Category Archives: Family

Joel’s Health Update and My Musing

It is about time for an update. In the past few weeks, if you follow my Facebook, you would have seen several pictures of Joel and I inside an ambulance, at a hospital waiting room or in the emergency. Well, let me explain.

It was April 11, our 2-year wedding anniversary, that Joel was scheduled to have a cysts removal surgery in his anus. Yes. Looking back now, it seems pretty comical to have celebrated our anniversary at the hospital…talking about anesthetic and bottoms. I had thought long and hard whether this would be too much information for you, readers; but since my husband does not care, I hope you grit your teeth and read along.

Two hours passed after Joel went inside, a nurse came out and said, “You could go see Joel now.” I was greeted by this suspiciously jolly husband, who I learned later was still high from whatever drugs they gave him. It was not long, though, before the medication wore off, and the surgical pain rolled in. This was to be expected. The doctor gave instructions on what to do and discharged him. Our friend picked us up and took us home. At that moment, we both thought Joel would recover soon; that within a few days, he would be able to sit and go back to work as usual.

Wrong.

We play this game called “What’s your pain level?” The rule is simple. I ask, he answers. The level is scaled from 1-10. One being the lowest, barely noticeable pain; and ten being the most excruciating, I am going to die kind of pain. The first two nights, his answer was always 8-9. We rarely slept because Joel had to move around every few minutes or so. When he was awake, I was pretty much awake.

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Our day at the hospital full of fancy gown and waiting around


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Pizza to celebrate our 2-year anniversary? Why not?!

Anyway, three days after Joel’s surgery, I went to work as usual. Everything seemed normal. Since the Easter weekend was starting the next day, and everything would be closed, I thought I would grab a few necessary items from the shop. Just before I walked out of the house, Joel showed a sign of mild pain, but I thought it was the usual stuff. So I left, thinking whether I should buy extra ingredients to make hot cross buns over the weekend.

It was a glorious walk. I could see the sun setting over the mountains range and smell smoke coming from chimneys. I was listening and singing to the song “And Can It Be”, a powerful hymn that talks about how undeserving we are, how amazing God’s grace is and the victory that we get to share in Christ’s blood as I trudged down the hill. In no time, I was lost among the aisles. The shop was bustling with last-minute shoppers and I was just looking at gelatin when my phone rang.

“Mink, I have got a chest pain. I just called the ambulance. They are on their way,” Joel spoke shakily.

I could feel blood seep out of my face. I quickly dropped the gelatin, and ran as fast as I could back up the hill. Though it is just one kilometer away, I could not run fast enough because of its steep road and my short legs. I asked Joel to be on the phone with me so I could keep myself sane, being assured that he was still alive (I know, I am such a drama queen). I could hear him panting and drawing short shaky breath. Fear gripped my heart. When you realized that death is just only one breath away, nothing else in the world matters. Thankfully, the ambulance had arrived; and I breathed sigh of relief. The paramedic gave him some painkillers and took both of us to the hospital.

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Inside the ambulance for the first time


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All wired up, waiting to find out what was wrong

The results from that day showed no sign of heart disease (thank God), but the doctor suspected it could be his inflamed pancreas or gallstone. However, the result of his ultrasound around his torso revealed nothing remarkable either. So the general surgeon, whom we saw yesterday, suspected that it could be post-op side effect with some clots in his lungs.

With all that said, Joel’s current condition is improving, if ever so slowly to my liking. These two major events; the surgery and the mysterious chest pain, had thrown us some curve balls. In the past 20 days, we have been to the hospital five times, three of those were in the emergency room; paid a few visits to the GP (general practitioner); had a home doctor come over once; and purchased several pre-scripted drugs. When I was at the chemist yesterday, a staff member said, “You are only 15 points away from receiving a voucher.” Reluctantly, I replied, “I am not sure if I should be happy about this, because it means we have spent too much money on medication.” And guess what, I have to go to the chemist again…tomorrow.

Around the same time we were in and out of the hospital, three people whom we knew passed away. I was forced to deal with my fear of pain and death, which I had always tried to avoid dwelling my thoughts on. When dad died, I was only 14. The image of him writhing in agony in bed and lying still in his business suit all pale and stiff after he died have haunted me. His death left a big wound in my heart. Even after so many years, I had never been able to escape from this emergency room that smelled like death.

Strangely enough, God used the memory of a beautiful old grandma, Nan Raine, who is now with him, to help me make peace with dying. I was in her hospital room, in Tauranga, New Zealand; with a few of her direct families and my classmates. I remembered how frail she looked, yet still remained witty and kept a sense of humor. We sang to her a few songs; one of them was “Soon and Very Soon”.

As we sang “soon and very soon, we are going to see the King,” it hit me how this was becoming a reality for Nan Raine. In the midst of our tears and futile effort to hold on to her a little bit longer, the image of her taking off her “earthly body” and putting on “the heavenly body” standing before our God the King in all His glory overwhelmed me. The picture accelerated my vision past the blurry, soggy, muddled bits of life; and placed me at the foot of His throne. It is so hard to explain, but in this room with the smell of death approaching, I was released from the cage of fear I had been imprisoned in since 14 years ago. Nan Raine had managed to give me a gift of hope and a glimpse of eternity on her last day on earth. This glimpse, however small, is something I will hold on tight when my heart is filled with despair, when the day I will have to deal with grief so immense comes again.

To this day, Joel and I are thankful for our family and friends, who have been so kind to us. We have received all kinds of messages – from concerning to well-wishing to almost rebuking why we haven’t let them know what’s going on. We have also been blessed by our  church family and Canberra friend, who have given me ride to work at 5:30 in the morning, who have come by our house for a chat and brought food and treats with them. This is an amazing season in our lives. We are not quite sure why we have to go through this – the pain, the sleepless nights, the long wait at hospitals, the uncertainty, etc. But, I guess, why not? Perhaps there are other reasons, but one I know for sure – God is using this as an opportunity to refine our hearts and redefine our faith. Every moment is a chance for us to pray and to put our trust in Him.

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All the goodies our friends brought us.


Bangkok: No Longer a Guest in My Own Home

It is my first full day at home as a permanent resident, and not a guest. It feels weird…to be walking up and down stairs, having a kitchen with proper pots, pans and propane and also sharing this home with three more ladies – my mom and my sisters. After five years of living by myself in a small studio room, this is definitely an adjustment. I teared up a little when my mom said to me this afternoon, “This place is also your home. Don’t act like you’re visiting.” So Mom and I spent the whole day building a nest, which means lots of cleaning and shuffling things around. My sisters were overjoyed when they came home and realized they just escaped from an enormous task of helping me and mom. They always joke around that if Mom and I team up, they do not want to be in the house…because it means there are a lot of chores to do. 😛

The drive back yesterday was 10-hour-long, even longer than the usual bus ride! Mom and I left Chiang-Mai at six o’clock before the sunrise. Initially, I was a wee bit scared because our car had a tiny heat problem, and it could not be fixed in time of my departure. But the mechanic who took care of “Grandma” (that’s how I call the car) said that as long as we drove slowly and did not try to accelerate the engine, we should be fine. The last order he gave us was, “And store a lot of bottles of water. You may need them along the way.”

Knowing too well that the car might overheat any time while I was driving, I prayed fervently before and during the ride. At one moment, I heard a still small voice whispered, “Do not be afraid. I am going with you.” In the dark, I drove…with increased trust and confidence…knowing that whatever happened, God would be with me and help me through difficult circumstances. He had used this experience to emphasize the theme of wholehearted trust and reliance on God that I have received since the beginning of this year. I have learned to not expect that all my problems will be solved for the sake of convenience. Instead, God has taught me to fully expect His presence in both easy and tough times; and to cling to His promise, “Do not be afraid for I am with you.”

Thankfully, the engine did not overheat and we did not need those stored water bottles at all! The drive up and down the mountain during the first five hours was pleasant. The early winter morning air was crisp and clean. We enjoyed the rolling hills and lush green fields along each side of the road. The most wonderful thing was the sunrise – the fiery orange ball that slowly glided up the sky and caused arrays of colors to streak through the mist. It was phenomenal.

Unfortunately, the latter half of the ride home was not so enjoyable. As we put more kilometers away from Chiang – Mai, half of me wished we could turn the car around. I started to experience some culture shock with continual change in environment; brown flat land, scorching heat, central dialect, industrial districts, pollution and, the worst of all, Bangkok traffic jam. At five o’clock in the evening, I was so ready to  jump out of the car and stretched. When mom parked Grandma in front of our house, I breathed a prayer of thanks and almost ran to the door.

With all that said, I must admit – it is good to be back home, not because of the conveniences of a house (although it is definitely a part of it) but because of the interaction I get with my family – swapping stories, telling jokes, discussing plans and eating dinner together. Though you may have gone away from home for a couple of years, and many things may have changed; one thing is always the same – love. In 10 or 20 years from now, I am certain that I can always come home and be accepted the way I am today.

On a different note, I am still waiting INTENTLY for my visa to New Zealand. This week and next week will be a nerve-racking time for me as I am expecting a call from the embassy. This is the 2nd week of  the application process. And from their website, it usually takes about two to three weeks to know the results. So it can be anytime now or another week. If I could have my way, I would love to get the visa tomorrow, book the plane ticket and leave the country by January 30…because school will start on February 7. Yet the possibility is slim. And I am trusting in God’s plan and timing. However, I am grateful for the opportunity to meet with some people who either live or have gone to New Zealand before I moved down to Bangkok though. So now… I kind of have some ideas of what to expect and what to do. And let me just say – feeling excited is an understatement! 😀

Anyway, I am going to call it a night; and go watch the Hobbit’s behind-the-scene. Tomorrow is a day of cleaning, unpacking and doing laundry. But I hope to sneak in some grocery shopping and brownie making (I just learned how to make some gooey, fudgy brownie…and I am stoked to try it!).

So…with no further adieu, good night. Thank you for reading! 😀


Visa Submitted! Woohoo!

My visa was submitted. Finally. One major task – checked.

I feel very thankful to God for the love and compassion that He has given to me through many people. This visa application would not have worked out if Annie, a very trusted friend, made a trip to the hospital to get the health check-up result for me, reviewed all my documents and sent it to Bangkok, while I was driving through bumps and potholes up to the mountain. Then, another friend, Sam went to the bus station in Bangkok to retrieve the package and then to the embassy (twice, because I forgot to mention that it was moved to another building) to submit the application for me. I would not have gone through all the fuss and complications with surprisingly calm manner if my family and friends had not spent their time praying for me. So thank you all so much!

To be honest, I had expected to be anxious and stressed out, especially when I have only three weeks left before the school starts…and I still have not got my visa or booked my flight. I should have been. But the Lord has instilled in my soul the confidence I can have in His plan, acknowledging Him in every step I take and trusting in who He is. So, when a hard question like “What will you do if your visa does not get approved?” comes my way, I am ready to answer that I do yet know but God will direct my path exactly as He wants. I have made a choice to follow at all costs. Uncertainty does not scare me anymore.

An answer that I can give to you is this – I am moving back to Bangkok. I have been living life on the edge, traveling to places I would never dream of and doing things I did not expect myself to do – like climbing cave or traveling solo…all included me struggling and being forced to overcome my fear. And I have to be frank with myself – I am a bit travel – worn. I would love to spend more time with my mom and sisters, feel the warmth of evening sun on my cheeks as I ride on river taxis and try out new baking recipes. No, I am not yet done with adventures (and I am sure that there will be many more when I go to New Zealand) but a girl needs a time off from excitement.

So my plan is to leave Chiang Mai by the end of next week (or a little before, depending on when I can get my car back from fixing). I am making the most of my final week – in between running errands and packing – by eating, meeting with friends and going to places that I know I will surely miss like the riverside, markets, malls and Rimping supermarket. It feels weird to be saying goodbye to this home I have been living for five years. But the time has come.

Something that God spoke to me this morning, while I was having breakfast, was:

“Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already accepted your works.”

And I take that as His promise. I have done all I could. Now is the time to watch God at work.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2014

Well, I hope it is not too late to say this to you:

MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014!

…Okay, it might be a little late for Christmas but it is still January 2…and I think New Year period goes on until everyone is all back to work or to school, which could be a week after. 😉

Anyway, first things first – I am fully funded for my two-year study in New Zealand! Praise be to the Lord for His provisions and blessings through friends and family. I have both people whom I have known for quite a while and strangers whom I have never met before supporting me, which makes me stand in awe of God’s handiwork. Thank you for your prayers, honesty and encouragement. Your thoughts and words have lifted me up as well as allowed me to see my circumstances from all angles. Thank you.

Christmas was eventful and heart-warming. I am grateful for the opportunity to celebrate Jesus with my family and friends at church. This year’s celebration involved watching the Hobbit late at night at a theater with my mom and sisters; brewing and drinking my own coffee at home; admiring all the lights and colors of Christmas trees at home and all over the city; eating mom’s cooking; baking a lot of cookies and cakes; spending time with the Word and looking for His presence in everyday’s life.

One thing I had learned over Christmas was being present. In the flurry of Christmas preparation and activities, Jesus stilled my soul with stunning sunset one evening as I rode a truck back from seeing a doctor at a local clinic. I was spent with flu and tired from the visa work. Then I looked out the truck’s window, and the fiery orange sky captivated my attention. God spoke to me, “Be still, my child. And be present. Linger just a little longer, and you will realize how rich an experience with Me you can get…just being present.”

And I prayed,

“Lord, this Christmas, You have taught me how to be present. Thank You for giving me the beautiful glimpse of Yourself through the sunset. And I wanted it to stay just like that. I lingered in the moment, appreciating You. Then I remembered all the fun I usually have when I am all in the present with no other worries in my mind…like when I was working with the world racers for three weeks or traveling in Burma for two weeks. At those times, I realized I could not do anything else regarding work or visa, except to leave everything at Your feet. And I was there – ALL there for the people and the experiences. Those were the best times of my life.

So this Christmas I want to be ALL here with my family and You. I know that many churches are busy with programs and activities. Lead us, Lord, to Your rest…that we would not be caught up in the services and forget to be present before You.”

My prayer is still the same for New Year. To all of us, who love to make resolutions and take matters into our own hands, be present before the Lord each day. Linger long, and press into His presence because of who He is and not because of what we want Him to do for us. We will be amazed at how much He reveals Himself to us if we seek Him for Him.

To end this post, in order to replace my loss for words these days, I am posting some pictures from home for you to enjoy. May your year be blessed! Thank you for following me on this blog. I wanted to post more pictures but it is almost midnight. And I have to see my doctor for a follow-up blood test for my visa application tomorrow morning (which I will come around to tell of the story soon). So I had better go to bed.

Merry Christmas to you!

Merry Christmas to you!

My first time of baking peanut butter cookies. They turned out quite well. :)

My first time of baking peanut butter cookies. They turned out quite well. 🙂

Merry Christmas from our family!

Merry Christmas from our family!

My two beautiful sisters - Mai and Mo.

My two beautiful sisters – Mai and Mo.

Mom and Mai with their Christmas drinks at church

Mom and Mai, my sister, with their Christmas drinks at church

Christmas program at church

Christmas program at church

christmas at home

Me, my family and one of our friends from church around the Christmas tree

Church members came to sing carols at our house and fellowship over God's word, warm noodle soup and baked desserts.

Church members came to sing carols at our house and fellowship over God’s word, warm noodle soup and baked desserts.

My mom and Auntie Pat, our neighbor, who hosted the night
My mom and Auntie Pat, our neighbor, who hosted the night.


Especially On Weekends!

i am supposed to go to youth group meeting this afternoon. instead, i sat down and reached for my notebook computer. my 1st excuse of not wanting to go is because it is too far. 2nd is it’s saturday and i need rest. 3rd is i’m too lazy to take the bus rides. all were summarized to one decided answer – i am staying home. what a lazy bum!

i recalled typing this sentence in my past posts but i will do it again – i really miss home especially on weekends! it’s not that my activities will be much different from what i do here. saturday at home means sleeping in, eating, chatting with mom and sisters, maybe going out to Big C supermarket for a walk, or if i’m up to it, i will even take long bus ride to downtown bangkok. but the fun side of being home is after i wake up, i get to bug my sisters about being sleepy-heads and dragging them out of bed. i get to eat mom’s breakfast and go out with her for lunch. when i walk to Big C, my sisters will accompany me. and when i take a trip downtown, there are many people to watch along the rides and at the end destination, my friend will be waiting there.

chiangmai, as much of a home as it is to me now, still doesn’t bring the comfort i need when i need it. i LOVE chiangmai and i’m not planning to leave soon. but my problem is i’m lonely, even among people…even in the sea of faces. i do have life and i have got friends here….but i’m a bangkoker at heart (okay, annie, my friend who is actually from bangkok, is going to pick at me again because she says that i’m from nonthaburi, a metropolitan area. not bangkok. but i’ll save the story for another time. ^^) and, y’know, no place is like home.

meet annie. she’s a tour and visit specialist at compassion now. 🙂

this is a polite face. when you're close enough, you get many different kinds of expressions. hehe.

yet i need to be open-minded.  being in chiang-mai, i take joy in my own comfortable space with cable TV, internet, books and a clean fridge; the view of mountains even when i’m right in the heart of the city; some few good companions from work and church whom i have shared meaningful memories with; easy trips to the woods and decent job. God has blessed me abundantly.

there is no solid point i’m trying to make this afternoon. i just have to write and to get my thoughts and feelings out. but i do hope that someone hears me. i need some meaning in my life, someone to live for and some clear directions for day-to-day life. and, yes, i remember writing about “passion” 2 days ago. i’m not losing my grasp of God. i just need some tangible moments right now.

family's meal never gets boring. added a friend, it's even more superb! from left: mo, mai, mom and my friend, manna. i miss you guys.


Success Redefined and Some Happy Pictures

here is a tidbit from “faith that breathes” by michael ross. i wanted to post it yesterday but i didn’t have the book with me. i’m on day 21 “success redefined”.

a faith that breathes…

…never says, “God, this is what i want.” instead, it always asks, “God, what do You want?

…never says, “God, i won’t…” instead, it always says, “God, i’ll do Your will.”

…never looks for self-satisfaction. instead, it looks to satisfy God.

…never seeks the approvalof others. instead, it seeks God’s approval.

…never measures success by how well things are going. instead, it measures success by a life centered in God’s will.

…never puts its own needs first. instead, it always thinks of others first.

…never looks to its own capabilities to solve a problem. instead, it relies fully on God’s power for guidance and success.

this small excerpt resonates with my current experience. as i mentioned yesterday, the sense of failure continues to nag at my heart. but how sweet God’s grace is! i don’t need to be afraid that i’m not living up to the bar. there are standards in life, at work and even at church. however, the only standard we have to live up to is the Lord’s.

God’s standard is not a long list of rules and to-dos. there is only one thing He requires from us – obedience.

a flip to the next page in “faith that breathes” is the real journey section by toby mac. he speaks of success this way:

“a lot of times they see dc Talk and me as just ‘big business and lights.’ but we know that’s not real life. the real life is who we are in Jesus and how we’re living that day to day.”

if success means doing everything one can, even neglecting his family or stabbing his friend’s back, so that he can be the top of everything, it’s a failure.

if success means putting on a fake smile when his life is shattering to pieces, it’s a lie.

if success means being responsible and strict but having no time to relax, he is not living a life.

success means living a Christ-centered life and committing to obeying His command and will even to the point of ridicule. that’s faith.

“brothers, think of what you were when you were called. not many of ou were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. but God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him.” 1 corinthians 1:26-29

every human is flawed from birth in spite of our intelligence or social status. that is why grace is so sweet. sadly, many people are either unaware or just forget this fact as they grow up. so they go on separate directions and boast their ways to the end of their life…to the doomed eternity.

but the good news is God’s love and mercy endure forever. His kindness has brought many people from all over the world to repentance. and i strongly believe that one day the prophecy in the Bible will be fulfilled…”that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” whether or not everyone on this earth will be Christ followers, everyone will be obliged to kneel before Him. not only because of His fearful supremacy and incomparable power but also of His everlasting goodness, immeasurable grace and enduring love.

by ending today’s post, i am putting up some silly pictures of my time in bangkok with my family and my friend, manna, during songkran festival last week.

enjoy! and don’t forget to smile…. :o)

       

okay, there are some normal photos as well…

     

top it all up with “the bangkok i love”…

           

here’s what made me happy the most…

the "m" family...from left: mo, mai, mom and manna...


Work During Holiday?

i am feeling a little bad with myself. i am here in nonthaburi and still worried about work. this week is the songkran festival. people splash water and have fun. but i am feeling like i am not doing such a good job at getting work done.

but what bothers me is – i don’t need to be worried about it now. i submitted all i needed to do…why thinking of work when i should rest and enjoy my time with family?!

anyway, i am back home until sunday night. i look forward to many more fun activities and laughter with my family members. but i’m also beginning to miss chiang-mai. and this is just the 1st day. craziness.

what i am going to do is get rid of the 4 letters – W O R K – off my mind. and i will start spelling – F A M I L Y now.

i’m reminded of such simplicity from spending 4 days up in the mountains last week for the karen national assembly. although the bathrooms weren’t so convenient and food wasn’t that great, i was content just to be there and live. i was very present and alive. thus i’m posting a picture of me being so karen. it was a great experience and definitely a great company!

"simplicity" - with a house like this, one wouldn't need 10 million dollar to satisfy his need.


March, the Month of Discovering My Strengths and Celebrating Birthday

i have been away from posting. there is no other reason than that i am lazy. i mean everyday i click on the “new post” tab, tap my fingers on the desk thinking about what to write, visit my friends’ desks to chat, drink water, munch cookies, come back to the computer and exit the wordpress window. not that i don’t have anything to write. but the thoughts are like particles of dust dancing in the shaft of sunlight. they are floating and unprocessed.

but now that i need to write my monthly assignment for work, i suddenly feel de-motivated. thus, i am seeking inspiration from updating my blog. 😛 crazy how my mind works.

last week, our office held a workshop training on “strength finder”. prior to the training, we had to do the test to find out our top 5 strengths. mine is connectedness (things happen for a reason), includer (widening the circle), empathy (seeing the world through others’ eyes; understanding), belief (having core values to live by) and adaptability (going with the flow; focusing on the now).

honestly, although i know in my mind that these are strengths, i don’t see any practicality in it…yet. the instructor gave us an assignment – to figure out how we can use our strengths to better the unmotivating tasks. he wanted us to write down an action plan. i felt like i was doomed because my strength themes aren’t “developer”, “achiever”, “command” or “discipline”. mine is mainly relational (4 out of 5) so what do i need to do when my struggle is “due date”?

still, these are my strengths, which i am grateful for. i am able to connect with others in specific ways that no others can do, although not so quickly. people trust me with certain issues in their lives which they’d otherwise not tell their friends or even families. i can be flexible when situations around me are tense and unbending, making fruitful results.

on a different note, last saturday (march 19) was also my birthday. mom and mai drove 700+ kms from bangkok to chiang-mai to bring the used car i recently bought to me and be here for my birthday party. i am now 27!!! it is incredible. when i was 12, i had no other desire but to be old, to wear beautiful dresses, to live by myself and to drive my car to places. now that i am 27, i want to go back to be my daddy’s girl, to wear clothes mom picks for me, to be with my whole family and to be taken to the dusit zoo, the seacon square shopping mall and the dreamworld amusement park. fortunately, i can create this loving atmosphere for my own children in the future…if i’ll ever have one. 😉 hopefully, they’ll cherish the memories the way i did in the past.

being 27, although not as old as 54, can make one pensive and carefully consider life as one would spend hours inspecting diamonds.

we had a small birthday dinner at p.kao’s house. about 10 of my friends from work came to celebrate life and friendship with me. it was a memorable night. they poured love on me. they brought food, prepared birthday cake, picked out meaningful gifts and prayed for me. i was overwhelmed by their love and care. below are some pictures from last weekend.

birthday cake

clearer shot

me, mai and mom

p.kiney and p.decha

now i feel a tad more motivated. 🙂 on to writing for work! (and shh, please don’t tell my boss. a writer has to find an outlet to her stress from time to time.)


Experience of a Lifetime: Encountering With God

i went home. and something amazing happened. i encountered with God.

i knew that i have been carrying burdens on my shoulders: worries about uncertain future, fear to love again, resentment towards certain people in life and continual sense of failure. but what i didn’t know was that i needed God.

i went to newsong on saturday night with my friend, matt, who came from cambodia to visit. i also met up with p.ja, another friend who i dearly love and miss. we used to hang out a lot when we were still in bangkok. but since we got scattered…me in chiang-mai, matt in cambodia and p.ja in australia (then a few others who are now in america), we never got to go to newsong together anymore. so it was a special night for me.

while waiting for the service to start at 6:30, i was introduced to a girl called “natalia” who came from the country of columbia. she was as joyful as bright-colored flowers and as free-spirited as birds. she spoke english with a tinge of spanish accent. but that even made her more beautiful. she is now in bangkok ministering in the klong toey slum community with the vineyard church. we talked for about 10 minutes and the worship started.

we were called to stand up and sing praises to the Lord. i have been attending the karen church for so long that i actually forgot some of the english songs. i stood there in the midst of people i didn’t know…people who came from canada, america, columbia, korea, thailand and many other countries. surprisingly, i felt right at home. after the 2nd song was over, i suddenly felt exhausted and had to sit dow. i wasn’t sure if i was physically or mentally tired…i just had to sit down. so i snuggled comfortably into a dim corner of the soft couch and closed my eyes to listen to the sound of worship.

“jesus, lover of my soul. jesus, i will never let you go. you’ve taken me from the miry clay. you’ve set my feet upon the rock and now i know….” the singing was swelling like ocean waves in the evening….crashing against the shore of heart. in quietness, i felt the nudge to turn to psalm 62. i was perplexed because it seemed such a random number.

so i whispered back to Him, “are you sure? psalm 62? why such random number?”

“yes, psalm 62 it is.”

i turned and read:

“my soul finds rest in God alone;

my salvation comes from Him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation;

He is my fortress. i will never be shaken…

find rest, o my soul, in God alone;

my hope comes from Him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation;

He is my fortress, i will not be shaken.

my salvation and my honor depend on God,

He is my rock, my refuge.

trust in Him at all times, o people;

pour out your hearts to Him

for God is our refuge…

one thing God has spoken,

two things have i heard:

that You, o God, are strong,

and that You, o Lord, are loving.

surely you will reward each person

according to what he has done.”

while i was half-way through, pondering on the word “rest”, “rock” and “refuge”, natalia walked over to me and looked at me gently:

“mink, i just feel that you have been tired. and the Lord wanted me to tell you that you can rest in Him because He is your Rock and your Refuge.”

i was taken aback with surprised. then tears unexpectedly came. all i could do was to hug this messenger of God as tight as i could…like she was the Presence of God herself. the message was significant to me although i wasn’t sure at the time why He chose psalm 62.

rest in the Rock for He is my Refuge – that’s the message.

perhaps He is cleansing me from the clutter of tangled thoughts and concerns. perhaps He is preparing me for the future that is yet to come. i don’t know. but i am holding on to this experience and the message He’s given even though my faith is so slim like a single thread now.

matt told me while we were on a taxi together that his philosophy is to go out in faith whether or not he is confident it is God’s will at the point. so many people have robbed themselves off of the adventures because they were waiting for God’s will to be tangibly revealed. this greatly encouraged me. for i want to live fearlessly. but i have cared too much of what others look at me or think of me. no more. i will ask “what is God thinking of this?” instead of “how will i look if i do this?” and if it’s not right, then He, with loving kindness and grace, will close the door and guide me to a different one.

i, personally, was given a vision to serve the karen people in thailand/ burma. but i’ve been bothered by the question – do you have any solid goals which you are planning to achieve? none. zero. i guess that’s why i constantly have this sense of failure in my heart. people i know seem to do excellent jobs, know where they are going and on top of everything. but i struggle with questions everyday.

but i learned from talking to another friend of mine, kristin, that it is okay to not have goals. to just live one day at a time. to enjoy every moment of it. to give God the glory due Him for now. then He is going to reveal bits by bits of His plan to me. no need to fret over the unseen future. what happens now will direct the course of the future…in the mighty hand of God.

i feel that God is revealing His heart to me. and i don’t want to miss the opportunity. my heart is calloused and torn. and i want Jesus’ love, through His wounds, to heal me. i am going through a phase of life where there are more questions than answers. but i need to TRUST the Spirit to guide me…to help me discover His heart for the world.

last thought. i was watching the left behind series yesterday with my mom and mo. i’ve read the books but not seen the movies yet. so it was exciting for me. there was a part in the tribulation force (the 2nd one) where bruce and other tribulation force members, who got left behind, passionately preached the Gospel to whoever came into their contact. they didn’t timidly approach the people with leaflets in their hands. rather, they spoke with such authority but yet with respect of the Good News and the 2nd chance to repent. they preached Christ with no shame. and that got me to thinking…

am i doing this today? is the church doing her job today? i can answer for myself – no. while i watched the scene, the Spirit impressed upon me that what these guys were doing in the movie was an act of worship. i cannot find words to express it…but it wasn’t out of obligation or forced will. they felt the urgency and they let the Spirit drive them.

how can this happen in me and in the church? how can we stop looking inwardly and turn another direction to where Christ is leading us to?

encountering with God everyday can do. let Him be the Person who makes your heart beat wildly. be aware of His work in every breath you breathe. and be filled and overflowed with the Spirit. let our cups run over so many others will be able to drink deeply from this undying love – Jesus.


Sickness And Wedding

cough…cough…

i am still trying to get better all the while trying to focus on work. it was another full weekend. mom came up again, this time to help with our friend’s wedding in a lahu village. both of us were struggling with fever on this past saturday. i remembered feeling like jelly…or floating in a very confusing dream while waiting for the ceremony to start. i wasn’t sure whether i sweated because i was hot or cold. ‘~’ BUT it was a great wedding. i did snap some shots despite my sickness.

sweet mom

the covenant

the joy

the new family

the question for single men and women 😉

i love girls!

mom's toe - accident from the wedding

i have been busy, and thus kept from spending time with God. i shared how heavy i feel with mom this morning. she said, “drop everything and run after God.” it’s my heart’s desire to do so. i want to be like a deer pants for water…and i want God to make my feet like the deer’s hind feet…that despite the height, i will still be able to climb and leap…with His strength.