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.

Friday in Santiago

It is 3 degrees cold today. I start the day on Skype with Dinah and the twins. Today my notebook computer isn't working properly. It's only 8.5 months old and the battery has conked out. It must be the cold? I discover later that the warranty for the battery is only for 6 months.
Next is breakfast with Ee Lee. She briefs me on the people coming for tonight's service. Then I try to do e-check in for tomorrow's flight. But I have to resort to the phone. Apparently all I can do on this leg is to book my seat. We have a quick takeaway lunch. I answer emails then start packing. We take an early dinner.
For our Fri night service, we have 12 local adults & 1 child joining. There is a first-time commitment to Christ, a healing and re-commitments to Christ. We have a short evaluation afterwards.

Shopping & Preparing in Santiago

I call my family on Skype. Then Ee Lee & I discuss potential tentmakers from Singapore church over breakfast. Next I talk on Skype with Wee Leng and several US church leaders.
Then Cindy brings me shopping for gifts at an artisan market. Thank God for Cindy who helps me shop. We have a local lunch & catch up.
In the evening all of us prepare for tomorrow and Saturday. David and Ee Lee are rehearsing the worship. Pui See is translating my sermon in Spanish. Cindy is preparing for the Saturday seminar. Later David, Pui See and Ee Lee and I talk about previous and future short-term missions to Santiago. I read

Wednesday in Santiago

I make a Skype call to Dinah and the twins in the morning. Next is breakfast with Pui See. Then Ee Lee is so nice help me work the washing machine to do laundry.
We go out to meet Gonzalo. He takes us to a local place for lunch. Chile food seems distinct from Ecuador and Peru. After lunch, Pui See goes back to work. Ee lee & I spend time with him in his office. He is a marine biologist.
We come back and I update my blog on Quito. Then I spend time with David and Pui See. Later the team has extended group intercession. We end with a late dinner at a restaurant. Its a beef place. The atmosphere is positive and mood is upbeat.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Tuesday in USACH

I cannot sleep for hours on Mon night. After putting on socks I manage to get some sleep. Groggy and cold in the morning, I have breakfast with David. Later I clear e-mails and communicate on Skype. Then Ee Lee does a quick lunch.
We spend most of the day in the University of Santiago Chile (USACH). There are 10 key universities in Santiago. This is the biggest with 18,000 students here. Cindy meets us there. We spend time with Paula & Walter who are both studying here. They show us around. They also ask many questions about God and the Bible. We notice there are a lot of stray dogs.
In the night Ee Lee take me out for dinner. Later I chat more with David. I really need to get used to the cold in Chile.

Hangover in Santiago

I am so exhausted that I sleep till noon. Ee Lee is at home and she cooks instant noodles for lunch.
Later I chat with Pui See and then with David. David briefs me that the nation of Chile has 16.2 million people in 14 regions, 51 provinces & 346 municipalities.
Later five potential members & leaders join us on Monday night.
I get to meet Gonzalo, Estela, Monica, Belen and Walter. Paula can't make it tonight. The team asks that I pray for each of our local friends.
Later we debrief and celebrate Ee Lee’s birthday again with the cake Estela brought. I sleep at 2 am.

Mendoza not Santiago

Our flight is meant to arrive 5 am Sunday. Then we are supposed to join a local church service. Ee Lee & Cindy were at airport at 5 am. But Santiago airport was closed to aircraft due to heavy fog. Our plane was diverted to the closest airport. This is my first time in Argentina. I don't even have a visa! After touching down for 15 min, the captain announced we have to wait 1 more hour because Mendoza airport services are not open yet. I spend 4 hours on transit. It's a small airport and we could have walked out and no one would have known. It's also cold.
We arrive in Santiago 7 hours later. David is present and he tells me the girls waited from 5 right up to 9 am. Now it is 7 degrees C. He says this is the coldest winter in 70 years. He's also coughing. The airport taxi brings us to their apartment in the city. Pui See comes out after having quiet time in the waiting room. Later Ee Lee and Cindy join us. We catch up and then go for a late lunch at the Central Market. It's very cold and my tired body is adjusting. We walk into the Cathedral of Santiago briefly. I am very tired walking in the cold. We join the evening service of Tempo de Dios church (Church of God’s Time).
Finally we get home to rest and I shower. I hear stray cats meowing in the cold. We catch up further and spring a surprise birthday for Ee Lee. I bring out her birthday gifts from Singapore.

Last Day in Quito

The worship service starts with ice breakers. Lennin co-leads the service with Sharon. Sharon leads worship with Ricky and Alehandro on the guitars. Then I preach with Wee Leng translating. Today there are over 20 local adults with one first timer. This first-time law student commits his life to Christ. It is a good time.

Luis and Lennin organise the barbeque. This barbeque has a unique local touch. Overall its a really fun day out in the garden .

The members hang out long after the barbeque. Some ask me to pray for them. Then I spend some time with Sharon. Its good to have extended time with old friends.

Four members wait till evening to say very touching good byes. Lennin and family stays to drive us to the airport. I feel sad on the way to the airport. We say long goodbyes. The airport is also strange - once you go to check in, you cannot come out.

Then I am so tired I actually fall asleep at the boarding gate. The plane flies to Guayaquil then to Santiago.

Friday in Quito

We gear up for today's full day seminar. People come still excited though a little tired from a long night. Some come about half hour later.

In total 13 locals came for the four sessions of church Vision and Philosophy. 2 university students came later. Later I realise 1 of them actually has exams tonight. There is a lot of good discussion going.

Wee Leng and I challenge the people to have a vision for Ecuador. Ecuador has a population of 13 million people is in 22 provinces, 219 cantons and 1472 parishes. There are 4 million Ecuadorians overseas. We also challenge the 4 students from Central University to have a vision for their campus. They are excited.

We have take away dinner together. After dinner , Wan Phing leads us in corporate worship. Then I do the fourth and final session. It has been one and half days of teaching, worship and bonding. It has been a good time.

Thursday in Quito

I have breakfast with Wan Phing before she goes to work. Then the Lima team arrives. Today we have lunch with Lennin and his son. He is part of the local leadership. We discover over lunch that Wee Leng’s version of ‘light’ lunch is dubious.

Next Serene conducts a music workshop for Alehandro, Ricky and Sharon in the afternoon. The rest of us prepare for the night session.

In total 15 local adults join in the night session. Wan Phing takes care of 3 kids, Serene lead worship, Delia shares her testimony, I teach with Delia translating. I ask for response.
Julian and Sharon lay hands on one group whilst Wee Leng and Ai Lay lay hands on another group. I take the third group.
Two locals present have already been baptised in the Spirit previously. Tonight five persons are baptised in the Spirit and manifest in tongues almost instantaneously.
We end at 10 pm. People are excited. Some people only leave at 11:45 pm. The Lima team leaves at 12 am. We say long goodbyes to each other. It is sad.
Then Wee Leng, Sharon and I have dinner and debrief at the same time. I go to bed at 1 am.

More Indian food & birthday celebrations

Wednesday starts with breakfast with Sharon before she goes to work. The Lima team arrives soon after. I manage to catch up with Delia and with Ailay. Later we discuss Thursday ministry events.

Wee Leng brings us for Indian food again as per Lima team's request. Then Sharon brings the girls shopping as Julian, Wee Leng and I have a drink. The girls come back and persuade me to get a new leather jacket. They including Wee Leng argue that the one I am wearing is 18 years old. I talk about something called sentimental value! The girls volunteer to help choose one then Wee Leng bargains shamelessly. We get it for USD75 with their guarantee that it would cost USD130 in Singapore.

After parting with my money, we go for dinner. We meet with the Hope Quito local leaders. Here is a picture of Alejandro snapping a picture. Yes, we celebrate Julian's birthday again. They call him "hulian" in Spanish. Hulian is the one smiling broadly...