Thank you for praying for us. We are back from church camp – each one still in ONE piece – well, probably with some added mass from all that buffet meals we ate 😉 Oh ya, except for my glasses – one of the legs of my glasses came off as the screw had dropped. I really thank God it was on the day we were due to come home and that I had my prescription sunglasses with me. Otherwise I would be as blind as a bat. Now with my glasses fixed, more light enters my eyes and I see everything undarkened (if there’s such a word…).
I want to share my thanksgiving and my joy with you. Rejoice with me as we give God the glory. It is my prayer that in this brightly lit festive season, you will see and experience the True Light – who will guide you and give you His joy and peace.
*Dr Alex Tang was our speaker. Soft-spoken yet firm, he was excellent in his focus on the Bible, relating stories and personal anecdotes and the use of multimedia to share on the theme – ‘Lights That Cannot Be Hidden’ – how do we let our lights shine amidst the darkness in our society? Lessons were drawn from the book of Jeremiah (Chp 1, 12, 35). Dr Tang first gave us the background of the book. Then he shared about God’s response to Jeremiah when Jeremiah brought his concerns before Him. In Jeremiah 12.5, God said
“If you have raced with men on foot
and they have worn you out,
how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble in safe country,
how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?
Immediately, I understood that God wanted my family and I to run with the horses – it started at the camp (yes, God worked fast) when I had to handle the children by myself, relying only on God’s strength. And God gave me assurance that we will win, because He will empower us. Although we will run in the face of wild and windy challenges, God impressed upon my heart that it will be a time of receiving. Huh? I couldn’t understand how that’s possible but I will take God’s word by faith. I’m really excited and am eagerly awaiting another adventure with the Lord – God knows how the adrenaline rush motivates me. “HOLD your horses!! Remember this…” God gave me a timely reminder. I see the familiar image of a huge guy holding the hands of a little girl in ponytails – that’s my Abba Father and me 😀
I have set the LORD always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.
*In order to compete with the horses, I must first die to self. My devotion (My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers) on 9 December spoke directly on this
“It is not a question of giving up sin, but of giving up my right to myself, my natural independence and my self-assertiveness, and this is where the battle has to be fought. It is the things that are right and noble and good from the natural standpoint that keep us back from God’s best…Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence.”
I know I had been smothering God’s flame with my excuses, complaints, good intentions, naggings, personal interests etc. As I repent, I have to intentionally surrender myself to Jesus daily.
*God affirmed this through Pastor Christopher Creech, who preached on Sunday in our church. His realistic and theatrical description of Mary and Joseph’s dilemma and their seemingly ‘disgraceful situation’ when they believed and obeyed God about Jesus’ conception had helped me to see their utterly helpless state. Their only hope was God, who gave them a stable for the birth of their firstborn, our Saviour, Jesus. In addition, Pastor Christopher also shared that although he said ‘no’ to God twice, when he responded as Mary did – ‘Let it be to me according to your word’, God provided specifically for his needs when he had to raise more support for his missionary work. ‘Let it be to me according to your word’ – I pray to say this often, with courage and humility.
*Dr Tang also gave some very good suggestions on how we can do our own study of the Bible – a) aim to read the whole Bible in 2-3 years (reasonable time frame) b) pick a topic/book and study that for 1 year (eg. baptism, book of Psalms etc). I probably will have a go at them and catch up with the children (I really feel very ashamed when they told me they have finished reading the Bible 😦 ). I thoroughly enjoyed the gem-filled sessions 😀 Read more about how the Lord is leading Dr Tang in his blog Random Musings from a Doctor’s Chair
*While CM is precious to us, we are very precious to him too. To be separated in this way – having all of us out of safe Singapore, is really stretching us beyond our comfort zones. God showed me that He MUST be our First Love and when we surrender our most treasured possessions to Him, we will be most effective vessels for His use.
*As I took the step of faith to go for the church camp, God saw to ALL our needs and gave me His perspective about things. Strangely enough, even when the hotel staff didn’t fix the shower hose that burst, I didn’t complain and just tried to work around it.
*Dr Tang was very kind to allow me to seek his advice on relationships and medical issues. He reminded me that because God made CM and I differently, He will also speak to us differently. To be a good helpmate is to listen without judgement. And unless help is asked for, it may be better to wait and pray and not jump in and mess things up (I am guilty 😦 ). Dr Tang also shared openly as he answered my queries on certain medical conditions. God answered my prayers – He sent the perfect person to address my concerns. Furthermore, Dr Tang made a point to tell me he read my blog. Thank you for your encouragement, doctor.
*Since young, I never liked to take coaches. I always felt it was a hassle, going up and down. It’ll be extra tiring bringing the children, especially to the public toilets, and then dragging the luggage around for security checks at the immigration. However, this coach ride to Malacca was the most pleasant one I’ve ever had. It was a smooth journey via the Second Link. There was NO queue. There was NO crowd. There was NO hassle. My job was to manage Li-Ann and the stroller. John and Rebecca took care of themselves and helped me with the luggage. While I suspect there was minimal inconvenience because we were sitting in the front of the bus, I believe we had guardian angels looking out for us and were extremely gracious to give us priority. This is such a wonderful reflection of The Light 😉
*CM was concerned about how I would keep the children occupied during the bus ride. So was I. But since I didn’t want to worry about this, I decided to leave it in God’s hands. The girls had versatile props (plastic bags and my shawl) and their animated playmates – Yue Heng, Mui Ee and Josephine Loo, were roped into their business of buying and selling of sea cucumbers, fruits and blankets. It was a good time for Li-Ann to learn turn taking and negotiation and for Rebecca, to practise her mental calculation. It was HILARIOUS! They had so much fun. I wish I had recorded their witty exchange and contagious laughter. By the way, their duty free shops were opened on the way to Malacca and also on our way back to Singapore.
*I deeply appreciate all who willingly spent time with my children so I could let my hair down – I did, quite a bit 😉 I had time to eat my meals and the kuehs kuehs, go for the prayer stations, attend and learn from the teaching sessions and fellowship with others. I’m also grateful to the aunties, uncles, jie jies and kor kors who loved Li-Ann (and wanted so much to hug her but she was rather unwilling; I was very amused when I quietly witnessed all these. In fact, she only hugged Selina. Ok…ok…don’t be envious…), were patient with her and gave of themselves as they conversed and played with her. She had so much fun getting to know all of you. In case you didn’t know, those times of interaction were perfect therapy sessions for her 😀 John and Rebecca also learnt a lot with your encouragement and generosity. Rebecca didn’t want to go home and John wanted a 1-week church camp. I told him he can propose when he’s in the church camp committee. Thank you for being the lights that brightened up their lives.
*I give thanks that the children were obedient, took care of themselves and were helpful and responsible throughout the trip. They helped me with the packing and unpacking and looked out for one another and others – both adults and children. They were keenly aware of the schedule and consistently reminded me to be punctual (now you know why we were on time). I praise God for helping these little lights shine.
*I had opportunities to get to know more people and chat with them – along corridors, at mealtimes, while waiting, even in the toilet – sharing about ourselves, our families and also about our views of the teaching sessions. For those whom I wasn’t able to spend time in fellowship, let’s meet up in church on Sunday at the Tea Area. Thank you for your time. Thank you for your sharing. Thank you for your friendship.
*When we came back from shopping at Mahkota, Susan shouted out, “Where were you Apple? You didn’t board the bus with the children. We were so worried that maybe the taxi driver had taken you somewhere else.” I was so so touched by that love. I thanked her for her concern and explained that we were with Josephine and Gaby, eating our fill at a Teppanyaki buffet (as all Singaporeans would) and we decided to take a cab back instead. Thank you for looking out for us. Thank you for praying for us.
*When I asked Tapas if he’ll show ‘Chariots of Fire’ even though not many were keen to watch, he promptly obliged. Tapas and Amudha helped us set it up, made it really comfortable for us and joined us in the movie. We had an enjoyable experience of first class seats with leg rests (FOC), exclusive viewing and yummy snacks (not going to elaborate in case you start to drool buckets). It is a superb movie!! I highly recommend it. Thank you Tapas and Amudha!
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