Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Missing Penang

You really don't have to be a Penang baby like JJ to appreciate roti.  But it's always a joy to see her little face light up whenever she hears we are going to have roti for breakfast.
A few days ago, when I was heating up the frozen roti for JJ, an overwhelming emotion just came upon me, remembering all the friends, brothers and sisters we've met in our 2nd home, Penang.

Though we resided there for only one and half years, the beautiful people whom we came to know and love have an eternal impact on me, especially those who demonstrated their love for the Lord.
When I first landed in Penang, feeling homesick and all alone, God sent our amah, Sarah into my life to show His grace.  Her mouth-watering cooking won us over.  In her quietness, she taught me not to fear but to trust in the Lord in all things.  She had shared with me testimonies after testimonies of God's protection and provision.  She exercises discernment and has so much wisdom.  The peace of the Lord is so evident in her life.  She's a console, a dear friend, a family member whom our whole family loves.

My heart is full of thanksgiving whenever I remember my dear, dear sister, Gina.  A woman of God, with boldness, perseverance, charisma, she is in constant communion with the Lord.  She prays, but most importantly, listens to God and follows His leading and prompting.  Gina has raised three beautiful children, blessing them and guiding them to walk with the Lord each day. She speaks of truth with love.  I love her humor and sensitivity to the Spirit.    She's my mentor and a role model.

I miss Carmen, a good friend who showed pure dedication to the Lord as a new believer.  Always wearing a smile, she was a great listener with eagerness to learn more of God's word.  I appreciate her love for my family, especially my children.
The meaning of fellowship was well defined when we 1st attended the CG.  We were warmly welcomed and felt right at home the moment we walked into the meeting.  As a tradition, the CG started with worshipful singing, sharing of testimonies (adults and children alike all had stories to tell about God's work in their lives!), followed by reviewing the sermon of the week with discussion.  At 10pm. with a room full of young kids and adults, we figured it was about time to conclude the meeting (as what we were costumed to in the States--attending to the needs of growing children).  But the gathering did not end until 11pm, followed by a feast of snacks.  Just when we were about to say good-bye, brother Cheong asked, "Makan, anyone?"  At 11:45pm and right after a big snack?  I seriously thought he was joking.  But soon I realized that he was not.  Oh, how Penang folks love food!  Precious lessons I've learned were to be flexible and prioritize time gathering with fellow brothers and sisters. Without the accountability, encouragements and prayer support of the brothers and sisters, growing families are doing themselves a disservice by walking alone.
As a CG, we visited the orphanage and the children's hospital.  EVERYONE came. Under the hot sun, we played games with the kids, sang songs, put on a puppet show, hugged and talked to the kids.  And every time before we started our visit, brother David would ask God to extend us as His arms to love and to embrace.  We served as one body, empowered by the Holy Spirit and  used by the Lord.

The most memorable CG event had to be our camping trip in the butterfly garden.  My experiences of camping in the States did not prepare me for this one in Penang.  The garden was located inland, thus hotter and more humid than the coast.  The moment we stepped out of the car in the morning, we were welcomed by the steam.  It was about 38 degrees Celsius (100+ degrees Fahrenheit), but felt like over 40...  I was tamped to turn back home right away and hug my AC (yes, I will admit that I was and still am a wimp).  Once we unloaded our bags, I was melting.  Then the fun began.  We kicked off the camping trip with worship and prayers.  Later, we broke into teams for a game of scavenger hunt.  Walking up and down the steep slopes under the early afternoon sun really tested me.  Our faces were all hot red with wet hair stick to our foreheads and cheeks.  I ran into the shower several times during the day, only to find myself drenched with sweat as soon as I stepped out the shower.  It was futile.  When the night came, Z and H tried to get into the tent which was heated all day in the sun.  Of course, the tent was a boiler by then.  Thank God, there were bunk beds in the building where we stayed the night.  Trying to sleep was also a challenge.  There were ceiling fans that did not seem to have any cooling power.  There were tons of mosquito that were eager land on us for a feast.  At the end, many of us just stayed up in the front porch and chatted the night away.    But by looking at these pictures, I could only see smiles and joy of being together.  That was the worst yet, best camping trip ever.

As I stood in the kitchen looking at the heating roti, my prayers went to those dear folks.
My brothers and sisters, allow me to greet you with the words in 1 Thessalonians 1:

"...Grace and peace to you. We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.  We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." 

May the Lord bless you and keep you.  May His face shine upon you and empower you to continue His work.  May God be glorified through and through in your lives.  And may we keep on walking faithfully in the Lord until we meet again.
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1 comment:

  1. Awe...I love this memory. It is so warm and filled with love and the presence of His Spirit. Thank you for sharing this precious season of your life!



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