:: 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 :)

:: rooted ::

Stirred in my heart. Reading the newspapers these days, and i’m just…aghast. This song has reminded me…i have roots. And i want them to grow deep. And green. Lord, let me bear much fruit.

Anak Siapa by Mia Palencia

 

Where do you come from?

Or did you forget?

Is it where the sun rises or there where it sets?

I’ve got a feeling you don’t know.

I’ve got a feeling you don’t know.

 

Who is your father and the one before him?

If you know who they are then why did you change your name?

I’ve got a feeling you don’t know.

I’ve got a feeling you don’t know.

 

Have we forgotten or are we ashamed?

Did we give it all up as the price of our fame?

Did we murder our roots just to wander afar?

You know our wounds are still fresh or you’ll notice our scars.

Do you know whose child you are?

Do you know whose child you are?

 

Is the grass you saw greener over there on that side?

While the good people back here fight to keep the colors alive.

I’ve got a feeling you don’t know.

I’ve got a feeling you don’t know.

 

Have we forgotten or are we ashamed?

Did we give it all up as the price of our fame?

Did we murder our roots just to wander afar?

You know our wounds are still fresh or you’ll notice our scars.

Do you know whose child you are?

Do you know whose child you are?

 

I’m my daddy’s girl,

I’m my momma’s girl,

Saya anak ibu,

Saya anak bapakku.

 

I’ve got a feeling you don’t know.

I’ve got a feeling you don’t know.

Have we forgotten or are we ashamed?

Did we give it all up as the price of our fame?

Did we murder our roots just to wander afar?

You know our wounds are still fresh or you’ll notice our scars

Do you know whose child you are?

Do you know whose child you are?

Kamu ini anak siapa?

Kamu ini anak siapa?

 

Saya ini anak orang kita. 

 

I’m trying to do what i can. With the resources i have and the time i can give. God, what else?

:: so i write ::

I’ve been writing. In my journal. In private spaces.

Ironically, i’ve been encouraged to write. And to take it seriously. To perhaps do something about the ‘long, long, thoughts’ in my head rather than just sit around and ‘wish for something to happen’. So i read this and was somehow encouraged to do my own version of it. And in a way, heal.

*****

Organising and being at a friend’s bridal shower reminded me so much of all the things i dreamt off. All the things i lost hope in. All the ‘oh-fuzzies’ that you caused and have now stripped away. Sometimes i forgive you and would imagine telling you that i’m OK. That what you did was right for the time. Sometimes i just want to slap you real hard in the face. Because that’s how i felt. Like i was slapped in the face. How words became so cheap. And actions meant nothing.

I think of things i could do to forget. I could fill my days with hobbies, i happen to know that unrequited love swallows free time like it’s air. I began running, learning how to get away, and fast. The only problem with that was we used to run together. I read a few good Christian books, one of which told me blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. I’m still learning that verse, probably because i’m still mourning.

I’ve been so involved administratively both at work and ministry just to keep my fingers busy and away from the phone; trying to keep my mind less idle because that’s when i start remembering. I finally went swimming again, because it’s not that time of the month and there’s nothing else to do. Besides, i’m so good at holding my breath, anyway.

I remind myself that i am other things, besides out of love and hopeless and sort of sad in the saddest way possible. Like, i am also a friend, a daughter, an employee and also a thinker, a doer, a person who’s living and has lived before this sad, sad mess came to pass.

I think about when i was a seven-year-old in the middle of a small garden at school, trying to catch pretty red and orange ladybugs; tearing off to play catch at every ‘masa rehat’ or when the teacher comes in late, just because we could. I remember when i was a 10-year-old who wanted to wear everything in pink; pink skirt, pink tee, pink shoes, pink bag, pink hairband and when i was a 13-year-old who was ashamed for having done so. That was so not cool when the fav color was blue.

I remember when i was 17 and began to break curfews, having an affinity to Bailey’s with the besties. I remember when i turned 21 and spent the night dinner-ing with the best friends i’ll ever have and you were there. I remember whatever age i was the first time i had my heart broken and how the pain felt endless until it ended and then it was like i’d imagined it all, a fever dream of a romance. Uncountable things to define who i am, and the only one i toil over is the one i’m not permitted to have~silly, silly…

I could, do whatever i want. Stop whatever i’m doing and just run away to wherever with a few girlfriends. Have no responsibility of the things that are placed under my care or let things run loose. Let the people do what THEY want and tell them that ‘yep, you hold no consequences to your actions’.Maybe i could pretend i like someone else, when i don’t..or just maybe, i could. Maybe i could find someone else who’d think i was funny, and amusing and easily delighted. Maybe that person could be just as funny, and smart and so good with words, he’ll give me butterflies in the tummy.

Maybe in a moment, that person could say something that would make me go wow, and feel so deliciously thrilled, making me smile in spite of me. Maybe i’m unsure and over-analyse things because i’ve already invested my thoughts and feelings elsewhere without yielding any profit or interest; maybe i feel safer holding on to what’s already failed because that failure is familiar and comfortable and i wear it so well. But maybe — just maybe i can try again, instead of caring about someone that doesn’t care about me.

:: so long, so soon ::

Song of the Day: Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus by Jesus Culture

Thought of the Day: Go, and sell what you have. (Matt 19) It’s time to surrender.

It’s exactly 2 months and a day. I can’t hold on to you anymore. 

So, so what? I’m still a rockstar, I got my rock moves, and i don’t need you!

And guess what? I’m having more fun, and now that we’re done, i’m gonna show you…

I’m alright, i’m just fine, and you’re a fool…

Goodbye.

:: somebody ::

So, i’ve given up on this. No point struggling. Especially if i’m the only one that wanted it to work. Yes, I’m angry at you. But, no. It wasn’t fair to ME. Not us. 

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
Part of me believing it was always something that I’d done
But I don’t wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say
You said that you could let it go
And I wouldn’t catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know

Now you’re just somebody that i used to know. Circa 2007. Funny how history repeats itself. Funnier still if you never learnt your lesson.

Ellie, stop being a doormat. 

:: iove waits for you ::

Song of the Day: Speak To Me Gently by Future of Forestry

Thought of the Day: I’m learning to be alone. To do many things i’ve done with you, for you. On my own.

Today was such a mad rush at work. All i wanted to do was tear away and drive into the sun.

When i got home, i could hear the sun call my name. It’s been awhile since i last dwelled in sunshiny goodness. I knew God kept the sun out for me :)

Sadness and rhyme, These are the times
These are the memories.
We find a way, Pushing through the day
So speak to me gently.
Can you just feel the time, Falling from some place new?
Can you just feel the sign, Love waits for you?
Love waits for you.
I’m searching the stars, In desperate hours
Bound to find meaning.
God show me a face, In this desolate place
And tenderness meets me.
Can you just feel the time, Falling from some place new?
Can you just feel the sign, Love waits for you?
Love waits for you.
Stories untold, Of redwoods grown old
Reside in the forest.
And there you can hear, A whispering tear
That speaks into our loneliness.
Can you just feel the time, Falling from some place new?
Can you just feel the sign, Love waits for you?
Love waits for you.

:: elliest of ellie’s (part 2) ::

I feel..unburdened.

I am…healing :)

I’m glad this happened. It’s not what i expected…nor what i wanted, but i guess God knows best. He knows what is NEEDED. I’ve forgiven much. Forgotten, maybe not yet. I remind myself that people go through their own journeys. Trying to live according to God’s will. Making decisions that they think is best. I honor that. I want to be able to have a testimony to share with the girls i care for. We all want to respond well and leave a legacy. A good one, let it be.

A 2007 thought:

“I’m not a bit changed-not really. I’m only just pruned down and branched out.The real me-back here-is just the same. It won’t make a bit of a difference no matter where i go or how much i change outwardly; at heart i shall always be your little Ellie, who will love you and everyone else better every day of her life.” Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery

You’ve known me for so long. As Ellie the new believer. Ellie learning much. Ellie with 12AM curfew. Ellie with 1AM curfew. Ellie the student. Ellie the new YWA. Ellie the choir-girl. Ellie the worship leader. Ellie with new experiences. Ellie who said ‘been there, done that’. Puny Ellie. A lil bit round Ellie. REALLY round Ellie. Ellie who sat still in silence and tears. Ellie who laughed unashamedly. Ellie whose parents are not saved. Ellie whose parents ARE saved. Ellie who struggled with finances. Ellie who had much to give. Ellie who held grudges. Ellie who released grudges. Ellie who believed in you. Ellie who lost you. Ellie who expected much from you. Ellie who learnt to love you despite of. Ellie who hung on. Ellie who let go. Ellie who moved on.

Back to basics. Elliest of Ellie’s. Inside out, growing up. So, i’m a lil fatter and a lil more matured. God has taken me to where i am right now and I’d like to believe i’ve changed for the better. No regrets :)

:: its a billy joel night ::

It’s been awhile. I find myself thinking about things i shouldn’t be thinking about at times when i know what it is i SHOULD be thinking about. Does that make sense?

Slow down, you crazy child
you’re so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you’re so smart, tell me
Why are you still so afraid?

Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about?
You’d better cool it off before you burn it out
You’ve got so much to do and
Only so many hours in a day

But you know that when the truth is told..
That you can get what you want or you get old
You’re gonna kick off before you even
Get halfway through
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

Slow down, you’re doing fine
You can’t be everything you want to be
Before your time
Although it’s so romantic on the borderline tonight
Tonight,…
Too bad but it’s the life you lead
you’re so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you’re wrong, you know
You can’t always see when you’re right. you’re right

You’ve got your passion, you’ve got your pride
but don’t you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

I guess i’ll just have to get used to this eh?

Good things come to those who wait.

:: beautiful mess ::

Mumble-jumble. I can’t put into words what i want to say yet.

******

Hebrews 4:12-13God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.

1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

1 Corinthians 10: 13No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.

Ephesians 4:17-19And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.

20-24But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.

25What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.

26-27Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.

30Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.

*****

I went to a memorial today. One of the two first memorials i’ve ever been to. I barely knew him. But i cried. For him, his family, his friends. I saw his videos and pictures, and i saw this bright life that could’ve done so much more. This only fueled my desire to see more young lives coming to know Christ. If someone as young as this person who led such a colourful life, surely i, who still have breath to live…can do so much more. Joash Wee, i may only have met you once or twice, but your memorial is certainly gonna be a memory inscribed always. Thanks for being an inspiration to all your friends. May you and your family rest in peace as we celebrate the life you’ve led.

*****

I don’t know what to do with you. I don’t want to get where you’ve been before with other people. Comfortable.

I won’t settle.