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.