Sending in my MTh research

Carton of books next to my desk

After a few days of concentrated work I was finally able to complete an improved draft of my research. I have been working part-time on my MTh for about six years now. I learned a lot from the several modules run in KL, Petaling Jaya, Penang, Bangkok and Singapore in different partner Bible colleges of the Asia Graduate School of Theology Alliance.

Even the practicum was a useful, reflective process that required the thoughtful practice of the insights I had learned in the modules.

This final bit was a piece of research on how the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius can be adapted for use in a Pentecostal church. I had sent the first draft in and it had required a few added pages and changes. After that was done, I had to format it to Chicago style format and I found the pagination a pain. Thus it was no surprise I felt so relieved and glad when I attached the document and pressed the “Send” button.

I am hopeful that the supervisor will not send it back to me for any more changes except cosmetic ones.

Family time in Toowoomba, Queensland

My lovely quiet and adorable grand-daughter Claire

What a blessing it is to carry my grandchild and look at her lovely face. She moves her mouth, or looks around with searching eyes, and charming smiles. Children are a gift from the Lord to be celebrated, to praise God for. I went to Toowoomba, Queensland to spend some time with family, to see Claire the newborn, and to play with my other livelier four year old grand-daughter, Chloe. Chloe hardly spoke any English sentence when we visited her in April 2016. Now she cannot stop chatting in Australian English. Full of movement, giggles, energy and ideas, she is such a pleasure to play with. But I do get worn out after two hours of non-stop action with her.

Chloe grows prettier and smarter and she loves movement and dance.

I stayed about eight days but before I arrived, my wife had already been there three weeks to help out in my daughter in law’s recovery after childbirth. After I have left, my wife will continue to help till the end of September when the Korean mother in law will stay with them for about ten days. Its impossible to get domestic helpers in Australia. My wife’s routine is to help prepare meals, do some housework, bring Chloe to play school at about 9am, and she does shopping for groceries, and later drive Chloe home from school at about 5pm, and finally have fun with Chloe. Not exactly easy but what a privilege to bless, to help and to serve!

It is the onset of spring and the flowers in the Queen’s Park, Toowoomba have begun to blossom. It’s enjoyable to walk in the park in the cool of the morning.

During my stay there we drove around town visiting parks, shopping areas, cafes and walking around the neighbourhood. Temperatures vary between 10C to 18C with windchill. While we were there, we were able to shop for some hiking jackets and clothing for our next hike in Jeju Island. The prices were reasonable with sale discounts of about 40%.

We were very thankful to God for the relaxed and joyful time with family and moving around at a much slower pace. It was therapeutic.

Jurong Lake Promenade: among older folks

Jurong Lake Promenade
Jurong Lake Promenade

I sat beside the two elderly men in their mechanized wheelchairs and their foreign helpers. Did I intrude into their space in front of the lake on an unusually cool Saturday morning? Were they envying my ride and my mobility? Did it bring back memories of their youth when they too moved about with freedom and abandon? I hope I did not spoil their day by having sat beside them. I certainly became keenly aware that the Singapore population is ageing.

Spiritual Reading

Two books for spiritual nourishment

Over the past two weeks I had read two books, Unfolding His Story, an account of the charismatic revival  in Singapore(including my church’s story), and Preaching by Timothy Keller. You see, I was on vacation in Bangkok. I slept, ate, shopped and read.
In Singapore I wouldn’t have been able to do this. Too much time on work, leisure and social media keeps me from this good old fashioned habit of turning paper pages, and reading black print without attention-seeking videos, pictures and advertisements on the sidebar.
The only other time I read so much was when I had to do it because it was part of the required reading of my ongoing studies. I had no choice.
Reading is a great help in the spiritual life: when accompanied with an ear attuned to the stirrings of your desires and emotions; when followed through with reflection, prayer and writing.
This year, is the Lord inviting you to read a Christian book on a particular topic? Just do it, my friend, just do it.

How much more ….

Lost and found: the S Pen and Samsung Note 10.1 tablet
Lost and found: the S Pen and Samsung Note 10.1 tablet

The Lord really cares for the minute and mundane as well as the major things in our life.
I have been using the Samsung Note 10.1 tablet for a few years now. I bought it because of the S Pen, that little instrument tucked in the bottom right hand of the tablet, is slick and efficient handwriting tool. I loved it because I journal quite a bit and the feeling of writing by hand is more satisfying than that of typing on a computer. I have enjoyed using the S Pen function most of the time as I write faster than I type and I need to make quick notes in meetings and when I jot sermon ideas and brainstorm and re-order points.
So it was with great consternation when I realized that I have misplaced my S Pen. Tried as I would to retrace where I could have lost it, I could not find the pen. It upset me and I asked the Lord several times to help me find this precious instrument. After a few days, I started to ask Samsung stores in Jurong if they sold spare S Pen for Note 10.1. To my surprise they do not carry them. How much space would a pen take? They said, Even if you go to the service centre they may still have to order from Seoul. That frustrated me.
Last week, at my office desk, I found the S Pen. It was in a container with all my pencils and ballpoint pens. How did it get there? I checked my whole desk surface but never searched that container. I was delighted. That office became a place of worship. The three words came to mind, HOW MUCH MORE? I mean this is not world hunger, Middle East conflict, or a deadly disease. Yes, if God cares about such minute mundane matters, how much more will He care about the more important stuff, like a loved one’s salvation, or who will succeed the older generation of pastors and missionaries in the church, or the re-ignition of the faith of the second generation Christians, or your health and financial needs, and your spiritual growth to maturity. Yes He does care for all these matters. How much more, how much more.

Happy Teachers’ Day

One teacher changed my name from Kenneth to Kenny when I was in Primary 1. My parents did not protest and neither did I. Her name was Miss Pat, an Eurasian. One caned me on the backside. His name was Mr Tan, a Maths teacher. The form teacher was out. The class was noisy. He passed by. I was one of many who were talking. He picked me out. PIAKK. How could I forget? He passed away. One stirred my interest in Geography. Strangely I have forgotten her name. Got it. It’s Mrs Tong. One brought me to the principal’s office, after I had let slip a secret in my essay. Her name was Ms Oehlers. One Literature teacher showed she cared when I was apathetic. She is Ms Hughes an English rose. To all the above (except one) and many more, I say thanks. Thanks for developing my potential. To all teachers, I say, HAPPY TEACHERS’ DAY.