“Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare new things! Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you. Sing to the LORD a new song, sing His praise from the end of the earth!” Isaiah 42:9, 10a.
Home Assignment (HA) of 9 months has ended but I will still be in Singapore. Why? With the understanding of OMF Singapore, OMF Cambodia and Zion church, I’ll be transferred to OMF Singapore till July 2017. This decision has been prompted by family reasons – it will be a time for me to co-support my mother with a younger sister till my brother and his wife return from studies in June 2017. My plan is to leave for Cambodia by August 2017.
Through the HA, like other periods, I have seen some old things change and experienced much that is new and fresh. Please allow let me share some updates. Here’s also a word of appreciation to some who noted that there have been no updates for a while – I apologise for the long silence, for which I have no excuse. Nonetheless, I’m thankful that there have many opportunities to pray with some of you, and to be prayed for.
I have appreciated…
An opportunity to dig deep into the Word, especially the book of Isaiah (hence the quote – our God makes a bold declaration to Israel and the nations regarding the future, which only He knows and no one else. In my situation, that is very comforting too ☺) This study is helping me as I co-write a Bible study with an editor from the Fount of Wisdom Publishing House, Cambodia, to turn it into a bilingual book. Already, there is a draft for the Introduction and chapter 1 of Isaiah, which was a long time in taking shape.
Time and space to visit places such as parks, museums and monuments that seem new especially after the celebrations of Singapore’s 50th year of independence.
So many of you making time to meet up, which almost always includes a meal of some kind, and then heartfelt conversations. This is very precious to me as it allows me to re-connect with you and to hear about how God has been working in and through you.
Getting to know 3 young women who are seriously exploring God’s call to missions or full-time ministry. Their love for God and desire to do His will has greatly enriched and encouraged me. With 2 other young adults, we are doing an overview of the Bible and their hunger to know His Word has spurred me to be a better student too.
An opportunity to train 3 teams from my church that will be off on short-term mission trips this year. They have blessed me with their commitment to learn about the whys of missions, and also the joys and challenges of crossing cultures. In addition, I had the fun and privilege of trying (note the verb!) to help children in 2 churches understand how the 6 ways of being involved in missions (Learn, Pray, Welcome, Send, Go, Mobilise) can be practicable in their lives. A Bible study group of young adults, many of whom have participated in short-term missions, explored with me on discerning God’s will for full-time ministry and missions.
Time-outs. Cameron Highlands continue to be a favoured destination for quiet, refreshment and rest in God and to get on further along in my writing. Out of that time, I finished a short story written with Cambodian children in mind. Translated into Khmer, it is being illustrated now and may find a place later in the public school libraries!
A trip to Taiwan with some of my family. It was a time of eating, eating and eating! But to do justice, both Taipei and Kaohsiung had some outstanding nature spots too.
Early this year, I went through two medical procedures for the first time, and this was the start of many hours of checks, and waiting on doctors and also some re-assessment of how my health situation. Nothing reinforced for me the need for greater self-care than this – as a result, exercising has not only become necessary, but surprisingly pleasurable!
As I embark on the ‘new’, if you will, please join me in praying through the requests below. And I also pray that as you pray, may God bless you in this ministry, so that when His answers come, we will all have the joy of praising Him for His goodness and sovereignty.
(1) The OMF team in Cambodia – for newcomers going through language learning and culture acquisition, and more seasoned ones who are being stretched in many ways as the team constantly changes. Also, the changing and somewhat uneasy political scene will have unforeseen impact on how OMF in areas such as visas, work permits, registrations and perhaps how open we can be in our gospel work.
(2) Fount of Wisdom Publishing House – into its ‘adolescent’ (13th ) years, the Khmer staff needs to grow in confidence and diligence to birth and execute new ideas, as well as resilience and humility to handle difficulties. Above all, they need to have faith in God only, not man.
I will continue to support them by email and Skype, and in the area of translation checking, so careful balancing of time with other responsibilities is necessary.
(3) At the OMF Singapore office – Willingness and quickness to learn and serve. As a temporary short-term staff I hope I can be a blessing for those who have served faithfully as long-termers.
(4) My writing – The Isaiah book, as well as another story set in Cambodia. Often the challenge is not time, but discipline to write, and faith to believe that what is on paper can be used by God.
I include an excerpt of the short story. It has been translated into Khmer and is being illustrated now by Fount of Wisdom Publishing House, which i work closely with. The target readers are Khmer young people between 11 to 13 years. Cambodians have a lot of self-esteem issues and when poverty is thrown into the mix, it is even more difficult.
Srey Pich was angry, very angry. Walking on the road from her house to the market, she complained in her heart:
“Why does our family always say we are poor, and cannot buy this or buy that? Why does Pa say we are poor and hang his head in shame? Why does Mak say we are poor and then wipe her eyes with a krama? Are we so poor that I cannot buy even a new pencil?”
At school this morning, they had just started to sell fashionably designed pencils from Phnom Penh. Each of Srey Pich’s classmates had bought one and immediately started to use them in the classroom, holding them up high, turning this way and that. Only Srey Pich had an old pencil in her hands and she covered it with her hands as she was writing her lesson.
After school, she rushed home to ask for money to buy a pencil like that of her classmates. Receiving no answer, she asked again, and again. Until her parents said “Quiet!” Until Older Sister said “Sister, we are poor.”
Hating to hear those words, Srey Pich ran out of the house, all the way to the main road. Then she walked on to the market, still feeling upset.