Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Thanksgiving

Our staff had a thanksgiving lunch on the 28th December. Here is the message that I shared with our staff team along with some photos of the day.

My Greatest Satisfaction in 2007

01 Serving with my wife and the twins
We remember going to people's homes, speaking at events, going for meetings, days in the office and ministering overseas. Dinah and I just enjoy times meeting with and talking with new members at Discovering Membership. We did enjoy serving as a family at the 16th anniversary. Most other times the twins are beside us, reading quietly. There is always much to do but we are often together.

02 Serving alongside the staff team
I remember going into the water with you at water baptism, answering questions with you, brainstorming for the Breakthrough campaign, ministry discussions, doing weddings and fun times at the staff retreat. There is also the time Simon and I drove to KL for that visa, Pastor Jeff and I at Elim Church, and celebrating together when the church became debt free on 30th April.

03 Finding old friends I thought I had lost
I just met an old rugby friend from Junior College on the plane back recently. I keep bumping into old friends more and more and in places I would never imagine seeing them. It has been exciting.

04 Serving the community through Hope Centre
I remember opening that bank account with Pastor Lawrence, the Hope Centre meetings at our home, planning and poring over detailed proposals and joining board meetings. I remember going to speaking with authorities about funding our local projects and about potential overseas projects.

05 Traveling internationally to strengthen churches overseas.
It is vital that we visit our overseas tentmakers. Dinah and I love to encourage and spend time with our tentmakers in faraway places. These are special times. Dinah's sister and Simon has helped a lot in this regard. So has Yean Shien, Elaine, Limei, Cara, Pastor Jeff, Claud, Pastor Lawrence and Pat to make this possible.

This has been a year of great joy doing new things, meeting and serving with friends old and new.

My 2008 Wish

01 Enjoy the favour of God
I've had over 12.5 years on staff. But we have been doing church for over 16.5 years. We are so grateful for the grace of God every step of the way. We look forward to His continued grace and His favour in the years to come.

02 Walk in His Wisdom
One thing that has been hard is to switch gears constantly. I have not switched well on more occasions that I would have wanted to. The phrase "my cup runneth over" has also come to my mind on more than one occasion. Going forward I need a lot more divine wisdom.

03 See the birthing of many new things in Hope Church (S)
I am excited about the New Ministries initiative. We got to encourage pioneering and innovation in a growing church. I am also excited about our Youth Centre. We are moving from once-off projects to ongoing programmes. I am excited about developing missions internship. You will be hearing more about this. I am excited about the Full House effect. We will see our care groups and worship services becoming fuller and fuller.

04 Help the twins do well in PSLE
Early October will be an exciting time especially for the twins. This is true for the students doing national exams in October too. Dinah and I will adjust to this new adventure.

05 The Blackberry phone software will be un-crashable....
Yes its been giving some problems again recently. I am sure we'll figure it out soon.

2007 has been another good year. My prayer for the new year is that our source will be from above as in Psalm 123:1 and that our strength is in the name of the Lord as in Psalm 124:8.

Thank you for the privilege of being part of your journey.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Seven Luggages

Preached the final time in Hope LA today. This is my eighth Sunday sermon in a trot. After service the church prays for us. Some members take farewell photos with us. Next is lunch meeting with Jarred, Jonathan and Golf which is followed by the Care Leaders meeting. Then Dinah and I meet Chai and Crystal in their office. Finally is the Ministry Leaders meeting till 8 pm. Dinner is with Golf.

Monday starts with breakfast and I. Dinah packs 7 luggages. David, a new friend calls from Atlanta. Then Al calls from Irvine. Next we drive to return the rented cello and have a late lunch. Then we pack some more before farewell dinner with the LA leaders. Then Dinah and I have a final discussion with Chai afterwards.

Tuesday is our last breakfast here. Lee and Cynthia arrive. We take 7 luggages and 9 carry-on items on two hotel trolleys onto 2 cars. The 3 airport trolleys cost $3 rental each. It's a full flight. Security is very tight because the Israeli airline is flying today.

We arrive in the Tokyo airport at 6 pm Wed for an hour transit. On the way back to the plane I meet a guy I used to know from junior college. We arrive at the Singapore airport at 1:35 am Thu. We are surprised to see Simon waiting for us. Dan and I take 1 taxi whilst Simon takes Dinah and Deb. We step into our place just after 2 am. Its a blessing to live near the airport. We unpack the perishable items and wash up and are in bed at 5 am. We're all awake at noon. We do the laundry, get fresh groceries and unpack. Dan gets feverish. We sleep early.

I get up 3 times. The twins don't sleep much thanks to jet lag. Its Fri morn and Dan's fever seems higher. We put him at Jan's place and we go to office. Its good to see the staff. We catch up over Marsli and Maureen's pies. We are off in the evening to bring Dan home. David, Alice, Daniel and Charmaine come to our home for a meeting.

We are adjusting back. This year's three and half week trip is shorter than my six-week trip last year. Well there was Urbana '06 last year. We've learnt a few things about being out. One is that LA speaks 127 languages. So it's hard to speak of a LA culture. Another is tipping. This means an additional 10-20% of top of the restaurant bill depending on the service. The third would have to be managing jackets. We check the temperature forecast before we go out. We lug 4 jackets around... Its different back home. As we adjust I am thankful for the cool and rainy days here.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Final Week in SoCal

The story of our final week starts with Sunday. The church sanctuary seems fuller today. Many people come up for ministry after the sermon. Then I have lunch with Rob and Paul. Jarred then Mike tried to fix my notebook but... Next Dinah and I meet up with Chai and Crystal outside. Finally comes the ministry leaders meeting. We leave at 8 pm for our next appointment. Dinner is with Chris, Cyn and Annie till 11 pm.

Mon begins with breakfast with Dinah. The hotel atrium is stinky with one sewer pipe broken. So we eat a quick breakfast. Then Al calls from Irvine. Next we drive 1 hr 15 min east to the San Bernadino county. The snow-capped mountains are beautiful. We shop at the factory outlets for clothes and gifts. We eat here to avoid that evening rush-hour traffic. We take turns to shower and I am last so I clear e-mails and vet documents till 1:30 am.

Tue morn is clearing Singapore church work after breakfast. Then we go to Orange county. We spend time in the Crystal Cathedral. It is just a spectacularly beautiful campus. Here is a photo of their sanctuary. We also join the guided tour then we have lunch at the cafe. We spend time in their book shop. We go to the city of Irvine and spend some time with Al and Doreen's family (till past 11 pm). Here's a photo of our kids. We get back at midnight and clear e-mails. I shower in a choked bath tub and finally sleep at 2 am.

Wed morn sees the maintenance guy fixing the clog in the bathtub. We go see Derrick at USC campus. The uni is in exam mood. Derrick is from Singapore and he leads the Youth group here. Derrick as an international student isn't complaining about the weaker currency. After we spend time together and say good bye I make a wrong turn and end up with a 30-min drive around the city. Next we are with Cyn. Finally we drive to the Kusumo family in the city of Walnut. Josh was studying for a exam. So he're a photo of the family without Josh. We leave at 11 pm despite Hadi asking us to eat ice cream. Its 2 am when I get to bed.

We skip breakfast on Thu. Then we clear e-mails. Then its off to lunch with Anthony, a new member. Puk who works in this Thai restaurant hosts us. So we talk to Anthony and to Puk. Deb starts coughing. Then we drive to the west side of LA. I make a turn and end uo with a 20-min drive around in downtown. We finally arrive and its our first time in James and Christine's apartment. Its our first time trying her nice cooking. We arrive late again. Its our third late night in a row.

We skip breakfast on Fri. Next is morning devotions. Lee arrives for lunch and discussion. We come back and swim. We haven't swam for ages. Then David calls from Portland. The forecast tells us its 5 degrees tonight. We have a quiet dinner nearby after a series of long nights. I start working on a new sermon.

We resume breakfast on Sat. We come up and Vern calls from Seattle. Next we go to meet Wendy. She is from Hope Irvine church and arranged with Emmy to meet up with us. We arrange to meet at a mall but can't find parking. So we have to meet at the jammed carpark then go back to our hotel. We park and walk to a nearby Greek place for lunch. We go get groceries and Wendy comes along. Finally we say good bye to a new friend. We prepare for ministry tomorrow. Then JR calls from Seattle.

Here's a discovery for us. You would have heard news about the sub-prime mortgage crisis here. Naturally we assume that home prices are dropping. Our friends here tell us that prices in homes in some California cities are holding steady although sellers are taking a longer time to sell. Crisis?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Week 2 in SoCal

There is a large Catholic street parade around the church today. We circle round to get parking. Guess who we meet in the service? It's Cindy who is going home from Santiago to Singapore via LA. Dinah and I have lunch with her. Then we join the Care Leaders meeting before meeting up with Pastor Chai and Crystal. Next is the Ministry Leaders meeting plus planning. Our family has dinner nearby our hotel. We get to speak to the waitress from Tennessee. Then we go back and four of us take turns to shower.

Monday starts with breakfast as a family. Next is devotions. We spend the morning confirming and making new appointments. This is followed by laundry and then a swim. Lunch is snacks and fruits. We pack then have a early dinner. Then it is a 1 hour and 45 min drive to north of San Diego. Bao's place is a nice 3-storey condo. We catch up a little and settle down. He puts us in his bedroom. In the middle of the night I get up as the heater is too warm.

Bao gets breakfast for us in the morn. The strawberry cream cheese is yummy. We drive to the San Diego Zoo. Pandas are the star attraction here. Bao loves the polar bears. This is a world-class zoo like the Singapore zoo. Food and drink is expensive here.

Then we drive to Coronado island. The water front overlooking the San Diego skyline is pretty like in Vancouver. We meet an elderly couple on the Trikke. They invite us to try. Dinah, the twins and Bao try it as I take photos. Then we go to Hotel del Coronado. Its a luxury hotel next to a beautiful beach. We walk along the beach as the sun sets. Then its an early dinner. Dinah and Bao want American but I want Vietnamese. We end up with Persian food. Its the first time for all of us having Persian food and it's good. After dinner we go back to Bao's place and then say good bye. We get some coffee so we can stay awake on the drive home. The journey takes 1 hour 45 min again. As the twins shower I call Emmy to confirm the Care Leaders retreat details.

Wed morn starts with a phone call from Minneapolis. Next is breakfast followed by devotion. We do some ministry preparation time before going out to get more drinking water and sundries. We spend the evening with Annie, one of the leaders.

Thu is a meeting with Four Square Church. Dinah and I spend 2 hours with their missions executives Lee and later with Raul at their central office. Here's a photo. This church is very similar to our movement in terms of doctrine, ethos and philosophy. We also learn that they have 1,800 churches in the US. They have 120 staff housed in this 8-storey building that they own. Thu afternoon is a conference call with Malay of Hope Chicago. It is snowing in Chicago. After that is a meeting with a US Center for World Mission executive. Thu night is a dinner meeting with Sam and Sung, church leaders. We get caught in the rain as we walk back.

Fri morn is cold. The forecast is 9-15 today. Golf calls to postpone our meeting. I am nauseous and sleep in. Then we meet Judy. It rains and is so cold as we walk back. Our Care Leaders retreat starts with Friday dinner and discussion in a private room of a restaurant. Lin takes the twins out. Towards the end of the night my stomach begins to run. Dinah feel the onset of flu.

On the way out Sat we see a stretch limousine at the hotel driveway. The doors are open and the driver allows us to peek. It's our first time seeing the interior of a 20-seater. We go to church. The retreat continues on Sat with stretching. Lin takes the kids again. The leaders have fruitful discussions and we end after 3pm. Dinah and I go back to prepare for tomorrow. We are feeling better. Later Lin brings the kids back. They enjoyed watching the "Enchanted" movie. Sure hope Lin enjoyed it too.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

South Cal 2007

Nov 23rd begins our second missionary journey to Southern California. This is the home of Hope LA church and Hope Irvine church. We fly off on a Friday evening. The twins meet a familiar character during our transit at the Taipei airport. As for me, I am fighting a cold since Wed night. We arrive on Fri night.

On Sat I drive out and forget which side to turn into so I wait for cars to go by to get the direction. The GPS is not quite working. We buy drinking water and basic utensils. Then I realise I did not bring my sermon. Later Pastor Chai comes with his boys and my sermon notes which he prints for me. We go to sleep but only for awhile. All four of us are up at 4 am thanks to jet lag.

We are in Hope LA church from 10 am to 7:30 pm preaching, having lunch with members, meeting Pastor Chai and Crystal then having leadership meeting and planning. There are 90 people today with 2 converts. Its the long Thanksgiving weekend and we are flat out. Besides the time difference we are adjusting to the cold autumn nights. We have dinner nearby our hotel then sleep soundly.

We awake late on Mon. Thank God that my cold is gone. We swim in the hotel's heated pool. A pastor calls us from Atlanta, Georgia. He is a friend of a friend. We do laundry, then drive to the music store to rent a cello and have dinner at a place next to the store. Later we speak with Maria on the phone. We sleep well tonight thanks to the swim.

We spend Tue preparing for the coming ministry. In the evening we drive to William Carey International University for a conference with the US Center for World Missions (USCWM). We meet Dr Ralph & Barb Winter of USCWM, leaders of the Third World Mission Association, Asian Mission Association, Global Network of Mission Structures, Institute for International Christian Communication and Cross Global Link. Later that night, Cyn comes with Lin to take the twins to stay overnight with Lin.

Lin takes the twins to her school on Wed as Dinah and I spend the whole day and night at conference. After our conference Lin brings the twins back at night. She is so kind.

Our family goes for the last morning of the conference on Thu. Barb takes our family on a personal tour of the campus then to their home. There we spend time with her and her husband. Dr Winter even gives us two books as a gift. This is an amazing guy. Then we go buy more drinking water and then we swim. I drive to church for Young Adult men's night. 10 guys join in and it becomes a very transparent session.

On Fri, we rearrange our schedule. We do laundry. I drive to church for the College care group in very heavy rain. It does not rain much here. Betty takes Dinah and the twins to the Young Adult ladies' night. We all come back late.

Sat papers report many road accidents yesterday due to heavy rain. We drive to church where Dinah teaches at the Thai unit event. We celebrate grandma Urai's 91st birthday. She has been with the church since the first day. She is joyful and tells me she is only "19" when I pray for her. During this time Derrick gives the twins a music theory lesson. Then we spend time with Jason and Emmy, leaders of the family ministry. Then there is a monthly prayer in church. We have a late dinner tonight.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A special Thanksgiving

Dinah and I spend 15-19 Nov with Hope NA pastors and spouses. Hope Chicago church is the host for this pastors' retreat. This is our second visit to Hope Chicago church. Our flights to and from Chicago are full because of the Thanksgiving celebration on 22 Nov. Here is a photo with the Hope Chicago church. One lady's face is covered and one more was not in the picture. We arrive back in Singapore on Wednesday.

Next I spend Thursday with Methodist pastors and church leaders in Singapore at their Trinity Annual Conference. It's my time speaking in a Methodist environment. After addressing the conference, I have lunch with several pastors. It's quite an eye-opener to be part of this.

Whilst I imagine our American friends having turkey on Thursday night, I am with our church leaders on Thursday night. Some stay back to ask questions making this a full day indeed.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

In Phuket

It is our first time in Phuket. We arrive in Phuket on Sun night with our twins. We stay at a hotel overseeing Kata beach.

The next day we take a speed boat to Hay Island. The Andaman Sea is beautiful. We snorkel for the first time.

The next day Cara and I present papers at the leadership meetings while the twins enjoy story books. Here is a picture by my wife. Seated next to me is Pastor Mark and Pastor Ian both from Hope Melbourne.

The Leaders Conference start the next day. My wife and I lead workshops. We catch up with friends. We spend time with our team from Johannesburg. It is so great to see Henry, Lerato, Mpho and Elvis. On the final night we get to enjoy a barbeque on the famous Patong beach.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Circle of friends

This year is the 5th anniversary for living in Punggol. This year is also the 5th anniversary of a group of buddies. Here's the photo of our recent July get-together. From L-R is Melvyn, Henry, me, Boon Hup & Danny. This was the first time Danny joins. Vincent couldn't make it.

It started in 2002 when several pastors including me were at a lunch briefing for the first Fire Conference with Reinhard Bonke in March '03. Among others I met Vincent Lun of RiverLife church. He asked if I had pastor friends who would be keen to get together. I thought of Boon Hup of Paya Lebar Methodist and Henry Tan of Full Gospel Assembly. I asked them. They both agreed. So the four of us had our first pastors' breakfast at Upper Serangoon.

Since that session in Oct '02 (I think), we got together every 2 months. We take turns to host breakfast. In 2004, Vincent asked if he could bring Melvyn Mak, Faith Community Baptist Church. He also said let's call this "a circle of friends". In Jul 07, Melvyn got Danny Han, Victory Family Centre to join. He's the newest buddy.

What keeps us together for 5 years & counting? 2 are in their mid 50s, 2 in early 50s, 1 in late 40s & I'm almost 40. Well, we've become buddies. It was Melvyn who first started calling us "buddies". Besides breakfast we call & talk on the phone. Dinah has met Jenny (Vincent's wife), Pansy (Henry's wife), Catherine (Boon Hup's wife) & Linda (Melvyn's wife) at various events. Hope to meet Danny's wife soon. Second, there is commonality as senior pastors. We are peers. Well Melvyn is Deputy SP of a very large church, Henry has since moved to become an itinerant & Boon Hup is now at TRAC (like a denominational office) but we still love them. Third, we often share ideas & tips. Several of us have ministered at each other's churches.

There are many positives. I joined Melvyn to minister in the prisons. That was a first for both of us. Once Henry took me for lunch at this awesome duck place. He knows his food. There was 1 evening when Vincent called. He said he's got durians & if I could come collect some. It happens that Dinah, the twins & I were nearby so we swung by to his place. It was our first time there. That night Lawrence & Jeff got blessed as we dropped some off at their place on the way home. Indeed, the blessing overflows.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Our friends

This is the 10th anniversary of a unique group of friends. Here's how it started. In 1997, Dinah signed up for a 10-week course on marital counselling at the Counseling & Care Centre. When the course ended, a course mate Swee Tin organised a breakfast at her place. 8 course participants & Anthony (instructor) came. The breakfast continued every 3 months. It's been 10 years now.

I would drop Dinah off for these get-togethers. Dinah introduced me to Paul from Geylang Church of Christ. I met the whole group with their spouses at Swee Tin's daughter's wedding.

In 1999, Kevin & Siew Choo from the circle relocated overseas for his theological studies. They are now Brethren missionaries in the US. In 2000, Dinah asked if I was keen to join . I said "yes". The group agreed. Sometimes Anthony reminds me that I'm adopted.

This recent photo, from L to R, shows Swee Tin (Trinity Christian Centre), Paul, Glen (Elim church), Anthony (MustardSeed Community Church off-shoot of Yio Chu Kang Chapel), Dinah, me, Andrew (New Hope Family Church). Denis isn't in the photo. He's an itinerant minister with AG & isn't in town too much.

What sustains the group for 10 years? One reason is that we have become friends. We get together in smaller groups in-between the quarterly breakfasts. Another reason is candid discussion over current issues. There hasn't always been agreement but we continue to dialogue & sharpen each other. A third reason is that we're quite different. In a strange way we're fascinated by what the rest are doing or thinking. 2 are heavily involved in counseling & therapy, 1 heavily in social work, 1 itinerant & 4 in church work. 2 are in their early 60s one being a grandparent, 4 in their early 50s whilst Dinah & I are just under 40.

It's going to be interesting to see how this bunch of friends will develop as we walk through transitions in the seasons of life.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Preparing for 2008

Tuesday starts with an appointment with our lawyer over our overseas community work. I go to the International Plaza instead of City House. So I have to run down the Central Business District on this hot day to get to the appointment.

Next stop is office to complete my handouts and Powerpoont slides for our planning retreat, which is from Tue noon to Wed evening. Here are the photos.

This is the first of two planning retreats we have every year. Our first planning retreat was back in 1997. This year's retreat is different because there is no overnight stay.

There is a dramatic incident. I arrive back in the office on Wed evening and realised I did not have my digicam.

Thankfully Hong Teck was in Funan so he walked back to the function room. He could not find the camera. It is my birthday gift from the staff and it is only 6 months old. My heart sank.

Fenny called the banquets staff to look out for it. She told us the staff would look out for it. I was disappointed.
About 7 pm, Fenny called and said they found it. Thank God for honest hotel staff!

She even collects it on Thur morning. Thank God for Fenny.
Later Wan Leng said, "Thank God you didn’t lose the Fujifilm F20. It’s a very good point & shoot camera. They stopped selling this model in Singapore. Hong Teck and I have the same model."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

16th Anniversary

Sep 15th was the day of our church anniversary celebrations. In fact Dinah and I just came back from sending our guest speaker Pastor PN to the airport. There we met Yean Shien and Mabel who just sent Vivien off. Even in the airport, our hearts are still filled with thanksgiving from yesterday's celebration. Here's a photo from SiewQin taken in between the 2 anniversary services.

Here are memories and thanksgiving (all mixed up together). The anniversary logo is eye-catching, bright and contemporary. Our celebration itself was at the d'Marquee @ Downtown East. Our first time at the place was the night before for rehearsal. It's nice but smaller than last year's. Overall this year's set up is less elaborate. For example we had to assemble 1,500 light bulbs last year.

The big day finally came on Saturday. We arrived in the morning for the final rehearsals. We were approached for makeovers almost immediately . The Image team did a good job on Deb and Dan's hair. They applied makeup on the twins especially on Deb, for which Dan was thankful. It took some persuasion why he even needed any stage makeup.

This is our first anniversary to feature a guest speaker and a guest worship team. Both came from Hope Bangkok. The passage Romans 4:16-18 chosen by Pastor PN was appropriate for the event. The Hope Bangkok lifted the worship atmosphere several notches.

The two young hosts almost steal the show with their welcome lines. The mime item was a good intro. Then the remix of "Psalm 78" song was so good and I liked the way we had short video testimonies and Snapshots of Hope incorporated in. It was a challenge to have our worship team lead and then transit to Hope Bangkok team but it went well. The tango item sure got a rapturous welcome.

This year was special also because we served as a family. (Here's a photo sent in from Junming.) The twins hosted the starting segment of the service. And I only found out about this 2 weeks ago. Then Dinah and I did a short dance routine as part of hosting. It was our first time ever doing the tango. Thanks to Kin Wee for giving us two lessons and choreographing our routine.

This year we may have had close to 3,400 people celebrating. The second celebration service ended on a big high with us totally warmed up. This finale was absolutely rousing with stage ministers all excited. The Bangkok leaders enjoyed themselves in God too. Shirley led us in one more praise responding to the congregation. It was a wonderful close to 16 years of wonderful ministry. The celebrations continue today and tomorrow with our JUMP conference and concert. Happy Anniversary!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


CK and Pei Ching are our church missionaries in Rome. The third team member Annette is from Hope Prague. The first time we spent time with CK and Pei Ching was in Rome back in Aug '06. They are back for summer holidays. We had lunch 2 weeks ago.

We catch up again on Sept 11th. CK and PC offer to cook for us and talk strategy. We meet at Cold Storage to get the right groceries. On the way out, we get a box of creamy, small-seed durians for them.

This is their first time to our place. We show them around. Then they cook pasta and salad in our kitchen. We enjoy this lunch with friends. Yes we talk church planting strategy in Rome. They also refresh our memory how to do Expresso the Italian way.

We enjoy the durians except Dinah who is recovering from illness. At this point PC and CK admit that they haven't eaten durians for over 2 years. That's what you call a durian-deprived missionary. Later Dinah bring out a box of American chocolates. Then PC and CK admit they both actually have sore throat... The four of us wrap up the strategy part and I bring them to the MRT station. PC has another appointment in town.

We haven't cooked a proper meal for 2 years. They haven't had durians for 2 years. Guess you could say that this is a day we ministered to each other.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

More on Travel

It's school holidays this week. Here are more reflections on travel.

In our last long-haul flight, Dinah slept well. She often sleeps well. But I had difficulty sleeping. I did try to sleep. Well one clear solution is to fly business class. We'll discuss this in the next life.

Thankfully God provides. There is a tap on my shoulder as I pace up and down the aircraft. It is Esther. She is on the same flight going home from a business trip. She recommends I try a relaxing peppermint essence. I apply it just like she tells me to. After all she is a registered nurse. It is quite pleasant. Later I see Esther asleep in her seat. Well at least I feel more relaxed. A few hours later I sleep too. I must ask her where to get this...

There are other solutions for people who can't sleep on planes. While on holiday in June, I read a very short but interesting article in Newsweek June 11, 2007 issue. The article was titled 'VIAGRA helps jet lag'. University tests conducted on rats in Argentina shows that Viagra helps relieve jet lag. (source ). No I haven't tried it yet. Why haven't I? Let's put it this way... I might sleep well but there might be other effects.

The good news is that I am able to work while traveling. My last sermon (based on Micah 7:1-7) was developed almost entirely while traveling. I began on it while on transit at LAX from South America to Singapore, continued on it in LAX while on transit from US to Singapore and some more while on the plane to Singapore. I stopped working on it when Esther's peppermint took full effect.

One final note on travel. I have noticed my wife going to the dry cleaners more. Then a dry cleaning place springs up on the same street as the church office. I notice that my colleague Kam goes there. Now my pullovers and warm jackets also goes there after coming back from ministry in cold places. Yes Dinah and I have invested in winter clothing. We got to keep warm in cold places. Yes we are doing our part for the Singapore economy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Berachah & Bellevue

After arriving in Seattle, we have regional meetings on Wed night to Thu evening. The camp at Berachah in Auburn starts Thu night and I preach. Its an unusual cloudy summer with rain & temperatures between 12-21 degrees.

Camp worship includes the use of a harp. Fri sees sports in the afternoon. Here are key results: Soccer (M) - NA pastors 1 - 1 International pastors. Captain ball (F) - Members 6 - 1 Leaders. Captain ball (M) - NA pastors 6 - 5 International pastors. Then we sit on grass, rest and chat. After shower, I feel the aches.

Camp has 150 people. There is experiential learning on Saturday. Its loads of fun. This is followed by water baptism at the heated pool. Our camp ends with lunch on Sunday. There is a massive tear-down and long good byes.

Our NA Pastors' Retreat goes from 3 pm to 1 am at Berachah. On Mon we drive to have brunch at Top Gun in Bellevue. Folks begin to leave, we adjourn to Vern's place in Bellevue. We talk with David and Ann till 3 pm, then David, Malay, Moses & I take a walk as Dinah catches up with Warinda. Finally Warinda drives home at 8 pm, David and Malay leaves at 11 pm, then Dinah and I speak with Vern and Eureka till 1 am.

Its raining and its 21 degrees on Tue morning. This is a real cool summer. Dinah and I chat with Eureka over breakfast. My wife has to get luggage today. We get a call. David and Malay missed their flight. They will stay with us tonight. I suspect they are quite happy about this too.

It's time for a personal disclosure. I'm into extreme sports - I'm an extreme traveler. My travel luggages have been damaged, misplaced and spotted. My wife has bought so many check-in luggages. We've learnt that carry-on luggages are not so critical. We've helped the luggage industry. So invest in stocks that do luggage manufacturing.

Dinah and I enjoy this breakfast with Eureka. Then its off to go the mall to get luggage. Afterwards Dinah and I have lunch with Eureka and Connie. Then I catch up on e-mails. Next Dinah and I go out with JR, Warinda & Jada for dinner. Then Dinah and I talk church with Lan, William then Eureka and Malay till 1 am.

Wed morning breakfast is with Dinah. We talk with Ian and Daisy from Melbourne. Next is extended lunch with Dan & Dee. We come back and I speak with Bill in Virginia then David in Portland. Then we join special service in Hope Seattle where I preach and we pray for people. Then we visit the children's hospital to pray for Jada who is being treated for breathing difficulties. Then Tab brings us back and I get dinner. We talk to Vern, Eureka, Ian and Daisy till 1 am.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Manly Mondays

Impact magazine in Singapore invited us to write an article in February this year. Manly Mondays is the article I managed to write in April. This is a perspective on men's ministry. I believe its the first time we are featured in Impact. The amazing thing is this particular issue is out 5 days before our church's men event. I got hold of this issue just before leaving for US. You can read it on their website

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Springfield Visit

Ann drives Dinah, baby Faith and I to the airport on Mon morn. I fly to the Denver airport. Pastor Simon arrives & we fly to Springfield in Missouri. Its both our first time to Springfield.

We arrive in the small town of Springfield. Its 37 degrees. Somehow a lady & I miss our luggage. And the United Airlines counter is closed. Thankfully two United staff just fly in from Chicago and help us. They locate our luggage in the airline office.

Relieved, Simon and I have dinner at the only restaurant in the airport which closes at 7:30 pm. Our hotel has no restaurant. We call the hotel for the car to our hotel. The driver tells us this town has 153,000 people. We check in and Robert at the front office says he remembers Limei calling him.

We settle down and shower. The TV forecast for tomorrow is 38 C with a "Heat Warning". We reply e-mails and plan for tomorrow. Dinah and I communicate on Skype. She just finished meeting Portland church team - David, Ann, Preaw, Chris, Davene, Autumn and Lekorn. David's sister Iris join in too.

It's Tuesday. Simon and I have breakfast at the hotel. We get on a taxi to US Assembly of God Headquarters downtown. We spend the morning with Cary Tidwell (Administrator World Missions) & Russ Turney (Asia Pac Director). We get lunch & check out the Gospel Publishing House bookstore. We join the AG HQ tour with three other persons. Two are AG pastors from Chesapeake, Virginia. One was a AG HQ staff on her day off.

Later we buy gifts at the Battlefield Mall, the largest mall in town. We grab dinnner here and go back to the hotel. Simon and I evaluate our day. Then I think of my wife at the PSU care group. Then we pack. This is quite a short visit.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Portland Commissioning

Dinah and I fly off on Friday and arrive in LA on Friday night to sleepover at the airport hotel. We check out and Lee takes us for lunch on Sat then we check in for our flight. We arrive Portland on Sat night quite jetlagged.

There are 13 adults and 6 kids excluding us at the worship service. There are 2 first time visitors from another church. David leads worship, I preach then Dinah and I commission David and Ann as the new coordinator of Hope Portland church.

After lunch with church folks, David suggest we visit PSU. The view as we drive through Portland city is breathtaking. The Willamette River separates the river into East and West. Our church service is currently in the south east part of the city. The north east section is a red light area.

After this, we drive home and talk about the strategy to reach Oregon. There are 7 counties in Oregon. We go out for dinner. After dinner we continue to talk till midnight.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Last Day in Santiago

It is 1 degree cold today. Despite this, 15 local people come for our self-management seminar. Five are first timers. They all give good feedback. We enjoy hot tea after the seminar.
As I pack, Cindy offers to wrap my gifts. The team presents gifts to Dinah & I. I shower before my long flight to LA, Tokyo then Singapore.
We have a long dinner at the airport. The team asks for feedback and for advice. In between David and I walk over to check in. Thankfully my bag is checked to Singapore direct though I will take different airlines home. We rejoin the dinner table. Pui See asks for prayer. Its time to say good byes and go in.
The flight leaves at 10:55pm for LA. As the plane takes off I thank God because we have such good people in South America.