:: generosity ::

I really believe in generosity.

Heck, i grew up in a Peranakan family which is more community-based Malay than it is being a calculative Chinese. (totally racist, yes, but you get my drift). So, i grew up always having more food than i needed on the table. AND learning that i should always prepare MORE than enough food for guests on the table. Why? Because ‘pantang’ to have less than more.

Getting saved and knowing that generosity is a kingdom value, wasn’t hard to accept at all. The struggle is more of teaching others to do the same. Truly, it is something to be caught, not taught. I thank God i caught this early…and having it instilled further as a believer of Christ, has proven to be more of a blessing to me even though i give to others.

Some things on generosity that i’ve learnt, practised and am still learning to practice:

  1. Paying for another person’s meal. Simple stuff, really. But you’d be surprised how hard it is sometimes. Especially when you think the person is less deserving of it. But man, the effect to fullness in your spirit, is far more than the food/drink you can consume.
  2. Never letting the offering bag pass me by without giving. Painful, really. Especially when you didn’t break down your money. And all that’s left is RM50. HAHA. But test Him in this, says Malachi 3, and we’ll see the windows of heaven open and we’ll receive blessing so much so that we can’t contain. I think our perception of the windows of heaven needs to change. Because while i have NEVER experienced cash pouring down from heaven like rain, i have NEVER (and i’m totally serious), NEVER experienced starvation/lack despite having my bank account registering only RM1 as balance. God blesses beyond our imagination and uses people we never thought He would use. I’m still learning to trust God that He doesn’t function the way *i* expect Him to.
  3. Paying for my leaders’ or peers’ meal. Now this is a tricky one. Because sometimes it ends up paying for an entire table. But i’ve been challenged to do this (so this is not a MUST), and i am learning to practice it whenever i can. And because *i’ve* been blessed with the same and am constantly surprised when it happens (still), i WANT to do more of it. Its a nice surprise for them and an irrrepressible joy for me because i generally feel happier when others are happy-lah. And it reminds us (people who can afford to pay our own meals), that there is some good in the world. It is also honoring :) I see my mentor rushing to get the bill to pay for our senior pastor (and fight it out), oh, so Asian. Surely i can (afford to) do the same?

Just a quick thought, if we could do it in our friends/families/business meetings, etc, WHY NOT in the church? My own reasoning is this: because there is an evident ‘blessing’ that we see > i gain friendship, favor and prolly a business deal in tow.

But please see God’s Word and meditate on this:

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

My bank account is not limited because He says its not.

 

:: struggle is real ::

Sebak hati aku.

Am so thrilled that my friends are rightfully appointed and being honored. But omg, they’re all leaving. I know we’re all still one church, one family and most definitely, still friends. But it still *feels* different. I’m gonna miss them so.

I didn’t feel it as much when they left the first time but boy, i sure feel it now :(

How is it possible to feel happy and sad at the same time?!

And to have no emoticon for this.

#thestruggleisreal

*****

A friend sent me this emoticon after i ranted a little. Made sense.

JoelV

New beginnings.

Ok, Ellie. Stop being such a wimp.

 

:: this slow pace ::

I turn 29 this year.

Nothing i’m particularly worried about, really. But i am thinking about it.  About how much closer i am to turning 30 and if i am HAPPY with that.

Have i done all the things i used to say i wanted to do before i turned 30 because it’s turning up a lot sooner than i expected/noticed it would be.

I write this post only so i can track back thoughts and remind myself this is where i was and compare myself in the future to it being where i’m at.

  1. I’m comfortable with my job now. After years of complaining and (still) fighting with my dad over different views of how to do things, we’re in this pace of pulling and pushing when it requires. I pick my wars wisely now.
  2. I’m happy being in Acts Church. I really am. This is the place i’ve been worshipping for the past 10 years of my life, and it’s a decision i’ve not regretted. My dad thought it was just a phase when i accepted Christ. 10 years on, I’ve grown so much, made so many memories, i intend to stay.
  3. I’ve kept my friends. Some albeit closer than others. A few of which i’ve kept since i was 7. That’s more than two decades of friendship. How could i not be thankful for that?? It’s a feat in itself, honestly. A feat i’m tremendously proud of. Here’s to decades ahead, #TheKawans.
  4. I’ve traveled more than i ever thought i could. The record is at 10 countries now and i’m thankful for the opportunity.
  5. I’ve never been in lack, financially. Thankful to God for always providing in the nick of time. I can FINALLY say i’m stable and i have INSURANCE. Ha! Now that’s a feat considering how i would rather spend the money on that beach holiday. I found applying for my own insurance was probably one of the most adult things i’ve ever done.
  6. I’ve conquered my fear of open waters by taking my open water diving license under PADI. And not long after, my advance diving license. Survived night dives that left me shivering (and it’s not because the waters were cold).
  7. I’ve seen someone i cared about move on to someone new. Sure, i can’t say we’re the same kind of friends we were then. But hey, i can look him in the eye and not cringe.
  8. I’ve seen close friends move away to different countries for different reasons, making me feel a bit lost for awhile. But i’ve learnt to get out of my comfort zone and make new friends.
  9. I’ve finally visited Semporna, Sabah. For some reason, this was a bucket list. And i’m so glad i went. So beautiful, a place. I would go back.
  10. I’ve bought my own bedsheets. And actually cared what threadcount it was. Ok, i just added this in because it didn’t feel good ending on a 9.

I’m sure there are more milestones that should be recorded but i guess those that came to mind are here. Considering how there’s still ONE more year to ‘rush’, i would like to:

  1. Go to Disneyland. In Japan or the US. Oh, Ringgit, can you please not fluctuate so much!
  2. Move out of the house. So i made a vow to myself that i would move out of my parents place before i turn 30. Honestly, that dream is nowhere close to materialising because i honestly can’t afford a (tiny) place of my own. But it’ll be nice to have my own little space. Perhaps renting a room of my own?
  3. Think a little bit more about setting up that paper shop. I always thought it’ll be nice to own a little paper /stationery store with the prettiest prints! Offline, online, doesn’t really matter i suppose.
  4. Sing in a little gig that is out of my comfort zone. I’m still shy with my voice, so preferably where no one knows who i am. Another fear to conquer?

I’m excited. For the more that’s yet to come. The many more people to meet, countries to visit and experiences to remember. And yes, there’s nothing remotely spiritual about that.

Turning 30 is really, just another day.

(i’ll update again when i actually turn 30 =.=’)

:: a glimpse into the moken life ::

I’ve been extremely privileged to have been able to do a yearly mission trip under my church’s youth missions to visit the Moken people. It’s my second year going back there and it’s been an amazing experience both times!

I didn’t manage to write my thoughts down last year, so i thought i HAVE to do it this year. Part documenting my experience there in hope to give light to who they are and why we have adopted them as a church to support and pray for them…and part documenting my experience…for life. I don’t want to get too busy ‘just doing’ but i want to ‘be’. Some things NEED to be recorded – to be remembered, relived and re-read in the future and i wanted this to be one of them.

Islands

Known particularly after the tsunami crisis, the Mokens came to light. Neither Thai nor Burmese, the Mokens are settled in the islands and coastal regions along the Andaman Sea. They are still lacking identities, causing unequal opportunity and deprivation of public services and benefits including education, medical care and social security benefits.

Koh Chang 1

They make their living fishing and crabbing, making fresh ‘belacan’ (read: shrimp paste) for sale. We had the privilege to walk through the village in two islands, just making friends with the people there. Some of the older folks are able to speak Bahasa but mostly connect better through the Thai language. The Mokens also have their own Moken language that they communicate verbally but there is no written form – making it a challenge to learn, but not impossible! We visited them in their homes, asked them to share their life with us…and when the opportunity arose, we asked if we could pray for them. They are predominantly animistic, but most were obliging and i thank God that they’re so much more open to us now than they were last year!

Koh Chang 6

One of my highlights was just seeing how some of the Moken kids grew up. We’ve been partnering with a boarding school that has taken in some of these Moken kids who have shown potential in their education and helping them grow. These bright young kids are amazingly talented and would put most of our city kids to shame. Seeing them all so happy, so comfortable and CONFIDENT in themselves, really blessed my heart. We did a Christmas programme there, singing carols, acting out a Christmas story and ended with a celebratory dance. We also had a mini dance-off at the end of all of it, proving once again, that just because you’re born into a minority group, it doesn’t mean you’re poor. These kids were rich in the mind.

Boarding House 2

They play sports just like we do. Like the same corny, bubblegum-poppy music just like we do too. Never will i forget or hear One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful”, the same way again. In case you think you have nothing to give or do to sow into these people group, know that God has put something into your hands for a reason. There’s a need for medical teams, children’s ministry (arts & craft!) and if you play sports, well, just playing a game of ball CAN make a difference in just building friendships within the community.

Boarding House 1

I had grown attached to one of the little brown boy’s from one of the islands. He is one of the typical Moken kids who may not be so well-versed as the ones at the boarding home. But wow! This kid used to pick fights with the other kids and now, seeing how much he’s grown and being so much calmer, he showed me how evident God is in this village and how He’s going to do so much more.

Koh Chang 4

I may not be able to go every year to visit and sow personally (although i hope to!), i’m hoping that this post would inspire some of you to also be part of the Moken work. To not just pray and give (as we do weekly), but to GO and experience it for yourselves. To allow God to break your heart for what breaks His. Then, would you truly understand Matt 28:19 in its fullness. This is definitely not the ONLY place you can go for missions (especially under our youth missions banner), but this IS the place that has changed me.

Koh Chang 5

I was personally seeking God for direction. I did not get an immediate answer. I went there, tired and stressed out from work, but i experienced His goodness (how He saved a particular job despite me not being at work) during the trip and i KNOW, that God has allowed me to taste just a little bit of His faithfulness. An encouragement to believe that when i give, He gives back tenfold. That when i set aside time to be present and ‘there’, He has settled everything else by the power of His name. That i may ask myself this…

Koh Chang 2

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” – A Hat Full Of Sky, Terry Pratchett

He is working in their lives, as He is working in mine.

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth! – Psalm 46:10

Last but not least, to the people that went on this trip with me, you guys are legends. I didn’t have a proper and complete group photo but you guys know who you are. So, i’ll just end this post with the fact that i had fun being with all of you :) May God bless your hearts abundantly and open your eyes to see Him every day of your life. And if there are days post-missions that make you miss the Moken people and me, don’t just ‘shake it off’. Heheheheh.

I am blessed. And i share that you may be blessed too :)

:: you know me ::

Despite the ‘letting go’, i gotta admit its a conscious effort. The intentionally not wanting to know. The intentionally ‘moving away’. It helps, i suppose. To not see what you don’t need to see.

In this season of pruning, may the bad stuff be removed and the good stuff remain to flourish.

Got many things to be excited for! Revo PARTY, Campus Camp, Family Day, heading to India for sister’s graduation, East Malaysia’s RE:Union in Miri…and this is only till March. And this is only just the ‘events’. But the many more ‘doing life’ with different ones. To groom my huddle and let them be the best that they can be. To take up the challenge to groom ONE more. To being a better person myself and focusing on the things that do matter.

Oh, and to most definitely, not be distracted. To not be bitter or resentful, and to allow things to be status quo, gawsh, i guess that’s the hard bit.

God, i submit again.

“And nothing is hidden from Your sight,
Wherever i go, You find me…
You know every detail of my life,
Cause You are God and You don’t miss a thing.”

I believe you only have greater days ahead of me. And the very best one just waiting to find me.

:: nothing left ::

I did it! I gave everything back. Nothing left. No more baggages for 2014.

I’m ready for whatever You have in store for me, God. No holds barred.

I’m beside myself about You, i cannot contain this joy i feel inside,

Why would i hide, no i wont hide.

-Jeremy Riddle & Steffany Frizzell-Deep Cries Out-

:) Only greater things are ahead. I’ve surrendered and given it up wholly. No longer will i be made to feel like i’ve been the past 2 years.

This actually feels pretty good. *gleefully*

:: onwards! ::

It’s been a rather quiet Christmas. Spent time with the people who matter most! Family and friends. Gone are the days of squeezing as many meetups to make it all ‘worthwhile’. Boy, i’ve grown.

Today marks the day that i rid myself of myself.

Surely its possible. *feeling determined*

And i hope i don’t regret when i do it. Hrm. They’re just things i haven’t had time to look at the past 2 years anyways. Pfft. Here’s to making space for greater and better things. And people.

Onwards to a greater 2014! :)

:: wrapping paper ::

Trying…

…to…

…wrap…

…my…

…head…

…around…

…a LOT…

…of things.

Am certainly wondering why the struggle so. And why now. It’s supposed to be ‘break time’.

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. – 1 John 2:15-17

So there are some things that i’m asking for. And i feel almost guilty for even asking. I never did do everything just to earn brownie points. The ultimate goal is still to please You. It’ll help though, to not worry about little things. And have different things blow up in your face.

Just needing some encouragement. I know in my heart of hearts, You are still faithful.

*****

The thing about wrapping papers. They’re beautiful. Pretty prints in all kinds of texture. Wrapping pretty things. Different people use different wrapping paper. Different people have different styles of WRAPPING paper. Some fold, some use cellophane tape, some use double-sided tape. Some add ribbons. All to make that one thing being wrapped, a surprise. And most definitely, pretty.

But the thing about wrapping papers is…

…they still tear when you attempt to get to whats inside.

No matter how neatly you folded. How carefully you’ve taped it up.

You tear it anyway.

Cause the pretty thing inside the wrapping is supposed to be worth it.