Ok now that I've got my hectic last week over and done with (by the way I think the test and assignment turned out quite well), it's time to talk about Times Square Church.
We started our Spring Break with a few days in New York, reached there on a Saturday, and there was only one place I wanted to go for church on that Sunday.. Times Square Church! That's the church where David Wilkerson, from 'The Cross and the Switchblade' has occupied the pulpit for the last 50 years, since preaching to the street gangs, prostitutes and drug addicts in New York in the 1950s when New York was a dangerous place.
With an expectant heart, I left Hanting's place on Sunday morning to look for the church, and I wasn't disappointed. From the moment I entered the sanctuary (actually the overflow room... cos I spent some time waiting for Terence, Ethan, Seow and Hansheng.. and went in 10 minutes late!), there was that sense of the Lord's presence. It was also as though I was transferred right into the scene of the Cross and the Switchblad, 50 years on. Seeing the kid's choir do a choral introit of many songs, as well as the mixed choir made up of people from all races and background.. probably a few former drug addicts, all redeemed and worshipping the Lord, was something special. And it just moved me to tears, like I never cried before for many years. Tears of joy :) It was really a taste of heaven.
I was actually really hoping Pastor David would preach that week, cos apparently he only preaches once every one or two months, so I was really pleasantly surprised when he took the pulpit and gave the Word for the day.
And it cut to the heart.
The first thing he did was to go to Psalms 119:67.
"Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I obey Your Word."
And then verse 71
"It was good for me to be afflicted, that I might learn Your decrees."
Such water for the soul, an oasis in the desert, as though the Lord was speaking directly just to me, that I had to go to Times Square New York to hear these words of comfort. How often is this preached? I had never heard these verses being preached before, and Pastor David had to speak about it that day. The past year of struggles over my right eye (it's still blur), and the change of my lifestyle I've had to take, and the nights of pouring out my struggles to the Lord, to understand this strange trial He's placed me through, now had an answer, words of assurance from the Lord.
Such unction from the old man, daily just preaching straight from the Word, with the power of the Holy Spirit, and the urgency for a world in need of the Lord. It was indeed my privilege for the Lord to let me see this old warrior in action, before he leaves the world :) And i was blessed :O)
Hey everyone! I know this blog has been silent for a long time, but that doesn't meet I've had nothing to write! In fact I've got plenty to write! Spring break spent travelling the world: Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, Times Square Church, the United Nations, Ground Zero, Washington and the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, Harvard and MIT in Boston :P...
But first, I've got a test on Economic Development later, and a thought paper on Advanced Jurisprudence due on Friday, so that's all I'm thinking about at the moment :O) Stay tuned though! And you could check out the photos on facebook :P
(1) Korean guys don't do anything on Valentine's Day, instead it's the girls who have to give chocolates to their male counterparts. On March 14th, there's another day called White Valentine's Day, where the guys will then give something (i forgot what it was, think it's sweets) to their female counterparts.
(2) The Indian buffet spread at Maharajah is really good! And quite affordable too, 13 dollars including tip and tax.
(3) Butter Chicken is really nice, but Indian desserts take some getting used to.
(4) I'm not half the man I used to be in terms of eating buffets :OP Stopped at 4-5 plates, and had a sort of heart-ache after that. Strange.. Maybe the food was really substantial, so I got full quite fast. Maybe I'm just less prone to gluttony.
(5) There's a shop selling interesting books like V for Vendetta and Braveheart for $2 each. Incidentally they also sell sets of 4-5 comics for $1, good comics, really cheap. SQ if you actually come and read my blog and see this, I'd be most willing to get some back for you! If anyone else wants to tell SQ about it, you're welcome to do so.
(6) Tamaye (this girl in my Bible Study group) was from KGK! That's the Japan CF! Super cool. Maybe she'll drop by EARC, cos she's going back to Japan for good in a week's time.
(7) In Moses' (this guy in my Bible Study group) home university in Uganda, the CF just exploded from being non-existent, to hundreds of ppl who meet for lunch fellowship every day in their individual faculties, and also meet together as a large group on Fridays and Sundays (they took over the Anglican church nearby). And it all started with "Mango Tree Prayer", where the first people gathered many years ago to pray for revival. The Mango tree was in a field between a Mosque and an Anglican church, and there were no CFers before that ("born-again Christians" as he calls it). Till today they still meet every friday and sunday there to pray, and sometimes pray at night all the way to midnight!
(8) Many of that pioneering group of Christians who gathered below that mango tree to pray are all prominent pastors in churches all around Uganda today, and Uganda is officially 90% Christian today :O)
(9) It is a 1 hr walk from my BSL's place back home.
(10) Not wearing your shoes tightly causes nice big holes in your socks.. especially if you are walking long distances :(
(11) The wife of a prominent Singapore business CEO is facing a lawsuit for slapping an SIA stewardess.
(12) Dorea sucks at Boggle :P (she said it herself)
Ok I'd better get this down before I never write about it again. I did many new things over last weekend.. here's some of it.
(1) Tobogganing (I still don't know how to spell it)
Basically you lie on a surf board kind of thing, hold on for your life, and slide face first down a slope. Really fun. I only tried it once though... and it was not as fast as it looked :P
Yup that's the slope that we slid down. Someone actually managed to reach and cross the gate (on his 6-7th try i think..), and got a $5 prize from Peter Benjamin :O).
(2) Playing the Accordion!
Oh no.. again I forgot to invert it upright.. but yup.. there I was, entertaining the crowd (whoever wanted to listen) with mary had a little lamb! It actually takes a lot of coordination, chords with the left hand, notes on the right hand, and you need to pull it and push it for sound to even come out :P [in case you're really interested.. the 3 white buttons on top of the keys are to change the octave]
(3) Texas Hold'em POKER
Haha!! This is the poker they play at official competitions. It's actually like a sport here.. and it's quite like the gambling show kind of format. Slightly different from normal poker though.
Now.. you might ask, "what a game to be playing at an MCF Winter Retreat" :O)..
I asked myself the same question... for a while.. until..
Their Staffworker joined in!! Look how happy he is playing. Well we were playing with sugar sachets, so no money involved.. just like any other card game i guess :O)
Yup.. so in general it was an eventful weekend.. experienced lots of new things, learnt a lot of new things, and most importantly, I'm refreshed and set to carry on in the weeks ahead! May this not be an 'emotional high' kind of post-camp syndrome.. but may it be a genuine change in me :O)
The weekend's been great. We went off to a Jewish campsite lodge just 2 hrs drive North of Montreal, this place called Camp Kinnerat, that overlooks a huge frozen lake and and ski slopes beyond that.. a great chance for everyone to get out of the city and enjoy God's creation while studying God's Word and fellowshipping with fellow brothers and sisters.
Last week wasn't too easy, I had lots of things to think about, too many varied things, and on thursday my heart was very heavy laden, and I really needed a retreat. To add to that my heart was not right before God. On thursday night, instead of spending time in the Lord's presence and preparing my heart for the winter retreat, I instead went to waste time watching videos on Youtube. Yup so I actually left for the retreat with much burdens, and thus so much more I needed to meet God at the retreat, to hear His Voice.
And He did just that on the last night, impeccable in His timing, and familiar in His way.
But more about the retreat first. We met at the Shatner building at 5.30pm on Friday, and then had to quickly pack some dinner from there. And we got a great deal. This chinese lady was packing up for the weekend, and was in weekend mode! So she sold us rice with chicken and pasta and fruit salad, all for $5 tax included! Haha, that easily was the most 'worth-it' $5 meal i've had here. Hansheng and I gobbled it down on the bus all the way to the campsite.
That's us entering the campsite. It's actually a ski lodge kind of campsite. Just one building with many bunks with many beds, and a nice big 'living room' area that looks like this.
Yupz, here's is where we did most of our activities. As for the people in the picture, it's Noah at the keyboards, Sheila on the guitar, and Victoria standing beside her. Starting at the right on the sofa it's Joshua, then Joni (who is standing up), and then Christa, and I can't recognize who was talking to her. At the background from the right it's David and Shu-Yin (one of the staffworkers who led us in the manuscript BS), and the big guy is Peter Benjamin (the Yvonne of MCF :O)).
So actually while I'd compare this retreat to AnnTiC in its place and purpose in the MCF calendar, MCF is rather small (about 30 ppl in total), and thus it felt more like a PCGL retreat in terms of number, and there were 20 campers in total. Nice and comfortable for everyone to interact with everyone else.
The gathering of believers was also unique in that people were from all over the world! Something we definitely don't see in ethnically homogeneous VCF. Here's a list of where everyone was from :P
Peter Benjamin (staff) - Canada Wong Shu-Yin (staff) and David - Hong Kong I think Victoria - Canada Christa - Canada Anna - (not sure) Tiffany - some Indian roots I think Mittu - Indian roots too Joshua - USA Peter Kang - Taiwan, lived in Vancouver for a while Sheila - China Justin - Born in Singapore, bred in Hong Kong, twin studying in England Michael - Canada Mirko - Germany Hernan - Taiwan Hansheng and Lester - Singapore Joni - Japan Jeremy - Canada Scott - Canada and USA i think.. not sure. Dan - Canada I think Noah - Hong Kong
Cool huh. We studied the book of Jonah, but on the first night, we watched a movie. ooooh... here's what the movie was about.
Tomatoes and Cucumbers!! haha... looks familiar? And we had popcorn and cookies to go with it :O)
Anyway on to the 2nd day. In the morning we had Manuscript Bible Study, which is pretty much like Inductive Bible Study.. I've got a really strong suspicion that they came from the same source :P haha.. But our session was great. Shu-Yin led the session, and she's amazing. She's 6 months pregnant, and still going strong, leading 5 JC ministries, always looking happy and a really dynamic trainer.
Great stuff.. we went on for 3 hours without feeling tired. Could go on for another 3 hours if not for the pleasant smell of lunch.
Afternoon was free time, but let me take a break off blogging now.. will come up with part 2 later!
A little time to relate a most fascinating little incident that happened last Sunday as I was walking home from church.
I was walking along St Catherines (kind of like Orchard Rd in Singapore, main shopping stretch), and after passing by a typical shop window of a clothes store, something caught my eye and I turned. Something was moving!! and it was a dog!! peering out through that shop window of the shop that was closed, just beside all the mannequins! It was ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS! Especially since the dog was wagging it's tail and looking as though it totally belonged there.
Some old men standing nearby also spotted the dog, and one of them looked at me and said "hey kid, you heard of that song (and started singing) 'how much is that doggie in the window?'"
An experience of a lifetime i'd say... only in Montreal :O) Too bad i wasn't carrying a camera
Rounding up the week of taking my Game Theory test, and getting a guitar, was Friday using the McDonalds coupons for dinner, Saturday watching Arsenal beat Man City 3-1, and then watching Man U score a last gasp equaliser against a brilliant Tottenham side, and then finding Liverpool too boring to watch, and going for a Chinese New Year dumpling making party organized by the International Students Ministry, and then going to hang out with Andrew, Cali, Hansheng and Sherlyn at Hansheng's place.
At the dumpling-making thing I met people from all over! There were a pair of twin girls from China! Also, there was this girl from Hungary, that just went to Cambodia to do a project about the problem of cultural colonialism for 3 months over the summer.
Also there was this guy called Daniel from the Caribbean, and he was SO COOL! Big size guy (made you wonder whether everyone is big over there). It was nice talking to him about how people here are a lot more cold, less friendly, and how in the Caribbean everyone knows everyone on his island, and everyone has a sense of humour :O), and also how the West has sent a lot of missionaries to Singapore, which is why he's heard of Singapore.
And then there was this Malaysian girl called Ling, who was finishing up her first year at McGill.
And there was a guy from India, and another from Cambodia, and one from Hong Kong... and so on.
Truly International, this fellowship of believers. Loved every moment of it.
Evangel Pentecostal Church
Today I went with Andrew and Jacky to visit Evangel Pentecostal church, and it was certainly worth the visit. I walked 45 mins there and walked 45 mins back, but it was worth it.
For one it was snowing lightly today, and the snow crystals were big and nice. It's just so beautiful when it trickles down. There was a kid that was sticking his tongue out trying to catch a snowflake :)
Next, the church was about as big as Aldersgate in terms of congregation size, but they had a choir of some 40-50 ppl! And they had a brass quartet! Trumpet, Flute, and 2 others that I can't identify :O) haha.. forgot lah. I think the cello and a bassoon.
The sermon was characteristically Pentecostal (motivational, direct..), and it was good.
What a week it's been :O) seems so long ago that I came back from Toronto, but it was last Sunday! And this has simply been a marvellous week. I wonder what the week ahead will bring.
Oh, and my eye is beginning to feel bad again. It doesn't affect me as much, but i was trying it out today (haha.. trying out..), and yah there's just a strange deterioration in the right eye. I hope it gets better soon, with all my heart.
But a verse has encouraged me. Isaiah 26:6 "but You will keep in perfect peace he whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You"
Praise God for His faithfulness through all generations :O)
These 2 days have been fabulous, beyond my widest expectations :) The first thing that happened was last night, when I got myself a guitar to bring home!! I went to Steph and Suzanne's place for the MCF ISM Bible Study, and, lo and behold, Suzanne had a guitar!! And she didn't use it :O) So she lent it to me for a week. Absolutely mind-blowing. I've been praying that maybe there'll be someway I can get a guitar from here to use, and the Lord provided it in a most unexpected way.
Glad I went though, cos i was initially reluctant to go, since it meant buying a metro ticket 2 ways which would cost me 4 dollars. But it was well worth it. In fact, she had a piano there too!! Good stuff.
The next thing was absolutely fantastic too :P cos I got the results of my Game Theory test back today, and I scored 32 out of 40! That's just unbelievable. I was worried i'd fail, cos I did the two 16 mark questions, and I thought that I didn't complete one of them. So to get full marks for both of them was fantastic. Apparently I got one of the highest in the class too :P
So today i've been on high morale all day. Nice guitar, good grades, motivation to pay attention in class...etc. And I think there's free food coming up in the law atrium in a moment's time. Coffeehouse, sponsored by some law firm :P and there's a long weekend ahead to enjoy.
Hope you have a great weekend too, dear reader. :P
Torn Between a well-planned trip with the other Singaporeans to Quebec city on 7-9 Feb, where i'll get to see the Ice Hotel! or a McGill CF winter retreat somewhere near Mt Tremblant, where I'll get to see nice scenery and meet lots of nice people.
By the strong gusts of wind on the way to school today. It was 4 degrees, the warmest we've had in a while, yet when we turned up one road, we were blown so much we couldn't move forward. Almost blew us off the ground I felt. And ice pellets were assaulting us as well. Guess the Lord put a 'no entry' sign on that road.
Roads were slippery too, it's what they call freezing rain I guess, like a layer of ice on the ground.
Game theory test was difficult, still haven't got used to the notation, and also I drifted off during lecture just now once I turned on the MSN on my com... Realize I pay attention a lot better when my com is off... oh well. :P
Here is why I lost the flow of the lecture once MSN turned on. My friend tricked me into thinking she failed her bar exams! Really class acting. And the stakes were high.. cos the day before I bet with her that if she passed she'll buy me dinner, and if she failed, then I'll have to "yang ta yi bei zi".
In the end she got 12th! well done man. Now I have a dinner treat to look forward to. And I heard Hsien Ming got 2nd in level!! Never knew she was so pro.
Things are going well I guess, and exchange has brought so many new experiences every day. It's been a month, and I'm really happy at the way it has passed, the people I've met and the things we've done. Terence is a great cook, Ethan's fun and organized. It's nice to be away from everyone and everything, all obligations and responsibilities too, and yet still being able to keep in touch with people back home now and then.
Oh, and I heard a SUPER LAME song on veggietales the other day! interested? go here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sAVh5NkWq4 and play from 8.10 mins onwards. It's HILARIOUS. Walter, next song for you to memorize huh :O)