful and inquisitive. I think about how much even Jade and I have grown. Less than a year ago, at her wedding, I said I was thankful to be able to go through life’s joys and tribulations with her. Here we are, going through life’s joys and tribulations. It used to be impossible for us to hug each other because, in our silliness, we’d be overwhelmed with laughter. Now, we can hug and support each other through life and keep looking to God (Hebrews 10:23-25).

Thoughts from brothers and sisters in Reverend Huang's old church, New Life Chinese Baptist Church
April 19, 2006


























































那天英文讲道,中文翻译,才开始一切都很顺利,当牧师开始举例的时候他说:"there is a craze man, he wants to fly.",我翻译的是"有一个疯子,他想飞。。。"黄牧师一听,知道错了,就又重复了一遍,并且在说"craze man"的时候,加强了语调"a craze man, he wants to fly";我翻译的时候也加强了语调"有个疯子,他想要飞"。。。最后黄牧师终于忍不住了对我说:"志进,I want to say a craze man, not a bee",我说"我翻译的这个疯子,不是你说的那个蜂子"。黄牧师问台下"你们听懂了吗?"我岳母说"听懂了"。牧师一想连徐伯母都听懂了,可见翻译没有错,就只好接着往下讲。。。


注解 1:大西南地区称精神不正常的人,俗称"神经病"的人,或者说住国疯人院的人,叫"疯子"。

注解 2:大西南地区称蜜蜂,黄蜂等也叫蜂子,发音完全相同。全看说话的时间,地点,和谈论的对象,你自己去判断。

注解 3:俗称"神经病"的人,其实是指的"精神,思维和行为方面的异常",应该叫"精神病",而不是"神经病"。但大家都这么叫,也就约定俗成了。












Thoughts On This Week’s Events by Christine Ha
Mar. 17, 2006

“My dad was killed last night…”

I read the entire email without blinking and didn’t even notice at the end that my eyes were watering from the monitor’s bright light. The news sank in like a painful deep baritone bassoon resonating outward from my chest to the very edges of my being.

“An employee’s estranged husband came in and started a fight with her…”

My chest tightened, squeezing my heart and forcing it to fall to my stomach.

“My dad tried to break up the fight, and the man…grabbed a machete…”

Next, my stomach thrashed my heart around, and it bled into the intestinal walls like a crimson shirt washed for the first time.

“He died of several blows to his head …”

My head grew light and floated away from my neck, disconnected and dizzy.

“The news so far is they have not caught him.”

I immediately grabbed my phone and dialed Teresa’s cell phone. By the way she answered, I knew she had just finished reading Jade’s email as well.


I said nothing, stared blankly at the green and white screen of my email account.

“Omigod…oh my God.”

I could hear her breaths collapsing. She too was in shock.

“Are you okay?” I didn’t know what else to say.

“Let me go to a conference room,” she whispered, each graveled word caught in her throat.

We sat together on the phone in disbelief, muttering nonsensical fragments and trying to validate and digest the news.

That was Monday.

Tuesday morning was impossible to deal with. Each time I opened my eyes, the horrific vision of Jade’s father getting mauled by a machete flooded my brain, and it was just too much to absorb on a sunny spring morning. I sighed, rolled over, forced myself to close my eyes and drift back into the ignorant world of sleep. I repeated these actions four times that morning before finally dragging myself out of bed at half past noon.

I checked my email to see if there were any updates on the situation, but only saw a few forwarded mass emails with slideshows of puppies in cute sleeping positions. Delete.

That afternoon, I cooked my famed homemade spaghetti while Teresa baked Jade’s favorite white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. We packed the food we made with love into bags with fresh fruit and some sympathy cards we had difficulty writing, and made our way to Jade’s house.

In the car, Teresa called to say we were coming to drop off some things for the family, and after hanging up, said Jade didn’t sound ready to see people. Jade’s voice had sounded hoarse and wavering.

I sighed. “We’ll just make it clear we have no intentions of coming in. We just need to show them we care.”

Ding dong.

On the doorstep, we stood nervously clenching the box and bags of pasta and strawberries. The quietness inside the house seeped out from beneath the door, and I was filled with apprehension.

Jade’s husband Patrick answered the door. “What’s up guys…” It was more of a statement than a question.

I said, “We just wanted to drop food off for you guys.”

Teresa and I stupidly stood there, our arms outstretched with Fiji apples teetering.

“Come in,” Patrick said.

“Patrick!” Teresa’s jaw was tight with fear. “Just take it!”

“Just come in. You’re like family.”

I refused. He said he would at least go get Jade, but returned a minute later to insist on us staying.

I timidly entered, cradling a box of waxy Clementine oranges. Then I saw Jade’s mother on the stairs, and I lost it.

“Christine…” Lena-Ma whispered, her eyes swollen from thirty-six hours of crying. In two steps, she was hugging me and crying again. Her black oxford shirt smelled stale.

I cried sorrowful tears into her shoulder. The words automatically rolled off my tongue. “God bless you.”

When we untangled ourselves from each other, I saw Jade approaching the foyer. Her round face broke into creases and crinkles when she saw my wet cheeks.

“Jade.” Her name came out easily, like the thousands of times I’ve said it before, but for some reason, it felt different this time, forming two syllables as it left my mouth and cracking in the center like a broken heart.

Jade, Teresa, and I stood under the bright halogen on the foyer hugging in a three-way embrace, our arms wrapped, our heads bowed, our shoulders shaking with grief and yet relief that we were finally together amidst the crisis.

I remember vividly the first times I met Jade. We were still in college, and besides being a year older, she intimidated me with her taller and stronger physique. She was known to be opinionated and feared nothing. Her enormous eyes were always open wide, giving her a determined intense stare. I was downright scared of her.

We had mutual friends, and once, we gathered together to celebrate the end of final exams with a case or two of bottled alcohol. Jade was the only girl that drank beer as fast and as much as the guys, while I quivered in the corner like a wimp with my single malt beverage.

“Finish it, you wuss!” Jade would shout at the guys and laugh as she threw her sixth empty bottle into the trash. Then she would belch and laugh again.

Years later, I graduated and started my new position as consultant at a small energy accounting software firm. I was excited about my first day on the job and walked briskly into the training room at the office. I stopped short and felt my head jerk back slightly when I saw there in the front row of class was Jade.

Great, I thought. Now I’m going to live in fear at work.

I gave a half-smile and a quick wave to acknowledge her, but before I could run to the back of the room to sit as far away from her as possible, she was up and in front of me blocking my path.

“Hey! Christine, right?”

“Uh yea. You’re Jade.”

“Yea! Wow! We’re in the same training class together.” Her peppy voice took me by surprise.

This girl doesn’t hate me?

Over the next month of intense training for work, Jade and I became fast friends. We often ate lunch together by ourselves being the only girls in the start group. Over one particular meal of won ton noodle soup, we shared stories about her grandmother and my mother both dying of the same type of cancer and how the deaths nurtured our relationships with God into fuller bloom. I saw a strong, open, blunt, and no-nonsense yet very caring individual in her, and I appreciated all these qualities since I was very much the same way. If asked today which person I know is most similar to me in personality, I would pick Jade in an instant. The best part is that despite our major similarities, we are still able to get along so well.

On an incidentally warm December afternoon two years ago, Jade invited Teresa and me to dine with her at Barnaby’s Café. The restaurant was overflowing with the lunchtime crowd, and when we were finally seated, the conversation launched directly into girl talk.

“Let me see the ring again!” I yelled above the noisy voices and clanking of dishes.

Jade giggled and thrust her left hand out over the table.

“I can’t believe you’re engaged!” Teresa said.

“I know. It’s about time!” Jade exclaimed with sarcasm and rolled her eyes. Then she folded her hands on top of the menu and said in a serious but excited tone, “The reason I wanted to have lunch with you two is because I would love for you to be bridesmaids.”

“Of course!” Teresa and I squealed, unable to contain our glee.

We all laughed and delved straight into our favorite shared pastime of breaking bread together.

Six months ensued of wedding preparation. Four of us bridesmaids managed to pull off a beautiful bridal shower and fun-filled bachelorette party for Jade in town despite two of us being from opposite coasts and the bride herself temporarily working in Canada.

So many memories were made, so much love was exchanged. It was an exciting time of positive change. My first close friend getting married, and I was ecstatic to be right there next to her along for the ride.

Then came the wedding day in July of last year, and I was again ecstatic to be right there next to her at the altar. Jade had walked down the aisle on the arm of her father, tears spilling out the corners of her eyes in a mixture of emotions. Happiness of gaining a husband, sadness of leaving a father. She felt it both, and seeing her beautiful soft face surrounded by flowing tulle moved my spirit in the same wild emotional rollercoaster.

Jade and her father reached the front of the sanctuary, and being an ordained minister, he turned around and faced the gathered crowd in greeting and proceeded to perform the rite of marriage for his daughter and new son-in-law.

His sermon was about love: love as husband and wife, love for our neighbors as humans, and above all, love for God as His children.

Pastor Bill was always known for his passion and vigor toward life and God. He and Lena-Ma occasionally visited me to see how I was doing, dropping off interesting articles to read or just DVDs to watch. He was a man of many words, and he loved to talk about anything and everything. I remember during one visit, we had a conversation about God and how He transcends all things, even sickness and death. I wholeheartedly agreed, and as Pastor Bill walked out the door, he turned to me and said they will continue to pray for me.

Jade’s family is one of the warmest welcoming families I have ever been fortunate enough to meet. Their doors are always open, their bounty is always shared. I laugh now when I think about how I used to be so afraid of Jade, and how people and things are not always as they seem.

I read the summarized police report yesterday in an email from Jade, and the factual account of the heinous slaying made me sick down to the very core of my soul.

Sunday, March 12, 2006. It was close to 11:00 PM. The pregnant employee and her daughter were waiting for Pastor Bill to close up his restaurant so he could see them safely to their car before going home. Just as the doors were locked, the woman’s estranged husband, Leon Andrade, drove up to them and started an argument. He was clearly intoxicated. Pastor Bill asked the man to leave, but Andrade then turned on him.

Pastor Bill again tried to calm the man down as nobody wanted trouble. Andrade disappeared inside his van and emerged with a machete and chased Pastor Bill, who eventually tripped and fell.

In an attempt to protect his head, Pastor Bill raised his arms to cover his face and received large gashes on his hands and forearms and severed a thumb in the process. The right side of his face was slashed open in three different places, and the back of his skull had shattered, leaving a gaping hole.

Andrade took off in his van when witnesses began to appear because of the woman and daughter’s cries for help. It has been five days, and he has still not been found.

The wake is in a few hours. Dread has been slowly consuming me over the past week, and it will culminate when I step into the funeral home today at 6:00 PM. I have already seen the family once, so the initial fear of seeing their grief is gone, but I imagine it won’t compare to the great sorrow we’ll all feel in the presence of Pastor Bill’s body tonight.

The funeral is tomorrow morning. Scattered thunderstorms are in the forecast, and I picture a long trail of cars, headlights lit and windshield wipers swishing, following the lone black hearse to the cemetery. In the rain, we will gather underneath the awning and say our final goodbyes to Pastor Bill. The casket will be lowered into the ground, and wailing will be heard wafting through the wet trees and soaked gravestones. The dark clouds will continue to cast gray upon us, a reflection of our somber mood. Roses will be tossed in the plot, landing on the casket, petals loosening. The first mass of dirt will be shoveled by Jade’s oldest brother. Weeping will follow. Rain will still fall.

Pastor Bill had so much ambition to do good in this world that I thought his death premature. We all remember him as a jolly man with lots of things to say and do. He was always the first to jump in and help in any way he can, which ironically, is what led to his passing.

Jade was joking to us that evening Teresa and I came over bearing dinner. Over a plate full of spaghetti and cookies, she said, “I know my dad is looking down at us right now and laughing, saying, ‘Why are you all sad? I’m in Heaven!’”

Teresa and I chuckled, but inside, we are all still seeking answers, seeking solace. I can only pray that in time, we will know why and be wholly healed from this week’s incident. That in time, we will be able to hear Pastor Bill’s name and think about fond memories instead of cruel acts. Until then, we have each other to lean on, to cry on, to hug, and to console. Until then and beyond, we will commemorate Pastor Bill and his positive influences by carrying out his desires to selflessly help others in the glorious name of God.

Poem written by Selena Lewis

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free.
I’m following the path God has laid, you see.
I took His hand when I heard His call.
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I found the peace at the close of day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joys.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Yes, these things I too will miss,
Be not burdened with times of sorrow.
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow,
My life’s been full,
I savored much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Life up your hearts, and peace to thee.
God wanted me now,
He set me free.

Thoughts by Teresa Lee
April 13, 2006

It has been a month since Jade’s father was killed. I remember clearly the day I received Jade’s email informing us girls about her dad. My first thought when reading the subject line ‘My Dad’ was “Oh no, another rumor floating around the Chinese community.” I thought this because Jade’s dad was very well known in the Chinese community and seeing how Chinese people like to gossip this was the first thought that came to mind. Even after reading her first sentence I was thinking the same thing, until my eyes fell upon the word ‘killed’. My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach and my hands and entire body started shaking. I felt like vomiting the lunch that I just had. I didn’t get a chance to read the entire email because my cell phone rang and I saw Christine’s name pop up. I immediately answered with an “Ohmigod, Ohmigod.” Her response was “Have you read the email?” She sounded distraught. I had to get up and go to a conference room as I didn’t know what to do or how to react. My eyes were welling up with tears and I could barely get a “Yea” out to respond to Christine as I ran to the closest conference room.

As I closed the door behind me, I sat down trying to digest what I had just read. All these thoughts of confusion raced through my mind. I couldn’t make sense of what I was saying or what I was thinking. All that came out was “How could this have happened?” After hanging up, I went back to my desk and reread the email and its entirety. I probably read the email about 10 times before I decided to write Jade back. All I could offer her were my condolences and that I would be there for her whenever she was ready to talk to or see us. I felt so helpless at that point. This was about 1 in the afternoon on Monday, March 13, 2006. Earlier that morning I had read a short article in the Houston Chronicle about a restaurant owner (no names mentioned) getting killed with a machete, but had no earthly idea it would turn out to be one of my best friend’s father. I decided to leave work early because there was no way I could sit at my desk and concentrate on anything. I took the first bus that came into downtown and went to Christine’s house.

When I got there, both of us were just trying to do things that kept our minds off of what we found out that day. However, deep inside, I knew both of us could not get the mental images of what happened to Jade’s dad out of our heads. We decided to go to HEB later that night to pick up some food and groceries for Jade and her family.

Monday was a huge shock. Tuesday was nearly impossible to deal with. The incident was slowly sinking in and I realized that it was reality. After work, I went to Christine’s house to bake cookies while Christine made spaghetti. I wasn’t sure if visiting Jade and her family was ok since it had only been a few days and I wanted to leave enough time for her and her family to be together. We decided to call Jade anyway to see if she wanted any company and that we were bringing some food over. While talking to her, her voice was cracking and hoarse and it broke my heart to hear her like this.

On the way to Jade’s, Christine and I stopped by a church to pray. I have never prayed in my life to where it meant something. It was always for stupid things or selfish reasons. As we sat in the quiet chapel, a feeling of comfort and peace came over me. I remember thinking “Wow, this feels really good and I have never felt this before.” With all the craziness going on, I welcomed this feeling of peacefulness. I sat there with my eyes closed and just prayed and thought of the Huang family. As we left the church, that feeling stayed in the back of my head and I made a mental note to myself that I wanted to explore that feeling again.

When we got to Jade’s, I wasn’t prepared on what to say as I now know there is probably nothing I could have said. Patrick opened the door and dread came over me. I wasn’t sure if I could face Jade without completely breaking down. After deciding to stay, I had gone back to my car to get my things and lock up. I entered the house and saw Jade and Christine hugging and crying. I walked over to join them and the 3 of us stood there hugging each other while we let out our emotions. At that moment, I was so relieved to be there.

I have known Jade and her family for about 11 years now. One of my first memories of her father was as my Chinese school’s mao-bi teacher who would hum and sing all throughout class while trying to teach us how to appreciate and write beautiful Chinese calligraphy. I remember thinking, this guy seemed way too happy to be teaching Chinese calligraphy at some Chinese school. He was always so helpful and really got into the class. I had never seen anyone so passionate about every thing they did. It wasn’t until a few months later, I met Jade in Chemistry class at Clements. I can’t remember how we established that her dad was my mao-bi teacher, but when I found out, I was like “Your dad is so funny! He’s always singing and humming!” Little did I know that Mr. Huang was known for his singing and humming until I started hanging out with Jade more and more. As I got to know Jade, I saw that her family was ‘chaotic’ compared to mine since my family is small and we are all relatively quiet (with the exception of my sister) and private. Her house always had something going on, but there was always laughter and happiness which made it all the more welcoming.

I remember Jade frequently telling me her dad starting up different businesses throughout our high school, college and after-college years. It seemed like Mr. Huang did not care about the things that the majority of people care about such as money, wealth, stability, etc. He always did what he wanted and was passionate about each and every venture. All the while, he had the greatest support from his family.

I will not forget all the times Mr. Huang confused me and Jennifer Yeh (now Wong) from high school until now. I will not forget all the times he would just stop whatever he was doing and start going into detail about all sorts of things and Jade telling him “Ok BaBa, they don’t have time to hear this!” I always chuckled, but I really did enjoy his little speeches.

I can’t say enough how Jade’s father has touched my life whether it be directly or indirectly. He has done both. He has made me see that life has so much more to offer. It is rather easy to get caught up in the everyday life and miss the important things that matter. What happened to him has made me question life and why such tragedies happen to such good people, however a good friend has also made me see what Mr. Huang and his family believed in and why such things happen. I am slowly starting to understand and will continue learning about what Mr. Huang lived his life for.

...more to be added soon

*please contact Jade at dailojade@gmail.com if you would like to post up any thoughts or stories