Category Archives: God’s love

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.


Separated For a Purpose

God is wooing me to Him. There is no doubt. Each day, He fills me with His love and keeps pouring more and more. While I try to take in as much as I can, I am aware of my human limitation. Have you ever felt this longing for more of God so much that it makes your heart ache…because you know that you can never have enough of Him but if you have too much of Him all at once, you may just suffocate? That is exactly what I experience. 

God has been working in my heart through school, nature, people and His word. Sometimes that urgent feeling to worship comes crashing in the middle of a class, during a walk along the beach or while listening to people’s stories. It usually flashes in and rushes out…always leaves me desiring more – this beauty in brokenness.

God breaks my heart through people’s brokenness. I see under their smiles the yearning that only God can satisfy. I hear the cries beneath their laughter for help…for rescue. I feel their struggles and pain to survive and to live well behind that confident look. But I do not know what to do besides seeing, hearing and feeling.

What can one do when she has already allowed God to break her heart for what breaks His? What can one do when the King shows her something she is afraid to see? What can one do when obeying Him means separation from her own dream, passion, comfortable life and even her own self?

Separation.

Was not this what the Lord did when He created the world? Did not He separate the light from darkness and, therefore, create time for us? Did not He separate water so there would be land and oceans for us to work and enjoy? And did not He separate man and woman from other animals, and call them His own, so they could tend and rule with Him? In the beginning, everything came into being for a purpose – God’s purpose.

One thing I learned during class the other day was – there is order to God’s creation. Before Genesis 1, there was nothing in the world except darkness. Nothing was functioning or serving a purpose. The void was just one useless space. For people in the ancient near east, where the word of God was originated and spread around, anything without use, function, role or purpose would not come into existence in the first place. So when the Lord began to separate this and that and started to call the names of the sun, the moon, the stars, the ocean and the animals, He had something specific in mind for each creation. And He definitely had a grand purpose for human as well. 

When God made human, He imparted something unique and extraordinary that other living things did not share – feelings, or I would put it in this post – yearnings. Being created in His image, we partake in His heart for the broken world – this longing for healing and reconciliation. When you see a child naked, will you ignore him or clothe him with your own shirt? When a mom with frail baby slung over her shoulders beg you for food or money, will you walk away or will you quickly go into a nearest shop to buy some bread for them? When a homeless man wanders into your lawn, will you shoo him away or invite him in for a cool shade and a cup of cold water?

Brokenness we see nowadays is not what He intended: domestic violence, corrupted governments, resentful nations and bitter church congregations. We all know that when the Lord created this world, everything was good and in order. His purpose for humanity is so that EVERYONE can enjoy this relationship with Him and worship Him. But until we realize and truly understand how fearfully and wonderfully we were made, whom we belong to and why we are even here, we will not be able to fulfill God’s purpose in the world. 

Will we not help one another to bring the beauty within each of us out? Will we not allow our hearts to be broken for what breaks Him? Will we not use our god-given talents to serve our families, neighbors or even strangers? And will we not pour our hearts, thoughts and spirits in seeking and searching for Him in order to have more of His love every day?

We are children of the King. Let us do all this, and many more.


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! 😀


Goodbye, Chiang – Mai…

After 5 years, 6 months and 21 days, today is my last day in Chiang – Mai. It is still unreal to even ponder the thought. But looking around my room, with boxes, bags and furniture all taped and tied, there is no denying it – I am saying goodbye to this city I love. For real.

During the time I have lived here, God has stretched me and enlarged my world. When I first came, I was only 24…eager to go on adventures and conquer the world. The same spirit still lives in this 29-going-on-30 lady, except that she is now aware of and knows the bitter feeling of pain and suffering  in the world; but also the richer, sweeter and more grace-filled blessings of God through brokenness.

For the past couple of days, I have been walking to different places to indulge myself in reminiscence of my time here – the Ping river, Rimping supermarket, the iron bridge, Warorot market and many more. Mom and I were walking past the main road, into small alleys and out on the main road again. It was neat to submerge myself in the Chiang-Mai way of life one last time before hitting the road into Bangkok, the capital city that is bubbling with political turmoil.

I will miss the mountains and the lush green jungle

I will miss the mountains and the lush green jungle

The iron bridge, Ping River

The iron bridge, Ping River

Chiang Mai - Lamphun road, where my apartment is located. My favorite past-time activity is to walk on the other side of the street, along the river and watch the sunset.

Chiang Mai – Lamphun road, where my apartment is located. My favorite past-time activity is to walk on the other side of the street, along the river and watch the sunset.

Cycling has become a popular activity not only for locals but also tourists.

Cycling has become a popular activity not only for locals but also tourists.

Nawarat Bridge

Nawarat Bridge

My little space that I crave coming to at the end of each day

My little space that I crave coming to at the end of each day

Smiling faces after school day is over

Smiling faces after school day is over

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I will miss chilling in my favorite coffee shops. Bangkok will have a large shoe to fill in when it comes to coffee.

What I will miss the most is my friends. These guys. And a few more that are not in this picture. I would not have survived and enjoyed living here without these guys.

What I will miss the most is my friends. These guys. And a few more that are not in this picture. I would not have survived and enjoyed living here without them.

And this...too.

And this…too. The culture. The people. And the love for them.

In this season of life, I am yet reminded again of J.R.R. Tolkien’s song:

The Road goes ever on and on

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.

My journey in Chiang-Mai may end today; but my walk with the Lord still continues. And I am looking forward to many more.

Prayer points:

  1. Please pray for Mom and I as we drive down to Bangkok tomorrow morning (Wednesday). It is an 8-9 hour drive down. And who knows what we are going to find when we hit the city.
  2. Pray for me as I wait for the visa approval. It has been a week after the application submission. The process usually takes 2-3 weeks. Pray for peace, calmness and productivity as I wait for something to happen…that I would make the most of every moment instead of complaining and making myself and those around me bored because of my complaints. Hahaha.

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

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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.


Conversation with Cherry and the Reflection of Burma

cherry is a petite Asian 59-year-old lady. her brown eyes are bright but they shimmer the sorrow that is buried deep in her heart. having lived unde the long years of the military oppression has deepened creases and wrinkles on her kind face. cherry’s family runs a small Shan-Indian restaurant, where scrumptious fresh tea leaf salad, or “la pat tho”, is served with a glass of hot tea; and where you can dip the home-made “dosa”, the rice flour cake, into the bean soup and refreshing tamarind leaf sauce. one fine afternoon, i had a chance to sit down across from her and listened to her story.

“we have run the business for about ten years now. in the past our house was much smaller, but it was homely with flower beds and plants in front of the house. in my childhood, everything was beautiful.”

cherry’s little shop is located on a quiet street, just 50 meters away from the main street light. the road is paved with cement, and like the usual Burma, it is dusty and can barely find a tree shade. the result of this is from the government’s “nationalizing” policy.

“i am a fruit of a mission school. that is why i can speak good English. but when the British left, and the military had ruled, everything…EVERYTHING…had to be turned in to the government,” said cherry.

“i remember how we had to line up to get our rice portion, and text books to go to school, when i was in the fourth standard (grade four). it was a desperate time.”

it is no wonder that most streets of Burma are consisted of big compounds: hospitals, universities, government offices,etc, most of them are under the government’s name. simple enjoyment like gardening at cherry’s house had been uprooted, and instead, replaced with hard cement. the nation needed order. and what would be a better way to bring order than to rid the citizens with joy and instill fear in order to polarize power?

under the close scrutiny and tight grip of the government, people in Burma struggle to thrive. the majority of its citizens work for meager wages despite the wealth of buddhist pagodas and temples on every street corner. as a biographer of adoniram judson, rosalie hall hunt, described  in her book “bless God and take courage”,

“the size of that giant monument of gold must have stunned the judsons, for it reaches nearly as high as the great pyramids of Egypt. legend takes its founding back 2,500 years. this incredible mass contains over sixty tons of gold, more than is housed in the bank of england. the spire is covered with more than 13,000 gold plates, the vane at the top studded with 1,400 precious rubies and sapphires and crowned by 5,000 diamonds weighing 2,000 carats. one enormous 76-carat diamond is positioned to catch the first light of the morning sun. there is nothing of poverty about Shwe Dagon, buddhism’s most sacred shrine. yet it looms over a city and country so impoverished by a military regime that, in spite of rich natural resources of teak and precious gem, Burma ranks among the world’s ten poorest nations.”

recently, there seems to be a ray of hope in Burma. the news of ceasefire with multiple tribal groups have been all over the front pages of newspapers and broadcasted it on television. and because of the current south east asian games (SEA Games) and the upcoming ASEAN, the unification of countries in south east asia, the country has begun to open its door to foreigners. even though my friends have to report to “the office” of my visit, i have been allowed to stay at their houses, which would be impossible had it been five or ten years ago. but ask any Burmese, and you would be surprised to hear the similar response of uncertainty.

cherry tilted her head a little as she pondered her answer,

“things definitely look better these days. but we can never know what’s in the mind of our leaders. it is like…we are at a theater watching a movie with pictures flash by on the screen. but we cannot change anything. just watch.”

her smile is then glazed with sorrow again – the kind that does not come from the years of living under the oppression only but also of the uncertain destiny of her future, and her soul. as i wrote in the previous post, the town of pyay oo lwin is diverse with cultural background, races and religions. within two-mile walk, i ran into a buddhist temple, a chinese temple, a hindu temple, an islam mosque and an anglican church.

cherry and her family are muslims. her remark to me when i told her that i will go to the bible school next year is, “i hope you are lucky with your choice. because if you are unlucky, your life will be bad”, to which i reply, “auntie, i am a Christian. and i believe that whatever circumstances i fall in, God will always be with me. and that in itself is already a blessing.”

i was not trying to be indignant or overly zealous. but i had prayed that God would allow me a chance to speak of His name, even just a mention of His beautiful name to His beautiful people here. and how He has been faithful. my presence or my speech may not be as significant as to bring any souls to Christ. but my prayer is that one day the government will not only realize that their people are suffering but that they will also move forward in transforming Burma into a nation rid of political pollution forever. i pray that the seeds that have already been planted in Burma through sacrificial missionaries and faithful christians will continue to be watered and nurtured so that the people of Burma will get a chance to be redeemed, to freely live and to make their own choices and to be a part in creating this country the true “golden land” – full of lush nature, exotic culture, creative minds and Christ-devoted souls…and that, eventually, the Burman souls will be set free from the oppression of godlessness; and we will see more church steeples mingle with the spires of pagodas in this land.


Walking in Pyay Oo Lwin, Myanmar

dear ones, i hope you all are doing well. as i mentioned yesterday, i am in a town called “pyay oo lwin”, or nicknamed as “maymyo”. it’s a small town tucked in the northern valley of burma, its history dating back to the british colonial rule. the history is reflected in the diversed culture and inter-mingled races of the people. this morning, i walked past an anglican church, a buddhist temple, a… muslim mosque, a hindu temple and a chinese temple…all located within 1 – 2 miles! i also met an electrician who is of Shan-Indian race. he introduced me to a local shan-indian restaurant called “Taj”, where i can eat a home-made indian meal with reasonable prices.

i’ve also been able to rest after running around southern parts of burma last week. spending time in yangon, pathein and visited chaung tha, the beach on the andaman sea was all great. but i was so exhausted at the end, and needed some time alone. upon arrival in the morning yesterday, i had a green apple, a cup of tea and crackers and peanut butter for brunch, read a good portion of the adoniram judson’s biography and slept from noon to 5 in the evening. by the time i woke, i felt so refreshed and was able to walk out to find a bowl of chinese noodle and a palata, a kind of fried roti with bean paste. language is still a huge barrier for me. because i’ve been with my burmese friends, i haven’t put my mind on practicing the language. so i pointed, and accepted whatever was offered to me. lol

one thing i want to praise God for is the loving care i have received from my burmese friends here. some treat me as a special guest and some treat me like their own. they allow me to tag along to their workplaces; take me to see the beautiful parts of their country like the shwe dagon or the beach; pay for my transportation fees and food; accompany me when i want to go shopping or walk along the beach; make sure that i get on the bus safely and pray for me. i didn’t expect the multitude of kindness and the phenomenal welcome like this at all. and i have been humbled by how loving God is to have put me in such sweet and strong arms of His people in Burma. i know that there is the darker side where oppression still lingers on, especially in the jungle areas. but, for this trip, He has revealed to me that there is goodness, love and hope in this land. and it will take persistent faithfulness, fervent prayer of the righteous and all-in sacrifice to release people from poverty – both financially and spiritually.

so i give thanks for the experiences i have had, and the lessons i have learned. please continue to pray for me as i journey back to yangon tomorrow night. not that i am fearless, but i know my Protector is with me. you wouldn’t believe how high my friends’ eyebrows went when i told them that i would make a trip up north by myself. lol.

also, please pray for my visa application and the continuing financial support that i have yet more to raise. right now, the most urgent need of prayers are:

1) the submission of my visa application – I will need to submit everything before Christmas…so please pray that I would have wisdom and strength from the Lord to prepare ALL of the documents in such a short timeframe. Pray for His favor to be upon me as I wait for the result.

2) the financial support – currently, I have half of the funds needed to cover for my tuition fee. I plan to work while I am in New Zealand in order to cover for my living costs. Please pray for the provision that it will come in the exact amount I will need at His timing; and pray for peace as I wait on Him.

thank you for taking time to read this long post. i appreciate all of you.


“When God is Your Reason to Live, You’ll Never Have to Quit!”

so i found this quote “when God is your reason to live, you’ll never have to quit!” on a facebook page called “women after God”.  and i just thought how suitable it is to my life’s circumstances now. but bear with me. my words and thoughts are not collaborating with my mind at the moment. they are floating around in my head like dust particles dancing in the ray of sunlight. i cannot grasp a thought long enough to fully understand and elaborate it as i wish. but i have been wanting to say this out loud – God is good and faithful.

i was a bit hesitant to write it for everyone to see because it is not catchy nor will it grab anyone’s attention…sadly. the words “good” and “faithful” have been used often in Christian lingo that they have become sort of mundane and boring. but this is one thought that has taken up most of my heart and mind over the past week. and i feel like it is worth saying it, mentioning about it and telling others about it.

i would probably be on the other side too if i had not experienced how good and faithful He is in my life right now. if God did not intervene, and almost thrust His blessings into my hands, then i would probably shrug my shoulders and walk off the scene because it was all too familiar.

since last month i had been praying for some divine intervention or defining moments so i could turn my life around. i was sick and tired of not knowing what was going to happen. i thought i would have fun not having to work and getting to sleep in. but a life without reasons is a lonely way to live. i can say that again. life with no one to be accountable to or nothing to be responsible for is meaningless. 

when the Lord created us, He filled within us the eternal plan of salvation. with that plan as the finished line, each of us was birthed, trained and prepared to sprint and run towards that goal in different ways, according to our talents, desires and visions. the scripture from proverbs 29:18, which says, “without the vision, people perish”, kept coming back to me when i was groping aimlessly for a purpose to live.

when i was at Compassion, i knew that there would be reasons for me to be there every day. a story to write. a project to work on. a trip to plan. a place to travel to. i felt needed, empowered and valued. i knew that i could meet my every needs and even wants because i had the strong financial back-up to fall on – social insurance, reimbursable medical support and monthly salary. i did not have to deal with the feeling of being a disappointment or a burden to my family much because i could be counted on.

but now that nothing was regular or predictable, i lost a sense of purpose. it took me a month to figure out what i need – to find my reason to live in God. it was Him who suggested the idea of leaving work in the first place. why would i go look somewhere else for the answer when the answer was right here – with me, in me? when i put myself back into the center of God’s presence, my unstable, uncertain and unbalanced life was reversed.

every day i wake up with a sense of purpose – that is, to spend time reading the Bible and study His word with as much time as i have. i am following the year plan, which allows me to read four chapters from four book each day. the more i seek Him, the lesser i worry. even though i do not have all the questions in my head figured out, and i will probably make a lot of mistakes along the way, i know that i now get one thing right – i am doing what matthew 6:33 says, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

one thing i miss from work at Compassion, though, is writing. not just personal diary’s writing…but the kind of writing that brings myself into other people’s worlds. i miss the insights i earned from talking to the locals and the new relationships i gained by spending time in their villages. and as if i am not surprised at myself enough, i am going to say this – that i even miss the deadlines! that is hard to come by. but i guess with too much time on my hands, this can happen. haha.

yet God is good and faithful. He has given me jobs that have provided for me to cover all my necessities this month. even though it was not a big wad of money, this was the answer to my prayer. the divine intervention. the defining moment. i remembered why i decided to step out of the comfort zone – to walk into the unknown adventure with the God i love, who calls me to Him every day. it is not the money that i live for. it is the experiences and deeply rooted love relationship with Jesus that i am after.

so even though i could whip up an impressive long-list-of-experiences resume and send it to multiple targeted organizations; or apply for graduate schools in different countries and get accepted; i would not be satisfied if it was not where He wanted me to be. or in short – there is no better place I would rather be than where God wants me to be right now. 

please pray for me as i am seeking His presence daily…that i may cast anxiety into prayer. pray for trust in His plan, faith to obey, peace that transcends my current circumstances and, most importantly, hope for each day. pray that i will let Him to be the reason i live and that i will continue to discover more of Himself and myself each day. and, lastly, pray that at least i will get to share the blessings in my life with someone other than myself.

01 women after God


Broke Through, Eventually…

finally, it is here. this ability to let go. the fight has been long and hard, but not meaning less. the strings of wordy prayers, the endless hours of anxiety, the furious scribbles in my journal pages and the tears-stained pillows were not all for nothing. tonight, i stood on my little balcony as a freed woman. i am experiencing again the joy of being in God’s hand. tonight, i say with a weightless heart, “Lord, i do not know what my next couple of months will be. and my relationship is still a mess. but i give them into Your hand. i trust in Your plan”.

i am thankful for His word through the pastor at church’s bible study this week. he encouraged us to pick a seat – between the seat of jealousy and grumbling or the seat where God’s power can be manifested through our lives. and all we had to do was to stop being envious or complaining, get up and move towards the place we want to be.

i had wanted to be done with this sorrowful and uncertain life. so i decided to say, “i need to change. i am tired of being tired, bored, despair, bitter and discouraged. i need to make the shift i want to see, by starting with embracing God’s calling”, which is to live a life that pleases Him…a life that reaches its fullest in all areas for His glory. and i knew that sulking and moping around in my room was not a way to reach that destination.

i am reminded of the ecclesiastes wisdom once again – of how there is time for everything. my time of sorrow and uncertainty is over. and i am ready to move on. i chose to give back things i cannot control to Jesus, and look forward to this present moment, and count the moment as a present itself.

this is my breakthrough. and i want to testify God’s goodness in my life so it may bring encouragement and assurance to you – that all things work together for good for those who love Him. it may be hard to your ears right now (i refused to listen to such statement when i was in the pity party) but God’s truth never wavers. i also want to thank you for praying for me. keep praying. God knows how much i still need your prayers. i am still unemployed and single. but i am happy.

so i guess i will end with a quote from c.s. lewis…just to lift the bar of intellectual quality of this post. something that goes well with my life’s theme now.

“It is true that some people may find they have to wait in the hall for a considerable time, while others feel certain almost at once which door they must knock at. I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do get into your room you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise.”


the greatest love is this…

following the post from yesterday, i am compelled to share these quotes that have encouraged me during the times of spiritual drought or doubts.  

“we can do no great things, just small things with great love. it is not how much you do, but how much love you put into doing it.” – mother teresa

“Jesus raised His friend lazarus from the dead, and a few years later, lazarus died again. Jesus healed the sick, but they eventually caught some other disease. He fed the thousands, and the next day they were hungry again. but we remember His love. it wasn’t that Jesus healed a leper but he touched a leper, because no one touched lepers. and the incredible thing about that love is that it now lives inside of us.” – shane claireborne

“i think God wants us to let go of the things we love the most so that we can experience true love.” j.glass

love is a choice. to find true love, we have to risk going on a big adventure where there will be monsters and mount doom.

it all starts with your heart. is your heart reflecting God’s heart today? passionate for the poor. courageous. willing to take a step of faith out of comfort zone. 

as you share God’s table, what do you hear? when you break the bread and drink the wine, do you hear Him?

“i am partaking in the suffering of sin with you and for you. i am doing this because i love you.”

compassion means “suffering with“. jesus’ flesh was torn and his blood dripped on the cross because He chose to suffer with us and for us. God loves us.

if we are His sons and daughters, will we not do the same thing for our brothers and sisters across the globe?

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice 
and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free 
and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry 
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them, 
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” – isaiah 58: 6-7 

“how very true – if our hearts break at the plight of the world’s children, what is a mere million among the literally billions that suffer in our world today? it will be wonderful to be able to impact the lives of a million children, but it still will be just a drop in the ocean!…God hurts for children in countries where Compassion’s ministry might never reach…

but I have come to believe that God expects Compassion to minister to children beyond those we can sponsor…He wants to bless the children of the world by using Compassion beyond our wildest imagination.”

– wess stafford