Monday, June 27, 2005

Serving the Community

Yesterday was our first Sunday back from vacation. The day started with preaching in the morning. In the afternoon, I was glad to be among two hundred and forty volunteers who helped out at the 'Family Ties' event at the Punggol Community Club. It was quite an experience. There were creative activities to engage families.

It was challenging to have a large community event and hold the attention of a diverse crowd. Everyone did their part. At the end we were all glad that two hundred families benefited from this community project. Mayor Zainul from the North East had a great time too. At the end we were tired but it's the kind of fulfilling tiredness.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Borneo vacation

Our family just came back from a visit to my parents. Our last trip was in December 2003. That was over one and half years ago. So I really looked forward to this trip. Our kids were excited to see their two cousins and also all the dogs at my parent's home.

Planning for this holiday was tough. There was church camp just before this trip. This is a huge event in our annual calendar. And we planned to go just two days after the camp.

In terms of travel we remembered that we took a budget airline the last time. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. My wife and I decided to go for a full service airline. I told Dinah that we will stay for a whole week at a hotel near the beach. This way we wouldn’t trouble my parents and we could enjoy the seaside. My good wife got quotations from more than 5 travel agents. Through a series of events too complicated to go into, we got a package for a very good rate. We got a great harbour-front hotel with a (small) beach. Our room had such a picturesque view of the sea.

Just the day before we left, Tracy our friend and neighbour offered to drive us to the airport. Tracy, MK (hubby) and their toddler took us to Changi and spent time with us. They are truly a godsend.

The flight was good. Sabah is just beautiful this time of year. We had long conversations with mom, dad, and our siblings and their spouses. The kids had a great time with their cousins. We swam. We met two of the cutest puppies, Whitie and Blackie at dad's place. It was so fun seeing them play. Their baby teeth were causing their mom (Sweetie) some pain when they suckle for milk. So their mom stopped allowing them to have her milk. They don't understand why. We did not get acquainted with the other dogs because they were adult watch dogs.

My brother kindly arranged pony rides for the kids at a real beach but it rained heavily that day. My other brother, his wife, my sister and her husband brought us to sample various types of seafood and local delicacies that I had grown up with. We must have put on a lot of weight. At least I sure did. My sis also arranged our first ever family portrait. Then we managed to meet old friends including Chiew Bong and Dora.

This was close to a dream holiday. We got back a week later. Tracy and family came by our apartment to welcome us home and offered to buy us dinner. I just love Punggol. They also just got back from a vacation in Hong Kong and got us great cookies. What a homecoming. What a vacation.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Camp 2005

Camps are the highlight of our year. At camp we break away from the chorus to hear a whisper.

Our kids have never missed a church camp. I hope they won't ever need to miss out. This year they were again so excited about the camp and school holidays. Though I'm not sure whether they were more excited about the holiday or the camp.

Camp 2005 was so special. This year Dinah and I were glad to be able to catch up with pastor PN. The Camp Team was again very nice to us. June, Christine and Steph took real good care of our family as we ministered. The moment June led us to our room, we were arrested by the spectacular sea view. The ledge by the glass window became Deb's reading corner. (Dan enjoyed the long hotel corridors where he could run) The room had a nice bath tub, not that we actually used it. There were luxurious bath robes, which we also enjoyed looking at.

A top-quality camp is hard to put together, but its all worth it. The opening night was awesome. I haven't remembered another camp opening night with the wow factor. The Italian classical duet was so refreshing. It had the crowd break out in spontaneous applause throughout the item. Then the entire 4 days we fed on Scriptures, worshipped God, exercised spiritual gifts and had lots of games, fun and family time. Talent Night on Saturday lived up to expectations. I thought it was absolutely creative, hilarious filled with good, clean fun. The closing day was very special. Everyone had a great time. We had it all.

Our life is made up of memories and experiences. My wife and I took photos with as many church members as we possibly could. Camp 2005 is one important memory for us.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I was asked

Hong Teck is my friend and colleague. On the 1st June, he presented the proposal for our new church website. It is going to be quite a radical shift. The next day he suggested to me that perhaps I should write a blog. I replied, "Either this is really important or you think I am very free." Since I respect him very much, it must be the former than the latter.

The next day I went back to Hong Teck and asked, "How do I blog?" So Hong Teck walked me through blogging. After checking it out, it is a great tool.

I do need to connect more with church members especially members doing church in Africa, South America and different parts of Asia and Europe. I hope that my journey will be of some help to you in your journey.

Let me start with a question that I encountered quite recently.

I was asked what I thought of the bestsellers 'Harry Potter' and 'Da Vinci Code'? To me 'Harry Potter' does seem to distinguish between good and evil, but it also seems a lot like sorcery and witchcraft packaged as fun and adventure. Then 'Da Vinci Code' is more like fiction and speculation that pretends to be fact and Scripture. Personally I would invest my time in other ways. If you enjoy fiction, read 'Chronicles of Narnia' by CS Lewis. This is a 7 book series. There are forces of good and evil. It will capture your imagination. It alludes to the eternal kingdom.