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Destination.

Sitting there with you a few nights ago, I could not help but wonder how we came to that place. I try to look back but maybe there is no one turning point when fate drew us near.

All I know is that sitting there with you, I found myself at a place I may never ever want to come out of. God willing, we’d share more moments like these in the days ahead. And I’d want to be a better person for you.

I was 22 years old and about to embark on what remains the biggest adventure of my life – 4 months and thousands of miles from home in beautiful Switzerland. 2 years on, I continue to look back on that period of time with great fondness.

What brings me back here 2 years later? Well… nothing very profound. I just wanted to show off my latest baking creations made for Christmas – cranberry, orange & walnut muffins!

I remember spending Christmas season in Switzerland and all the European girls started getting busy in the kitchens baking all sorts of wonderful Christmas cookies. Inspired, I recently visited a blog I used to frequent which houses some of the simplest but most delectable recipes that helped me survive on edible food abroad – http://www.noobcook.com.

Wiffy, the blogger, takes wonderful pictures of her successful recipes and painstakingly provides easy-to-follow instructions that come with timely tips and cautions on what to do or not to do when cooking. As a result, my attempts from following her recipes have ALWAYS been successful.

I am deeply indebted to Wiffy for preventing me from dying of hunger or bankruptcy in Switzerland, the latter if I had to eat out for all my meals.

Now back in Singapore, I’ve come a long way these past 2 years, having graduated and learning a great deal at my current place of work. It’s a lull month in December and I’ve had the luxury of time to spend the afternoon shopping for ingredients at the bloody crowded NEX mall across the street and tottering around the kitchen. It was a great opportunity to relive the joys of baking/cooking from my days in Bern.

I’ve modified Wiffy’s Christmas muffin recipe by substituting pecans with walnuts, and decreasing the amount of sugar slightly. I was walking around Cold Storage looking for pecans and actually found some. Alas, to my horror they cost $9.45 for a 150g packet.

So I grabbed the walnuts.

An hour later, my very own Christmas muffins were ready to meet the world.

*meekly* “tadahhhh…” *spirit fingers*

Domo, as usual, strikes in the presence of delish muffins, now dusted with icing sugar for added Christmas-ness.

“Just like the good ‘ol days when I preyed on Jean’s blueberry muffins”, Domo thought to himself. Here’s photographic evidence of the assault from last June:

Next kitchen project? I’m thinking some cranberry sauce, and to go with that, a nice, juicy roast chicken. *slurp*

Happy Holidays ya’ll and God bless!

In Berne

Visit http://jeaninberne.wordpress.com for the next four months please. 🙂

To Love One Another

A sister from church recently asked me if I was available to sing for church service on the 7th next month. Upon hearing the news that I would leave Singapore on the 4th, I received her reply, “Aiya, wanted to make full use of you before your trip!” *gasp*. I chose not to take offense at what was probably meant to be a casual chide (key word: probably), but the statement definitely stirred up familiar feelings of frustration within me. 

In the brief course of time that I have been involved in serving God, I have often been dismayed with how brothers and sisters in Christ see one another more as resources than as persons. It is now no longer uncommon for me to find myself serving somewhere for a substantial period of time and find that I do not have real friends whom I can have a heart-to-heart talk with. Tasks often take precedence over relationships because we get so busy organizing a buttload of activities only to find ourselves feeling empty and burned out at the end of the day.

To be fair, manpower shortage is a huge problem in many ministries that I have been in. Perhaps it is important for us to take a step back and realign ourselves with the kind of ministry model the Lord has intended for His kingdom. Ministries these days run more like companies, as opposed to the “community” model that the early Church had. Indeed I sometimes feel as though fellow brothers and sisters in the ministry are merely my “colleagues” whom I correspond with only when ministry matters arise. While we’re at that, how has “ministry” even managed to departmentalize itself as a separate aspect of my life? What is keeping me from integrating it into my lifestyle? Why does it sometimes feel like a chore?

Certainly, our individual attitudes towards serving God is shaped largely by our spiritual walk and relationship with the Lord. That is something we ourselves are accountable to God for. That being said, are we not also accountable to fellow Christians in terms of encouraging and motivating one another in the love of the Lord, and to spur one another on in good works and service (Heb 10:24-25)? Perhaps we need to give deeper thought into what that entails…

It saddens me that some brothers and sisters in Christ only approach and talk to me when they need help for an event or project they are embarking on. It saddens me that 90% of the “Hey, how are you doing?” from them follows with “Can you come help out for this?”. It requires much patience and understanding (and sometimes even giving the benefit of the doubt) to come to terms with the nature of “fellowship” I share with these people and not to become cynical towards them. It sometimes feels like they’re trying to sell insurance to me!

I take these experiences as good reminders to me to care for the person over the task at hand. Workers of the Lord often face great challenges achieving this as ministry is a very, very busy place. Should I be in a position in future where I often have to recruit helpers for events my ministry is organizing, I hope that when people come and render their assistance, they will find that their spiritual walk is enriched and not hampered, and that they can be assured that I have their best interests at heart in whatever I do. After all, service in ministry is as much an issue of missions as it is one of spiritual growth for the individual. That is God’s two-pronged purpose for ministry: To accomplish His purposes THROUGH us while at the same time doing His work IN us that we may grow into His likeness! We owe it to our fellow brothers and sisters to facilitate them in this process. 

The key lies in loving them – a command so simple in words but so complex in action, so simple to say but so difficult to do. However, one thing I now understand – that my way of loving someone would be to avoid the “insurance agent” syndrome whenever I can. God willing, I will have the capacity and skills to do that, so that instead of wanting to “make full use of someone”, I aim to help the person “make full use of his or her service” to grow in the Lord.

 

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35

When’s Miyazaki’s latest one coming to Singapore?

*excited*

Click for movie’s website.

525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear
525,600 minutes – how do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In 525,600 minutes – how do you measure a year in the life?
How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love
Seasons of love

525,600 minutes
525,000 journeys to plan
525,600 minutes – how can you measure the life of a woman or man?

In truths that she learned, or in times that he cried
In bridges he burned, or the way that she died

It’s time now to sing out, tho the story never ends
Let’s celebrate remember a year in the life of friends
Remember the love
Remember the love
Remember the love
Measure in love
Seasons of love
Seasons of love

Dear God,

To others it may just be a beautiful sunrise, but when I look at it I am reminded that everything’s going to be ok, just because You are who You are. YOU ARE – yesterday, today and forevermore. Thank You for never hesitating to show Your love in big and small ways. From the little bumble bee to the majestic mountains, from the quickest line at the grocery checkout to the precious gift of Jesus’ blood, You are the only One worthy of praise and worship. Be exalted! \(^o^)/