Completely offered to You

Photo credits: My beloved youth pastor

The bridge of “The Stand” never fails to find its way to my heart. And today, it was the chorus that struck me. 

What can I say? What can I do? But offer this heart, O God, completely to You.

God has given us everything. He gave us even His only Son to die for our sin (which is what prevents us from having a perfect relationship with God) so that we may have that perfect relationship  with Him again. Nothing that we can ever give will be able to be compared with what God has given. And that left me believing that the only thing that’s ever worth giving to God is myself, and giving it completely without restraint. 

If that’s the English song that describes how I feel towards God, then here’s the Chinese one —全然为你.

我生命气息全然为你,如同香膏倾倒 / 无悔地付出,只愿你心得满足 / 我生命气息全然为你,如同香膏倾倒 / 全心来献上,最深刻真挚的爱

The monster that I can’t seem to have control over 

I don’t usually feel so much. I normally can figure out why I’m feeling what I’m feeling. But tonight, my emotions is just like the mess in the picture. I hate it that I can’t properly articulate my emotions. I hate it that I’m frustrated yet I can’t really figure out why I’m feeling so. I hate it that when I’m in such a state, there seems to be no one in that moment that can help me to get out of that emotional mess (well, other than God). But what happens when I can’t hear what God is trying to say to me? Tonight is one crazy night. Lord, please release me from this emotional roller coaster. 

I’m just average but it doesn’t matter

Rarely do I think much about life or the things in life, and today happened to be one of those rare days.

I was swimming and when I was taking a rest by the side of the pool, I caught myself thinking “I haven’t achieved much for the past 26 years…” I found my mind rewinding and thinking about what I’ve achieved the last 26 years. Or rather, I found myself thinking about the people around me who seem to have achieved more than what I have even though younger than me. My younger sister was once a National athlete, my friends are earning paycheques of more than $3.5k… And me? Working in a church youth ministry.

I don’t mean to say that there’s anything bad about my work (I love my job by the way), it’s just that it doesn’t seem to me that I’ve achieved anything big/great, or rather, significant.

Then I felt the Spirit tug at my heart and said “Does it really matter whether you achieve anything of that sort? Because it doesn’t really matter to me. What matters to me is you grow in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. What matters to me is you grow to love me and love people.”

If that’s what matters to You, Lord, then may those things also be what really matter to me and nothing else.

 

A pretty typical Singaporean Christian Wedding

I’ve been procrastinating to write about our experience of wedding preparation and the wedding itself because there’s so much to write about and writing takes so much out of me. Oh, such pain… But I’m writing it because I’ve seen the need for couples who are preparing for their wedding to read reviews and experiences of people who have already gone before them. So here goes and hopefully this is helpful 🙂

You’re probably looking to find reviews on the vendors we’ve engaged but we thought that it was more important to share with you some principles that we’ve learnt from our wedding prep. So please don’t skip this portion!

8 Tips for Anyone Preparing for a Wedding:

  1. Decide on a budget and stick to it. Then find vendors that can meet your budget.
  2. Find a trustworthy wedding coordinator. This would really free you up to enjoy your big day.
  3. Don’t be shaken by the “market rates” of angbao money to give to your bridal party, the younger ones during tea ceremony, etc. Just decide between the two of you to give what is within your budget and what you are comfortable with.
  4. DIY wedding decor and invites. If you are not good with DIY, then get friends who are good at it! Not only will you save money, your friends also get to be involved in your wedding prep (ermmm… I’m assuming your friends are excited to be a part of the planning process.. haha).
  5. Include parents in the planning process. Which parent wouldn’t be happy to have their views considered by their kid? What more for their wedding! Find out whether they have any expectations especially if you are going to be the first in the family to get married. They would be glad to be part of the planning process!
  6. Ask for freebies! Regardless of which vendor you engage, don’t be paiseh to ask whether they can include complimentary items for you. That said, you’ve to think beforehand what are some items that you would like to be included in the package that you’ll be signing up for.
  7. Clarify and confirm if anything is unclear/unspecified. 
  8. Have fun! We can’t be more explicit than this. It’s once in a lifetime, so it better got to be fun! 😀

Now here are the vendors that we engaged for our wedding which happened in December 2016.

Bridal Package: Z Wedding
The rates that they offer are on the slightly higher end. We got ours at close to $5k including GST. Prior to meeting them, we did our research and were quite set on Z Wedding because I liked their gown designs and Lennard liked their photography. Then on one occasion when we were at the Blissful Outdoor Wedding Show (BOWS), we had a pretty pleasant experience talking to one of the consultants (we are suckers for good service).  After showing us the range of gowns they had and some pre-wedding shoots that they’ve taken before, they went through the package with us. They added on to our package 2 sets of father’s coat, the traditional Chinese kua, and they were also flexible to give us whatever number of fresh flower boutonnieres that we needed. After discussing the package, he just left us to talk and decide whether we would sign the package with them. He didn’t pressure us like some consultants from other bridal boutiques would, and he really gave us an assurance that they could do a good job for us. Other than the price, we were actually quite comfortable with everything else. Nevertheless, we decided to sign with them. After we agreed to sign with them, the consultant went to have a chat with the guy in charge of photography and came back to us, and said that they would increase the number of pre-wed photos in the photobook from 20 to 30. Of course we were elated! But only to find out later on when we choose photos for the photobook that 30 is not enough. Haha.. Overall, we think that they provided a service that was proper and neat, nothing out of the extraordinary to rave about for $5k (haha..). Oh, and one thing which I think most BTBs would want is to take photos during gown fitting – that’s something that they didn’t allow BTBs to do. So if you’re particular about that, I guess this would be a no-no.. 🙂

So some tips for choosing a bridal package would be:

  • Ask for at least 35-40 photos to be included in the package. Don’t think they’d give anything more than that for any boutique.
  • Not necessary to choose bridal package that’s so high end because an average boutique would have more than enough gowns for you to choose from. Furthermore, my experience with Z Wedding when I went for gown fitting is that the staff would pick a few gowns for you to try, and because they are so experienced with the body shape of BTBs, more often than not, the first few gowns (in fact the first gown!) that I tried on were the ones that I chose in the end.

Photography: juxtapose pix
This photographer was recommended by a friend, who was first engaged by her older sister. And we never regretted engaging him for our wedding. He takes some time to deliver the final photos (I think it took about 2 months for us to receive our photos), so if you’re particular about that, either you can try negotiating with him or you’d probably choose another photographer that would be able to give you the photos asap. Some of our favourite photos from our casual shoot.

Videography: Chocolate Door
This videographer is a friend of ours. We decided to engage him not because he is our friend but because we liked his style of wedding videography (the videos we saw on the website). But we were a tad disappointed because we felt that our videos (the highlights and the final one) were not up to the standard that we saw on the website. We had a church wedding on Saturday and then a lunch banquet on Sunday. We were expecting the highlights video shown during the lunch banquet to really show the highlights that happened on Saturday but turned out that most part of the 3-minute video covered the gatecrash only. And for the final video, we were expecting highlights for Saturday and Sunday but turned out to be a 2-hour long video of every single event that took place from Saturday to Sunday. No comments to whether you should or should not engage him because the video that he did for the wedding on the week right after ours was so much better than ours.

Bridal Car Rental: Volkswagen

We rented our bridal car from Volkswagen. It’s pretty affordable $650 for 4 days. Click on the link above and it will bring you to the page with more details on the rental for wedding. 🙂

MuA for mum and sis: Team Bride SG

There’s my mum and sis who were recipients of Team Bride SG’s services. No complaints at all for the price we paid for.

If you’re wondering which florist or decor vendor we engaged, nope we didn’t engage any. We basically DIY-ed our decor for both days by conceptualising what we wanted and communicating our ideas to two of our lovely friends who coordinated the wedding decor for us. We bought flowers in Far East Flora @ Thomson Road, and bought most of our decor logistics from Taobao. Below are some photos of our wedding decor. Btw, we are renting out/selling some of the items so do leave a comment to enquire if you’re keen!

Ending the post with some of my favourite photos/moments 🙂

And last but not least, if you are a Christian couple, the most important thing to do is to pray. Pray for the wedding to be God-centred so that people would experience God for themselves at your wedding. And pray for your marriage because the wedding is just one day (at most two) but marriage is for a lifetime till death do you part. So pray. 🙂 We are very thankful to God for His providence in the entire wedding preparation, and good friends who made the preparation easier and the wedding day fun! 🙂 🙂

A new experience of doing redemption 

We went to Chinatown this afternoon to recce the place to see whether there were any #redemption opportunities. We had absolutely no idea where to go, no idea what to do, no idea how to do this, all we knew was we wanted to see redemption take place. We just walked around the place, praying and sensing the areas that we walked on… “This is so hard. Maybe the key to this is not to find a place but just to start doing it!” So we decided that we’ll just do it. 

Of course we were just like any other human – we were afraid! But what were we afraid of? I couldn’t find an answer to that. “Lord Jesus, help us! Give us courage!” And we went forth. 

“Uncle, 刚才看到你在推你的脚,是不是有哪里不舒服?” and our conversation continued from there, to finding out that he has cataract. We asked if we could pray for him to be healed of cataract, initially he was apprehensive, but eventually he agreed. So we prayed with him where he was (in mandarin 😱), and we tested whether he could see the POSB sign that’s about 10m away. He said he could see the POSB sign more clearly! (Though not completely clear) then he said “Wah! 你们很厉害嘞!” which then gave us the opportunity to testify that it’s God who has the power to do that and we were just mere vessels! 

We spent about an hour (I think) hearing from him, sharing with him, and most importantly, testifying of God’s power and goodness to him.

We’ll very likely be doing this again! So come talk to us if you’re interested to know more ie what happened, how did we feel, etc, and even better, let us know if you’re keen to join us on the next time! It’s exciting! 🙂 

Redemption is more than just about sharing the gospel; it’s sharing life and extending to others the love of God.

My Key Learning Points in Preaching for the First Time

Haven’t been writing for a while… I always tell people that I hate writing, and yes I really don’t like to write because I can’t seem to write very well, but I do have a thing for blogging. Maybe because this is my own space and I have the freedom to write about anything and everything that my heart desires.

“Lord, what do you want me to write about?” I caught myself asking this question as I stared at my computer screen. I was eager to write a post but I had no idea what to write. Too many things have happened the past 3-4 months, and when I asked the Lord what to write, He brought to mind my first preaching experiences in my youth ministry. So here goes…

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The first time I ever preached was in Sri Lanka. I could still remember vividly the sermon I preached, and the feeling of sharing the word of God to the crowd. Initially I was nervous, but as I started speaking, I found myself enjoying it and in fact it was right after I finished preaching the sermon that I felt the Lord say this is what He will lead me to do in the future. At that point, I didn’t really know what God meant – all I knew in my 19-year-old understanding was I’m going to serve God with my life.

Fast-forward to about 6 years later, with much difficulty yet by the grace of God, I am finally in the place where God had been preparing me for – R-AGE, my very own church‘s youth ministry.

I have preached in other countries, taught in children’s church, taught in youth cell groups, but never preached to a youth group in Singapore before. The first time I preached on home ground was on the 23 April 2016. I felt so stressed during the time leading up to that day, especially the few days before that day. I was stressed for the following reasons:

  1. That I couldn’t deliver the Word of God accurately to the young people
  2. That I couldn’t make the Word of God relevant for the young people
  3. That I couldn’t hear God properly, resulting in sharing an untimely message to the young people
  4. That I couldn’t articulate the thoughts properly to the young people

Even thought I surrendered these fears to God before I went up to preach, it wasn’t until recently after I preach my second sermon to the younger youths, the pre-teens, that God showed me a revelation of serving Him in this area of preaching.

  1. Preaching is not about how good a speaker I am, but how great a God He is.
  2. Focus on preaching the Word of God accurately and precisely, not on persuading the congregation with flowery words.
  3. The response of the congregation does not determine whether I have done a good job because what matters to God is my obedience in delivering His word and delivering it accurately.

To sum up, God wants our obedience when we serve Him (not only in the area of preaching). And when we have the privilege of sharing His word, to share it accurately.

我们只想跟你们一起分享这份爱 ❤️


“We are a group of people that’s been greatly and deeply loved by God, and we just want to share the love with you this Chinese New Year.”

5 young adults envisioned giving some of the elderly in the vicinity of our church a more blessed Chinese New Year this year. We crafted out an idea, rallied youths and young adults to come alongside either in gifting food packs or giving out food packs, and the plan came to pass yesterday evening when 21 young adults came together to give out the packs that we’ve gathered.

We didn’t think that there would be many people who would gift, but we managed to gather close to 30 packs! (didn’t manage to get the exact number) Thank God! And we also didn’t think that there would be more than 10 people coming to give out the packs, but God is good! He provided us with 21 which was a pretty good number! And at about 6, it started to pour but thank God the rain stopped when we were setting out 🙂

So we gathered at church for a short briefing and prayer before we set out to give out the packs to the elderly. We went in groups of 3-4 to give out the packs to elderly who were living in the rental blocks near to our church.

We started out at about 8pm and came back together at about 9.30pm. We shared experiences when we gathered back and it was amazing that the elderly were open and receptive to us. Some of us even had the opportunity to spend some time sitting in their humble home to talk to them and pray with them. It warmed our hearts to see and know that they were blessed even with the little that we could give.

There were two highlights for me:
1) The uncle whom we caught coming out of his house to look at us even after we passed his house after giving the pack to him and talked to him for awhile.
2) The uncle who said “WAH! This toilet paper is good quality wan leh! We always go buy we know the price wan.. this one expensive wan!”

When we were going round to share our experiences, I was reminded of the YAYP retreat, when we went to the slumps in Indonesia to visit families and pray with them. The Lord opened my eyes to see the similarities between that in Indonesia and what we did yesterday evening. The slumps are equivalent to the rental houses in our context. And missions can start right where we are. Missions can take place wherever there’s need.

Lord, open our eyes to see the needs right where we are, open our hearts to feel what You feel about the brokenness right where we are. Lord, use us wherever we are to meet the needs of the least of these, that You may be glorified wherever we are.