Jul 31, 2016
These few days, I've been a bit moody, and it might be because of the cold I'm having, but I just felt that life is weary; you need to work/study, toil every day, and the cycle repeats. And feeling a bit weary in the Christian journey as well. I often wonder how a Christian presses on for 70-80 years, if they live that long. Donald Ye Ye told me, "It's Jesus who keeps me going." The irony of having such thoughts is that I'm in the most restful season of the year: summer. I sometimes think it'll be nice if I can just leave and party in heaven already. But I told Ajia not to worry, I'm not having suicidal thoughts. It was apt to read this in Isobel Kuhn's Nests Above the Abyss book today:
"..perhaps you are facing a drab period when all the colour has seemed to depart from life....First, remember that this has come only to pass. Second, be sure that they are an opportunity for more abundant fruitfulness. That is always their purpose. It was the ugly confinement of prison which brought Luke's Gospel, Paul's prison epistles, etc.. Third, go on and open your eyes to see God's edelwiess. That is what Miss Carmichael calls the little happy things sent to cheer the greyness of the Heat Mist days."
I do get the "what is the point of life" feeling every once in a while. And they always remind me that I don't know where I'll be without Christ. What does one hope in? What does one find joy in? Where does one go to for refuge? Things of this life are so fleeting. They are here today and gone tomorrow. Isn't that true also of our fragile lives? If I didn't know Jesus, I would imagine myself living aimlessly, trying to please people and gain acceptance to feel like my existence is just a little more justified. I wouldn't know what to live for! I would think life is difficult. Money is hard to earn for. I would be so scared of death that I would just live in denial of death. I would feel very insecure. Yes, insecure is probably the word which would describe my life best--except! Because I know the person Jesus! Friend, redeemer, refuge, King, Lord,..who loves me before I even knew Him, who is faithful when I am faithless or unfaithful, who is always there even when I don't think of Him, who redeemed me from my pit of self-centredness that separates from my Creator.
Yet, my heart wanders so often and my love for God is like the morning dew. But this period of emo-ness will pass. May it be an opportunity for abundant fruitfulness. And may I remember the little happy things that God has put in my way. I just need to notice them. What a whiner I am! I read Isobel Kuhn's book on the trials and hardships and unimaginable sufferings that Christian missionaries and new Christians have had to go through in Lisuland, China. I don't think I would be able to go through what they did! And here I am whining over..nothing.
Today, this song came to mind:
There is none like you
No one else can touch my heart like You do
I could search for all eternity long
And find, there is none like You
Jun 11, 2016
Completed 2nd year! It's quite unbelievable. I still remember going into 2nd year and feeling nervous last summer, but now it's over!
The first semester was really hectic. Our schedule was packed, and there were so many things to learn and do. I was really quite stressed, but I think it also taught me to fix my eyes on Jesus and to find joy in Him instead. It's probably only easier for me to look back and be able to say that. I also took up the role of hall group leader, which was new to me and many times I still felt like I was so unequipped for it, but I also learnt that weakness makes us humble and completely rely on God. It is tricky when you feel like you've so much course-related stuff to do, but need to head off to hall group and CU (especially harder because no one turned up at the Ashburne one, it is a test of faithfulness). Another thing to learn was seeing the big picture of God's plan, which is to bring in as many people into His kingdom, and to want to be part of God's big story. My heart is so prone to wander, and I can resonate with what Paul says. "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
Thankfully, the 2nd semester of 2nd year has been the most enjoyable semester so far in these 2 years. I've really enjoyed almost all of the modules, and there has been a lot more free time. The 4 Christian Unions of Manchester put together an events week, where events were organised everyday and great speakers Michael Green and Michael Ots shared the gospel clearly everyday. We had the joy of seeing students seeing the truth found in the good news of Jesus Christ and accepting Him into their hearts as Saviour.
Friendships have also blossomed this year, and I am really blessed with many close friends that I treasure dearly. If I can experience such love from friends on this fallen earth, how much more deeper is the love of God for us!
I've also taken up (with much hesitation) the role of hall group coordinator. Still feeling weak and unequipped but I need to look to God for help! And may I always have the joy of serving Him and staying faithful even when life gets busy. I also had the joy of celebrating my 21st with friends. Felt very loved receiving all the gifts and cards with sweet messages.
I've been thinking "I feel like my life has been smooth these 21 years. I wonder what things will come at me in the future." But I hope I will be able to be like what the Psalmist says, "He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord."
With the guests from Europe who came to help during CU events week!
At Richmond Tea Rooms with Amber, Estelle Ally and Nancy (who is leaving for Cambridge for Masters!)
Potluck at my place with Jit Ming, Pui Yee, Amy, Andrea and Shin Yi
Apr 6, 2016
Went to Chester today with the optom girlsssss. It was a spontaneous trip! Sometimes you have to JUST DO IT! Chester has Britain's best preserved city walls. Was a Roman settlement in AD 79. Has a beautiful cathedral.
We saw this artwork by an artist David Mach. This head here is made of burnt matches! We look at it and say 'Wow'. Some thoughts as I sit here right now: Would you believe me if I said thousands of matches self-assembled, and arranged accordingly to result in this beautiful artwork?
Then why do we look at ourselves, and nature, and believe that everything just self-assembled into what we see on earth and in the universe today?
Also happened to read this from the bible tonight:
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:13-14
You there. You are an amazing and beautiful creation. But you are much more than an artwork. You are loved. You were made for more.
Also got the news just now from Rene that Lara has died. I am sad. This dog...has seen me grow up. She has always been around, throughout my childhood and teenagehood..I am always welcomed at the Yaps' house by her generous blessings of saliva all over my legs. Aww Lara, I'll miss you <3
Mar 28, 2016
Kai Ling, Joyce and I flew from Manchester to Salzburg, Austria! Salzburg is well-known as the birthplace of Mozart and Sound of Music, but we aren't fans of both, so those 2 facts don't bother us haha.Salzburg has an Old Town (Alstadt) and New Town, separated by this river (picture above). We stayed in an Airbnb flat in the Old Town. Salzburg is a UNESCO Heritage Site. It has had human settlements since 6 BC. Okay my memory is bad, but Salzburg was ruled by Romans etc. It has a street called Steingasse which was a route used by the Romans.
We spent the first 1.5 days just walking around Salzburg.
Hallstatt (day trip from Salzburg)
Typical itinerary of tourists: Visit Salzburg, and make a day trip to Hallstatt, a village by a lake. It is beautiful. Period.
We also talked to this lovely couple who live in Hallstatt. We were passing by their house and I was charmed by a random cat (as usual) so I stopped, and the husband came out and carried the cat to let me pet it (cat iz not amused). They grew up in Hallstatt and have always lived there. The wife goes skiing very often, like it's a very normal pastime. I love talking to locals! So much more meaning is added to the travelling when you get to talk face to face with people who live where you are visiting, instead of just sightseeing.
Spent another day in Salzburg just walking around.Mirabell Palace and Gardens. Salzburg Fortress in the background.
I'm amused that many food items sold in Austria are packaged in tubes like toothpaste. Condensed milk, mayonnaise..
There is also a huge "trust policy" in Austria/Germany. They trust that you will drop the right amount of coins into the box when you take a newspaper. They trust that you have paid if you board the tram without going to the driver to pay. But I guess it can also be said that they assume you would pay. I cannot see that system being done in Malaysia. The newspaper press and tram companies would go bankrupt haha.
We felt like we've had more than enough time in Salzburg. Joyce found cheap tickets to Munich, Germany (only 11€ return!! Bayern ticket, for future reference).
(I don't know what this is)
Meal in Munich
Recycling station in a supermarket! Basically, you get 0.25€ per plastic bottle to be redeemed when you shop there. Cool beans! We bought two bottles of water and poured them into our own bottles and then went back in to use the machines hahaha.
We take the train to Vienna, the capital of Austria! Vienna is known for opera, music, culture, food etc. Mozart and the other famous musicians played here. Sigmund Freud was born here. UN headquarters are here. In fact, a few people at Christ Church which I visited on Good Friday work for the UN. One man was born in NY to British parents (who work for UN's Atomic Agency?) but grew up and have always lived in Vienna.
Hofburg Palace. It was in front of this palace that Hitler made the announcement that Austria was now part of Nazi Germany.
This is a Sacher Torte (Suck-Her Tort-te), a chocolate cake, one of the must-haves in Vienna. Kai Ling was not impressed by it (she says it's dry, but Angeline eats and enjoys anything so she doesn't mind)
The Hundertwasser Haus! Designed by the architect Friedrich Hundertwasser who was an opponent of straight lines. He wanted to include nature too, hence all the climbing plants.
He also happens to think that shit is sacred and is what makes you immortal.
The Schonbrunn Palace. Looks quite simple on the outside but is grand inside (though we think the Vienna State Opera House might look more grand). We had a tour of it, was interesting to learn more about royal life. Like how children are married off for political reasons, the queen didn't love the emperor, etc
They have lots of Easter Markets in Austria for Easter! Restaurant are also decorated with eggs and ribbons.
Angeline having some fun in front of another building designed by Hundertwasser.
A cheese strudel. Yummy.
People always take photos of beautiful places etc, because they only want to remember beautiful moments. But I realise that there is so much that isn't captured on camera too.
Austria is a rich country (known for quality of life and safety), but there were many homeless on the streets too. They might well be refugees from war-torn countries (according to a lady I met at church on Good Friday).
Yes, I enjoyed a lot of good food, but I also felt a bit sick inside because we were constantly looking for Tripadvisor-good-food, indulging and yet sometimes complaining, when there are people outside who may be hungry. May I never become numb to reality especially when I am having a 'good time'. May I also give, and not just receive.
It was really nice to go somewhere I have never been and do things I've never experienced. I thank God for the opportunity and for the 2 great companions to travel with. Am blessed to spend this year's Easter in Austria. Even in the light of the recent Brussels terrorist attack, I can be assured that God is in control and He understands the suffering of the victims/family and cares for people in need (even when I don't).
" ..In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.." 1 Peter 1:3
There is new life in Christ! And all good things come from Him. :)
This blog post is quite disorganised. There are many more unshared photos but mostly of places. I just wanted to get this blog post done before I forget more about the trip hahaha. I guess this blog post is more about the thoughts I had, rather than places I've seen.
Have a nice day good night