salvation

After dinner, I decided to take a slow walk to the fishing port behind my house and sat there for some peace and quiet. Throughout the day, there has been so much noise and chatter. The morning was rather enjoyable. I managed to have breakfast with my cousin and read my book on Holiness by J.C.Ryle ( I strongly recommend this book) so rich in theology and practically helpful as well. (will write about this another time) Rather productive morning as well as I tried to compile a video that I want to make of my grandmother. After lunch, it was early…about 12.30pm and I attempted to take an afternoon nap. But before my eyes could shut completely, I hear shouts of 老師 and I know my day has only just begun. HAHA. No rest at all.

We took a long walk to Yoho in the next town and back in the scorching hot sun, followed by a visit to the seaside, climbing very dangerous rocks and coming back to rest for 15 minutes. Not long after, they started pestering me to go to school and play basketball but man, I was so zapped and tired. This is why you need to bring a team of 5 or more to come help you entertain children, or else it might become very meaningless. Tried to squeeze some time for solitude but didn’t happen because I bumped into two girls and we headed to the seaside again, a different spot this time. We looked at the clouds and marvelled at how lovely they were. It’s so cute hearing conversations of little children and seeing the two girls, one 9 and the other 12 get along.

Throughout the entire day, the temple outside of my house was just holding events after events and it was very very loud. Thankfully, I took my earpiece and headed out for the fishing port before any kids could find me.

As I sat there and played worship songs, namely Wonder, Behold (Then Sings my Soul) and As It Is (In Heaven) . My heart was so so glad. Nothing like worship that refreshes your soul and uplifts your spirit. I let the songs minister and speak to my heart. And then I sing, as loud as I can and I lift my hands here and then (just to make sure no one’s watching or like no motorcycle actually passes me by) heh.  But I felt so at peace that the God who created the heavens and earth is looking at me and enjoying the worship that He is due.

My God, He who was and is to come.

Prepare the way until the work on earth is done

Watch as the clouds He rides swing low

Lift up the sound as He makes our praise His throne

Behold the Lord our God will lead us home.

As affirmed over and over again, my duty is to prepare the way and keep working. No stopping once you’ve started. Labour and be steadfast because the Lord of the Harvest is at work and He will establish whatever’s started. So what if fruits only bore 10 years from now or maybe no fruits at all. The joy of the Lord is my strength and my song through the ages. He delights in obedience, not success. He is interested in the process and the growth, not the end result.

Man, I was so encouraged. Doesn’t matter how dark it might seem,

So I will sing like I will there

In the fearless light of glory

Where the darkness cannot find me

And Your face is all I see.

As I sang this song with all my heart, I am reminded of my salvation, of a redemption plan that came to be. I am reminded of how God has uprooted me from a specific town of Shanhai to Singapore, to know Him and to bring me back here to begin this work of seed sowing. There has been zero track record of Christians in this town and the Hengchun church ladies say this place is hard ground. Through this life that has been redeemed, I’d say that the Lord is so intentional about drawing us to Him and choosing us to redeem His people that He pursues. Mega thankful for this salvation. I once was lost but now am found.

I know You love me.

I know You found me

I know You saved me.

And now, I believe we’re one step closer to kingdom come.

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Hengchun Hustlers 2016

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Last December, a group of my friends from various communities came together to go back to my hometown and sow the seeds of the gospel.  Taiwan has always been a special place in my heart and ever since July 2015, a desire was planted in my heart to bring the gospel to this hard ground and hence without much hesitance, I went ahead to organise and put together this trip. It’s the first time that I’m doing this, planning a trip and I remember contacting so many various organisations and wanting to do various stuff but God eventually led us to partner with a local church in Hengchun that showed us so much hospitality and love which I’m so thankful for! There was also an elementary school that is 5 minutes walk away from my house so we decided to invade the school with our programmes – not knowing at all what to expect.

As I prepared for the trip, I felt inadequate and lost at certain times, just scrambling to get things together. There was school to study for and Y2S1 was mad for most of us as well but our team – comprising of people that were completely new towards each other, came together right after Finals, exactly 1 week before our trip and tried to come up with presentable programmes for our trip.

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This is my japalang team, as I would call it and we proudly call ourselves Hengchun Hustlers. By the grace of God, this team came together and learnt from each other. There was my favourite couple Domillian who demonstrated excellence in delivery of service and showing me how God uses couples to love the others around them, Sixuan who was just willing, supportive and always having a heart of thanksgiving, Grace who was always ready to offer me ideas, her availability and her patience with little ones, Richard my brother whom I was so proud and thankful to see him grow and play with the little ones, and always readily voicing out his takeaways, and Jomo the oldest in the team who also was very dedicated to whatever ideas that we had and ensuring that everything turned out fine.

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We interacted with lots of children and having children who lived in the same village made everything so much easier. Every night, without fail, they would show up at our doorsteps and made us entertain them. They were truly so endearing. But lots of these children, as we later learn, came from unhealthy family backgrounds. Often, in the countryside, the parents have to leave homes to work in the cities, leaving the kids with the grandparents, what we call 隔代教养 in Chinese, or lots of stories about parents marrying early and divorcing eventually, or the issue of vices like gambling and drugs. Some of the children we met had stories like this and it was largely a vicious cycle in the countryside, with poor family planning, resources and children eventually becoming like their parents if not cared for properly. This is the situation of this little village/town. Such were the strongholds in this place, neglect, divorce, broken families, idolatry and lies.

But one thing I know for sure, on the second day of the trip as we went for a walk around, the Lord dropped this in my heart ” These friends, all of you here, will be a light for me in the darkness” and I loved that! I remember feeling so helpless in July 2015 when I was the only Christian praying, and fast forward December 2o16, I’ve got 6 other pals with me, declaring worship and praise in this little land, praying and breaking chains. I truly believed that the worship we bring is beginning to tear down the principalities and strongholds in this place.

We went to Shanhai Elementary School for a 2 day programme of games teaching English and sharing the value of love and appreciating someone through a Rudolph skit. We were a little scared and not sure what to expect of the kids but things turned out fine. Most importantly, this is what God has promised and assured us with,

“Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” 

Exodus 4:10-12

So glad that we get to be mouthpieces for God and this was shared in a morning devotion one of the days and as I later read, confirmed what I wrote in my diary on the 26th of September 2016 : “I am not even equipped to lead this trip but I’m doing it. *listed out Exodus 4:10-12* ” God speaks. 

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And we also went to a daycare centre in Checheng under a church, using dioaramas and little games to bring across the idea of creation and the God that seeks and finds. Love how the kids were so creative!

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In addition, we also went to spend a day with the kids who live in Sheding National Park, some of the kids who also lacked proper homes and warmth in their families. But it was so encouraging to be able to sing praises with them, teaching them the ukelele and guitar, and our lovely Rudolph craft. All these were possible because there was one Christian lady whom we know by the name of Huiwen 阿姨 who has been faithfully reaching out to the kids right where she lived! She gathers them at her house and has been showing love to them, and telling them about God and the mighty things He has done. The way she displayed “love your neighbour as yourself” and what it means to bring Christ back into your homes, into your communities!

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As we interacted with so many children, my heart is filled with hope for this generation, as we pray for them to rise up into warriors of faith, as the older generation labour in prayer and ministry for this land, the younger ones will see it to fruition. My hometown may be hard ground but relationships have been established, especially with the younger ones and I thank God for that! I pray that each time I go back again, more seeds will be sowed and that they will fall on good soil. We are so encouraged by the Christians there, mostly the older ones, who faithfully serve the church and the people around them.

I remember one evening where a few of us spent some time just enjoying the magnificent, gentle and beautiful pink/purple streaks across the sky during the sunset, we were prompted to pray for these children and as we opened our eyes, we were treated to a sky full of stars at just 6:30pm in the evening, something unusual but reassuring to me.

so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky

Philippians 2:15

Which was exactly what was shared the next morning for devotion. I believe this is what is the intended purpose for the children, to believe and shine for Christ amidst the darkness. Such is the promise and intention of our Heavenly Father. This is only the beginning, but I’m believing for so much more in this land 🙂

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The next half of the trip, I got the chance to serve in YWAM Taipei with Yunying over the Christmas week and later went back to Hengchun to spend the last week with my grandma and family! (I’ve got so much to share about what I learnt in YWAM also but that will be for another day) And that was when these little kids keep coming back. They came over right after school to do their homework and we spent time playing with them.

妤安,宏銘,品瑜,雯玲,育婷,世凱,Terry. Because relationships have been built, I can pray better for them by name 🙂 More than anything else, I’m so thankful to catch a glimpse of what is is like to live life amongst the children and having them call me 老师. That gives me so much encouragement to one day be able to do this, to teach in the countryside and minister to kids. It’s simple things like them coming to you and just spending hours with you. I think I could do this for a long while, to see them grow 🙂

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Thank you Yunying, for so willingly jumping onboard this with me and accepting my weaknesses and flaws, loving me as I am in this trip and the days before and ahead HAHA. And seeing you with the burning desire to share Christ with anyone when the chance arises, gives me courage to do so when the need arises 🙂dscf2581

At the end of this December, I’m just glad and blessed to have my friends come and share love with my own family and in my hometown and to be the God-given blessing they are. Even as I dread this coming new semester and my mind is already trying to plan the next trip back, I remember that I have to bring the lessons learnt back here and bring it back to right where I am – in my school, family, church, wherever.

To be intentional, available, and daring to trust God for His faithfulness and far greater than we can ever imagine goodness. 

We don’t even have to try and You came. You are a miracle-working God.

p.s.: trip video almost done and so much more to say, but this got to do for now!

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I’ll be back! Till then, Y2S2 let’s go!

 

thanksgiving of a freshie;

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My God will care and look upon me always. From the beginning of the year to the end of the year, He will care and He will provide. How beautiful is our heavenly Father that promises to go before us, behind us and beside us. Sometimes, I just run out of vocabulary to describe that love. This land of hills and valleys, ups and downs, that the Israelites will enter, will rely on Jehovah Jireh – the God that provides.

I wrote that paragraph a few months ago, when Semester 2 first began. I know when Semester 2 began, I often find myself worrying about the intense workload, picking up a new language : Arabic, writing like tons of essays because of the 4 history mods and having to juggle with planning for FOC, try to commit to tuition and doing ministry, learning how to serve the younger ones. Sounds pretty intense, but I’m thankful first, for my family, who has allowed me to take cab rides back to hall every single weekend, just so I can save time. Simple things like bringing my brother and I out for a good meal since I’ve been eating outside food everyday in school. It makes all the difference :’) Also, for the company around, who have encouraged and kept me in prayer. For all the times I whined and complained about the things I signed up for, ahem, 2XU, and saying yes to planning so many things.  Grateful also for the simple lunches together in school with Huishi, Esna.

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And for hall people, neighbours who are ever so loving and kind, Wendy and Jane and my often found sleeping roomie Yunying. Sharing things and going over to each other’s rooms to chat, do work, enjoy air-condition. Those things were much appreciated hehe. More than thankful to be part of Crescent hall, with the friendly culture and to have closed ones around me, late night talks and spontaneous moments of decorating the room, shifting the furniture with YY were the best also. I absolutely adore spontaneity!

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And for new friends like this one! The greatest thing I learnt through my conversations with you, is that you do not withhold from singing praises about the people around you! I think that’s a gift :’) bimbotic half the time but love the sessions when you come over just to sing and share about your day!

Hall fellowship friends that have been faithful in giving us a community to fall back on, serving the Lord and encouraging each other :’) I always look forward to Wednesday nights, ice breakers and sharing with each other!

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And my beautiful coursemates that I’ve gotten to know better over the past 2 semesters. Turning up late for class, reminding each other about assignments and travelling to ubin, surviving the scorching sun! You all are so different but lovely in your own ways, pursuing your passions and excelling, Nic; always joyful and late, Shankari; wise, thriving and unique in your opinions, Andrea; forever dyeing hair and sweet Joyce and blur but super cute Fathin. Glad that we are always pushing beyond and striving for the highest standards, presenting top quality work HOHOHO. Proud of us :’)

Sem 2 also gave me many opportunities to meet and talk to people, those that are so passionate about knowledge and learning, some that are struggling with this whole university thing and  some that are super open to new ideas, cultures and worldviews. Truly, the world around us is our classroom, it’s God’s classroom for us. He’s teaching and telling us so many things. About embracing people, being patient with their views, dealing with tricky situations, staying anchored in Christ through it all.

At the end of year 1, I’m just so relieved and pleased. I was worrying about not being to cope with so many things on my plate but God you gave so much more. You provided in the form of amazing friends, those who stayed and bothered and took the extra mile to help each other vet our assignments, you all know who you are :’), provision also came in the form of strong and wise leaders and peers in church whom I serve alongside, the prayers meant alot. Provision came in the form of enough strength and discipline that was only possible by the grace of God, to complete the semester and pick up new things like Arabic, relearning the guitar and running to keep fit. Provision came in the form of fun friends and company around hall and in the course itself.

Truly, God has shown Himself to be so faithful in the past 1 year, giving me opportunities to learn and maximise my capacities, which I hope will serve well in future for the glory of His kingdom. I’m challenged constantly, to not be caught up in the rat race, to find rest amidst busy schedules, doing things that I may not be good at,  and smile at His daily provisions and evidence of His steadfast love.

The verses that stuck with me in January, today I review it again. Deuteronomy 11.

“You shall therefore keep the whole commandment that I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and take possession of the land that you are going over to possess, and that you may live long in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give to them and to their offspring, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 For the land that you are entering to take possession of it is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and irrigated it, like a garden of vegetables. 11 But the land that you are going over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water by the rain from heaven, 12 a land that the Lord your God cares for. The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.

The past academic year was nothing short of a miracle. Thank you Jesus for providing me with what I need and giving me exceedingly more than I can ever imagine :’)

 

your heart is full

You don’t give Your heart in pieces
You don’t hide Yourself to tease us

Your love’s not fractured
It’s not a troubled mind
It isn’t anxious
It’s not the restless kind

Your love’s not passive
It’s never disengaged
It’s always present
It hangs on every word we say
Love keeps its promises
It keep its word
It honors what’s sacred
‘Cause its vows are good

Your love’s not broken
It’s not insecure
Your love’s not selfish
Your love is pure

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:4-5