Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Captivating Beauty Revisited

Something I've had as a draft for a really really long time. :

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Recently I celebrated on facebook how I've come a long way from my post in March 2013 when I had a breakthrough.

FB post celebrating a year plus since this breakthrough :)

What I didn't realise was that as I shared the link again to what I wrote a year back, God was still working through it. Many people commented on how grateful they were that I shared this piece but there were these handful ladies that messaged me personally to say that my writing helped them.

Hearing that encouraged me a lot and made me realise that what I choose to say and talk about will impact people around me, and the potential of this is endless! (I'm getting exciting just thinking of what it can be). Anyway, one of the ladies who is my friend Lindley sent me her journal reflection that is related to my post..

I was sincerely touched by what she wrote and would like to share it here on my blog. Lindley has given me her permission so here it is! Enjoy!!:


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(Shared with permission) :


There is such beauty all around. Flowers, trees, majestic birds; to flourescent-coloured fishes, intricately-designed butterfly wings. I look at the sun every morning and marvel at its gloriousness. I'm thankful for the heat and warmth that it brings to my heart. I see the stars and my gaze is lost in its sparkle.
God made this. He made the Earth, and called into being all the beautiful things in it. Every detail was designed and crafted by the Maker. And they speak of beauty.
Including you. God made everything on Earth, including you. For through Him, all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:3, NIV) I imagine that all of creation came under His scrutiny before actually having been created (laughs).
God is an intentional and a purposeful God. It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had design on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. (Ephesians 1:11-12, MSG)
So every part of you was designed and crafted by the Maker, and they speak of beauty. 
Let that sink in for awhile.
You may not feel beautiful; people may not view you as beautiful, but He does. You are flawless to Him. Even if you have a gap in between your teeth; even if you have an illness; even if you were born deformed - He still thinks you're flawlessly beautiful. That is how deep His love is for you.
(At this point, I struggled with how God thinks of deformity as beautiful. A lot. But I realised that I had been following the world's standard for beauty. And that God doesn't look at outward appearances, but at your heart.)
He thinks you're beautiful, not by looking at your appearance. He looks at your heart and sees beauty there. You may have gone through horrible experiences; made terrible mistakes. But He's got it all covered. He has redeemed you - made your sins as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). So let Him define your beauty by His royal standard. Don't let anyone else define that. Because our standards change over time. Our own standards don't even measure up! Our standards of beauty have become so impossible that we need to resort to surgery and Photoshop to fulfil that kind of beauty standard. Beauty has become nothing more than a trend; and new trends replace the old.
This isn't just a recent phenomenon. In his wisdom, CS Lewis has written:
In a rough and ready way, of course, this question is decided for us by spirits far deeper down in the Lowerarchy than you and I. It is the business of these great masters to produce in every age a general misdirection of what may be called sexual “taste”. This they do by working through the small circle of popular artists, dressmakers, actresses and advertisers who determine the fashionable type….

Thus we have now for many centuries…. As regards the male taste we have varied a good deal. At one time we have directed it to the statuesque and aristocratic type of beauty, mixing men’s vanity with their desires and encouraging the race to breed chiefly from the most arrogant and prodigal women. At another, we have selected an exaggeratedly feminine type, faint and languishing, so that folly and cowardice, and all the general falseness and littleness of mind which go with them, shall be at a premium.

At present we are on the opposite tack. The age of jazz has succeeded the age of the waltz, and we now teach men to like women whose bodies are scarcely distinguishable from those of boys. Since this is a kind of beauty even more transitory than most, we thus aggravate the female’s chronic horror of growing old (with many excellent results) and render her less willing and less able to bear children. And that is not all. We have engineered a great increase in the licence which society allows to the representation of the apparent nude (not the real nude) in art, and its exhibition on the stage or the bathing beach.

It is all a fake, of course; the figures in the popular art are falsely drawn; the real women in bathing suits or tights are actually pinched in and propped up to make them appear firmer and more slender and more boyish than nature allows a full-grown woman to be…. As a result we are more and more directing the desires of men to something which does not exist—making the rôle of the eye in sexuality more and more important and at the same time making its demands more and more impossible. What follows you can easily forecast! 
(CS Lewis, Screwtape Letters, 1941)
Let He who is constant define your beauty. Your unfading beauty comes from a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of greath worth, and is so precious to Him (1 Peter 3:4).
I'm sorry if no one has told you that you're beautiful. I know it hurts, because you long to be beautiful to others. So ask Him, "Am I beautiful?" Hear His heart for you, and let that drown out everything else. Because I'm certain that He will tell you how beautiful you are.
"You're beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless." (Song of Solomon 4:7, MSG)

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Here's to all the broken hearted and to many who feel they are never enough. Let it be known that you are beautiful. Really. You are.

Ciao.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2015...

Where will my footsteps take me next?

15 days ago I moved my life to a new location.
7 days ago I was reminded of God's unconditional Love through Christmas
4 days ago I wrote on facebook about my dream
3 days ago the nation was shaken by the news of a missing plane
2 days ago I fell sick and remembered Daddy
Yesterday I celebrated 2014 in a BBQ Dinner with family and amazing friends.

BECAUSE OF THIS,

So much emotions stirred in the last few days (and weeks).
So much thoughts continuously brewing in my mind.
So many people around to suppress the stimuli bombarding my senses.

AND,

When we welcomed the New Year, I smiled.
When the clock struck 12 and fireworks went of all around, I cheered.
When others came to give hugs and high fives, I reciprocated.

BUT,

None of that really showed the thoughts running through my head.
None of it showed what was going on in my heart.
Nothing showed the soul that was crying out. Wailing out.

Desperately.

As I sit here writing all this out during such an inhumane hour, I can't help but cry as I try to cope with this overwhelming experience...


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Oh Dear Abba Father,

Only you know the desperation that resides in my heart. You know of the dream that I have : That I still hope on even though the glimmer of light dims even more.

Abba Father,

Only you know what the future holds for me. Only you know why I am going through all this. Only you can give me the wisdom to process all my thoughts and feelings as you reveal your plan for me.

Abba Father,

Only you understand the loneliness that this fragile heart feels even though it is physically surrounded by so many others.

Abba Father,

As a new year begins, please be my guiding light, the lamp unto my feet. That as I go through all this inner turmoil that I would have nothing else to sing praises of but of Your Grace and Mercy and Faithfulness in my live.

Amen.



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Lots more still to process of the next few weeks (or even months)...

Ciao.

p.s.: Happy New Year to one and all. Let's make the best of 2015. :)


[Disclaimer : I AM very grateful for the experiences of 2014 and what it has taught me and the many amazing individuals it has brought into my life. However, this post was written to lighten the myriad of jumbled emotions and thoughts in me as I try to make sense of things.]




Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Can You Hear That?


View from Damai Sentral


[Note: To be read at a slow pace with a slight pause after every line]


Can you hear that?
Can you hear the raindrops hitting the window?
Can you hear it drowning the voices in my head,
Screaming out, 'what if's, 'why not's and 'maybe's?



Can you hear that?
Can you hear my footsteps walking, running?
Can you hear them moving faster by the minute,
Trying to run away from the distraction that is in my head and heart?




Can you hear that?
Can you hear the droplets hitting the table?
Can you hear the irregular beats it creates,
As it rolls off my face?


Can you hear that?
Can you hear my heart beating against my chest?
Can you hear how fast it thumps,
EVERY time I see, hear and think of you?




Can you hear that?
Can you hear the voice from my inner most being?
Can you hear it singing out your name,
Telling you this is not a game?


Can you hear that?
Can you hear the words from my mouth?
Can you hear the phrases too?
Going, I like you.
No. I think I love you.
Actually.
Honestly.
I KNOW I love you.




But alas, this is only wishful thinking filled with sighs,
That you could hear what I hear.
That if only.
If only you could hear that...



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In the silence with thousands of thoughts in my head and a heavy laden heart, I wrote this inspired because of my feelings of loneliness. I realised how much I needed to come back to writing. It's been a long while...

Good to be back in the blogging sphere.

Ciao.


p.s.: To those who has had moments like this where your feelings and voice go unheard, I feel you.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Head : Heart

Photo from here


HEAD
HEART
Oh dear Heart, wounded at Thou?
Yes, I am
But why, dear Heart? Why?
Because today I'm reminded of my loneliness
Loneliness? But you're not alone! So many friends around you!
True.
There are many around me.
But how many truly knows me as my true self?
How many?
How many would call me theirs?
How many actually knows what I long for?
They see Body and think I'm fine.
They see Face or Face's smile, and they think I'm happy all the time.
When in fact, I long for companionship.
I long for another heart to call me his own.
One day soon, dear Heart. One day soon.
When is that dear Head?
When can that be?
Life-long wait so far and where has that gotten me?
Less and less choices. Less and less opportunities.
What if LOVE passed by and I didn't notice it?
What IF?!
But God loves you and He won't forsake you.
I do know that.
And I have you, Head, to remind me of God's Love.
Constantly.
I do feel His love as well.
Truly I do.
And I know I should be satisfied with His Love.
Yet, there is this deep desire within me.
And day by day; year by year goes by.
Desire stays but hope gets less.
It diminishes.
Hope-less.
Oh dear heart. Don't go there. Don't beat yourself too hard.
How can I not head?
How can I not beat myself down?
Never have I been deemed beautiful by another man.
Even though mentioned that I am beautiful, somehow it is always only enough to be a sister.
When will that special someone say that to me?
Why is it that it can never go beyond?
If truly I am beautiful, why don't I feel it?!
If truly I am beautiful, why don't I see it?!
What is the point of "beauty" if loneliness still creeps in?!!
[HEART breaks down and cry]

[HEAD stays silent]


*sigh*
I don't know Heart.
*sigh*
I don't know too, head.


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Just one of those lonely days.
Time to get a grip of myself again.
Tomorrow will be a new day, Sarah.
Hope can, and WILL be restored.


Ciao.

Friday, January 31, 2014

#100happydays : Day 1 - Day 10

If you are my friend on facebook, you would have noticed that I have been posting something up regarding the title. #100happydays. It's actually a challenge for people to look for happy moments in a day. It doesn't have to be grand or attention grabbing. It could be the simple moment of drinking a cup of coffee in the morning. As long as that moment makes you happy.

This came as a challenge from a friend on Twitter as he was talking about people around us and how some people may not seem as happy as they seem to be. It was an interesting topic and took notice. And almost immediately decided, hey, why not?! :)

Karthik's challenge on twitter to take it up. Following my tweet, others took it up too!

I plan to eventually collect all my #100happydays posts on my blog so that it is easier to look for in the future. I'm also collecting them in 10s so that it will be easy on my readers as well.

Alrighty-hoo! Here's Day 1 to Day 10!

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Day 1 : Grateful - January 3, 2014

This is the view from Starbucks Jln Song Kuching. It's one of my favourite Starbucks outlet just because of the view. :) it was here that I actually read the tweet from Karthik and decided to take on this challenge.

The past few days back home has been meet ups after meet ups with people I love dearly. And for me after a while, it can be a little overwhelming.

So today I had the chance to just run away for a bit from all the 'noise' surrounding me.

Lo and behold, I was rewarded with some alone time and this gorgeous view. :)

#grateful #100happydays #day1

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Day 2: Cikgu moment - January 4, 2014


These 3 amazing guys are my Bible Knowledge students while I was still teaching in Green Road. Everytime I meet up with them, it has always been such joy and I will always go away from the conversation with my stomach in stitches..

When Edward tweeted for a meet up, I was ecstatic and couldn't wait to see how my former students were doing. :)

Had so much fun, and hearty laugher meeting up with these 3 boys, soon to be legally men (yay!!). I definitely can't wait for the next catch up session to hear of stories past and present.

Thank you (L-R) Chris, Eds, Corn for such a lovely time together. I am grateful and honoured to have once been your teacher.

And to all my other GRSS students, I want you to know that I loved every moment spent with you guys no matter how crazy, happy, frustrating, fun or joyful it was. No matter what, it was always worth it. <3

#cikgumoment #100happydays #day2

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Day 3 : Surprise - January 5, 2014


(L-R) : Alicia, Ashley, me, Elizabeth. These 3 girls are childhood friends and its so amazing to see them now in College and  growing into such lovely women!

Alicia came back to Kuching and I got to see her before leaving! :)

p.s: (For Ally) Next time tell people you came back la.. then can plan leave properly

#surprise #100happydays #day3

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Day 4 : TFMfamily - January 6, 2014


(Clockwise from top) :  My ride back to KL. Lunch with new TFM staff members (mostly Alumni). Open space from the morning meeting. Khairul being cute with the Santa headband.

Leaving home is never something I look forward too. I always try to come up with excuses to miss the flight. Yet, every time I land on the other side, seeing all these amazing individuals makes the sadness melt away. :)

Today was no different. <3

#TFMfamily #100happydays #day4

p.s.: I wished I had a photo of everyone inside.. but I guess this will have to do...


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Day 5 : Hot Pink - January 7, 2014


Bought this dress from Nichii. Never in my wildest dream did I ever think I was going to buy such a dress.. Until this momentous day...

That moment when you try a dress and know it is THE outfit for your best friend's wedding. :)

Interesting thing? It's in the colour you've avoided all your life.

#hotpink #100happydays #day5

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Day 6 : Signed Sealed Delivered - January 8, 2014


Was feeling rather artistic when I was taking this shot.. Haha..

To drive to Shah Alam registration department (JPN) - RM10
To get Starbucks breakfast on groom - FREE
To witness a dear, dear friend tie the knot and act as witness to sign the cert - PRICELESS

Congratulations dear Sawittri! Soooo happy for you and wishing you a beautiful marriage; one filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and much much more!

#signsealeddelivered #100happydays #day6

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Day 7 : Wedding Road Trip - January 9, 2014


Everytime I see this flower, I am thankful for amazing friends. This time in particular, I was stuck in the office and a friend helped me run all my errands and also collect this flower (and washed my car and pumped my tyres) so that I could just immediately leave for Northern Perak.

Fresh flowers are always a welcoming sight for me. :)

And today, I got to spend 6 hours with this bouquet in the car. <3

#weddingroadtrip #100happydays #day7

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Day 8 : Thai Wedding - January 10, 2014

This photo wasn't planned. I was in the right spot at the right time. SNAP! And you have an amazing moment captured.

My first ever experience of a Thai wedding, thanks to Sawittri & Tito! :)

I'm so so so glad I had this chance to see it live. And Sawi, you just glowed today. Sooo beautiful. So happy for you both!

#thaiwedding #100happydays #day8

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Day 9 : Reception Prep - January 11, 2014

I was trying to be funny... 'nuf said.


...and sometimes you just need to let some crazy out ;)

This was the celebratory picture we took after setting up for the reception. Haha!!

Well, today I'm just so happy. Happy to be part of the "kampung" experience, happy to have helped out to prepare for the reception and so happy that I gained a wonderful Thai family over the weekend. <3

#receptionprep #100happydays #day9

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Day 10 : Birthday - January 12, 2014

So much inspiration drawn from the man who owned that name. Many posts written and yet I have so much more to write about. My dream is to strive to have as much impact as he did.

Today's photo is going to be slightly different. It was taken a week ago after I found out that IPG Batu Lintang named the gymnasium after daddy.

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On Sunday, I took a ride to Batu Lintang with all the intention to take photos. :) When I reached the building, an overwhelming sense of pride engulfed me and I could feel tears beginning to form and struggled to hold them back...

I remember still my childhood days playing here. I remember still sitting in daddy's office behind the gymnasium. I remember still watching daddy teaching his students to be great teachers within those walls.

And today, even though it has been almost 6 years, I remember still that it is your birthday daddy and I want to take this opportunity to just say:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

I miss you.

#birthday #100happydays #day10

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Here's to more happy moments.

Ciao.

p.s.: To those who are doing the #100happydays challenge as well, I wish you all the best!

p.p.s: To see the latest photo, click here.




Sunday, August 18, 2013

Phenomenal Woman


"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen." - Elisabeth Kübler-Ross - 


As a continuous effort to learn to love myself more , I'm typing this post up to remind myself that I AM A PHENOMENAL WOMAN. :)

The poem below by Maya Angelou is perfect in describing the true beauty of women and how as a whole package, each and every one of us are phenomenal. I chose to type the whole poem out instead of copy & pasting because I wanted to make this post worth it.

So here's to being a more confident, courageous and captivating woman!

As I grow up, I realise reflecting on life and learning from it is an important posture to emulate. It is often during reflection that God speaks the loudest to me as well.

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PHENOMENAL WOMAN

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.


I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.


Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.


Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

- Maya Angelou -


Ciao.

p.s.: To all the women out there, cheers. We're all phenomenal in our own way. :)

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Sufficient Grace

"My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever." - Psalm 73:26 -

One event after another these past few days, have triggered so much sadness within me. Because of all these triggers, unresolved issues from the past are also arising and right now I'm just overwhelmed with such a heavy heart. I allowed myself to dwell in those emotions for a bit and I remember. I remember all the pain that I have gone through from before and it is very humbling.


All the anger.
All the bitterness.
All the sorrow.
All the pain.
All the sadness.
All the disappointments.
All the fear.


I allowed it.. Just for a moment.. And just for a moment, I hated myself again.

Going down this road was so familiar and I realise I had to snap out of this. Snap out of it and STEP out of it.

And in the ugliness of the moment God reminded me of a long forgotten song.

"Hold, me close let Your love surround me,
Bring me near draw me to Your side,
And as I wait, I'll rise up like the eagle,
And I will soar with you, your Spirit leads me on,
In the power of Your love."


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Heavenly Father,

Forgive me. My flesh is weak but in my weakness, Your strength is made perfect. Lord, help me learn to keep relying on Your Grace for it is sufficient for me. Even as I continue on this journey to know you more, in moments like this, don't let me go. Remind me Lord, of the Love that you gave on that cross.

Your Grace is sufficient for me.

Amen.




Ciao.

p.s.: To all, God Grace is sufficient for us. As much as I still have to comprehend about this, slowly but surely God is revealing His unending mercy in my life.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Tribute to An Inspiring Teacher

County Kerry, Ireland. Home of Brother Albinus. Picture sourced from here.

Today I'm reminded of my high school days. One filled with laughter and lots of hope. A life that has been inspired by many around me.

Today, one of those inspirations has gone to be with the Lord. One who knew his purpose in life and even better; what God's will was for his life.

Today, Sarawak lost a beautiful treasure. One who has touched many lives and impacted generations of students. A life that gave wholeheartedly to educating the less privileged.


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Brother Albinus. Photo sourced from here.

English
In all honesty, I did not have much contact time with Brother Albinus while I was in high school. My only time of pupilage under him was English Tuition classes and that was once a week for only a few months in Form 5.

Yet with that little time spent learning from him, I have been impacted immensely. Through his English classes my style of writing changed. I learned to engage the reader better with more fluidity in my writing. Much of what my writings are today have been influenced by his teaching in those few months.


Bible Knowledge
Writing was just part of his impact in my life. A greater impact came when I became a teacher. You see, Brother Albinus was one of the most sought after Bible Knowledge (BK) teachers in Kuching. His reverence towards God's Word, his attention to details in answering the BK questions and his dedication to pushing his students to excellence and demanding nothing less than the best was what produced top scoring students in BK and beyond the achievement piece, gave credibility to the subject in the SPM landscape.


After BK class. Captured by my student :)
When I was given the responsibility to head the BK subject in Green Road, I knew I had to step up. Having been Brother Albinus' student before, I knew how strict I needed to be in teaching God's Word and how much I needed to demand of my students. Every time I stepped into my BK class, besides God as my guidance, I always set my standards against that of Brother Albinus.

Choosing to set that expectation on myself paid off. God blessed me and my students with good results during the years of my teaching.


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So today when I saw posts on Facebook on the demise of this great teacher, I knew I had to somehow pay tribute to his impact in my life; and the best way that I knew how was to give what he taught me best: WRITING.

So here's to you Brother Albinus. Thank you for being such an inspiration to not just me, but MANY MANY others. You've set the bar high in so many ways and left a legacy that leave many wanting.

Here's to seeing your impact grow beyond the people you have touched.


[NOTE: To those who do not know him, here's a write up about him from our local paper; the Borneo Post.]



Ciao.

p.s.: Here's to all, whose lives have been touched by Brother Albinus. He's in a better place now. :)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ramblings of the heart...

Tomorrow marks the one month point of the bus ride to Sibu for #missionKatibas. I never expected my life to change so much but it did.

My priorities have changed and realigned. Love forgotten came back to life and now I don't know what I want or God wants for my future. As I continue searching and have been searching in the last month questions and uncertainties constantly float around in my head and I don't know how best to express it except through heartfelt tears crying out to God Almighty for guidance.

Right now, I want nothing more than to be in Sarawak. I want nothing more than to be with loved ones. I want nothing more than to serve back home. But the other question quickly rises up as well. "Is this what God wants for you?"

I honestly don't know.

But no matter what, I know God's timing is perfect. And I put my hope in you, O Lord.


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YESUS KAU BESAR

Dalam setiap langkahku    (Every step I take)
Dan hembusan nafasku    (and breath I take)
Kau ada di sini    (You are here)
Hatiku pun bersyukur atas kebaikan-Mu    (My heart praise your goodness)
Dan kemurahan-Mu    (and Your mercy)
Kuletakkan harapan    (I put my hope)
Hanya dalam nama-Mu    (only in your name)

Yesus Kau Besar    (Jesus you are mighty/big)
Kuasa-Mu ajaib    (You are powerful)
Janji-Mu setia, untuk selamanya   (You are forever faithful)
Yesus Kau Besar    (Jesus you are mighty/big)
Kasih-Mu nyata    (Your love is true)
Kau ditinggikan untuk selamanya    (You are lifted forevermore)
Selamanya    (Forevermore)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

#missionKatibas : Nehemiah's Heart


It was a beautiful sight to behold. :) An amazing banner to welcome us which could be seen from afar (like really far....)!


Almost a month back I finally got to go on a trip that had been in talks for the longest time. When I met up with Jarod in December last year, he pitched how he wanted to work on bringing outsiders to visit his school and give his kids the exposure that they severely need (this is true for MANY schools in rural areas).

I knew I had to grab this opportunity before he gets a transfer out. One thing led to another and finally #missionKatibas happened! :)

[NOTE: For details of the trip and what happened, click on this link.]

"There will come a time in your life when you meet like-minded people who get you & share your ideals. When you meet people like these, the only natural thing to do is collaborate & see where it takes you. It usually leads to surprisingly amazing moments which touches the hearts of those who experience it first hand & even those who hear the stories. From there, the possibilities are infinite. This is merely the beginning of more great things to come."
                                                                                        - Jarod Yong, #missionKatibas -  
The words of Jarod are perfect in summarising how I (and I'm sure my whole team too) felt about the whole trip. There were AMAZING heart warming moments and even other people after hearing our stories are moved by it.


A church friend was moved by the testimony the pictures brought on Facebook :D

A Sarawakian TFM Fellow was inspired by the tweets and pictures of #missionKatibas :)


Taking on the task of this trip was not an easy one to begin with. From finding people to come with me to preparing for the sessions, took months to prepare for and needed pre-work from both sides of parties involved. Going into details would show the logistical nightmare but for this monumental life experience blogpost, I'm choosing instead to write from the perspective of lessons that I learned from it. :)  So, here goes!!

*******#missionKatibas********

Lesson #1 (Twitter) - forgive the typo... too excited

Let me clarify. I'm a planner (for most things in life). I like knowing details ahead of time so that mitigation steps or Plan Bs can be planned for as well. And for a trip as big as this, planning was VITAL. Initial plans saw me expecting 10 - 15 people. It was going to be big. But one by one people pulled out because they couldn't commit to the trip due to work demands or other things cropping up. Frustration was my friend throughout the planning stages, right till the week before the travels when one last member pulled out but PRAISE GOD, He had a replacement all along.

Logistics aside, finally the team that came with me were Trish and Sonia (from the beginning they said yes and stuck with me. I LOVE YOU girls!), Wai Leem (when I pitched the idea to him he jumped on it) and Esther (she was the last minute replacement and an answer to MANY prayers!)

The Final #missionKatibas team : (L-R) Trish, Sonia, Wai Leem, Esther - such a good looking team =)

Another part to where this lesson was learnt was during the execution of the sessions. 3 sessions altogether and one youth service in 2 days was no joke. Planning was fine and most of the prep was done. Yet with ALL that planning, many things were changed or added. I've never had to do so much impromptu stuff for sessions before. But God proved me again and again how if we just learn to rely on Him, learn to lean on Him and learn to just TRUST Him; He's got things covered. And for that, I AM GRATEFUL. (It helped too that my team was AMAZING and quick on their feet) :)


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Lesson #2 (Twitter)

The average age of the #missionKatibas team is about 24 years. That's young!! And to think we could have potentially made a difference in the lives of 400+ kids is very humbling. Its such an encouragement to see my team mates stepping up to the challenges in running the sessions. Here are some breakdowns.

1) Esther (baby of the group):- shared her testimony in BM and helped lead groups in big sessions.
2) Wai Leem (the other baby of the group):- shared his testimony TWICE, help lead groups in big sessions and led Praise and Worship for youth service, played guitar for me TWICE (testimony and presentation)
3) Sonia:- Did the main sharing for the kids during youth service, led groups in big sessions, took amazing photos and edited the graduation photos
4) Trish:- Led the games for youth service, led groups in big sessions, took many many amazing photos, and edited the graduation photos

The view from stage of the youth service on Wednesday night. :) [Look at al those beautiful faces of God's Children]


What we did at SMK Katibas was small, but with God small does not matter. Matthew 17:20 teaches us that "....if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." And for whatever little that we give, we have faith that a seed has been planted and will one day blossom beautifully. :)

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity".
                                                                                                              -1 Timothy 4:12-


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Lesson #3 (Twitter)

There are 5 people whom I pay tribute to in this tweet.

  1. SONIA: Being much junior from me in church and growing up, I have to admit I never was very close to her till she started helping out in the youth. Through those years, as I was given the privilege of leading youth, I saw her grow not just in maturity but also into a friend and a strong confidant. :) Very much unexpected indeed was this friendship, but one that is very much treasured.
  2. TRISHJust recently both of us tried to pin point a time when we started getting close and we both drew a blank. Hahaha!! I first met Trish when we both volunteered on Doulos (sister ship of Logos Hope) for 2 weeks but beyond that as to how the relationship develop? No IDEA... :) But one thing is for sure, I'd rather not know how this friendship grew than to not have Trish as such a wonderful thought partner in our daily devotions. Thank you Trish.
  3. WAI LEEM: This one is an interesting one. :D I'm actually friends first with his eldest brother who is my batch. And Wai Leem is pretty much a whole generation younger than me so to be able to have seen him when he was a kid and now serving alongside me is a pleasant surprise that I am proud to be witness of.
  4. ESTHER: Among all 5 mentioned here, Esther's friendship would be the least unexpected. Having seen her grow up from Secretary to President of Youth and teaching her in school (Bio and Bible Knowledge); having her here on the trip makes it a beautiful transition from teenager to adulthood and I'm glad I'm part of it.
  5. JAROD: Now, this friendship is the most random of them all. :) I found Jarod's blog while surfing teacher blogs and from there followed his twitter account. I probably would have never found it if not for a Fellow sharing another teacher's blogpost on our facebook group. So for what its worth, TFM is the reason this friendship and #missionKatibas could even happen. Jarod, although I've just only known you for a year, I thank God that our lives crossed paths and thank you for all that you've done that has inspired me and many others.

And finally, two worlds meet. :D


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Lesson #5 (Twitter)

Ever since I studied my PGDE (Post Graduate Diploma of Education), I've always wanted to teach in the interior. I knew from little snippets and experience in my dad's village that I would have enjoyed life teaching in rural Sarawak. But things were not meant to be as my dad's conditioned worsened and my posting form was filled with appeals to be near home.

I got what I wanted and was blessed to have spent the last 4 months of my dad's life being near him. Even if it meant giving up on that dream; it was worth it.

But God remembers. :') He remembers my desires and answered my prayers and dream in the most unexpected way. I am BLESSED.

"Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." -Psalm 37:4-

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Lesson #4 (Twitter)

There is purpose in me putting this Lesson last. This is because it is the strongest lesson from my trip. It didn't hit me till a few days later while having conversations with a friend in my car on the way to a school visit. I was telling her how lately, every time I come home to Kuching, I find it so much harder to leave and depart back to Work-land (KL). That the only thing that makes me walk onto the plane is my job and my love for the people in TFM.

Honestly, its really lonely here where life just pasts you by and you sit in your home reading of all the amazing/fun/lively things your friends are doing back home. Building strong friendships here is difficult too because everyone is so caught up in the rat race to be the richest/fastest/smartest person. Rarely do I find people who will stop for a while, look around and make the best of that moment.

I continued the conversation mentioning how when I first got the TFM job, I couldn't wait to get out of Kuching and now I'm at the point where I just want to go home.

And then she ask me the question that I needed to hear:
"So do you know now, WHY you left?"
I paused.

I realised that I DO KNOW that answer.

I started tearing up and said: "YES... I do... I left because I needed to find out if I loved Sarawak."

And now 1 1/2 years later, I know I do. I TRULY do. And everyday I long for home. Everyday, I long for the people at home. Everyday, I long for a better Sarawak.

Which is why I titled my post as such. This trip has reminded me of Nehemiah and how he longs for his homeland Jerusalem. It reminded me of Nehemiah's heart. Although not mentioned explicitly, the actions that he took in Chapter 1 are obvious.

Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire." When I heard this things, I sat down and wept.   - Nehemiah 1:2-4 -

And just as Nehemiah was passionate about Jerusalem, I too feel the same way about Sarawak. There is so much potential back home and growth needed and I want to be a part of it. Having this chance to teach the kids in SMK Katibas reminded me of why I taught in the first place and just as I suspected, would make me regret my decision to leave the teaching force.

View of the school from the Katibas river.



At the end of the trip, I left the school jetty, looking towards the school with tear-filled eyes, beating myself inside on this GRAND (and grave) mistake that I made.

However, conversations with Wai Leem later helped me realise that even though it may seem like a mistake, as a teacher in the public school I probably would never have had the chance to visit these kids and THAT is NO MISTAKE on God's part.

Which again, reminds me of Lesson #1: God knows the plans he has for us. :)








"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future..."    -Jeremiah 29:11-


God knew from the very beginning. He knew and he heard. :')


*******#missionKatibas*******


So I leave this post thinking again of all that happened during those Amazing three days in PARADISE.
I leave this post being reminded of God's faithfulness in my life (and many others);
and I leave this post knowing that I've fallen in love once again, with my Sarawak.


There are no better words then the yellow words and the smiles on our faces to sum it all. :')

Ciao.

p.s.: To my #missionKatibas team and those who are moved by the stories, here's to many more amazing visits!

p.p.s.: To the Project X+ team, keep up the amazing work you are doing among the kids. Let's all work together to make SMK Katibas an exemplary school!
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