Monday, August 16, 2010

youth workers retreat...

a retreat in rawang with youth workers was time well spent.

it was great to meet with shearn again and also get to know other youth workers in the methodist church from around malaysia. had fruitful conversations and sharing. learnt lots from the other youth workers. as they share from their life, gratefulness overcomes me and i regret the times that i was ungrateful. as they share what happens in their churches, i realise that we are not alone in the quest to God in the youth ministry.

pastor herbert just returned from the missions area in sarawak. it was great to hear news and also how their experiences there changed the lives of the youths who visited.

what the speaker spoke about was encouraging but it can also be said to be discouraging. as he shared about what the bible teaches and later progresses on to how the world has become, it doesn't paint such a pretty picture. i'll just give a bit of some that was shared cause there's really lots to digest and pray over.

public schools are one of the main causes of todays youths. public schools were created to supply the age of industrialization with people that would agree with how the industrial system of working with efficiency. with that, the role that a father should have as a teacher to his children has been handed over to the schools. a one-on-one teaching with love and care, has been exchanged for a 1 teacher, that has no family obligations, teaching 40 students in a classroom.

and that system or mentality crept into the church as well. the spiritual role of a parent has been given to youth workers or youth teachers when it should be done by parents. the sending of the kids to sunday school like baby sitting services, wondering why the youths aren't changing or improving with the hourly lessons that we have with them once a week (compared to 30 hours in school a week) and many more. compared to the what God has taught, the Bible shows how parents are to be teaching their children and spending time with them, be it in the spiritual or education capacity.

of course, this is where we go, how in the world are we to change the system? its a mammoth task.... well, that's in our eyes. what about God's?
we too understand as not everyone has a healthy family. many families are broken. times are tough in KL and many a times, a dual-income family is needed to survive in this expensive world.

what was encouraging was that what he has shared was similar to the goals that God has put in me as a youth worker. through revelations in thoughts and speaking with others about things to focus on for the youths in the church.

it is relationships and not activities that matters. segregations of groups/services within a church is unhealthy. integration of people of all ages with each other is important; young to old and old to young. church is to be building horizontally with others and also vertically with God. be it a parent, teacher or a youth leader, being authentic is important to the youths. family is important and church work should not be a hindrance towards time with your family because the family is the first church that God has given us. i believe very much in this.

i'm sure there are many more. need more time to put more thought into it and digest. this is the part that needs prayer for wisdom and revelation. below is a photo of those of us youth workers who could make it for this retreat. do pray for us all.

Monday, August 09, 2010

another miracle...

my car couldn't start today.

my uncle came by and analysed that the starter is the problem.
of all days to not be able to start, its on the monday. and i am grateful that it is on monday and not sunday because i was teaching SSS.

on saturday night while sending sam home, stopped by 7-11. and while starting the car, i heard something spinning about and a snap. stopped the car and sam and i looked into the engine but couldn't see anything wrong. tested the lights, checked the brakes, engine temperature, etc... all alright. we didn't find anything that dropped to the ground as we traced our few metres of travelling before parking at the side. so we thought maybe we ran over something or some branches though we couldn't find any.

uncle said that a belt is missing and found it snapped and lying on the base of the car. it was too dark on sat night. though we were under the street lamp, sam and i couldn't see it right at the bottom of the base. the belt of the alternator snapped. FYI - the alternator is a dynamo generator that provides electrical power for all electronic parts of the car. still can drive the car but after a while the car will die.

further more, one of the belts was positioned sideways and not flat. did it happen on saturday night or when i was trying to start the car today? if it was on sat night, then i'm even more grateful for God's protection and its an even bigger miracle. i know someone(or many) have been praying for me.

in the past, i would have freaked out with worry, seeing hindrances and problems happening. but through uni and since returning, heart grows tougher and faith grows stronger. God is and has always been faithful. we have to see beyond the problems and focus on God's face.

reminds me of this part from the movie, Patch Adams.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

could have died...

yesterday evening, aunty brigitte said that there was something wrong with the gas stove. so i went to listen and smell. there wasn't any gas smell or suspective noises. of course, i unplugged the gas-head from the tank first. and to test whether was there anything wrong with the opening, i just went and try to start the stove.

a spark and an explosive fire in front of my eyes as the fire burnt up all the gas.

gas must have leaked into the stove and got stored up somewhere. the spark ignited the gas and the fire burnt it all up. thank goodness the gas tank was already unplugged.

i praise God that there was no worse explosion and that i wasn't burnt or injured at all. as much as the fire exploded close and 'touched' me, my clothes and hair was not singed. i could have died or be burnt severely but i believe i was protected.

i praise God...

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Albert Einstein's Pictures...

i was clearing some stuff in office and came across some old bulletins and this title obviously caught my eyes. an interesting article...

Albert Einstein's Pictures
Throughout his life, Albert Einstein had two portraits on the wall of his home - the great scientists Newton and Maxwell. They were an inspiration, they summed up the drive of his life - science.

Towards the end of his life, Einstein took their pictures down and replaced them with two others - two great humanitarians, Gandhi and Albert Schweitzer.

He explained that it was time to replace the image of success with the image of service.

Monday, July 26, 2010

one of those weeks...

this weeks is an interesting week.

had food poisoning last sat night. and the next day (sunday) was one of those sundays that i cannot miss because i'm playing for SSS and also service. but praise God that i had no toilet emergencies while at church.

my parents came back on last saturday night and was with them on monday running errands and all. was already tired but hey, they're not back for long so just make use of whatever time possible. it wasn't so smart though. towards the end, i was getting grumpy and snapped at my mother. *guilty*

my body was totally drained but still made it to work on tuesday. and rest of the week days stretched my body and i didn't have time to recover. and that wasn't smart at all. the result? neckache and backache. constant pain cause the problematic areas start to come back though energy levels grew better. and headaches too... not sure whether it was because of dehydration.

handled the work load pretty ok. was halfway working on friday when i thought, let me check who is teaching SSS this sunday. maybe the person needs help. and it was me!
the irony of it all. well, i had something to laugh about in the end. haha... (and i'm still laughing about it). and i know i couldn't have prepared it meaningfully but i know God guided me. for all of it. the opening icebreaker with a lesson, the teaching and an example of selfless giving in relationships.

how would i rate the week? its good though with the pain. God moved in the lives of the youths and i'm amazed again as always.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

3 progressive praises...

it is quite amazing to see things progress, knowing very well that God is doing the moving. it is hard to be measuring youth work as there is no Key Performance Index (KPI) that can be used to measure the fruits. KPI can be used to measure that systems or structures be set in place but not results in ministry. what more, numbers is not the main thing in ministry.

3 months ago, a new rule was set that all clubs in MBS has to meet for at least 90 minutes a week. thus birthed the Training sessions for Chapel Committee on friday. though things were a bit vague at times, He guided us to lead and encourage these Christian student leaders. we ask them for the 3rd week straight, "why do you do what you do?" (3 more weeks of the same question is going to follow). and 2 days ago, the sharing was deep. they shared their struggles that they have in their lives and with that, the doubts they had on their faith.

MYF has been growing stronger. the numbers of 15, but it is a solid 15. sharing grows deeper. sometimes, it is uncomfortable but it is real. the bonds are important and there is meaning towards what is done. and out of that births joy and smiles and it is starting to be fun. some fruit showed from some of the youths. giving, dedication and ownership towards MYF which is to each other. there are youths that are tired too but we all support each other in their lives.

Worship in Senior Sunday School has also been improving by leaps and bounds. of course, just getting surprised each sunday. really lots of prayer on it. today was really one of those sundays where i have nothing (metaphorically, no ideas or love to flow out) and God just did everything in worship and in teaching. may their lives be touched by God as they worship Him.

Saviour, He can move the mountains;
Our God is Mighty to Save...

Sunday, July 04, 2010

post SSS teachers retreat...

though its just 2 days and 1 night, it felt as though it was pretty long. it was memorable. we got to evaluate and discuss SSS matters effectively, relax and let loose. evaluation was 'brutal and efficient'(quoting from CH).

results were encouraging from the SSS survey recently taken and gave the teachers smiles and lifted hearts. in the youth ministry, solid/instant results are hard to see and many times we think that we aren't doing a good job and is not good enough a standard.

and the interesting thing is that we had our evaluation meeting before the presentation of the survey. truly God guided us in our discussion and show us the areas that we need to improve on. after tabling and sharing it, we had the survey presentation and it was spot on.

some SSS committee students manage to make it for this retreat and it was really great to have them with us. it was eye-opening for them because they are seeing the work of the SSS teachers behind the scenes and also looking at SSS from a teachers point of view. their valuable opinions make the discussions easier to progress because we are not speculating.

a game of water balloons give the students a chance to throw water ballons at the teachers with 'no mercy' being allowed. haha... they get to see another side of the teachers which they don't normally see during lessons. hopefully we didn't traumatize them... haha...

a session of purpose and realignment (i call it that) by ronald helps give perspective and purpose of doing what we are doing now. SSS is being run with whatever that we can and know and we would definitely want to have it better.

like many other ministries, this is a ministry that impacts lives. it is lives at stake. or quoting someone, we are in the business of saving lives...

the methodist bungalow is a cosy place though some may say that there is nothing to do up there. but because there is nothing to do there, the time is then spent with the people... which is more important.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

SSS Teachers Retreat coming soon...

the teachers retreat is this weekend at the Methodist Bungalow at Fraser's Hill. just a one night stayover. though short, i'm sure it would be a good learning and bonding time.

4 of the SSS committee will be coming as well because their input is important as we're doing evaluation and mid-year review.

i'm sure it'll be fun. argentina vs germany will be on as well. i wonder how much 'animosity' can there be when we're suppose to be united.

do pray for safety and concentration.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


after the training in China, i got a trip to Krabi with my ex-colleagues. it was planned like 6 months ago. of course then, we were all still colleagues. haha...
it was a good break after a busy month of march, preparation for training and all.

Krabi is a nice in thailand. and during this time that i went, it was the red shirt vs yellow shirt thing in bangkok. fortunately, we fly directly to Krabi International Airport and so not affected at all.

i was wearing a red shirt (i forgotten about the political thing) and the guide firstly said that i had to change my shirt because when travelling it may be dangerous. after a few seconds, he burst out laughing because there's no such danger at all and it is just peaceful and a life-goes-on attitude in krabi.

i really learnt lots with them about working life. the 3 years there, though its not in a big or renowned company, i have good friends. i enjoy these trips with my ex-colleagues...

i get to think and reflect on life... (as proven in the picture below)...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

speaking about missions...

when i first return from missions, the first thing i quickly prepared was a presentation slide of the whole trip. that's because in 4 days i would be sharing with MYF.

even as i was preparing, i was wondering what aspect of it should i be speaking. in as much as it is easy to just blabber on events and things that happened, it is also important to speak about God's faithfulness, His guidance and what He taught and showed me.

here's some that impacted me most...
1) when everything (really everything...) is taken away and the only thing left is your relationship with God, it can be really humbling to see what's left.

2) everyone's a minister. the pastors schedule is the same as mine, working full time in the weekdays and serving in church in some weeknights and weekends. you don't need a degree in theology to be ministering and caring for others.

3) we compare with other places and wonder why God's spirit or anointing don't come. but do we really seek and want God with 100% of our hearts?

4) is the church a place of masks and condemnation? or is it a place of deliverance, support and grace? be a follower of Jesus and shine the light in the church.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

training in china (march 2010)...

i definitely have to stop my job to be in sarawak for 2 months.
did i worry about finance? of course!
calculated my savings and all and leave it all up to God.

but God is faithful.
for part time work, i conduct training in Excel Macro (automation of your excel reports so that with a click of a button, it will automatically pull files, compile data and a nice report is out straight away).

there was a training opportunity in december 2009 but i cannot make it because i was ending my job and it is too hectic before i go on missions. i had to choose, and yes, performing well till the last day and preparation for missions is more important and takes place first.

while i was in missions, i got an email that the training time is postponed to march. and what more, it is placed 2 weeks after i return which gives me enough time to prepare.

praise God! He provides for me and His timing is brilliant. so amazing...

Monday, June 21, 2010

review of missions part 3...

a trip to the interiors of sarawak (Jan - Mar 2010) - part 3.

Today is the last day. it truly feels like a long long time has passed.

Firstly, i want to thank you for all the prayers. i believe very much that your prayers are always protecting me.

in this final week, it indeed is the final dash.

speaking to the youths, God moved me to encourage them about finishing strong. it is not about how good or bad you start the race of life, but it is about how well you finish the race in God.

there were lots of other things to assist with and finalize. and also give them the practicals on what is thought.

on the 28th (sunday), there was a funeral for a baby child. i grieve as well with them.

attended an appreciation meal with the church elders yesterday(mon) night and tonight will be with the youths.

Spiritually - what has God been teaching me?
as some were observant, there was nothing spiritual in the previous email.
true. i was in a state of trying to understand. crying out, God what are you trying to teach or tell me?
more prayer and stillness and silence and patient waiting.

God just shows His magnificence in how He reveals Himself to the people there as they search Him with 100% of their heart.
because they are so deep in the interiors and transport costs is a big pain, there is nothing here that they can do except prayer and total dependance on God.
and God moves His hand among the people there.
i am in awe of the faith that they have.
God melts my heart for the people there.
i don't think i can type all that God has shown me here.

Of course, the big question is, what happens next?
i don't know. it depends where God leads. truly after what God has shown me, there is lots to do.
i share with you, James 1:23-24
"For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."

Praise God for:
- His faithfulness to the people here.
- the servant heart of the pastor.
- His guidance and protection for the 7 weeks.

Pray for:
- protection of the people there.
- for the grieving family
- for safe journey home
- for God's guidance in re-entry back to Kuala Lumpur (and its life :P)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

review of missions part 2...

a trip to the interiors of sarawak (Jan - Mar 2010) - part 2.

one month and 2 weeks.

what am i doing:
its been pretty hectic in terms of teaching, training, discussing and spending time with them.

financial planning was taught to the youths to open their eyes. i did a live calculation with them. if they save and not simply spend on luxuries and habits, it is possible that in 3 years time, they can actually buy the machinery(chainsaw, generator, boat engine) that they need to progress further in their lives. even if delayed, longest is 5 years but still good progress.

accounts system for church was taught to the adults and they understand the principles of accountability. now its just to put to practise. next sunday will be teaching the secretary role.

the rules for the I.T. centre has been finalize and there is now a schedule to control the usage. so that they don't facebook and youtube the whole day and neglect household duties. their technical skills are also improving. still trying to teach them on communication.

spending time with them has been the most fruitful. discussions are helping the most because they learn from me and i learn from them and things can be adjusted and fine tuned to their needs. they need more wisdom in their dealings and also thinking for the long run and not the short run.

how am i feeling:
thank you for the CNY wishes. its a quiet CNY here. one of the teachers here asked me why i didn't bring my own fireworks to celebrate. haha... been having nights where i dream that i'm home already and i wake up, and eh? i'm still in missions. haha..
i don't mind living here. the only thing that i can't stand is the sandflies.

knowing that its only a week left certainly intensifies things. both on my sides work and also requests from them here. its alright. just work hard.

been having lots of disturbed sleep lately. so that doesn't do any good for the back. gets my back aching due to not having enough rest. so far, the faithful salonpas and yoko-yoko are always the best friends. oops... prayer as well :P
at times, i just wake up and read the parts of the bible that are rarely read. follow genealogies as well. haha...

sandfly bites? aiyah.. just live with it. haha...

the people:
they are very busy harvesting their padi. if the fields are big, 1-2 months they'll be harvesting. so at night, they'll be tired. all the programmes have to be adjusted to be more interactive and also more laughing.

oh yeah.. the youths are amused at the lame jokes. inserted them at the end of the youth sermon, so that we end on a light note. they know why the 2nd lizard dropped from the ceiling after the 1st lizard, why the bird fell from the sky when the plane flew by, and why the front of the penguin is white.

english has been good progress for few. but the pastor said that it is better to teach that way here. teach and focus fully on a few till they are good. then when i return, those who are well taught can teach and pass on the knowledge. now the classes are conversational where i 'only know english'. its quite funny cause they have to start the conversation. so its quiet for the first 5-10 minutes and we're looking at each other. haha..

there was a wedding on friday. the whole day was used for preparation. from decoration to the gathering and cooking of food. coconut shoot was the new food. pretty nice. lots of people came to help. some find vege in the jungle, some cook. i went with 2 other guys to another village an hour's boat ride away to get more food. the river was so low due to drought that many times we had to get out to push the boat. then halfway, it started to rain. what luck.. haha..

everyone help in any way they could because in the future, they will be helped in return. the ceremony is about the same in terms of the vows. just that its in the orang asli language. dinner is after the service and they had dancing also with traditional instruments for music. they'll usually dance, celebrate and have fun till dawn, but this time had to end at 1 a.m. because lack of diesel for the generator. haha...

Praise God for:
- keeping me in good health.
- His protection and safety.
- for His guidance when i teach and speak and relate to them.
- for good sleep in some of the nights.
- for the Pastor who is teaching me lots.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

rewind to missions...

a trip to the interiors of sarawak (Jan - Mar 2010).

From the first day...
it is 2 weeks and 4 days now. but it felt like 2 months already. time here does pass really slowly.

what am i doing:
so far, most of the time is filled with preparation, teaching and church. they call it 'sembahyang' here.

they count me as one of the adults cause i was sitting in front, next to the church leader during the service. on my first service, the whole church came and shook hands with me. sembahyang is on tues night(youth service), weds night, sat night, sun morn and sun night. i speak during the youth service. not required to speak during the adult service yet, so its ok.

teaching english is on mon, thurs and fri night. in the day, it is teaching music theory, typing, communication (msn, google, skype) and other things. so for those who caught me online, i was teaching at the same time. i have to prepare a simple accounting system as well for the church. just finished fixing their Amp+PA system. thanks to the internet, spectacles screwdriver, penknife and feather duster.
the IT lab is solar powered and we have to be careful with our energy consumption. so when the days are cloudy, we just don't use the lab.

what is the feeling:
it was getting a bit quiet and lonely during the 2nd and 3rd day. quiet, i think cause totally not use to a sudden change of quietness compared to the city.. haha.. and lonely, maybe cause i'm here alone and not in a group, and also it takes time to get to know the people.

but that was a great learning process for me. to learn to be alone with God. ( it was like 50% of the day is silence.) fortunate the daily devotional Utmost for His highest, was talking about what it means to be alone with God. so day 4 was a good turning point of the silence being in prayer.
oh yeah.. the only trouble is sleeping. cause so many noises at night, neighbour's baby crying, rain, itchy bites, sweating, chicken crowing... oh, the sandfly bites itchy lah.

what am i eating:
vegetarian yes. its been pounded sweet potato leaves, paku pakis, occcasional kang kung and long beans, it is less meat definitely. but interestingly, they were blessed to have caught animals and also fish. others caught and my host bought. so its been babi hutan, deer, and fish. freshwater fish. the expensive ones that is served in chinese restaurants that has lots of bones.
and no stomach problems. yay!

The people
i'm staying with the pastor and his family now.
spend lots of time observing and learning. truly my eyes are open each day. they are small people maybe due to their lack in protein in the diet. but they're really strong people. muscular and strong. that's including the women. i may be a giant there but in strength, they'll easily beat me. i likened them to hobbits, cause some of them have big feet too...

they are very fervent in prayer and some of them here are gifted too in terms of prayer, listening to God, healing and prophecy. they know the problems that come their way especially in logging and all. but their testimony is that all they do is pray. they have morning prayers at 5.30 in the morning everyday. (yes, i'm 'disturbed' by their wooden bell.)

the biggest conviction i have had here so far, is the way their church is. it really is a church. there are many examples, but i'll just share one. one of their women leaders felt convicted to speak about relationships, and after the sermon, she ask permission to share. after she shared, she called those who have problems to come up. and lots came up. leaders and even an ex-pastor. after praying for them, one by one they took the mic and shared their problems openly. no condemnation by the congregation. shame? yes. but their act of confession and the acceptance and support shown by the congregation gives the troubled a chance to restart and improve.
~ compare that with the masks we have each sunday. ~

just as i am amused by them, they are amused by me too. the city boy. i join them for football. awkward at first, but now they keep calling me. i join them in their gotong royong and picking vegetables. they called me to join them for fishing. learn to throw with the net and cook the fish over the fire and eat. the only regret is i didn't bring my camera cause i'm afraid if we 'karam', thats goodbye camera.
my host was making the 'perahu'. so i learnt to make as well. really interesting.
harvesting the padi will be coming soon. some started yesterday.
they have their problems too, but that's another story.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

3 months and 2 weeks...

what can happen in 3 months and 2 weeks?

a LOT.

not that i didn't have time to write, just that too many things were running around my head and grasping time to sit down and reflect upon was rare.

important decisions were made which brings me to where i am at this point in time.

also, i do feel inadequate to write cause of some issues yet to deal with. but looking at it, i think the only way it can be resolved is by trust and faith in God. something which isn't nice to do because its out of my control and through my eyes, has no predictability or sense of direction.

i'll settle for short summaries of the events of the past months.

Friday, March 05, 2010

and i return...

3 days has passed since i returned.

adapting is quite weird and a new feeling. though it is only 2 months, but because it is a drastic 100% change when i was there, so it will also be when i return. re-entry is the word for the little phase i'm going through now. its not the physical but the mental adaptation. i do miss them at Long Lamai.

i get dizzy driving/sitting in a car. i didn't see a mirror for 2 months except for the camera. can't take too much of the city food. not use to it. need the sweet potato leaves and rice in the leaf. where's the river? the bed is too soft. its a bit 'too' comfortable. couldn't sleep properly the first 2 nights. the bed's a bit high from the floor. woke up and my hand naturally wants to part the nonexistent mosquito net at home. and life routine changes.

its back to a busy schedule. that's not so good. but the necessary things need to be done.

welcome back to civilization some people say. but i think civilization cannot just be measured by technology or advancement of a nation, but of character of the people as well. even though technology may be a bit behind, the people there can be said to be more civilized in terms of character than some of those in the city.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

and it is time...

in 3 hours time i will be leaving for the airport. i have to try and get some sleep. i had trouble sleeping for the past 2 nights due to anxiety. the real thing is coming now. the enormity of it all seems daunting. 2 months and going in alone. things like, is the prayer that i ask of really going to work and protect me? is it possible to manage alone? fear, uncertainty, anxiety.

but with the many encouragements and prayers, i must continue to walk in faith and know that these prayers are moving around me.

i am really thankful for the support and it means a lot to me.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

coming soon...

getting scared...

Monday, January 04, 2010

a step of faith... missions...

i have stopped my work because i will be in sarawak for 2 months (Jan 9th till Mar 2nd). it was time to move on from my job and i thought why not use this little break to go for missions when i still can. besides, what is 2 months compared to 30 years of working in the future?

it is for missions and helping to improve lives. it was a tough decision and it is an act of faith because there is no job waiting when i return and that, i have to leave it to God. it was not just an instant emotional heart pulling decision. the intention and move was dwelt upon for 1 year and by september 09, i decided. it was scary at first, and i did 'chicken out'. and then after 3 more weeks of extra prayer and R&D, i decided. i calculated the costs and its not just monetary only.

many people ask me why do this? when i was in uni, i was taught that at least once in your working life, take the time to go for missions. this is because it is in missions that our eyes are opened and see how God has been blessing us in our current places and also realign our focus and life journey again. i may go there to teach or train or give, but its usually they, in their lives, teaching and giving back to me more.

of course it doesn't have to be as long as 1 or 2 months. it is not easy to commit 1-2 months. there are mission trips that are 1 week. (FYI: short-term missions = 1 year).

i will be going in alone and most importantly, will need your prayers. a missionary is only the physical face of the mission field but behind every missionary is a team of prayer warriors praying and interceding for the missionary in the field. it is an act of calling out to God for His protection and His grace in a place where anything can happen. there is no line for communication except through a satellite phone. which is what makes this post more important.

due to information security reasons, i cannot explain with more details on the public domain. but for further details, do drop me an email or a call and i'll gladly share.