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: 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




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






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.