So, two weeks after my birthday, I went to KL with Andrew and Sam to check out churches, attend services, see what the Christians there were like and what they were concerned about right now... it was Sam's personal project; I could provide lodging at my aunt's place, and Andrew knew Malay, so we made the perfect trio. (Except that we didn't have a car or navigational skills, so we got lost and cabbed / got free rides a lot.
The pastor on the right is Pastor Daniel Ho of Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC). Their church is amazing - it's so community-like and warm, although also big - and we had a great chat with the pastor. He's an amazing guy, implemented some amazing things in the church (like the public can actually use the recreational spaces and stuff in the church, and even though things get stolen or damaged, the church simply compensates for the damage - the spirit of community and inclusiveness of the public is more valuable to the church than damages and expenses, and that's really pretty amazing), and he had some real golden words to share. He's an amazing guy and I have so much respect for him.
It's also pretty noteworthy that out of the five services / prayer meetings we attended, the one that impacted me the most was DUMC's Chinese service. I mean, I actually understood it, and it was fantastic - I took six pages' worth of notes or something. Frantically scribbling and nodding and God touched me at the altar call. I loved how the Chinese pastor came across as so real - unashamed of being an ex-gangster (he talked about how when he first became a church staff he was able to drive his own pastor around because he knew all the small roads since he was a thief before and gangsters don't go by the big roads, and other hilarious things like that), yet so completely in love with God, and so down-to-earth. I loved the way he preached, and his message was amazing.
And City Harvest Church KL is BEAUTIFUL. Some of the churches we visited used to be warehouse spaces, so they're really big. And CHC KL is amazing.
So that's my KL trip in summary. Photos on Facebook, HERE!
The week after that, we had a camp for team leaders, assistant leaders and game masters in preparation for our church's zone camp (that didn't take place in the end thanks to the crazy haze). Don't really have much to blog about here, except that I found it very interesting that during the worship sessions and stuff, I felt completely out of the mood and unable to connect with God and unable to experience or be touched by Him like everyone else. And I was all tired and grumbling. But on the morning of the second day, my cell group leader got us to do some individual quiet time along the beach, and all I had to do was plug in my earphones - the second I closed my eyes and started to pray, I felt God touch me right there, and I started to tear immediately. And I was like, wow. Here I was getting all annoyed at everything and getting frustrated that I couldn't feel God in any of the worship sessions and being all exhausted and whiny (silently), and here, in my simple quiet time, God came so quickly.
3. Mission Trip
The following week I had my SOT Mission Trip to Jakarta with Team 16. Although I was bummed about not being able to go to Myanmar with my own SOT team (because they're going while I'm here in Yale), I thoroughly enjoyed my mission trip to Jakarta. Team 16 was so welcoming and treated me like one of their own - I didn't feel out of place at all, despite the fact that I was a stranger to most of them while they had all already known each other for months. Made great friends and learnt so much. For the first time, I led a cell group of people aged 18-22+ in the preaching of the Word (I used my 'Barren Women, Countless Children' sermon), and did a bit of ushering (at GPDI Gideon, the ushers shake everyone's hands as they come through the doors!).
We also went in groups of three to houses around the area to do home visitations and pray for them. Many were ageing and sick. It was an amazing experience - exhausting, but incredible when you pray for them and realise God had a different word for each of them. To one lady with a lot on her plate, God spoke through us that He had blessed them tremendously and that He was so happy with them; to another, God showed us her struggles with bitterness and her exhaustion. To one elderly, sick man, God clearly spoke of strength through our prayers; to another elderly, sick woman, God told us that she needed to remember how to thank Him again.
Oh, and I rode on a motorcycle.
That van on the right? It's a BUS. A bus is a blue van with its door always open. It's insane. I LOVE IT.
So, all in all, I really enjoyed Jakarta. It was my first time there and we stayed away from the city centre - tending towards the rural side - and I really loved the place. The post-trip diarrhoea wasn't fun, but I'll just be more careful with the water next time.
The week after Jakarta was supposed to be the church camp, but it eventually got cancelled because of the haze. And the week after that was our Yale-NUS Orientation Facilitators' Camp. And I shan't talk about that - not ready to blog about Orientation yet! But June was a whirl and everything was going at a crazy speed and there was Singaporientation and now here I am in Connecticut, loving the architecture and the environment and my classmates and everything to come.
P.S. Guess that wasn't 'incredibly quick' after all. It's currently 2.53am. I had planned to sleep at 11.