I might put in pics for this blog. Sorry it's a bit late. Hard to 'consolidate thoughts' when my life is so action-packed lately :)
Went to Batam last Sunday for the whole day. Our mission: To help the 'kids' (secondary school and JC level) be confident while articulating English, have fun with them, and share Jesus with them. Actually most of them come from a church background. But yes, a church background doesn't really mean you're really secure in a sense. I really don't know what their stages of faith is like, but then, it never hurts to share the Gospel more than once. It really reaffirms God's love and transforming power in our lives. And we sometimes underestimate the life-changing power of the Gospel.
It was my first trip away from Malaysia and Singapore, although Batam is as near to Singapore as Singapore is to Malaysia. The ferry ride was not bad. The sky and the sea were so bluey-blue. And I slept almost all through the trip (cz we had to wake up at 5 plus in the morning to start off).
God reminded me of His wonderful creation throughout the trip. The area we went in was really very kampung-ish. And the classroom we were in overlooked some kind of plantation with long and green grass growing everywhere. A sort of little stream flowed through in the middle. And there were brick houses near the area. It was very green, and very beautiful; whether it was hot, or when there was a shower of rain. There was a little breeze that was present most of the time. But the weather was hot, and the fan of the classroom wasn't working well. All of us were sweating.
Somehow all that greenery and blue sky and the detachment from Singapore life just made me wonder how it would be like to live a simple life in a village all my life. Yes I like all the conveniences and everything I have now, but then again, maybe if there were not so many things, there would be less wants, and more focus of the real meaning of life.
The 'kids' (I shall refer to them as kids :p) present that day were mainly girls. Only two guys were there, but they were really wonderfully sporting in joining in all the games we planned (we thought they would all be much younger, hence our games were a little kiddish). They were so enthusiastic, and altogether very lovely people. There was this 16-year-old girl I happened to sit with, and it encouraged me so much that she happily joined everything and asked and remembered all our names.
It was not one of those days where I went out and clearly took something back home. Most of my lessons with God, I feel, are accumulation of experiences, and the messages hit home not at once, but come every time I need them. This is going to be one of them too. But I was really touched by His beauty as we worshiped with our hearts together while we sang songs.
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.
It is these small, fundamental reminder that causes you to be touched by His love, over and over again. Thank God for Uncle Ivan, for teaching me how to worship with heart, spirit and strength and soul. My greatest gain from the trip was to be able to witness again, how he served. He was humble enough to see all of us better than him, and reaffirmed our talents. But I was humbled by him because he put his talents on the altar and used them to serve his Master. The way he danced, talked, preached, encouraged; all enabled the glory of God to shine through. The whole day, I witnessed him worship, and preach non-stop with all of his heart, and strength.
Thank God for Simon too, who is always there as an example for us in serving others, to reassure and reaffirm us of our commitments, to remind us to set priorities, even though he is so busy and tired at work. I don't think Simon never burns out, but the way he has served campus and even each individual in campus, makes me feel that we can never serve God enough through serving others. With all the examples he set, he never bragged, never stopped, and is always there so much that sometimes you don't explicitly see him, you just feel his love for campus with your heart. I don't think anyone would be able to cope with all that, if he didn't love God, and God's strength was not in him.
A few of the girls added us on Facebook, and I hope that would be another platform for us to keep in touch, and hold up each other in life.
Today in HR class, we learned about the concept of self, and how sometimes circumstances drag this 'self-concept' away, and make us change who we are.
When I pondered over this simple question: 'Who am I', I just realized that my personality is so unstable and if there's nothing to anchor it, it will just disintegrate due to environmental pressures.
But because God loves me, I can say my identity is 'a child of God' and all my positional values, my being, my purpose of being formed - is anchored firmly in that.
We studied about how people had their personalities taken away due to brutal treatment in communist camp. We read about how they were brainwashed until they couldn't remember who they are and what they stood for. We also learned that there were others who survived, those who had an end in mind.
If brutality can destroy a person's identity, how much more can love restore. For love is greater than hate. Hate breaks, love bends. Hate demands compliance, love - commitment, internalization. How the apostles suffered with joy for the gospel. How they were willing to give up their lives for millions of people they don't know. How they fell with pride to defend the honor of the Gospel.
If we live for God, we won't lose ourselves. Because man is fickle, but God is the Rock of Ages, and He will sustain us through, because of Himself. He will increase, while we decrease.
I pray that henceforth, I'll be sustained through the rat-race, and never lose sight of what I send for, and Who I represent. It was a good lesson today :)
On a side note, my dreaded paired presentation for HR was finally over! Again I have to thank God for seeing me through. I was literally praying my way through the whole day. And in the end - I hardly felt nervous and according to my tutor, I was able to 'build rapport' with the audience because I smiled and sounded reassuring.
This itself is a testimonial of how great the power of dependence on God is, because I never even realized I smiled. (It was not purposefully done). I still remember one of my attempted self-practices in front of the mirror. From my facial expression, even a wooden stick would look more expressive than I am. After two sentences I gave up facing the horror in the mirror. And I never, never smile during presentations. My hands will shake, I will find it hard to say things continuously. As for my attempted spoken English, Mummy would have shook her head at the horrible pronunciation (somehow I roll my words all together when I talked fast). But today it was done so smoothly and naturally, even at a moderately quick pace. Isn't that a testimonial of how great God is.
You know how strong you are, when you know who you depend on.