Monday, June 23, 2008

Project Report #28 - The Road Not Taken

Hello people, making another entry as I’m a bit free-er now. It has been a long weekend for me and the team from Harvest Gen but we all came back feeling really fulfilled both in spirit and also in stomachs! We went to Ipoh to minister in 3 different places back-to-back all within 12 hours, something I personally have never done before. Challenging, but it was really worth it!

I’ll start from the very beginning, we departed from Subang Jaya at about 6.30am, it took us slightly above 2 hours to reach Ipoh town. Calvin, Chris, Nick and were driving and surprisingly we were not that tired even though all of us have had a long week before this. As we were driving towards past Simpang Pulai, I notice that there was a police with a speed cam on the tower just beside the highway, at that time I was travelling at about 120km/h… wasn’t so bad la. I slowed down after that and as I was slowing down, low and behold, our dear Nick sped and overtook me. I was like “Oh no…”

To make things worse, just about 5km after Nick overtook me, there was a roadblock… Not just any roadblock, but a speed trap roadblock! And guess what? Both my car and Nick’s car were stopped by the police. I wasn’t really speeding though, the policeman who took my license and inspected my car just gave me a warning saying that I was a little bit over the speed limit… about 122km/h, so he let me off la. As I was driving out, I pass by Nick’s car and both he and Ps Ryan were talking to the policeman attending to him. We waited for them at the side of the road further up from the roadblock. When Nick came to meet us, guess what? He got a speeding ticket! HAHAH! How fast was he going? 123km/hour! We all laughed our heads off! So suay la he! Then he blamed me for not getting a ticket, he said he wanted me to kena sama-sama with him… haha.. Too bad, Nick!

Well, just after we continued our journey to Ipoh, we stopped at the Simpang Pulai petrol station and continued laughing at nick. So bad right we all? But it’s such a funny incident! Although I really pity him because he has to pay the saman, but I couldn’t help but to laugh! Here are some photos of the 'convict' and the car he was convicted in~! By the way, Calvin's just there to console him...

So Ps Ryan took over the driving from there and maintained our speed from there…

When we reached Ipoh at about 8.30am, we picked up Sherene Ng, the leader of Harvest Time Sanctuary Church youth, and went for breakfast at a Dim Sum place in town. We had a fantastic breakfast, ate like pigs! The food was fabulous! Definitely one of the best Dim Sum places I’ve ever been to.

After a great breakfast, we moved on to YMCA building at about 11.30am where we prepared for our first session. While we were setting up, some of our leaders went to meet with the YMCA leaders to discuss certain issues and programmes to be implemented for the youngsters there. At 1.30pm sharp, we began our session with worship lead by Ern Suey, it was really hilarious how she began. We were mainly ministering to students there, some non-believers as well, and she didn’t know how to begin. So she just shouted “Hallelujah! Let’s being!” So being supportive on the drums, I just had to bang my cymbals la… It was a rather abrupt start but it was no doubt a fantastic time of worship, the Holy Spirit really moved in that place. After worship, Calvin Tay took the stage for preaching. Although the interpreter couldn’t catch up in terms of scripture reading which cause a lot of abrupt pauses along the message, he preached still his heart out about Pressing On. 3 main things to catch from his message: 1)We have to face our trials 2)We were made to overcome those trials 3) We have to Press On to continuously maintain the overcoming nature so that we can finish the race of faith.

After the awesome session was over about 2pm, we met up with Ps Chan, the senior pastor of Canning Garden Baptist Church (CGBC). So we went to Ipoh stadium to have our ice-dessert stuff and more food. Again, the food was fantastic. We had a good time of fellowship with Ps Chan, he was a great host to us for that afternoon although he was still in pain from his appendix operation.

Soon after we finished our lunch some teatime, we made our way to CGBC at about 3.30pm to minister in the youth service. We had to setup and run through quickly some song for our sound check then we started praying. The presence of God was really strong as we began praying. Calvin lead worship and God really moved. Then Carol took the stage for the preaching of the Word. She preached about Not Having the Form of Godliness but Denying its Power. She spoke in the lines of not just serving in church to meet and maintain a ‘structure’ of else for sure we will burn-out, but we are to serve in full dependence on God and with a heart that is continuously charged with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Only when we empty ourselves of OURSELVES can God move powerfully in and through our lives.

The service ended at about 5.30pm, we mingled a bit with the crowd, I spoke with some of the more senior people of that church to catch up with them. We had to leave about 6pm for another youth service at Harvest Time Sanctuary. When we reached Harvest Time, it was about 6.20pm. Some of us started setting up our instruments immediately while some rested. It has been a very long a tiring day for all of us but we still believed that God will move mightily in for the next session we’re taking.

After a short rest, proceeded with sound check and began the service at about 8pm. Chris lead the worship that night, we really sensed the Holy Spirit moving in the midst of us. We could really see that the youth there came with heart really expecting an encounter with God. After the worship, Ps Ryan preached the word. He spoke about God Shaking and Stirring Us. The thing that struck me most in the message was when he said that when God shakes, everything that’s not meant to be there will be shaken off, but whatever that’s meant to remain will be STIRRED. It’s an amazing revelation to me personally. Ps Ryan goes on to say that after the every shaking, after the every stirring, our vision and purpose becomes clearer…

Ps Ryan opened up the altar for the people to respond and it was a great time of ministry. The youth really prayed their hearts out when Ps Ryan let them to pray in tongues! I felt so at home over there. At the end of the service, we sang the song ‘Shine Like Stars’ 3 times! By that time, I was really physically depleted… can you imagine playing drums, a very physical instrument, for 3 sessions in 8 hours straight? HAH! It’s like jogging 30km to me… but it was only by the grace of God that I manage to play right till the last beat that night. All glory be to God!

We ended the service at almost 11pm. Had a short time of fellowship with some of the youngsters there. We even had the privilege of meeting the Senior Pastor of Harvest Time Sanctuary, who is also Sherene’s father. Wonderful man, you can really see how much he loves the young people, and how much they love him. So we packed up, freshen up a bit, and had our debriefing which Ps Ryan and we funnily sat exactly the same positions as how Ps Kong Hee did when he met us in CHC Malaysia. Then we left for dinner to the famous curry mee place near Ipoh Garden.

Again, we ate like mad because we were really hungry! I personally felt like fainting already after the evening service because it was really drawing out as we ministered to the people. Physically tired, but spiritually so satisfied! We met some of the youths there as well and got to know some of them better. They are really a fantastic bunch of people. By the time we were done, it was past midnight already, so we said our thank yous and goodbyes and made our voyage back to Subang Jaya.

We stopped by briefly again to fuel up in Simpang Pulai, again! HAHA! While we were there, most of us went a bit high because we were happy for ‘someone’ who made great ‘progress’ in this trip. Hehe… but we’re very proud of him for FINALLY taking initiative. After fueling up, laughing like mad men, and buying bottles of Livita, we began our long journey back down the dark and car-less highway.

It was really torture for me to drive back, not just because I’m so physically tired, but also due to the poor vision of the NON-lit highways. We had only reflectors from the road lane lines and the dividers to guide us on the road. If there was a bend ahead, from a distance it’s as though there’s no more road more road. Took a lot of mental strength to endure through such a drive, having to be on tiptop alert the whole 2 hours of drive in pitch darkness… But praise God, we made it safely back, if not I wouldn’t be making this entry now. Hah! We reached Subang at about 2.30am, by the time I sent everyone in my car home, it was almost 3am. After showering, washing up and unpacking, it was already 3.30am, Sunday morning.

Yet, this did not stop us from going to church within the next 3 hours and prepare for a great service. In fact, the team that went for this trip were the same people who was serving the very next morning for Sunday service. Tired? Of Course~! I was on the drums again. Calvin and Chris had to pickup and send people back from Nilai. But did anyone complain? NONE! We still pressed on in our prayer and service to God. We played, sing and preached our hearts out! And the outcome? God move mightily again in our service… Calvin preach another powerful message which stuck many hearts. All this was possible only by the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit..

To end the story of our Ipoh ministry trip, most of us went home to ‘die’ on our beds. I slept a good 4 hours after Sunday service. By God’s grace, none of us fell sick. In Harvest Gen, we are always taught that we’re ordinary people who serve an extraordinary God. And because we choose to walk the path that is set for us by the extraordinary God, we no longer live ordinary lives. Many people say we’re crazy, even some of our closest friends wonder how we manage so to cover so much in such a short period of time… all I can say is that it can only be God! Because I ,myself, am amazed how God has chosen to use me in such an extraordinary way… to bring me through things I never knew I could do or achieve… All praise and glory be to God~!

That’s all I have for you guys for this entry, I know it’s a bit long but I hope this entry will be a testimony to inspire some of you to get out of your norm, comfortable lives and take up the challenge of pursuing the purposes that God has rightfully placed in your life, without making excuses, without complaints. No great thing ever achieved by anyone has come easy and without sacrifices. The old nature has to die for the new nature of God to prevail in our lives. Challenge yourself daily to walk with God closer, always remember that God will never ever lead to a place where His grace cannot keep you. Every challenge that you encounter is meant to make you stronger, every trial is meant for you to succeed over, every obstacle is meant for you to overcome it! Have a great week ahead and God Bless…

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Project Report #27 - The Hills Have Bykes

Hey people, it is with great regret that I was not able to make much entries the past few months. Things have been moving very fast in church, my work as well as other things that I’m currently involved in. for starters, I forgot to mention that earlier this year God has blessed me with an increment of 33.37%.. Praise God for His providence. I’ve been able to bless people with simple things like birthday gifts, meals and transportation. God blesses us to be blessing right? I’m trying my best although I’m still not perfect, there are a lot of things within me that’s birth from selfishness that I have to deal with day by day and I believe one day I shall conquer it once and for all. No war is won in a day..

Much has been happening in my life, I find myself being challenged within these past few months to forgive and let go of things that people wronged against me and the people I love. It’s not easy, I’m still dealing with issues of anger and grudges, it’s a learning curve for me but I’m praying really hard that I will be able to overcome this soon. Easier said than done? Definitely! This is because the only people that can hurt you are the people who are closest to you.

Being close to a person is like taking off your bullet proof vest in front of another person whose hand is still on the gun trigger. It’s a risk to love anyone, I’m not talking about romantic love, just plain close friendship… So would I stop loving people close to me and further develop more close friends? Of course not! What’s life without friends? Some may abandon you, but the ones who stick by you will be priceless in good times and bad.

Church has been fantastic the past few months! We’ve been ministering in Ipoh, Klang, and even had our first church baptism in May with 4 candidates! We’ll be heading to Ipoh again this Saturday, it’s gonna be an entire day. We’ll be leaving Subang Jaya at 7am or so and by the time we’re done and travelled back from Ipoh, it would be about 4am, Sunday morning! Mind you, we won’t be skipping church on Sunday morning. Is it tiring? YESS! We’re still human with physical bodies… but we believe that if we choose to pay the price today, the future generations that will come after us will reap the benefits.

What are we doing in Ipoh and Klang? We’re partnering with different churches there to do youth works. Training them in different practical ministry skills, helping them mold their character and never compromising on the things of the Word and Spirit. For those who have been through the CampusCity Leadership Training last time, this will sound familiar to you. This is rather similar, but we’ve made some changes to suit the culture and the level of the different groups that we’re ministering to. It’s amazing to see young guys and gals, age 14 to 17, to preach for their own youth service! We’ve seen many lives of these young ones changed… All glory to God!

About 3 weeks ago, our church had a mini outing to the well renowned Bukit Cherakah, which I refer to as Bukit Celaka due to a lot of unforeseen circumstances that has happened the few times I was there. This time, I did enjoy myself but with a certain price to pay la, let me tell you the story. We arrived there at about 10.30am after a breakfast. We had Indian breakfast by the way, which was not a good idea at all going cycling with your tummy full of spicy stuff. We rented bikes and off we went cycling in the forest reserve. This is where the pain began…

We just cycled without having any clue to which direction of the park we were going. The park was not all flat ground roads ok… it comprised of almost 70% slopes and most of these slopes were super steep! We practically cycled the entire park until then finally Ps Ryan decided to go to the 4 Seasons Climate thing, it’s just a building which gives you a feel of what season it would be if we were in a 4 season region. Not knowing where it was we just agreed to go, so we cycled all the way to the WRONG END of the park. Then only we realized that the 4 Season building was at the other FAR END of the park! It was like a good 15km of slope roads to get there. Disheartened, our dear friend Nick Chan wanted to give up already… I so understand why, with lousy bikes, hilly roads under the blazing hot sun, it was no joke that it was super taxing on our bodies!

Nevertheless, we cycled all the way to the 4 Seasons building with a brief rest at a small cafĂ© in between. Upon reaching there, we saw the youth group from HCA there. We also met a kid who looks exactly like Shaun Foo! Both chubby, dark and has exactly the same mannerisms! Shaun’s look-a-like’s mother even said herself that she almost mistaken Shaun for her son! HAHA~! For those of you who don’t know who is Shaun, he is Ps Ryan’s nephew that attends our church as well.

So after the brief amusement of finding the ‘twins’, we moved on to enter the 4-Seasons place. It was really nice although the whole place smelt like a vegetable shop. We took a lot of pictures there, Ps Ryan and Brenda took some couple shots as well for their wedding purposes. I took a few shots myself but I never got to see the pictures even till today. HAHA! We had a good time there just chilling out in the cold breeze of spring. After that we made our way back to the exit of the park to go home already..

On the way back, our dear friend Nick Chan again, got his bike chain stuck deep in between the gears. It took 3 grown men and 30 minutes to pull that thing out because we didn’t have the tools to remove and the bicycle shack was really far away. Ps Ryan, Calvin and myself got our hands practically coated with black gear grease. Then in the middle of fixing the bike, Calvin had a little cramp on his leg and felt like vomiting. Remember what we had for breakfast? Haha! Thank God he didn’t throw up in the end. We just cycled slowly back to the park entrance.

At the end of that day, everyone of us had sore-muscles, especially our butt muscles. Cycling up and down hill with lousy bikes and under the hot sun was really an ‘experience’! But one that I’m really glad I went. Above all this ‘pain’, every one of us had fun and it brought us closer together. Heck, it even gave us a bit of the physical exercise we need… we’re lacking a lot of that your know =P

PROJECT REPORT~! Nothing much has been happening with my car lately, I’ve just changed my voltage stabilizer and iridium sparkplugs to improve my idling and fuel ignition. This month’s expenses will be a bit tight due to the fuel price surging. Last time I could survive with RM350 for fuel a month, now it’s a staggering RM500 a month! Worried? A bit… Fearful? Not really… But I know God will provide because He has said in His word that He will never let His children beg for bread…

Do read my flooble chat entries once in awhile. I do post some really good quote which I come across during Sunday sermons or things that I read. I hope it will bless you as much as it has blest me. I think this is a rather short entry, I will update you all more on the Ipoh trip when I return. Praise God that I will be able to go to Singapore for the Asia Conference in City Harvest! God is faithful to provide!

Thanks for making time to read, nothing really ‘preachy’ today, just sharing some little things that has happened in my life. Stay tuned for the upcoming update maybe by next week. Till then, take care people! Have a wonderful week ahead and God bless!