What was I doing in Boston? I was there mainly for my daughter in law’s family’s wedding reception. My son Joshua had already had the wedding registration and reception in Singapore. This was for Ping’s family and relatives in the U.S.
One interesting thing about this wedding was that it started at 11pm in the late evening of Sunday and ended at 1.30am on early Monday. Many of the guests were relatives in the restaurant business and they came after they had closed their businesses or stopped work after the restaurants closed. My pastor friend told me that when they did ministry among restaurant workers, it was done at such odd hours too.
Another interesting thing was that everyone who came was given a bottle of red wine, which they placed on the dining table in front of the cutlery of each seat. The wedding feast was fabulous and not cooked to Western palate but to the Chinese taste. Fantastic food with lobster included.
There was even some live entertainment provided by Joshua’s close friend Joel Tay who performed some illusions at each table to the delight of children and fascination of adults. Tricks with cards, book, and other stuff. He was confident and serious and he made time fly by quickly. Little did the audience know that he is highly educated in science and theology and was full-time in a ministry that educates churches in creation science.
My wife and I were greatly blessed with kind hospitality from Ping’s parents. We stayed in their large home and we were spoilt by the great food they cooked us for dinners. We actually had lobsters for every meal except breakfasts.
The warmth and love and care made our stay there so comfortable, memorable and we were so grateful.
We were in Boston and had gone on a Freedom Trail walking tour. Boston has a rich and significant history. Momentous events took place there and some of the buildings and graves testify to the fundamental way America has been shaped by those events. I loved the tour and would recommend it to anyone.
We then wanted to have fantastic hot chocolate at a popular café near the park where the Freedom trail ended. On the way to the café, I spotted a statue in front of a huge church building. I went nearer to look and saw an interesting thing.
Rt Rev Phillips Brooks
It was a sculpture put up in memory of Rt. Rev. Phillips Brooks, the famous preacher whose lectures on preaching I had read when I was in seminary. Phillip Brooks gave the “Lyman Beecher Lectureship on Preaching” at the Divinity School of Yale College. The lectures now seem outdated but he had said some great, classic things about preaching. One of his often quoted sayings was his definition of preaching: “Preaching is the bringing of truth through personality.”
After tea, we went to take pictures in front of the sculpture. The sculpture was of Phillip Brooks preaching with his hands stretched out to make a point. There is a strange hooded figure behind him, with his hand on Phillip’s shoulder. Clearly the sculptor meant to indicate how Jesus anointed the preaching of Brooks, and how his effectiveness as a preacher depended on the power of the Holy Spirit.
Then we went inside the church to have a look. However, we needed to pay to go in and walk among the pews, the volunteers from church had told us. So I said, Forget it. Ping, my daughter in law, told the volunteers that I was a pastor and had read his lectures in seminary when I was young, and would love to be able to go in. That must have moved them to allow us to go in for free. Thus, we sat there inside the church, among the pews, and in silence I prayed for a fresh anointing and that I would give my whole heart to preaching.
That night I searched for a free download of Brook’s lectures on preaching and downloaded it. The next few days, I would open those pages and read them on my smartphone. I have gone back now to these lectures, but on my iPad so that I could highlight striking sentences and thoughts. God willing I will post these sayings of Brooks once I have finished reading the lectures.
I received this book and wanted to read it in the plane on my way to America. The author, a church member, gave it to me “so you have a context to pray for Elaine”. Elaine is my daughter who would be working in Washington DC with an international agency.
My wife and I made a visit to the USA for two reasons: to see our daughter settled in her new chapter of her life; and to be part of my son’s belated wedding reception with his wife’s family and relatives in Boston.
I did manage to read the book because I wanted to know what it would be like for my daughter to live in USA. For any Singaporean thinking of studying, working or moving to America, this would be a practical, down to earth, and sensible book. It is packed with information and good advice from a Singaporean perspective. This makes it special and unique.
The book tells us what Americans are like and what is the work culture there. It describes education from elementary to university levels. It gives you survival skills like winter tips, health tips and emergency supplies. It advises you about what to do with the US holidays and what to expect from the different seasons. It shows you how to cope with loneliness and build a support network; and finally, how to deal with racial sensitivities and understand the maze that is US politics.
I enjoyed this book and I found it helpful and readable . I shared interesting bits of the information with my wife and daughter too. It also assured me of what my daughter will face in her new chapter in the U.S.
I liked the author’s personal stories of the mistakes she made and how she learned to successfully navigate this major transition. The stories were personal and humourous and enlightening. All in all, you get a warm, positive picture of her experience of going to America and settling there with her family over more than a decade.