Isaiah 41:13 (NKJV)

For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, "Fear not, I will help you."

Monday, December 31, 2007

Aomori Living English Camp - Winter 2007

it's been really really awesome! =) =) =)

a very different experience, serving in a very different way.

being kitchen staff with the Elliot ladies was the best kitchen training i can ever receive. it's a cycle of chopping up stuff, doing dishes, checking the drinks section (especially to ensure the coffee machine's on - we have coffee-dependent ppl ard ;p), baking bread rolls, muffins, making quiche from scratch etc. i've never made so many things from scratch before! but even more than the kitchen internship i went through, it was a huge privilege to observe the Elliot ladies persevere on in love, with heaps of patience. I don't think I can ask for an even better kitchen atmosphere. Beats HUNT 213/313 anytime... not that I've taken those papers but I've heard enough.



it was tiring alright, my fingers still smell of onions, but the satisfaction is certainly rewarding. God is certainly at work in the ppl He brought, staff and campers alike. Although I didn't have very deep interaction with the Japanese this time round... I've learnt so much serving on the other side.

we had ppl of all ages - from high schoolers to retired ppl. It was interesting to see them interact and all had tremendous fun!



Laurie was doing a great job teaching guys to do dishes and how to serve their wives when they get married. Helping out in the kitchen (and with housework etc) is certainly the manly thing to do. I might seriously consider getting my future fiance to go through English Camp by the Elliots.

the Mrs Elliot Dishes Boot Camp skit done by the boys

usually after going through a round of crazy hecticness and tiredness, i retreat into rest thinking "I never want to do this again". Each time I see another round of crazy hecticness and tiredness coming, I ask the Lord to help me embrace it joyfully...

But after this camp, I can't wait for the next one!



Summer Camp: 3-6 August, 2008 @ Aomori Christian Center.

Come join us! =)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas in Hirosaki

"it's always been a white Christmas in Hirosaki. it's been snowing every year on Christmas day..."

Not when Siqin is in Hirosaki. Maybe it's the tropical blood that flows in her ;p

A Brazilian couple. A French girl. A Malaysian girl. Travelling together to a small little "metropolitan" town called Ajigasawa. To partake in a lovely Christmas dinner, to sing carols that tells of the birth of Christ, the hope of glory that came to earth, the Joy that has been bestowed upon us.




This year's Christmas has many firsts for me...

First advent candles...

First time singing so many Christmas carols every advent Sunday, right up til Christmas day...

First Messiah concert...

First Christmas with a fully packed Dec, but most relaxed in another sense...

But what made this Christmas truly special, is the revelation of how we are each playing a part in His story... =)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

some reflections...

Christmas service in church yest was in part baptism service too. I didn't try very hard to listen to Pastor Ogawa's preaching in Japanese... instead, my mind had the freedom to wander back to Jan 26 2006, when I got baptised...

I can't stop marvelling at how my baptism had been such a special event to me, very close to my heart. It's wonderful how God had worked things out for me, and that my family was there to witness this public declaration of my faith. I loved how Pastor Tony explained baptism to my non-believer family members... it was clear and straightforward. I am still thankful for how College CG went through all the trouble to make this possible for me.

It was a busy day. Perhaps my only regret, apart from not having more friends and family present, was not spending more time in reflection and prayer. I was too busy rushing ard. There is value in being still, and just waiting. Even if it doesn't seem like anything is happening, just being in the stillness with the Lord is beautiful.

Relationship. Part of pre-baptism preparation brought about reconciliation with a very dear sister. I am so thankful for the reconciliation we have in Christ, with God, with ppl we've had conflicts with. Sure, there has been hurts and anger, but what can't be forgiven after we've received such forgiveness from God, and what can't be put away after having our hearts filled with such love from Him? As the saying goes, let bygones be bygones. Choosing to love instead of holding on to grudges is such liberation from the heaviness in our hearts. It's a burden we've unwisely chosen to carry when we can choose to just let go. No matter how we think we've been wronged. Intentionally or not. I know it's not easy. Work with God on this eh?

Of course, I was also reminded of the ppl that had been such a big part of my life around the time of my baptism. It's weird on looking back that such good relationships could cease to nothingness in such a short period of time. But I guess, ppl come and ppl go. Some vanish rapidly, leaving a hole so deep it hurts, and u frantically try to fill it up with something else. Some just disappear quietly... as though they found the back door and slipped out unnoticed. You can't hold on to everyone forever. I am thankful that God has weaved our lives so closely once before... and I guess when our roles in each other's life have been fulfilled, it's time to let go and move on. It had hurt, but I've learnt to cherish the good times and to smile at the good memories. As they say, keep the good ones, discard the bad painful ones. Yea, I know, I have selective memory ;p

The year is coming to an end. I am thankful for just being able to slow down and reflect. Think. and be thankful. =)

"Remember your Creator in the days of your youth..."
-Ecclesiastes 12:1

some random thoughts

Even though it's only been merely 3 months, I think Japan has changed me quite a bit.

Mum just commented in a recent phonecall, that living alone is gradually turning me into a loner...

I thought about that and I do not deny the many times when I had chosen a smaller crowd to a bigger crowd, and even at times, I'd rather be alone. There's something about solitude that gives me peace and calms me down =)

I reckon God knew beforehand how my time in Japan would shape me. No doubt He knows exactly how I'll turn out by the end of it, and He even knows what He's preparing me for. If this is part of the journey, then let it be unto me as He would have it.

I still have a regular healthy dose of friends, church community. Worry not, I haven't turned into a 引き籠り(hikikomori:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hikikomori) yet. I enjoy the quality of amazing friendships God has given me. Although I know that in a few months' time... this amazing friend will move on.

Pastor Elliot reminded me today that I'm in the in-betweens of the big surprises God springs. In times like these, I need to remain faithful. To be obedient. and just wait for Him. Don't plan ahead of Him. Just wait. and when He gives the next step - no matter how irrational it may sound, just trust and obey.


Trust and Obey -
John H. Sammis 1887

When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy with Jesus,
But to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise,
Not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear,
Not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide if we trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy with Jesus,
But to trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear,
Not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss,
Not a frown or a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy with Jesus,
But to trust and obey.

But we never can prove
The delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows,
For the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy with Jesus,
But to trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at His feet.
Or we'll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do,
Where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy with Jesus,
But to trust and obey.

Friday, December 21, 2007

幸せ~

今日友達は婚約を発表した。幸せわね~ 

実は、発表した前に、今日もうその友達が私に電話でそのニュスを知らせれるということの考えがあった。でも、現実はフエスブックで話させた。すごい~~

私も友達のために、本当にうれしい! おめでとうございます! =)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

金曜日そうです

最近毎日友達と遊んで、毎日も金曜日そうの気持ちがある。今まだ冬休みではないね。。。

初めて日本語でブローグを書く。多分間違えがいっぱいですけど、日本語を使えば使うほうど、間違いが減るようになると思います。皆さん、よろしくお願いします!

先、友達と彼女の彼氏一緒にバセロナに旅行した写真を見た。きれい町ですね!私も行きたい!友達と彼氏、幸せそう!私はもし結婚ができたら、ユーロッパへ新婚旅行に行くの夢がある。ちょっと遠いことですね。

明日もう今年最後の授業日です。来週英語のキャンプのために、青森市に行く。皆も誘った。しかし、皆は忙しそう、誰でも来なさそうだ。残念ですね。。。

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Gloria in Excelsis Deo

The Messiah concert effect hasn't worn off yet. 2 people I know who sang in Messiah said it always felt like Christmas has come and gone when Messiah concert is over. For me, it's just the beginning...

I totally agreed with the people who stood up when the Halleluia chorus came. According to Pastor Elliot, when this piece was performed (sorry, can't rmb exactly when and where), the king stood up acknowledging the Kingship of the Messiah.

I didn't stand up. On one hand my heart was already bursting with joy, on the other... i might just start conducting right in the middle of the concert hall if I stood up...

yes, the music was that beautiful.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

My First Messiah Concert

beautiful beyond words.

even IF there wasn't a single audience that turned up tonight, it was still well worth it - all for the audience of One. Who are we mere human creatures to offer our applauses and compliments, when in fact, all that truly matters, is the joy and approval of One?

you're never struggling alone...

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. "

-2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Crystal Mountain

Blue Mountain's overrated. Or perhaps a little amateur like me just doesn't know how to appreciate one of the most prized and valued beans, dare i say, worldwide. But of course, passing judgment based on just that one/two cuppa is like closing a case prematurely.

i found solace in "Tea & Co." today. It's by far the best, non-chained, cafe in Hirosaki. One that I can truly say I'm satisfied with. Since Blue Mountain doesn't rank very high in my humble preferences, Crystal Mountain sounded tempting. Or perhaps, having encountered it for the very first time is in itself tantalizing enough.

This Cuban beauty's smoothness took me by surprise. The pleasant after-taste is not unlike that of the Colombian beans. It makes you want to make sure you're making a good spread over your taste palate.

I've always enjoyed doing work accompanied by a good cuppa. Perhaps the long deprivation of real coffee amplified the pleasure and joy of this cuppa - it demanded my full attention while delivering its promises.

A good cuppa brings peace, calmness and ease into one's heart.

Friday, November 30, 2007

culture shock

i have always associated "shock" with something really vigorous, like maybe an electric shock (u know, the vigorous shaking perhaps only seen in cartoons). so when culture shock was first suggested to me recently, the idea received an instantaneous nonchalant dismissal.

but somewhere in my mind surfaced the whole list and description of culture shock symptoms - things to look out for in our mentees (Otago International Mentor Programme training) as they make transitions to a new environment.

it's not the shock i had in mind. without the visible vigorous effects of an electric shock, often unrecognized and dismissed.

if u ask me, it's like longer-term extended pms.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

perspectives

often in a foreign environment, where one's closest friends and family's thousands of miles away; when one's quite sure one's made for the tropical weather and wondering what one's doing living in a snow globe... there's a tendency for things to get blown out of proportion in one's little pessimistic mind.

as i sat glazy-eyed in class today, watching the snow outside being blown, almost in a rude fashion, by the violent wind, i was kinda expecting the next moment to be one of chaos. like how u pick up a snow-globe and start to give it a vigorous shake.

i've been losing little things here and there. but the blow was bigger when i dropped my beannie. in my dismay i imagined my ears following suit.

in times like this, i tell myself: it must be pms. and it's not the end of the world.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

From Loneliness to Solitude

As the theologian Paul Tillich said, "Our language has widely sensed the two sides of being alone. It has created the word 'loneliness' to express the pain of being alone, and it has created the word 'solitude' to express the glory of being alone."

(quoted from Jenny Schroedel in http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001611.cfm)

My training from loneliness to solitude had perhaps begun in Dunedin, even before I was aware of it. In the process, I've learnt that, the answer to one's loneliness is often not the company of another. In fact, I don't think even when there are two lonely people existing in the same place, at the same time, that their answer to their loneliness is each other.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

AoHako KGK Camp

Psalm 51:12 (NLT)

"Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you."




sayonara

do u wonder if u'll ever get to see the person u've just said goodbye to?

ppl come and go. somehow, i thought abt this question more tonight.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

distance

"As I am writing to you I feel as if you are not far away at all! Just a few blocks away or even rite here....I guess that is the blessing of being sistas in Christ :) "

heart-warming.

physical distance leads to drifting apart and separation only if you allow it to.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

u know u've found good music when...

...listening it for the 100th time still gives u thrill and sends ur adrenaline pumping. the amazing talent displayed inspires praise and glory unto Him who bestows such awesome gifts upon His created beings!

gosh. rodrigo y gabriela is getting into me!

Monday, November 12, 2007

hugs

i received a hug today. it made me realise how hugs are hard to come by since I came to Japan. not that we hugged an awful lot in Dunedin, but there was enough to go around.

i miss those good warm hugs that are so affirming, where encouragement and comfort are conveyed without a word being spoken.

won't you give someone a hug today?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

From the Inside Out...

Kau Yang Terindah

Kau yang terindah
Di dalam hidup ini
Tiada Allah Tuhan
Yang seperti Engkau
Besar perkasa penuh kemuliaan

Kau yang termanis
Di dalam hidup ini
Ku cinta Kau lebih dari segalanya
Besar kasih setiamu kepada ku

Ku sembah Kau Ya Allahku
Ku tinggikan namaMu selalu
Tiada lutut tak bertelut
Menyembah Yesus Tuhan Rajaku

Ku sembah Kau Ya Allahku
Ku tinggikan namaMu selalu
Semua liddah kan mengaku
Engkaulah Yesus Tuhan Rajaku

*********************************************

This song has been playing in my head, my heart, my soul for a long time now. Every now and then I have the urge to just burst into song and sing my heart out...

From the inside out. I haven't sung in worship from the inside out for a long time. It's like a craving that needs to be satisfied, a longing to be fulfilled... it's like my spirit wanting to cry out in worship...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

i am blogging again!

the joy i get out of blogging from my laptop makes me feel silly.

i dun blog in public computers. it feels weird. even to the extend of being exposed. vulnerable. ironic eh? i suppose being visible while in the process of thinking, reflecting and blogging... is akin to some form of being exposed...

i love my laptop! the familiarity of keys in their rightful positions, without weird characters popping up every now and then, bookmarks designed just for me, blogs of ppl i know just a click away...

355 unread blog posts.

"understanding stuff is overrated"

this appeared on my facebook sticky note when i first arrived in Japan, and was rather frustrated with not knowing what's going on around me.

i can't believe how true this statement has proven to be. most things have sorted out by now, without me understanding most of what's going on. i haven't gotten into trouble caused by insufficient understanding... yet.

even more amazingly, my internet setup guide was completely in Japanese. The pictures would have been helpful had the setup programs read Japanese properly. Instead, I found gibberish on every screen that appeared, and I'm not getting the interface the picture guide was showing...

but voila! here I am, connected to the world wide web, unsure of whether I've completed the setup procedure proper. You're talking to someone who's a total idiot when it comes to geek stuff.

and thus is my introduction to Japan. I suspect my English is rather off - nor am I attaining more grammatically accurate Japanese. Ahhh~ that's part and parcel of being neither here nor there eh?

facebook me for photos =)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom

"The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn't work, don't buy it."

"So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep,even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning."

"The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in."

Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too - even when you're in the dark. Even when you're falling."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

the five people you meet in heaven - Mitch Albom

"All endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time..."

"Every life has one true-love snapshot."

"All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, other crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair."

"Strangers," the Blue Man said, "are just family you have yet to come to know."

"Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it on to someone else."

"Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves."

"Lost love is still love... Life has to end. Love doesn't."


Monday, September 10, 2007

dare to dream

i've had more time to dream in the past week. when the future opens up so many possibilities, one thought triggers another, and perhaps the boundaries of such dreams are limitless...

these dreams probably stem from desires of the heart. yet, what desire can be greater than the desire to walk in His path? To desire what He desires?

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give u the desires of ur heart."
-Psalm 37:4


Am I delighting myself in the Lord in these dreams or are they mere selfish dreams of my own?

"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain."
-Psalm 127:1


May I not be building sandcastles of my own, but investing in the solid kingdom of God that will never be shaken.

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,
let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably
with reverence and awe,
for our "God is a consuming fire."

-Hebrews 12:28-29

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

i miss my cuppa



when i first decided to stop taking coffee, it was because i don't want to be reliant on anything, apart from God.

I've not taken coffee for 24 days. some people told me it takes 21 days to break an addiction. i still don't think i was addicted ;p but now that i'm no longer reliant on coffee...

i miss my cuppa. it's like missing your good old friend.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

home sweet home?

I've never felt this down when the aircraft landed on Malaysian grounds. Usually I would be excited and the butterflies would dance in my stomach. Although the feeling is short-lived, there still was the initial excitement before I get pulled back down to earth again. This time, just as we were preparing to land, the cloud of darkness that enveloped Malaysia, also casted a net of its dark shadow on my heart. perhaps it has finally sunk in that I've left my safety net and from now on, I'm neither here nor there. But searching deeper, I know that I'll always be neither here nor there, til the day my Lord calls me Home.

thankfully, in His grace, I'm good. Am feeling much better today, and adapting to the differences that I had been expecting. I guess being prepared helps.

thanks for praying for me =)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

adiós~

it's been a lot of farewells. I'm usually quite teary at farewells and I was never good at saying goodbyes. However, this round of calmness in me surprised even myself!

Have I become emotionless? Gotten so indifferent towards the heart-wrenching events of the world that my heart has turned cold?

Apart from missing radio rhema, essentials soymilk, maki mono etc... I know it's more about the people, the relationships that have made my life in Dunedin all the more richer. No tears doesn't mean u guys don't matter to me.

in no particular order:

OCF:
committee 06-07 with our staffworkers Nick and Andrew
i rmb how God was challenging me to prepare the next Joshua and Joshua generation.
my staffworkers - Andrew and Nick, both of whom have invested a lot of time, energy and prayers in me.
Greg Hughson, our most supportive chaplain.

my little sister...

WWJD homegroup:

the gals. (not in photo: Joyce)

the boys.

and the baby =p

couples i hinted to tie the knot before i turn 25:





awesome friends:

from WWJD

right from the start of City Col days~

a very special kiwi friend indeed =)

this "list" is by no means exhaustive. it's hard to catch everyone in the last week and I don't usu take photos. Moreover my camera died on me. If your face is not here, it means that u have yet to send me the photos taken on ur camera! ;p

as i thought about it, i realised that the reason why I'm ok and not all emo this time round, is simply because it doesn't feel like I've left Dunedin at all! it's like one of those hols tt i head up to Auckland, and then perhaps back to Malaysia for longer period hols. Perhaps it hasn't sunk in that I won't see u guys for 1.5 yrs at least. Some, perhaps longer, perhaps never. But more imptly, it's the assurance in my heart that I know you guys are still standing with me and are supporting me as fellow pilgrims on this journey.

Thanks for being a big part of my life in Dunedin and thanks for the ongoing support. Will be back for graduation. Will u still be here? =)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

the time has come

passport finally came back today! =)

i think i am quite ready to leave. OCF is in good Hands, done my last BS with homegroup, shifted most stuff to P&P's, distributed other stuff... yea, there's some little loose ends to tie up tmr, but things are certainly falling into place and I know that my time here is up.

yes, I'm quite ready to go.

I will miss people (OCF, WWJD, church, uni, special ppl etc etc etc), radio rhema, sanitarium's essential soymilk. I will miss life in Dunedin. haven't really gotten emo yet but i think that will come too, either while I'm in Dunedin, or post-NZ when I'm back home.

been brought to the passage of Paul's farewell to the Ephesian Elders in Acts 20 several times. It's really humbling checking against such a rod as Apostle Paul (and I know I am nowhere near). But I pray that one day I may too say that "I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." (Acts 20:24)

all for His glory.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

grace

I am painfully aware of my weaknesses. But it is when He highlights my weaknesses, that His grace in still choosing to use me is amplified.

It's in times when you're irked by yourself, that He says "It's ok, I still love you"

In times when you think you're good for nothing, He says "It's ok, in Me you can do everything"

2 different attempts to define grace:

For a poor person in huge debts,

a) a rich businessman comes, clothed and fed the poor person and gave him a job. the poor man will then have to earn enough to pay off his own debts.

b) a rich prince came and married the poor person and paid of all his debts.Then the King of all heaven and earth comes and praises the poor man for all the good things he had done. the poor man stammered "i haven't done anything..." the King replied "but your husband has"

Grace. my Prince came and married me, took away all my debts, washed away all my iniquities, and empowers me for the journey ahead, granting me the use of His Name. Grace.

This illustration stood out in my mind since the day I heard it. Reminded me of my baptism, and the covenant between me and my Lord.

the boundless love, the grace that far exceeds what our minds can grasp...

all praise and glory and thanksgiving unto God!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

packing in process

ugh. the nightmare of every year has started. well, it supposedly started 2 weeks ago but i kinda put it off assuming i have heaps of time and there ain't tt much stuff left.

packing is a process that needs discipline. 2 weeks later and i'm still so unprepared to leave! one reason i was putting things off was cos i din wanna live out of a suitcase. or maybe 2 in this case. but it seems like the more i pack the more there is to pack! it's hard to decide wat to do with all the stuff i have accumulated over the years. selling them off would be economical. but of course, being me, i'm just distributing them to ppl nearest to me.

i think the main reason it's so hard to pack is cos the future remains unknown. ah well~

at least i'm packing just for me. imagine packing for ur family, with 3 or 4 kids running around, and having to pack for ALL of them.

*faints*

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ecuadorian Night @ OCF

*smiles*

the evening began with thankfulness in the air. as we shared about our day, our week, the grace and mercy of our Father upon us unfolded before our eyes. Doesn't matter if everything else seems to be going out of control, everything is still within His Sovereignty. =) God is good.

Ruth and Josue, TSCF and CECE staffworkers in Ecuador were with us tonight. God certainly multiplied our attempts to make most things Ecuadorian. and of course, as always, the food got the most attention. It was interesting preparing stuff from recipes, not knowing how they're supposed to look like, taste like. Ecuadorian enough or not, they were well received =)

I've had quite a few good "ppl time" today. Quoting from Tim Chester's "Busy Christian's Guide to Busyness" on the topic of "time for myself":

"True personhood is found through relationships... We don't find ourselves on our own. We find ourselves through relationships."

"We were made to serve God and other people. We find ourselves not through "me-time", but through service. Our priority is to love God and our neighbours... We find ourselves by losing our lives."

One thing I've noted is no matter how dead tired I am, God has always given me energy when I'm around people. He's faithfully sustained me when I'm with ppl, and it's only when I'm finally on my own again, that I crash.

Time to crash. Buenos noches!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Homegroup @ Robbie Burns~

I still wish they have the saxophone. but nevertheless it was really enjoyable. good company, good ambience. Cointreau lemonade.

was told there's a study which showed that females taking up to 4 cups of coffee a day have improved short term memory. voila! the end to my misery?

hmmmmm. not quite. feeling much better today. wouldn't wanna waste all that splitting headaches, lethargy, energyless days to plunge right into that sorta reliance again.

with the end of today, it's 10 more days to go.

10 more days.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

rehab

my 3rd coffee-free day.

it's hard to admit it's an addiction. i prob have grown reliant on it, but surely i wasn't addicted? u dun see me panting for one every hour ;p

i will be a mere social drinker once i get over the cold turkey =) for now, hot choc @ everyday gourmet's THE way to go.

had a good chat with some wiser, matured ppl today. i'm reminded that i'll always be a 2nd class citizen. perhaps it's time to get used to it and get over it. hmmmm. i wish i have the courage to ask them if they were given a chance to be my age again, what would they have done differently? it's scary to step out into the world and try to live a life tt's different from others. different aspirations, different motivations, different dreams. yet, to be in the world (but not of the world) is of value. life can go on and on and on without u realising something's amiss when u're just too caught up with little things in life. dangerous. or perhaps it's better to stay that way? ignorance is after all, bliss. but then again, won't God knock us off our butts when we're getting too comfy in the couch? hmmmm. tt's if we remain humbly receptive to Him i guess.

sigh.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"out of order"

almost had to hang this sign ard me mid-last week onwards.

the rising frustration seem somewhat like Sophie's teething problem. can't really fathom what's going on, can't do much about it.

but. the race isn't finished yet. been told to "let go", but tt doesn't mean i can drop everything altogether. tempting, but i gotta finish the race. right to the very end. for this stretch at least.

"Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all you who remain of the house of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since you were conceived,
and have carried since your birth.
Even to your old age and gray hairs

I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you."
-Isaiah 46:3-4

Don't think I have gray hairs yet.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

the smell of rain...

...triggered a longing for the sound of thunder.

got booted out of my flat. there wasn't anything in particular i felt like doing. wandering into manna was a dangerous decision. "retail therapy" is merely a euphemism for a lack of discipline.

i found a nice little cafe where i could hide and watch ppl. the lighting's not conducive for reading. a skilfully crafted rosetta caught my breath and i almost changed my cappa into a latte. stuck with the cappa. the coffee looked better than it tasted.

am grateful He held the rain til i got home and took in my laundry. if i could, i wouldn't wanna touch the washing machine again. but if not for the hiccup, i wouldn't have been reminded that no matter what happens, He's in control and He'll sort things out. A very impt reminder as I prepare to head off: I anticipate lotsa frustrations in a foreign environment.

i should allow myself to chill.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

drained

it's weird to feel so so tired and not know why, how, i've managed to tire myself out. i think i might even be surprised tt i'm tired! it's not good going to bed exhausted, then waking up not feeling any better.

i need some down time.

hopefully this isn't chronic. perhaps God is preparing me to hear His word this Friday.

OCF 10 Aug - Sabbath.

What does the Bible say about rest?

7:30pm @ Evison Lounge.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

sch of prayer

1st meeting was tonight. wasn't sure wat to expect...

it may not strike one as particularly tangibly powerful, but wow, once again I'm amazed by Him. How He spoke and tied everything together. The subtlety of it all kinda makes me realise that perhaps He is speaking at all times, through all things but we just haven't given Him the time and space to listen.

Mary chose to listen.

i've got tt silly grin again when i got into the car. it's the same grin when God pulled that Amazing Grace thing for me. =)

one thing i let go tonight: i don't have to feel guilty about not being busy. i can stop filling up my schedule and not feel guilty about it =)

can't wait for the next one =)

"why are u still going for classes?"

my flatmate posed this question to me in a very matter of fact manner when she saw me working on my assignment.

"you mean you wouldn't?"

"of course not"

hmmmmm.

i've been thinking of stopping for a while now. yet i press on and tell myself that whatever little i learn, i still learn, tt's if i learn at all. the assignments are a way to consolidate what i absorb. but of course when there's no comprehensible input in class, then i'm on my own to decipher the grammar points etc so that i can work on my assignments. it's a good thing ain't it?

"everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial"

in this case, every good thing isn't necessarily beneficial. especially when there are possibly more pressing concerns tt need time to mull over and ponder about. am i robbing these impt matters of the time they're rightfully due?

or maybe... if one pokes through those layers of reasoning... one finds the hidden idolatry of busyness?

i wish things are more straightforward.

Monday, August 06, 2007

novice babysitter

din realise it's such a challenging task to entertain little Sophie. i was quite tired by the end of it, and it's only been 2 hrs!

ran out of baby songs to sing after a while, since my repertoire was quite limited to begin with. After a while I think I got messed up and spoke in different languages to her: Mandarin, Japanese. There was a Malay song too. Can u imagine little Sophie growing up acquiring all those languages? wow! =) Super baby in the making.

parenting is no easy feat. Hats off to P&P. When P said, with a tired face, still coughing and sniffing, that being a mum is really rewarding... I'm reminded once again how gr8 a mum's love for her child is. thanks mum! =)

i need to learn how to change diapers~ and learn more baby tricks!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

feeling jazzy

i've been feeling jazzy since we had roast dinner at A&J's. the only jazz music I have is Christmas jazz. now, i'm feeling Christmasy... i wonder what a Japanese Christmas will be like. Will I finally have my very first white Christmas? =) there won't be mulled wine though. Maybe it's white christmas with ocha! ;p

i've finally started packing (well, i think wat i did today counts)! i think it's the first time i'm this efficient. but trust me, there will be some last minute crazy run around of some sort when the time comes. i'll always be me! =)

wonderful discovery: Perc sells Allpress coffee beans! wow~ a bit pricey though, with that amount I can get another 100g from Mazagran, which will last me for a week. Can't decide which is better. maybe it's paying for that nice looking Allpress tin. hmmmm. i've been advised i must definitely most absolutely bring my coffee plunger to Japan. ok. but how much beans can i bring over la? i should start a "mail-siqin-coffee-beans-from-nz" roster soon. any sign-ups?

fragrance or "busuk"?

In church this morning, Mike Uttley began with the question:

"What's the worst smell for u?"

he went on with:

"What's your fav smell?"

My pillow!

"What does a good smell do?"

"It creates desires, doesn't it?"

My pillow makes me wanna sleep! ;p

I smiled to myself thinking of the very 1st "busuk" I had since... I can't rmb when. Since then there's been a few. No longer called "busuk" but yea... I love the smell of my pillows. and no, they don't get washed very often.

anyway.

"But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere." -2Cor 2:14 RSV

Christ in us makes us fragrances of the knowledge of him everywhere.

Certainly doesn't feel like it when I get "stop this J-week stuff!" and "Christianity die!" when I was chalking. Why do I feel like I'm more like a stink bomb when I submitted my essay, having written about my faith in Christ in Japanese? I suspect the uneasiness comes not just from the bad grammar I know I've splashed one side of the refill with. J-week was last week. I'm not sure the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ was spread around as much as it should have been. and how exactly should it have spread? like when u break an alabastair jar filled with the finest, very expensive, perfume.

Has the world become indifferent to this aroma or have we stopped being effective ambassadors?

Am I a fragrance? or a stink bomb? but perhaps, it's even worse, if i'm neither.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

confusion gone unnoticed

i'm quite amused by how i operate when i'm agitated, frustrated, unsettled all mixed together in different proportions... to put it more accurately, how dysfunctional I am...

i mentioned in prev post how i got outta bed feeling unsettled.

this morn i got up and opened my devotion guide "Encounter with God". We just started a new series on Joel. I rmb thinking it was weird that the first day's readings should go from 1:1-20 when there's 21 verses to finish the whole book. I thought i'll be diligent and read v21 anyway. well, one should always read in context. how can u read the whole book without the very last verse? it must be there for a good reason. After reading the bible passage a couple of times, i turned to the devotion guide... thought about it, prayed...

it wasn't until this morn when i did qt that i realised, i read OBADIAH yesterday!!!! and to think that i went through the devo guide etc without realising something was amiss...

*pengsan*

Friday, August 03, 2007

not just another friday

it's quite amazing how my day turned out...

got out of bed feeling rather unsettled. i suspect it's the few late nights i've been having, and i'm not quite ready to face the full-on day ahead...

yet amazingly, God starting taking things out of my schedule one by one...

even then, i got my certificate of eligibility. turned in my assignment right on time. met up with ppl God didn't remove from my schedule. chatted with ppl tt i needed to.

even more amazingly, He's so awesomely faithful!!!

booked 40 seats for Amazing Grace 3 weeks ago and paid up front. With so many things going on, trying to find ppl was the last thing on my agenda. This morning, there was about 14 seats still available but din really wan ppl to feel obligated to go.

4pm. 11 seats.

5pm. 8 seats.

7pm. 4 seats.

7:05pm. 43 ppl coming!

wow~

eventually, 41 showed up. throughout the week, i kept saying (to myself and others) that I'm just trusting God to bring the ppl. It was almost in a defiant tone when I said to God in my quiet times "You are gonna bring ppl aren't You?" but when ppl kept turning me down, at 3pm, i wasn't sure i would get that 11 ppl... and i started preparing myself to get over it.

sigh. me of little faith eh?

the movie was awesome! i was quite dazzled by Wilberforce *silly grin* was on cloud 9 for the rest of the evening. partially the movie, Wilberforce's character, but more imptly, still amazed by how God worked my day out for me and took care of the 40 seats~

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

the sun is shining once again!

after 2 whole days of rain, rain and more rain, the rays of joy, hope and delight that the sun brought as it warmed up the land of Dunedin is greater than ever before! =) =) =)

after every storm is a rainbow...

after every trial we grow stronger...

after every down, we appreciate the ups to fuller measures!

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."
-1 Peter 5:10

Monday, July 30, 2007

identity crisis?

Citizenship defines the place one calls home for life, where one rests one’s weary head after having travelled the globe. It gives one identity. It is the place to live out one’s twilight years. Ideally, it is “the best place on earth.”

-Suhaini Aznam in "Privilege called Citizenship", The Star Online 23 July 2007

The idea of ever giving up my Malaysian citizenship was unimaginable. While never truly patriotic in a sense that I never felt very "significant" in my home country, never really felt the noble call to "come back and serve my country", I've been quite attached to Malaysia and can't imagine my family emigrating elsewhere (though i suspect they would very much like to). I rmb when my Malaysian friends studying in Dunedin talk of going "home", as in Auckland, because that's where their parents are, I shuddered at the thought of having to "settle down" at a place where it's not really "home".

In Jap class today, we started a new chapter with introductory discussions on our identity, who we are, with a focus on people with parents of different nationalities. It's interesting how even if someone's been in NZ for years and years, they remain steadfast in holding on to their original nationality. even with the Kiwi passport.

suddenly there's a lot of such themes going ard me. Or perhaps I was just oblivious to it before. But I'm thankful that while I may seem to be confronted (and perhaps a little confused?) about the whole "who am i?", identity searching issue (many times I just push it all aside with a "does it matter?"), I can firmly proclaim that I am a child of God and ultimately, my citizenship is in Heaven.


what's next?

it got kinda gruelling halfway through the supposedly casual, relaxed chat. it wasn't until the last 30 mins of those 8 hrs that it dawned upon me that there's something more to it than a "casual, relaxed chat". yes, many ppl can attest to me being "slow in the mind", missing most hints and subtlety. i wasn't sure how to respond. partly cos i didn't expect the subtle appeal that surfaced, but perhaps more because one doesn't make such decisions there and then. unprayed for, at the spur of the moment decisions are more likely to become empty promises.

the junction of the crossroad is fast approaching. with so many different things coming from different ppl, the need to just be still and wait upon Him becomes essential. there are needs to be met everywhere, but where and what specifically has He been moulding and shaping me for?

once again i feel like i've been asked to hand over the canvas, and to let Him add on the next few strokes in His big picture, His masterpiece...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Saturdays~

i had an absolutely enjoyable Saturday~ =)

i rmb times when Saturdays were packed with activities, from half day band prac in primary sch to full day band prac in high sch, to feeling quite lost when I got to college cos i haven't learnt how to pass my Saturdays without band pracs...

i just realised how a big part of me was missing without all those band prac. i never really knew wat to do with my Saturdays anymore. but then again, at just about the same time this big part of me left, something else cropped up and gradually became an even bigger part of me...

but that doesn't mean I know how to spend my Saturdays wisely. Coming to Uni, i've filled it with work. all sorts of work.

although i miss being on the roster, i am thankful for the quality Saturdays I've been having. *smiles* tonight was really awesome. the company, the ambience, the bunny. i've never held a bunny in my arms for so long before. am so tempted to make Simba my pillow... it wasn't just the night that i enjoyed. it was good to sleep in, to relax and read, falling back to sleep as and when i like, and i even enjoyed studying!

"A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?"
-Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

thank you Lord for the simple pleasures in life!

Friday, July 27, 2007

reflections on a Friday night

The Lord had said to Abram,

"Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you."

-Genesis 12:1

Although the verses that followed received more attention tonight, my mind couldn't get past this first verse in chapter 12 of Genesis.

I suspect God has been working quite intensely in me, unbeknownst to my awareness. I wonder if despite all the "NO"s my mind's saying, deep down it's already a "yes". Perhaps I just need time to warm up to the idea.

Ah well. So be it.

"I am the Lord's servant,"

"May it be to me as you have said."

(Luke 1:38)

Let Him open doors.

"The heart of God is missions. The heart of the Church is missions."

"When you love someone, you love what that someone loves."

yea, i've seen how so many people have changed, and different people kinda converge after a while in interest, even in behaviour and personality. Such is the power of love.

Are you excited about what your God is passionate about?

ねつあいしているのどんなかんかくかしら。

one month from today~

=) =) =)

i love how God works in ways immeasurably more than what I ask for or can imagine. admittedly I was quite disorganized for tonight. suddenly there's so many things competing for attention and i found it hard to coordinate different people sharing and trying to make a link. But i guess the conductor baton's in His hands =)

it was tempting to talk abt everything and share everything. there's so much abt Taiwan I could talk about. but i realised that it's not about how much I can go on blabbering about. No point if ppl ain't receiving. it was cool to keep it short and sweet, and to allow heaps of time for after-meeting chat. i wish there's a warm place with good coffee/tea/hoc choc and munchies, comfy armchairs where we can just hang out and chat. but i suspect it may well go on til the wee hours in the morning.

one more month.

i am tempted to flag all my classes. sabbath month. how's that? =)

really praying to make all the connections possible. when i leave, there won't be a hole anywhere, but well linked connections. as they say, the story goes on...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

unspeakable joy

it was oozing out of me. just couldn't contain myself. i think i was grinning like a silly person. doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it makes u wish it'll last forever, u wanna dance and sing, and u know (well, kinda) that something has struck a chord in your heart.

too much sun in Dunedin perhaps? I'm not complaining =) *big grin*

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

blocked mind

argh.

i am guilty of being caught unprepared, unseasoned, and ugh... i seemed to have misplaced all my verses and jumbled them up. even studylight.org decided not to work and i wish i could swallow the whole bible there and then.

"Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction." -2 Timothy 4:2


"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." -1 Peter 3:15

neither here nor there

cliche has it that the grass is always greener on the other side. but knowing that in reality, the grass is not that green there, why not here?

"our citizenship is in heaven"
-Philippians 3:20

if He's gonna bring me to the ends of the earth anyway, does it matter if it's here or there?

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."
-Isaiah 55:8-9

so what even if the grass IS in reality greener on the other side? what's in searching for "greener" pastures if we know that our citizenship is in heaven and the lushest greeneries will not satisfy us anyway?

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight."
-Proverbs 3:5-6

i do not understand the frustration in my heart.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday: pm

J-week street clean!



ok, tt's actually last year's photo. this year, only 1/3 of last yr's crowd turned up. but nevertheless, we are still His ambassadors, heading out to clean up streets for students...



weather was amazing. God sent rain last night to clear up the roads for our post-street-clean chalking. yet He gave us gloriously bright sun from daybreak through to the whole afternoon. weather forecast was bad weather for today. He's definitely sending out His troop of servants out to the streets.

it's hard not to wonder what difference it'll make. my little team picked up bags and bags of rubbish, but we can't help noticing the endless litter that will fill up more bags and bags even as we gathered in towards the evening. last year's lessons were re-learnt, reinforced: humility, servanthood, working as unto the Lord, do not judge.

"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbour as yourself."-Gal 5:13-14

i guess we were free to make the choice of not going. i saw someone struggling with that today. perhaps we all do, to a certain extent. Yet I saw God working in her heart =)

"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." -Gal 5:6

hmmmm. may it not be a show of unity, or a show of "love", but "faith expressing itself through love".

Sunday: am

was quite hyped up in the morn. maybe it was seeing Jan Jan at the drums. coolness! =) but that hypeness got disrupted, when thoughts started creeping into my mind intermittently. it became hard to concentrate and i couldn't sing properly. i thought i was being distracted and prayed for my mind to be still...

nope. it didn't happen. could hardly hear what Trevor was saying. Yea, i was taking down notes but my mind wasn't with Trevor.

i was quite sure it was path A.

recently, path B seemed to have surfaced.

today, path B kept coming to mind.

eeesh. even before my heart was convinced, my mind had run ahead of my heart and i caught my mind busy thinking and mapping out path B.

i am aware that a huge part of me was shutting out path B. at the same time, i was being challenged of the irony of praying "Lord, show me the next step", yet resisting something that might possibly come from Him.

was quite relieved to be given a break from that internal struggle when i stepped out of church. seems like i'm not as open-minded as i thought i would be. gotta deal with this sometime, somehow. found myself negotiating for "surer" signs. let me go dig out some fleece... ;p

yet i felt like i was being chided gently.

"give Me your yes and I will show you My means"

Friday, July 20, 2007

How would u define urself?

That's the question Nick started tonight's meeting with.

I kinda had an answer in my head, but I'm not sure I dare to voice it out.

So I asked Scott instead how he would define me.

It's not really what u believe is it? if what you claim you believe isn't really reflected by how u live. i.e. you're not living out what u're believing. in other words, what u're living out is saying something else about what u really believe in.

hmmmm.

e-cards

I've been getting quite a few e-cards lately. none of which actually links to anything. there's one that requires me to download an application. smells fishy.

my apologies if u did send me a real proper well-intentioned e-card, but i'm deleting all of them.

how about real postcards/greeting cards/snail mails? ;p

an orchestra

it's Friday!

time flies. the week has gone me by. I feel "unprepared" for OCF tonight. It's not that we haven't come together and discuss about it. I guess it's not knowing every detail of it that's leaving me feeling unsettled. Esp the small group discussion part.

I'm reminded of this being an orchestra. Or a symphony. Nick has the passage from Luke, we each have a small group that God will bring, and Nick has the wrapping up, Lyv has the worship, Lish has the flow of programme, Sharon has J-week announcements, Bomi has the refreshments. God is our conductor. When the time comes, He raises the baton, and on that first note He waves downward, the symphony begins and everything will fall into place.

Let go. and let God.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

reminiscence: Taiwan "dream team" 2006



This is certainly a time of reminiscence and reflection. It kinda started the day Jess and I sat ourselves on the pews of Knox church and as we took in our peaceful surroundings with the pipe organ sounding glorious hymns unto Him, where we wept tears of joy, of thankfulness and of sadness. There is a time and season for everything. God is bringing me to an end of a chapter: as i look forward in anticipation to the new chapter He's writing, praying that I'll truly let Him be the author of my life book, He's turning my eyes back to see what He's got thus far...

It might be triggered by the song "The reason of Giving" sung by Fiona, Veronica's friend at her memorial. I came back and dug the lyrics out and at the same time, dug out everything I had from Taiwan. There's a sense of urgency to remember the people, the place, and the experience. The notes written to me, the few pieces of photos I have, the few Mandarin songs I took back with me. Daniel talked about the Chinese church being Chinese, for Chinese people. In ways I've never understood, those Chinese words struck a chord in my heart and more tears flowed.



The whole mission trip was amazing. Beyond what I had expected. God has been truly faithful in every aspect. The prayers of many were answered. There was even a sense of triumph, and perhaps of pride? But this is not a story about us, it's about how HE worked during our time there and how HE brought us through.



Yet last night, as I thought about the "dream team", there was a sense of being pushed forward. Don't settle down for just that, stop basking in the glories of yesteryears, there's still so much going on, so much more to look forward to. I had kinda thought to myself that I'll take a short break. Kuching in 2005, Taiwan in 2006. maybe it's time for a "holiday". But like I said in a previous post, I no longer understand what the word "holiday" means. Time to get out of my comfort zone. Time for another adventure.

Kuching in 2005. Taiwan in 2006. Japan in 2007-2008.

This is a story about the God I serve.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"busy-ness is a choice..."

i'm amazed that came out of my mouth. i think i've been under the yoke of busy-ness for a long time without realising that i subject myself to such a bondage.

it's veronica's memorial today. as i hear others talk abt her...

i'm reminded of the countless number of times i've met Veronica at the link on Thursday afternoons and i never had time to stop for long, cos i'm always rushing from meeting with Andrew and Pam to CCG/TSCF area support meeting to prayer meeting.

i'm reminded of the many times i've thought of getting her out for a cuppa, or even if she doesn't take coffee, perhaps we could have hot choc at Everyday Gourmet, just to get to know her etc.

i've meant to show her my flat too.

i thought i had time. i thought i can wait til Sem 2 when i've more time at hands, when she's moved closer to uni.

i guess we won't know the times and dates of the Lord. she has indeed impacted many lives in Otago just in the 4 mths she's been here. not knowing Veronica better is my loss.

the George family

i miss the George family being in Dunedin. When i looked up the slope that led to their flat, i can't help thinking about them, wondering what they're up to and just thanking God for bringing them over to Dunedin 1.5 years ago.



I don't think they realised how big an encouragement they've been to me, especially last year. Haven't seen them much this year, Anthony busy with his field work prep, Esther busy with little Josue, and me, busy with everything. But somehow, just their presence in Dunedin was good enough. Sometimes I feel like crying just thinking abt how they've left for the Caribbeans. i think perhaps i just need to shed the tears of farewell. Maybe I'm just being sentimental, a little melancholic. Yea, they'll be back again, but I won't be ard.

Amazing how God encourage ppl through ppl.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"neither poverty nor riches"

(public lecture by Prof. Craig Bloomberg)

Justice for poor.

Proverbs 30:7-9
Two things I ask of you, O Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

Do not lay up treasures on earth but in heaven.

Generously.

Sacrificially.

Steward for Christ.

Convictions.

2 Cor. sacrificial (8:1-9). proportional (8:10-14). accountable (8:15-9:5). rewarding (9:6-15).

"We CAN have it all...
but only in God's terms and in His timing."

Monday, July 16, 2007

the chalking experience

When I first saw the Student Life chalkers, I never thought chalking is something I'll be able to do...

Yest was my 1st ever chalking experience. won't be the last. more chalking to do these couple of weeks =) despite it just being the 3 of us, we had fun and we thank God that as we serve Him as a team, mundane things can bring such joy =) it's the company that counts. company of Lish, Sharon and God =)

there was a bunch of rowdy boys, all dressed in black, that shouted at us from a distance when they saw us. something abt "vandalism" and "stop all this j-week stuff". there was a mix feeling of fear (there's a huge group of them vs. me n lish at the time) and wanting to stand up against them. As they're fast approaching, it was a split second tip over the balance to the "let's go" side. Stupid confrontation is unnecessary. Though I admit I was scared too. 2 wee Asian girls against a whole group of dudes? Dare to be wise. Sapere Aude. I am an Otago product after all.

One doesn't need creativity to be able to chalk. Well, they're not awesome but I haven't receive any complaints so far. All one requires is the willingness to be available.

When are you gonna get ur hands dirty with us? =)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

a day of rest

it's been an extremely lazy Saturday. =)

am really thankful for the day off. my aching body needs it. though i suspect i should get my stamina back up again.

after a whole day at home, i long for the convenience of being able to just go for a drive at night, and grab a cuppa. where it's not freezing cold. and there's still plenty of choices ard at 10pm.

soon. 46 days to go.

more photos~

a peak from the bushes

"is that the glacier?"

"ignore all warning signs"

even the extreme danger ones...

i certainly felt like Frodo on a mission

snow~

journey from Franz Josef to Greymouth

enroute to Greymouth

from Greymouth back to Christchurch

well. at least it's no longer ducks ;p

maybe it'll be the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls someday.

I suspect Mount Fuji comes first =)

"Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them -
the Lord, who remains faithful forever."
-Psalm 146:5-6

photos~

a view in Christchurch

Kaikoura

seals in Kaikoura

Kaikoura

another Kaikoura shot

a hint of glory

faint glimpse of the moon

Friday, July 13, 2007

TGIF~

I dun think I've done more than what I've done before. It's puzzling how drained I've become over small little things. Time to slow down? It's so hard to watch everyone around u keep going. Time and tide waits for no one. It's been feeling like "nothing waits for anyone", and I seemed to have been left behind. Perhaps it's time to withdraw and detach.

I wonder if it's because i "forgot" Sabbath. After a good 2 days of rest after getting back from Welly last week, I mindlessly, unconsciously, arranged for a meeting on Sunday. When homegroup ppl asked, what happened to sabbath? My jaw dropped. I forgot! How could I? and for that, I dragged 5 other ppl into this with me. I did feel convicted abt it, asked for forgiveness and promised never to do this again; but lurking at the back of my mind, i wondered why wasn't I convicted enough to call it off?

Isaiah 56:1-2
"This is what the Lord says:

'Maintain justice and do what is right,
for my salvation is close at hand
and my righteousness will soon be revealed.
Blessed is the man who does this,
the man who holds it fast,
who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it,
and keeps his hand from doing any evil."

Isaiah 58:13 -14
"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord's holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you pleases
or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob."
The mouth of the Lord has spoken."

I've been longing for the weekend since Monday~

I am seeing more clearly that it's no longer about how I survive but it's about how my gracious God pulls me through. 2 assignments thus far, the new people, the cooking for today... It's been an awesome night really~ God was really faithful in providing enough food and there was good mingling between the different people that came. We're not sure how many will come back, how many will come to know Christ through us, but we pray that for each of them that we've been given an opportunity to serve in His love, that God will continue to work in their hearts wherever they go.

My flat still smells like Kimchi~ *inhale* really thank God for the awesome lovely team of people He's put alongside me to serve Him together. Makes everything enjoyable! U guys rock!

thank God for weekends!!!! =) =) =)

Monday, July 09, 2007

last "1st day" in Otago

i am very good at tiring myself out.

it's only the first day back at uni and i'm already quite drained. and i'm not even officially enrolled in any papers!

hmmmm.

had an interesting conversation with a friend. i'm amazed by his drivenness just from a desire to have an established career so that he can build a family. we talked abt being tired from studying... yet his goal is good enough motivation for him to press on and reach out for the stars. me? longing for a simpler life, a smaller community reaching out to those that knows Him not. my bunch of stars are different i guess.

am i ready to give up the world?

perhaps. perhaps not.

i can't have both eh?

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." -Colossians 3:1-2


what is in a room?

"what is in a name? a rose by any other name would smell as sweet..."

i've been approached to give up Evison Lounge for OCF's Friday meetings.

1.5 yrs ago, I wouldn't think it would have made too much of a difference. In fact, I had asked for a smaller room, we're only abt 6-7 ppl anyway.

But now...

I can't bear the thought of giving it up.

It's not my decision to make anyway.

Or is it?

Sigh.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

in transition

As I took new international students ard town and campus these couple of days, I realised I've forgotten what it's like to be in a totally foreign place, not knowing anyone. Then it dawned upon me that I'm gonna be in that situation in less than 3 mths' time, and my stomach churned. The unfamiliarity, the differences, and not knowing much abt the way things are in the new environment... I'm not sure I'm ready for all that. I'm amazed at how Dunedin has grown on me without me realizing it. I couldn't imagine spending more than a year in Dunedin when I first arrived. 3.5 yrs later, this chilly, small student city has become my comfort zone. No doubt staying here can still potentially stretch me quite a bit, but seems like God is wanting to stretch me exponentially.

transition. I have an idea that life is never gonna be the same again, but I don't think I have begun to grasp the magnitude of how it's gonna change. 2 mths ain't very long. Time to wrap up and move forward.

I guess part of the reluctance to leave one's comfort zone is not knowing where one's headed to. Uncertainty causes anxiety. When God called Abraham to go, He didn't give him a destination. God's call was to God himself. It's not abt where he's headed to, it's abt following the One that has called, trusting that He will lead and guide ("Student power in world missions" by David M. Howard).

Nick said to me during conference that I need to repent of my idolatry of thinking that I'm holding it all together. I was slightly stunned. It's a rather subtle idolatry, but now that he's mentioned it, I recognize it. I can't hold it all together, only God can. I won't pretend I'm holding it all together, though often times I seem to be trying to. My feeble attempts could hardly hold anything together if God is not largely supporting me.

the longer i walked in this journey, the more i recognize this is not meant to be a solo journey. Even though i may be heading off alone physically, the importance of partnership in prayers can't be emphasized enough.

walk with me?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

airport hiccups

I can't help thinking abt the airport hiccups yest. Someone suggested maybe I'm not meant to be back in Dud so early. it's tempting. I could have caught "Woman in Black" in Welly if i stayed just one more day. and possibly another bubble tea. the green tea one wasn't very satisfying. better stick to taro, d all time favourite.

but i did start to reflect on all the airport hiccups i've had. even the ones i didn't have. Stacy (I hope I got her name right) was flown to London, and then back to LA before she finally came over to Auckland. She's from Michigan. I rmb the long long trip just to get to Taiwan. Very adrenaline filled journey, being "stranded" alone in Bangkok overnight, and then stucked in a bad traffic jam the morn I was gonna fly. and there was yest. Looking back, I realised how I haven't been as calm as I would have liked myself to be. Things are gonna turn out alright anyway. Trust God, why worry? Mrs Lee's sentence still pops up every now and then like a magic phrase: "What's the worse thing that can happen?". And it is only through all the hiccups that I'm learning to be more and more reliant on my God. If He wants me there, He will get me there.

It's never gonna be easy-sailing. Life is too boring that way. But of course, it's more than just that. It's a spiritual war we're in, there's lots going on in the unseen. Whatever it is, dun let it crush ur spirit, dun let it get u down.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:6-7

This is another stepping stone in preparation for the Japanese adventure that awaits! =)