Monday, May 12, 2008

Leave from Blogspot

Yes I did mean to write. Then the month of March went crazy. April was no different. It's already May.

Before I went on leave from Blogspot, I was introduced to Facebook. It's quite different and I find it better in some aspects. You can find me there.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Be All You Can Be

It's Valentine's morning and Lawrence calls me on the phone. He and Pat are leaving Terminal 3 as I reaching T3. I talk on the phone being amazed by T3. Its just spectacular. It's like nothing I have seen for a long time.

Chris picks me up from LAX and takes me to Manhattan Beach for lunch. The beach is beautiful even for a jetlagged person. I wash up and rest a little before a Valentine dinner at Lee and Lin's place.

The camp theme is 'Be All You Can Be'. There are many firsts. It's the first Hope Irvine and Hope LA's combined camp. Well there was one person from Hope Portland. It's the first time at the Oaks campsite. They have aimed for this top-rated site for 2 years. It's the first that camp is over-subscribed. They reserved 62 places. Actual turnout was 81 adults & youths with 14 kids. It's the first time the camp is 3-night instead of 2-night. It's the first time there are 2 dads coming to Christ (both on Sun). It's the first time most of the cell phones have no connection.

Jetlag was rather bad on Fri. Lee and Cyn saw me yawning a lot. The campsite in Lake Hughes being in a beautiful mountainous forest up helps overcome jetlag. On one of the days I even saw a herd of deer walking past the cabins.

The winter camp is from Fri evening to Mon noon. Its great to see 5 persons who are first-time ever in a church camp. The pastors are the judges the Sat night 'Do You Have Talent?'. This event is creative, captivating and well-thought of. Sunday night sees an extended response time goes well. My throat is well worked and hoarse after this.

It's so great to catch up with Tom, New, Joshua, Al, Doreen, James and Chai and to meet new people. On Monday we bid goodbyes. It's sad to leave Lake Hughes. Everyone is tired on the 2-hour drive back to urban LA. Then it's catch-up time with Chai and Crystal on Mon night.

On Tue morn Malay calls from Chicago. Next is a meeting at the US Center for World Missions. Then Cyn and Judy bring me for early dinner. Its Taiwanese food and then PinkBerry. James drops by later. Then it is the airport for a late flight home. I spend Wed transiting Taipei and crossing time zones. Thank God for the much-needed sleep on this flight.

I arrive on Thur and cab home. It's answering e-mails after doing my laundry and shower. Later we have a Lunar New Year dinner with our leaders downtown. Its good to reunite and relax with all these good people. We realise tonight is the 15th and last day of the Lunar New Year.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lunar celebrations continue

Dinah and I join our Mandarin service on Sunday. For one particular song, a 70-year old man plays the keyboard. Today some members are still in Malaysia for the Lunar New Year. Sau Hoi tells us that we have been here for every Lunar New Year service since 2006 at the Phoenix Hotel. Here's the photo taken on Andrew's PDA phone.

Vincent and Jenny is the host on Monday night. Melvyn & Linda, Henry & Pansy, Boon Hup & Catherine, Dinah and I visit the Luns. Danny and wife can't make it. This is the first time we gather with spouses. We forget to take photos of this 'historic' gathering.

Tue night is when KG, Stan, Wilson and Chris come to our place for visitation. This is their first time at our place. Unfortunately James is overseas and Lawrence is unable to join. Well this SCEM team is quite different but we do have a good time together. Here's the photo taken by Dinah.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Lunar Holidays

Wednesday is the eve of Lunar New Year and it is very hot. Our family have a late lunch at Parkway Parade. We come home and relax. Later I chat with Cyn on Skype. Then it is off for our Reunion Dinner. This year's host is Derrick and Grace. Its like a pot-luck where each family brings a dish. We catch up with siblings with so much food over a long night.

We sleep in on Thu. We awake & enjoy a leisurely breakfast. We call my parents. I speak to my brother, sis-in-law & dad. Mom & my sister's family is in Seoul. Dad says Seoul is too cold for him. Dinah does a simple lunch. We do reading in the warm afternoon. Dinner is at her mom's place till late. We return & the twins compile hong baos. I realise no one took photos last night & tonight.

We sleep in on Fri. Terry skypes a greeting from Guangzhou. We read in the morn after I do some laundry. Then David skypes from Portland. Dinah does lunch. Kids prepare for next week's test. Thankfully today's not as warm. We swim & have dinner at Jan's place. We enjoy the movie "One Night with the King" at home. This is the story of Esther in Persia, a good screen drama.

Sat starts with sermon preparation. Then Chai calls on Skype from LA. After lunch we visit David & Lisan at Lakeside. Lisan gave birth to their first child, Kaelynn two Saturdays ago. They used to be our neighbours until Dec. Then we visit Sharon's family in Marine Parade. Her mom overfeeds us. Dan notices their coasters are the same as ours - its all from Sharon. Its great to meet with her parents & her sis comes home as we are about to leave. After dinner at home, our neighbour drops by to give hongbaos & chat.

I remember Lunar New Year in Sabah. But this year has been more of a Lunar Holiday for us. Well Dinah has just completed a major spring cleaning. We've lived here since May 02. This clearing started late Dec till early Feb. She has been amazing & quite exhausted too. On top of that the twins have morning supp. classes at school since mid-Jan. We have been waking up even earlier each morning. Yes, we're all quite thankful for this break.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

CN & Christine: The Wedding

Friday, 1st Feb begins a cool spell that lasts till Tuesday. It is cloudy and sometimes rainy.

Saturday starts with Jean coming to our place to help with makeup for Dinah and Deb. Then we are off to the wedding. I just officiated Teck Keong and Siew Yee's wedding in this same church 5 Saturdays ago. Here we are again. Deb and Dan participate in the march-in bridal procession. Shirl and team leads worship. James and Selina is the MC. I do the wedding exhortation. Dinah officiates the wedding. CN and Christine give moving thank-you speeches. It's the first time I have non-Christians coming up to thank us for a "moving" and "touching" service. One say it is "so pure". In fact Dinah and I also say that this is a special wedding. We enjoy mingling with the guests during lunch. Later Dinah joins the wedding dinner.

Next I do 3 sermons on Sunday. We see CN & Christine in the second morning service. After evening service I'm truly exhausted and sleep early. Before that, it strikes me that Dinah and I spent the first weekend of the year with CN, Christine and JEDI. Now we do their wedding on the first weekend of Feb. And what an evangelistic wedding!

Friday, February 01, 2008

The reunion before the Reunion

1st Feb starts with a Skype call with Betty from Pasadena. Then it is a morning get-together with Pui See back from Santiago. She is back for Chinese New Year. Her hubby Dave happens to be on a different flight. Charmaine and I spend the morning with our friend. This is the reunion before the Reunion dinner.

Later Charmaine and I go to the wake for Alvin's late dad. Guess what? Dinah arrives shortly. We spend time with Alvin and Elaine. Its like another reunion. It pours as we go back to the office. The three of us have a late lunch. Then Cyn calls from Hope LA. I go on to complete my wedding exhortation and Sunday sermon. This is a fruitful and rainy Friday.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

One Wednesday in January

Wednesday, 30 Jan starts with sermon preparation. At noon time our team celebrate Hong Teck's birthday. He actually turned 34 on 1st Jan. So we're a little late but... Today Kam picked the place. We go to this coffee shop that I notice has been renovated. It seems the birthday boy enjoyed the lunch treat. Here is the photo of guys in our team. Desmond is the newest member. The last time we did lunch was November when we had bak kut teh. We really need to get together a bit more.

Next I walk over to meet Lawrence and Omar. Lawrence arranged for this some time ago. Omar is also 34 and is from Peru. He told us he wanted to be a Catholic priest. Now he is doing a Masters degree (civil engineering) in Sao Paulo and desires to be a missionary. He is here to improve his English during the uni break and has been with our church since Dec. He shares what he has learnt in our church. Today Lawrence buys him a Brazilian lunch. Pity that I have already eaten.

Next I meet with Jeff in the office. Afterwards I clear e-mails and return phone calls. Then there is CN and Christine's wedding rehearsal tonight. This last Wednesday in January is quite a day.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The changing weather

Dinah and I both feel the increasing humidity and heat. The story starts on Sunday. Dinah and I see Lalita at the Team Rally and say hello. I hope to catch her before she goes home. Sun night sees me with an episode of sneezing in between munching chocolates.

Dinah and I are on leave on Monday. I awake with throat infection and still sneezy so spend the day resting. This 'flu' knocks me out much of Tuesday. My throat still hurts on Wednesday. I try to talk less when someone calls on Skpye or on the phone. Dinah shuttles the twins around as I try to rest and drink water.

Its Thursday and there is no sign of the pain leaving. Its time with Steffen. He spent 5 months with us several years back. Now he is a pastor in Stuttgart. Daniel and Tobias from Stuttgart are also here with us. Today Lawrence and I assist in Steffen's initiation into Indonesian food. Later my wife says I should have avoided fried chicken. That cold pink guava drink doesn't help either. Thank God that Lawrence help answer Steffen's many questions.

Charmaine arranges lunch on Friday with Lalita. Her flight home is Saturday morning. Lalita was with our church for 5 years. Now she is back in Nepal. She misses Hokkien mee. Well I had breakfast with her in the recent conference with a bunch of leaders. Its good to have a smaller group today even though I can't talk much.

I see our doctor after seeing Lalita. He says to stop talking and start resting. I tell him that I have 5 sermons on the weekend. He says, "I'll give you strong medication". It is potent as I spend Saturday and Sunday preaching without any pain. After all that its good to have lunch with Chien Meng. Yes l I feel 'spent' on Sunday evening and can sense a hangover coming.

It hasn't been fun being sick this week. Its probably because of the changing weather. It was cool but its been hot & humid this week. Or maybe it's the chocolates. But I do miss the cool days.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My 1st conference in 2008

On Sunday afternoon Dinah and the twins send me off at HarbourFront. I get on the luxury coach to KL for the first time. The ride is smooth and comfortable. It takes us under 5 hours to reach Sunway Pyramid mall. Here is a photo of this large mall. An old friend Huo Yu picks me up at 11:30 pm. She takes me to the hotel where I check in. My room mate Prakich is already there.

We spend Monday in planning meetings. The leaders conference is from Tuesday to Thursday. I do a workshop. Here is a photo of my room mate and our German friends from Stuttgart. We know Steffen well because he spent time in Singapore. He is the guy on the right. Willie takes this photo for us.

One of the cool things is to catch up with old friends. Here is a photo of university buddies. Charmaine (left), Arlene (right) and I did Accounting at university in Perth. We have a great time catching up at this pool side dinner. We say we must have a reunion. I think we have said that before.

I take the Friday morning flight home. Micaiah drives the Okumuras, Masami and I to the airport. He told me he spent 3 years in our church in Singapore. He said the defining moment was his water baptism in Singapore. He remembers Pastor Lawrence baptising him. He is now a Unit Leader in Hope PJ. Masami is an old friend. I first met her in Hope Seattle in 1998. The Okumuras spent 3 months in our church some years back. This is a photo taken by a police officer at the KL International Airport.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

1st time in Indonesian Service

Saturday is when I speak at our Indonesian service at the Meridien Hotel. I'm excited to meet our people here. I'm encouraged to see a good bunch of young Indonesians and a good core of leaders. I'm told that currently we have 50 Indonesians, 4 Malaysians and 1 Singaporean.

The worship service uses some English words in a predominantly Indonesian environment. The service is just under 2 hours. It's a lively worship service. There is photo taking afterwards and people stay around to relate. Then some go for sushi. I decline the dinner invite simply because Dinah and the twins are waiting at the church office.

This is my first time at our Indonesian service on the second weekend of the year. After saying goodbye I fetch my family from the office. We come home and pack for tomorrow's overland trip to a conference. Here's a photo with some of the leaders at the conference.

Monday, January 07, 2008

First Weekend in 2008

It's the first weekend of the year. It starts with Saturday in the church office. Cara is on duty today. Dinah is around. I'm finalising a challenging passage to preach tomorrow.

Guess who we bump into? Six leaders from our Mandarin service are having a full day meeting here. The junior photographer in the family (spell 'Daniel') helps us takes a photo. Dinah was here earlier but left before this photo. We catch up with these wonderful people and then we leave them to get on with what they need to do.

Dinah tells me that after lunch, a couple come to the office to spend some time with her.

Later the JEDI (Jesus Empowered Disciples International) group of comes. This overseas returnees ministry was started about 5 years ago. The ministry reaches Singaporeans who return from overseas studies and foreigners who studied abroad and start working here. Today they have a leadership session here with 2 Indonesians, 3 Malaysians & 4 Singaporeans. Dinah and I spend some time with this group. Cara takes this photo for us. It's a full Saturday here at the office.

The first Sunday of the year is also a cool day. Addy tells me backstage that our church's Hope Premier League starts this evening. I told him, "Play well." Then I do two sermons and rest a little as Dinah spring cleans. Lawrence sends me a SMS that the first soccer game ends with a 4-1 score line. That's a feast of goals. In the evening our household goal of spring cleaning is done. We rest, bidding goodbye to the first weekend in 2008.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Crossing Over

Here's the story of crossing over to 2008. We do year-end break spring cleaning. We haven't done so for 2 years. So there's quite a few bags for the Salvation Army and for the chute. The cool weather is nice for consolidating, cleaning and clearing. In between we have get-togethers. There is Teck Keong and Siew Yee's wedding on Saturday. It is very meaningful to be here.

On Sunday after our evening service, our family join the year-end thanksgiving dinner at the Singapore Centre for Evangelism and Missions (SCEM). Up to this point I just know the board members & staff as we serve together. This dinner is the first time when we meet everyone's spouses and children all at one time. Chris, Fang and their family are the lovely hosts. We all have a great time Sunday evening together.

We spend New Year's eve with old friends. Quan, Imy, little Sarah and baby Ethan are from Dallas but Quan is currently working in KL. The family spend their year-end break in Singapore. We said hello after Sunday morning service. Then we spend Monday afternoon together. Next is our family haircut appointment. Sadly we have to wait a long time at the hairdresser because of many party goers who want their hair done for New Year's Eve parties.

We spend the first day of 2008 celebrating Claudia's birthday. Her birthday
is actually before Christmas but Tuesday was the best time for all of us. We gather around Indian fusion food. It is so good to catch-up after being away and after the festivities. After lunch it is back to consolidating, clearing and cleaning. Our neighbour drop by in the evening. We spend the rest of the night is preparing for the first day of the school year and the first day of the ministry year. 2008 here we come...