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Friday, 30 March 2012

Some Kind of Happiness 有一種快樂

We are so used to tailoring ourselves to suit this world’s perspective. Most people lack the courage to live out their lives being who they truly are. This includes me and I am sure a few of you too. A few years ago, I was very happy and proud when I came to know two of my favourite artists embraced Christ ... Sammi Cheng and Vanness Wu. I am sharing Sammi testimony today because it connect the dots between Life Perspective, Joy of Mission & Desiring for God in conjunction of this weekend Change the World Conference.

When Sammi received the birthday gifts – floral drawing, paper crane and caterpillar, photos and letters – from her sponsored children Joy in Laos and Bayarjargal in Mongolia, She felt extremely touched and remarkably surprised! These handmade gifts, one of a kind, resemble priceless meanings to her.

From the gifts, she was delighted to see not only children’s gratefulness but also the transformation of their lives due to her sponsorship – with educational opportunities and improved living conditions, they can grow up healthy and happy with hopes of ending poverty and living self-sustainably in the long run. From Joy’s recent photo, she saw a grown and stronger boy who used to be undernourished and stunted. The incomparable joy and satisfaction is something that no other thing can offer.

Although she couldn't correspond with them regularly every month, the bonding with these sponsored children is inexpressible. In the Child Sponsorship Programme, while she gave, she also receive, love. 

Just ten days ago, a redirected letter came in the mailbox. It was not for me, it was attention to my close friend. He had asked me to open any important letter while he was out of town. I was caught by surprise to find out his sponsor child wrote to thank him all the way from Africa. I have been swamped by work day in day out but I can't tell you receiving this good news has given me great joy to see him growing, changing and walking in truth. I hope more people can join me to become child sponsors: to help the needy children and make the world a more beautiful place! 

"I am a singer and actress from Hong Kong. I am 35 and I guess I have attained a certain level of success. However, I’ve lived a life of pretense and was so used to living life according to the value people given onto me. I thought the more successful I was, the more worthy I would become in the eyes of others. I thought the more successful I got, the more reason I would have to life. But when I attained the material things that most people long for, I came to realize that I was truly at the end of myself- I realize I had nothing. My heart was empty. I thus tried to pursue success even harder to make up for this, but the emptiness and fear only got larger.

So, I decided to take a break from this vicious cycle of want. I let go of a career I took a decade to build up. I gave up my success. I wanted to have a good look at what was left in my life.

The LORD used about a period of about a 1000 days to let me thoroughly reflect on my past and I came to see very clearly the truth behind my success and material wealth- that although these could build me a life, they could not give me the true life that would satisfy me.

Life has a greater worth and in the words of the LORD, I found my direction and my firm foundation.
“The Son of Man came to serve, not to be served.”
For my journey in the days ahead, I have a clear direction. I do not know how the LORD has written the script that is my life, but I know that He will lead me one step at a time.

This inner peace, no amount of money can purchase.

Reflecting on that 1000 day period, the LORD has truly broken my old life and fixed me anew. He has given me this release to let me find my heart again. And I realize my heart has already been bonded to Him before I realized and that I no longer have to fear, I no longer have to be in despair. I want to live life as the unique creation that I am.

I want to life to give glory to that which is greater than my life. I no longer want to conform to this world. This is my promise to the LORD." - Sammi Cheng

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Stairway to Heaven

Looking at this photo, it brought back good memories of Bukit Panorama, Sungai Lembing (an ex mining town, 42km from Kuantan), once the richest town in Pahang, known as El Dorado of the East. Lembing is Malay word for spear, and Sungai means river. The legend goes that the local ruler saw a spear in the nearby river and thus named his town after this vision.

I still remember it was my first college hiking trip (which nearly took my life), a few local elderly were already heading back downhill for breakfast ... half asleep I continue to drag my legs up the hill. It was embarrassing, not only did they manage their way up before dawn, they looked healthy and energised, some were holding onto walking sticks ... eventually I made it to the top, well passed sunrise. But it was well worth the effort. Ever since, I swore to stay in shape.

Today I am moving down south, I am really looking forward to 1,000 Steps Kokoda Walk @ Mt Dandenong every weekend.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Seeking a Balance Nature

Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep the balance, you must keep moving ~ Albert Einstein 

This is a quick lunch time post to remind me that today is the last day of living in the comfort of my tiny city apartment. I woke up this morning, aching all over both from dance workout and packing (I reckon 20 boxes sealed is a great accomplishment for one night) For a moment, I was very tempted to pull a sickie at work today. I haven't finish packing everything (manage to focus only on the major things I wanted the removalist to take away) but then again I have to start getting use waking up before dawn. A big yawn and I pull myself out of bed. Yes I am moving back to the suburbs, I will spend more time on the road but I desperately needed the change, more space ... to rest, to work, to store, to grow and to enjoy outdoor activities.

I am never tired of the nature, it's calming, soothing, inspiring effects can never be forgotten. I feel the more I rush, the more time I spend indoors staring at screens and devices ... the more urban my lifestyle became, the more I crave the need for time to get away from it all.

It has been amazing how everyday at work, I have to follow the newest solutions to the old dilemmas: Bringing more green space to the neighbourhood; how to reclaim underused land for recreational and other "sustainable" methods etc. ... bottom line is how to provide more and more people the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of spending time in nature.

Lately, I have seen fantastic examples of how designers and architects, urban planners and city officials have accomplished both large and small-scale projects, from bringing a bit of greenery, and open space to otherwise bleak surroundings. It has been a massive task in all aspects and it has also become council's poster-project (publicity) whose main focus should instead be helping the projects get off the ground.

We expect much more reclaiming of unused space, more green roofs, more natural features replacing concrete and asphalt, more walking and hiking paths, more waterways for recreational use, more spectacular viewing areas, more urban sanctuaries, more trees.

Getting back to nature is not a new phenomenon. For hundreds of years, wealthy city dwellers have travelled to beach houses and summer resorts, and withdrawn to their cottages and lakeside retreats. They've enjoyed fresh air in their gardens and estates. Even ordinary people like me, need a place to catch my breath as environment become more and more urban. Children sent off to summer camps while adults chose to go hiking and camping, some families plan long drives in recreational vehicles ... in short tourism boomed and being in nature became the vogue thing to do. And it has remained so ever since.

As I seek balance in my hectic life today, I see solution outdoors. "Green space" in cities and suburban is beneficial from recreational, ecological, economical, social and health perspective, but mostly I love it because it is just plain beautiful. I love gardens and parks, ponds and water features, playgrounds and sports fields, open plazas, avenues and boulevards.

I want more of it because even the smallest nature lifts my spirits, well I hope the wide open spaces will be able to change my life.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Making Up or In Search for Lost Time?

Firstly TGIF and for once I am aiming to leave work on time this week to join my friends for drinks or at less head to the gym before supper.

Seriously, it has been really a challenge week for me. Thankfully for time sheets logging at work, I manage to track my working hours. You see I had been the first to arrive in the building and the last few cars to leave the car park in the evenings.

There is this one SIMPLE project that I thought I could handover to my colleague to perform a certain task, I expected him to deliver but instead I found silly mistakes, it really surprise me why we still keep him around. Now I had already spend 30 hours over the last couple of weeks coordinating the changes requested by the clients, only to find out that I end up spending another 40 extra hours this week revising every single mistake (lucky for us the clients are patient and nice people). Looks like I have to put in extra hours to meet my own datelines next week.

This is why I hate it when other people's incompetence affects my job. Sometimes I wonder if my peers hate me so much that the reason for their existence at work is to make my job difficult everyday.

Standard industrial laws in Australia mandate that workers enjoy 4 weeks paid annual leave per year, leaving most people working only 48 of the 52 working weeks. Minus the 10 days of public holiday annually, this average us to 1725 working hours per annum. Just last year alone, I work extra 18 days of overtime, that is 3.5 weeks of extra holiday (not including sick leaves). When the figures add up and it is pretty scary if my employers did not offer time off in lieu, would I be expected to work for free? Instead of living 12 months I am actually working towards 13 months. Am I a genius, unexpectedly creating time? No.

I am searching for lost time. Things have to definitely change around here to make up for it.

Imagine there is a bank account that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening, the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course? Each of us has such a bank. Its name is time. Every morning, it credits you with 86.400 seconds. Every night, it writes off as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to a good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day, it opens a new account for you. Each night, it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against “tomorrow.” You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get it from the utmost health, happiness, and success. The clock is running. Make the most of today.

If you have the time, I encourage you to watch this movie called The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (for the Elderly & Beautiful).

Based on the 2004 novel These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach, the film stars an ensemble cast, consisting of Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson and Penelope Wilton.

A group of British retirees have outsourced their retirement, attracted by the less expensive and seemingly exotic India. They are enticed by advertisements about the newly restored Marigold Hotel and given false dreams of a life with leisure. They arrive to find the hotel a shadow of its former self. Although the new environment is less luxurious than imagined, the retirees are forever transformed by their experiences.

Throughout the show, you will notice Sonny keep repeating "Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not the end."

After watching that somewhat humorous movie last night, I am hoping I would be able to wrap up this project today. Fingers cross.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Friendship : Why We Need Real Friends (Part 1)

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, I follow very closely ... LinkedIn, MySpace, Foursquare I had to stop here but the list of online social space goes on with Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Pinterest ... Who have all these accounts? 

I still remember my days started with ICQ & Friendster, then MSN messenger and now Google Talk. But with 3G smartphone Whatsapp, Viber, Tango & Skype became very popular ... who needs to come out to meet new friends or catch up with old friends?

It came to a point, just scary, I had to limit myself to a few and force myself to choose which is important or priority over others ... which apps that I can't live without. Why?

I feel the more we expect from technology the less we can expect from people. We should technically focus on making people engage with each other for improvement. Is technology really doing us more good or harm?

This picture is quite true in some ways! Looking at my past and comparing the present, it made me realize nowadays children grow up too quickly, as adults, they will soon find they lost their childhood. Back in my time, children did not have gadgets like iPad or iPhone ...we fight, we laugh, we cry ... those were great connection ... that is how life should be .... enriching and fulfilling....yup I can still remember my good old days playing with my friends and cousins .... I sound so old. Well, most of people I grew up with had move on and started their own family. Hopefully setting good examples for our future generation.

I look at Facebook and Twitter at less a few times a day, sometimes I have time to comment on my friends page or post a little message to update my status. But most days, I don't have the time or the brain capacity to write too much details, so I just skim through the newsfeed. Just a quick glance, helps me to keep in the loop and feel a little connected with people that I know. I went to the extend of using VPN to allow me to access these social sites while I was in China, yup, it amazed my team, how much I needed the connection to the outside world. 

In Psalm 52, it says God looks down from heaven to the human race. Maybe this is like me skimming through social sites of my friends, my Holy Father is also perusing across the world to check out what people were up to. But obviously the difference is when God looks upon us, he sees straight into our heart, he know our desires, our fears and our feelings, he doesn't just skim through our status updates for His own entertainment, He actually is interested in connecting with each of us.

I love Facebook but there is no doubt that the site has devalued the word friend. You can have hundred or thousand friends on Facebook

  • but not have anyone to go out with to the movies or go out on a Friday night,
  • but not have anyone to share something (deep) that is going on in your life
  • but not able to share your relationship, your marriage, your children
  • but not someone who is going to help you to move house

It takes a real friend to help you do all these ... not a Facebook friend or a "follow me" friend. 

God intended friendship to be our ultimate experience. Friendships are universal (not limited to any nation, any culture) however it is not widely discussed on how we developed it. There are so many seminar, reference books in the store and online websites that touches on relationship (boyfriend girlfriend husband wife) but there is no seminar to teach us on "How to be a great friend & How to find great friend?" Why doesn't it exist when it is so important to us, we value our friendship, we spend so much time with friends everyday, going away with friends etc.

Therefore, we should treat friendship as the highest form of any relationship. Why? I was wondering in the future how would I introduce my partner to other people?

He is the best husband ... He is my best husband or He is my best friend (I like this this best)

It is scary to be husband and wife but not be friends. I came across a friend who is married and had children but the children are closer to their housekeeper than the parents while the mother and father do not spend any time together as husband and wife. Yes legally they are married but they don't understand the meaning of a true marriage. I told them just because you are the parents doesn't mean you are friends with your children. Yes they can't chose their parents but they can stop being your friend. And when that happens it's just heartbreaking.

Friendship isn't base on necessity or need. It's a choice. 
We were created to connect to each other. 
We are not meant to live alone, we need people. 
(refer the book of Genesis, God thinks we all need people in our lives)
In every friendship there is either the seed of prosperity or the seed of destruction/ corruption.
Choose the right people who add to your life, not take away from it.
(the bible tells us to choose our friends wisely)  

Lesson: Find great friendship who will make you more powerful for God.  Don't find friends who will lead you astray or influence you badly with all their doubts if they have NO intention in finding their way in God. The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray - Proverbs 12:26 

I understand there are some times we got to take and give, some people who add and subtract in our lives. But avoid those who don't want to take on any of your advice, because this cycle will go over and over again until you start losing your sleep (I personally experience this myself). It is not worth it. 
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered - Proverbs 22:24 
Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." - 1 Corinthians 15:33

God wants us to built the right friendship not just any friendship, cause as imperfect humans, we can be easily influence by anybody. Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble - Proverbs 13:20

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother - Proverbs 18:24

To my close friends, 
Thank you for always being there when I need YOU. 
Here is a short poem I would like to share.

We need our friends for many reasons,
No matter what the day or season
We need friends to comfort us when we are sad
And to laugh with when we are glad
We need friends to give us a good advice
Someone we can count on to treat us nice
We need friends to remember us when we have passed
Sharing memories that will always last
We need friends to help us solve our troubles
And to share good times so the joy is doubled.

To be continued ...

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

GLOW Mission 5: Why Focus Is So Important

Have you ever wondered why people at work never notice your hard work? Is it because everyone is too busy themselves or are you less important? Usually not only large issues but many small issues in a company can overwhelmed us. An argument with our employers will often arise because of little irritating situations. Employees feel stress because of many small tasks put on their desk. Project becomes way over budget when clients constantly spend a little too much money. Instead of sweeping small issues under the carpet it is important to address them quickly before it is too late. It may seem small now but if the more we allow things to built up the greater the enemy they will become.

Why Focus Is So Important
Since I got back from China, work had been a little bit overwhelming, I had many sleepless nights, I became restless, I woke up to hair that would not sit right, work clothes were in the wash or not ironed, I have to stop at every set of lights on my way to work and I forgot to pack my lunch. 
Do you have days like that? Getting up on the wrong side of bed?

I could still clearly remember, the worst day of my life, I realised I left my house keys in the office, I walked out of the house not knowing that I left my car keys on the table, I thought I could try walking to work that day but I remembered the office keys was in my car. You see how my day turned from bad to worst, the car keys at home, the house keys in the office and the office keys in the car. Everything was everywhere, places they should to be, places I could not reached. I had to call my house mate for help, I felt bad that I had interrupted his dinner date. It sounds funny now, but at that time I wanted to punch myself.

Generally my life is pretty good ... love my family, enjoy my job, go to an awesome church and have a great group of friends. But sometimes these days just sneak up on me unexpectedly and knock me over. When these days come around it is so hard to be thankful for anything. I cab became annoyed, frustrated and angry at everyone.

Lesson : There are times when we feel like we are being crushed under a great weight, not necessary in a physically way but more so in an emotional and stressful way ... maybe there is tension in a relationship, conflict at home or pressure at work. This type of weights can make us feel trap and not able to escape. It’s during these times of trial that we can call out to God, His power is stronger than any vehicle, it’s greater than any issue and it can move mountains. Our troubles may seem great at times but His power is always greater.

The Bible says we should always give thanks to God for everything even the days we got out of bed on the wrong side. It is easy to be thankful when things are going well but the greater challenge is when we have to be thankful for everything … even on the bad and trap days.

We are well equipped to achieve all that is in our hearts , the enemy wants us to think we can’t achieve great things ... that is not true ... God will not put something in our hearts if we are not well equipped to do it, well we might need to hone some skills but we got what it takes to achieve our dreams and passion. He is ready to grant us the desire in our hearts, all our steps are ordered by Him, we are not alone, the Bible says “If God is with you who can be against you”.

Take a step ... we walk by faith and not by sight. For some of us, we are waiting ... but we are all skilled enough and we are smart enough. We can do all things through Christ who strengthen us. That is the word of God speaking into each and everyone of us, my friend, just repeat after me “God, from now on I will take that challenge on.”

The spiritual journey involves stepping into unknown territory 

with a hunger to know what is true. ~ Aura Glacer

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

GLOW Mission 4: When You Can't Handle it All

Last year as I was preparing myself for the trip, I had this constant pre mission voice that keep telling me "You Can't Handle It, You Can't Do It" , it kept me worried for weeks. It made me very weak physically, drain me mentally and challenge me spiritually. Thankfully I was strong, I manage to overcome the fear and pain with a lot of prayers from everyone.

When I was finally prepared, the voice changed "You Can't Please Everyone. Stop Trying to Live Your Own Way", throughout the trip, the voice slowly fade away. 

On my way home, as I was looking at the photos of the children's precious smiles, sweet memories flash back, I heard a new voice "You Can't Control the Future."

Strength - When You Can't Handle it All

A volunteer (from Britain) was embarrassed to admit that she had never ever used chopsticks in her life, for the first few days she struggled at holding on to two long wooden sticks, I could tell she was really starving, but all she did was just poked at her simple bowl of rice and she could not bring herself to pick the rest of the food. On the other hand, I felt it was the best meal I had ever eaten (maybe because it was winter, I was cold and really hungry) I continue to encourage her to try harder even though she kept dropping food all over herself.

For many weeks I was away from home, from my loving family, from my comfort zone, only then did I start thinking of the important people in my life (my family + close friends). I miss having them around.

Throughout the trip, I fell sick a couple of times (migraine, flu, sore throat, diarrhoea and acute mountain sickness) I had to stay in bed to recover. I could vaguely remember someone came into my room, touched my forehead, said a few words, returned shortly with some medicine, placed some soup on my bedside and left quietly. I was really touched.

You see when we feel like we are going without, then it really make us appreciate everything we have. When we go without love then we notice a caring action, when we go without grace then we notice when others forgive, when we feel weak we really notice the strength of others. I think that is why we often connect more with God when we are going through struggles, it's only then, when we realise our own insufficiencies that we turned to rely on our loving and powerful strength of our creator.

I blame myself for not planning a more relaxing holiday (most of my travels are like amazing race), I was not well rested on the plane, I returned to work expecting to meet a few project datelines but instead I was hit by bad news, one problem after another arises, I had to coup with stress both at work and at home all at the same time.

Often when my life gets tough, I forget to go to the source of all the answers ... to God ... I will always start by trying to deal with things on my own, I will asked some friends for advice or I will make some rash decisions, however when I finally realised that none of that was working ... reading the Bible, I will be reminded I can always rely on God when I can't find a solution, He will always help me, He has more answers than Google. ;-) We don't have to go to anyone to connect with Him.

Lesson: Just remember If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

Monday, 12 March 2012

GLOW Mission 3: Giving Your very Best

During the trip God has indeed open up my eyes to notice the needy, He had touched people's heart in a way that I could never imagine possible and I finally came to an understanding on "We Reap What We Sow". 

Unconditional Love - Giving My Very Best

On first day of orientation, everyone were asked this question, if God had spoken to us, where He wanted us to serve, if not which areas are we looking to explore, are we comfortable performing praise worship and leading prayer meetings? I enjoy working with the young ones, so I jump at the opportunity to be the teacher assistant in Jasper room, teaching children between 2-5 years old. It sounded important and I know it was challenging for me personally.

I had very high expectation on myself, I did a lot of research every night, I practice my Mandarin, I memorize the names of every child in the room, I even went to the extend of taking the bus to the market and bought items for the classes. I felt as though someone is judging me, maybe I was worried the children will notice my flaw. Everyday stepping into the classroom, I felt like I had to get a score out of 10. How well did I taught the children? Where can I see improvement? How well did I assisted the teacher? Was she happy with my work? How well was the study material prepared for the children? Did they learn something new today?

Often times the judges are ourself, people say you are your harshest critic. This is certainly true for myself. I am a perfectionist and when I fail at performing a certain task, the more I want to prove to myself and others that I could get it done the next time, I just have to try it again until I get it right.

Lesson: I need to remember there is a God who created me and care for me. His aim is not to give me a score but to say "My precious child I love you". God always gives us his very best. He give us his love unconditionally. When I am reminded of God generosity, I am inspired to give Him the very best too. Up to this day, I have not regretted because I know I gave my very best, I put in 100% of my love, attention, time and energy. 

At the end of the trip, we were each given blank cards, we were asked to write encourage words to each team member. We would bring it home and read it to ourself when we are ready. (in my opinion it was kind of like a score card) 

Well my entire life I choose to believe in mankind, I wanted to believe in people so much that I came to Sanmenxia to find answers.

What are the words spoken into my life during this trip? 

What words am I hanging on to? 

Something positive? 

Just picture God as an artist and we are His canvas. It's never too late to ask God to show us how to start painting (make a difference). You always gotta start somewhere... and I did,  from here on I have no boundaries.

Experiment: Now pass around these 20 envelopes, there are five different words written on the front of each envelopes, choose wisely because I believe God can see the strength in each and every one of us here tonight. Inside there is a beautiful postcard that will speak over your life and it will link your strength to a future event. Just hold on to that word, write down today's date and what we had discuss tonight at the back of your card (imagine you are writing a postcard to future you). Put it in your bible, hide it in your drawers or stick it on your fridge, keep it safe because your future is written inside, you will need this one day to remind yourself it is time to start loving, trusting others and you are ready to take a step of faith. 

I am carrying out this activity with you because this is how it all began for me ... it took me almost 5 years to finally find my lost passion (which was then a Watoto Children's Choir music CD instead of a postcard). It reminded me, there was a time in my life, when I was also inspired to join a mission trip.

“You can do anything you put your heart, mind and soul into. 
Far more than you can imagine. Be fearless. Do it.” ~LL Cool J

Sunday, 11 March 2012

GLOW Mission 2: Trust in God

Our church vision for 2012 is a Year of Purpose, as Change the World Conference is coming up, I am privilege to be able to share this with my fellow Connect Group members, my aim is to encourage them to find their own calling, to join the right mission, even if only a few person took action, I trust this would be a gateway for them to find their purpose in life.

Don't Have to Say a Word and Still be Kind
It's hard to see someone go through sadness.There was nothing I could do to change the fact that the children in the Sanmenxia welfare centre lost their parents (abandoned). Nothing I could do to take away their pain.

A friend during the mission trip was going through a difficult situation. I could tell her sorrow but I could not find words to express myself. She was not comfortable to share, I became frustrated, how could I help her if I am not aware what is going on. I spend many freezing nights, walking by the river. One night she joined me, as I was praying out loud, I could hear her crying softly. I gave her a hug which lasted for a long time but I did not ask any question. Maybe it was better if I did not find out the reason. I felt terrible that I wasn't been able to do anything to alleviate her suffering.

"Friends are the angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly." 

Almost two months passed, I came home, but everything in my life went terribly wrong, relationship started to crumble, almost lost faith in true friends. A letter letter came just in time to save me from falling apart. She had written to tell me how much she appreciate what I have done for her during the trip. Just knowing that I was there for her had brought her comfort and she was so thankful I was present. At the time I felt totally useless but instead my friend had found comfort.
Dear Sturdey,  
First of all, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to listen to your problems. I felt honoured that you thought of me during troubled times. Secondly, this is something I wanted to share with you after mission trip. You are such an amazing woman! You told me travelling is a way to know people. I must say that I know you a lot better after the trip and today I would like to share with you by examples. 
# you comfort me without gossip. I am pretty sure that you understand my situation or you can guess my situation. But all you did was stand by my side, supporting me and assisting me throughout. 
# you set a great example. It has been an honor for me to be working with you. All my eyes could see was a focus person, a Godly person, and a caring person. Watching you caring for the children with all your heart and all your soul, I was amazed. It helped me to set my problem aside and focus on God. So thank you. 
# you are a very caring person. I will always remember the burger you gave me on the day I was sick. You did not say anything when you passed it to me, but when I ate the burger the next day, I had the urge to cry.  
#you are a good woman with good manners. I was touched when you sent the email to me before leaving Beijing. The email was about giving thanks to my friend in Beijing, She did not do a lot of things for you, instead I was impressed by the little things you did.  
# you are a godly woman.  The answer you sent to me last night was a great example. There are many things which I can't list all of these things in here...But I just want let you know, always remember you are an amazing woman with a beautiful heart.  
How I wish I can write to you in Chinese, so that I can express better ....
When we do things really well, it is always nice when others acknowledge it. Right?

When it comes to doing good deeds to other people, we are not meant to shout from the mountain top.
The point of helping others is to assist them rather to get the glory for ourselves. It is lovely if people appreciate our generosity, but if we just help others to received grace, we are not actually showing pure kindness. I am sharing this testimony not to boast, but as a reminder to myself of my random act of kindness to mankind. I was not expecting such feedback in return.

Lesson: Yes it became clear to me now. God had planned in such way that He wanted me to be there to change a few people probably including her. He chose the right person, right place, right time and right plan. It fell all into place according to His plan. Sometimes just being there for others without saying a word can make a world of difference. He has His reason and I just need to trust Him completely. 

Saturday, 10 March 2012

GLOW Mission 1 : God's Reflection

After returning home, I have been working on sharing God's miracles. It has taken me a long time to put together my scribbles from the SOAP (Study Observation Application Prayer) journal. Finally I decided to start this series call "GLOW - God Love Our World". It consist of 5 parts of mission lesson I learnt from My Amazing Race in China. 
God's Reflection
There is a saying that goes "You may the be only Bible someone ever reads". This means a lot of people will never actually pick up a Bible and read about God. They will judge what is in the book by how you are living it out, yes, people are getting their understanding of God just by watching you. (Linda Bailey)

This statement is indeed true, I encounter many situation both in Sanmenxia and Tibet.

A mum and her daughter (a young volunteer dancer) approached me in the middle of the Sanmenxia farewell celebration. They asked me where I came from and if I was a Christian, I thought to myself probably the pendant I was wearing around my neck was exposed (but it was winter and I was wearing a lot of layers of clothes and thick scarf so how could they tell), they asked a lot of questions and of course I was happy to answer all their doubts. They also told me about themselves, I realised why they were interested to talk, yes I look different from the locals but I also believe they probably noticed my act of kindness with the children.

"Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, 
and somehow we will never be the same person again." 

I was stuck in a long bus ride with my tour guide, heading back to Lhasa, we had ample of time on our hands, we started talking in both English and Mandarin. She told me about her family and showed me pictures of her cute son, I talked about my trip around other parts of China (she had never travel anywhere outside of Tibet) and I saw the opportunity to show her some photos of the children from the welfare centre. Other passengers on the bus started to join in the conversation and ask her what I said, she became my translator. We even started discussing about religion, she gave me quizzes on the names of Buddha statues, Dalai Lamas, history of temples, palace and monastery. At first I struggle a bit to remember it all, but as a tourist I respect her effort and started paying attention. Finally we started sharing our perspective on life and we had a lot of questions. The bus ride turn out to be a fun experience and a memorable journey.

Looking back at the conversation, I notice we were both hungry for God, we believe that there will always be hope, we hold on tightly to our own faith and we wait patiently for opportunity/ our calling. Somehow I find it amazing that I meet random strangers and connected with them in such a short period of time. Although we were raised in different countries, cultural background and religion teachings, at the end, we are not much different after all. 

Lesson: Imagine if our life's reflected the character of God so closely that every time someone saw us they instantly thought of God. That is what our life's should be like whether the words we say or the things that we do, we should act in such a way when people see us they experience the love and grace of God.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Random Act of Kindness

Every time I am going through a difficult or complicated situation ... I will breakdown slowly and silently.
My friend asked me this question over and over again (I don't know how to response and I don't feel like explaining myself) Why do you still tolerate them? Why do you keep treating them nice?
The common advice is of course, to walk away and leave (run as fast as you could in the opposite direction)

I am very thankful that through the years, I found true friendship, those who cared had stick around, they prayed for me, they were there to listen, I woke up the next day to encouraging messages from them. At less I know I am not alone and someone do care. My personal experience of friendship, good times become good memories, bad times becomes good lessons.

Often times, I told myself that I do not deserve such treatment, I should stop being so nice to people since they do not know how to appreciate ... what is there for me for being so generous ... if only I can bring myself to be more selfish maybe I would be happier. I wanted to be a horrible person, I was almost convinced it was a lot easier to be bad person then to stay nice to anyone.

In spite of everything that happened I still choose to believe people are good at heart. Yes this conclude how stupid and naive I am.

Then God appeared, standing a child before me, it was a divine moment. He reminded me of all the opportunities I had touching people's life, if He did not think I was ready he would not have spoken. A phone call this morning gave me a revelation, it was a weird time for her to call (unexpected) but she could tell there was something bothering me, she went silent but her timing was just right. She reminded the time when I sat next to her quietly (I did not ask questions, I just prayed and she was thankful I was there to stop her from making a decision she will regret) I will never know when I am making a lifelong memory for someone ... anyone. That's why He had asked us to be gentle and kind to one another, all the time.

With each child I encounter during my trip, I saw the opportunity to build up an individual or sadly ... the power to tear down a soul. A life can be literally launched with as little as a single word, an uplifting comment, a well-timed hug, a tender prayer, a compliment, holding of a frightened hand or gentle wiping of a tear.

All of us with no training are qualified to do it. Why? The truth is having been a child ourself, we have all experienced first hand all there is to know about childhood, we know how to do it right or sadly what it feels like done horribly wrong. So don't go finding excuses such as spending time with children is not my thing, I don't get them, I don't know how to handle them, act around them or relate to them.

How did I come across my calling for children ? Well somebody saw me doing an act of kindness on the playground and took time to affirm me as a caring person and will be good at handling children (for those who know me well, I am a little child at heart). I may not remember the exact words spoken but I have grown to be a thoughtful, generous, sweet spirited person. It brings me great joy to bless others.

As mature adults we are constantly facing daily rejections and disappointments. True, it is heart breaking, painfully haunting and hurts badly but I will never forget the joy of making a child laugh. In any rainy day, the cloud will eventually clear to allow the sun to shine once again. Yes, it takes time, it is quicker to destroy a life and to be easily negative compare to building compassion, care, confidence and productivity. I strongly believe we are who we are and act the way we do because of those years spent as a child. Proverbs 31:8 stated clearly "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves"

I love listening to stories and reading about them ... whether we are a toddler being tucked into bed or an adult staying wide awake in the middle of the night ...I learned most from stories.

Here is a story of a random act of kindness which I came across. Moments like this probably doesn't come around very often but God was always there for me, almost every time when I fail to stay grounded and focus to my principles.
A young man explained that he was in his first year of teaching and absolutely loving it. He said that he had trouble beginning as a first grader. He had a terrible stutter, he was timid and felt alone, even in a crowded classroom. He lived for recess and for dismissal at the end of the day. That was, until his teacher saw his struggle and stepped boldly into his world. She praised his work, wrote encouraging words on his papers, gave him some of the few hugs he ever received as a child.
He loved her and decided right then and there that he wanted to grow up to be a teacher, just like her. So here he is today, a grateful and enthusiastic teacher all because of her. 
Did he ever tell her of her impact on his life? No. he never really did.
Do you think she even knows? Well she does now (tears welled up in his eyes)
Silence filled the room. Everyone were imagining that the precious woman must have passed away, and he meant that she had perhaps heard his words from the balcony heaven. 
But then, when he had collected himself, he turned and pointed across the crowded room,everyone gasped and turned their heads to see where he was pointing. There sat an elderly gray haired woman, her eyes were glistening, amid the wild applause, she quietly stood to her feet, the perfectly poised teacher she had always been. (atmosphere sounded like violins were playing as the two of them made their way to the center of the room for a warm lingering long overdue embrace) 
~ excerpt from Just a Minute by Wess Stafford.
After taking some time to pray, read, listen and talk (pour out my heart) ... God had once again convinced me to stay true to myself. He has sent me angels everytime I cried out to him. He is faithful and good.

I took a step back, spared a moment and reflected on the influences of my own childhood. I even analysis my enemies. What made them become who they are today? Why are they different compare to others?

My personal advice to the future Me, if I ever come across the same situation, "Remember; you do not need to be nice to everyone or even pretend to be happy all the time, stay alert, wise and notice those who are needy, if you simply care enough, only then will it be worth staying around to help."