Monday, October 5, 2009

say a little prayer.

today, tears fell as i talked to 4 of my girls. 3 of them openly teared uncontrollably, and i had no heart to tell them to stop. so instead, i stopped talking and let them cry.

later the 4th one admitted, she thought it was weird to cry over the stresses of school work. so she cries at home, where her sister is around to lend her a shoulder.

what started off as a extended-remedial session turned into an impromptu do-not-despair-there's-still-hope session. i experienced first hand how important my job is, fearing that the inability to cope with stress could drive my sweet girls to horrible consequences. i drew on past experience to help them understand the things they are going through. and i hope i did something right - and helped them to strive to cope with the demands of their school work, exams, and everything else. to be resilient. so they can be better prepared for what life brings.

but i also realised it's hard not to bring in God and His strength and comfort. looking back, He has blessed me during my times in JC, even when i turned away from Him, even when i did not seek Him. i don't remember being unable to cope with the heavy demands of 4 A level subjects, students' council, band and everything else. retrospectively, i can attribute these blessings to God's invisible hand in my life.

as i spoke to my girls, i'm fighting the urge not to bring in the comfort that God brings - because i know my limits of teaching in a secular school, and that i was talking to my students in school. i know God's power and His grace will be a source of comfort to them in this difficult time. but i know just about the only thing i can do is to pray for them, and to be there for them. and that's a start.

I've always treasured verses like these, from Deuteronomy. this week's memory verse:

"You must not fear them, for the Lord your God Himself fights for you."
Deuteronomy 3:22


last week during bethany's mid-autumn festival celebrations, pastor and i bonded over the simplest of things. tea. and it came out of nowhere, but inexplicably it brought a great sense of joy to my heart. strange.

pairing different chinese teas with different cuisines is just like pairing different wines to different meats. a certain tea (long jing) is good for sweet desserts - like mooncakes. and pastor and i very excitedly discussed why this is so. or rather, i told him how the taste went and it was right on the money! then later, he brewed another pot of a different tea (tie kuan yin), came over to the group i was chatting with, pulled me away and got me to try it. :) pastor's so cute. and i went away learning more about teas, making sure to ask him about teas more often, and making a mental note to buy him chinese teas when i travel to china.

i've always treasured pastor and His ministry and service to the Lord as our pastor. of late, i've realised how precious this fact is. from seeing how other pastors from other churches conduct funeral services, and realising how pastor takes the effort to tailor each message to suit the subject (funeral, wedding, baptism etc.) and the audience, how he makes an effort to get to know the youngest of children to the oldest of our brethren.

and just last weekend, how he strives to do the Lord's work despite his health. on friday, i received news of pastor's condition (bell's palsy) that rendered half of his face paralysed. after much prayer, i thought he would be resting at home, receiving treatment and medication. but i saw him in the lift on sat evening, leaving church. and i was stunned. pastor came to work just a day after his diagnosis. i thought he wouldn't be preaching from the pulpit on sunday - but he did. i thought pastor mark/mitch would be teaching us in catechism class on sunday afternoon - but he came in and taught us from Philippians 2, on humility. and i was struck again and again by his utmost dedication. plus the joy that is so evident when he is serving the Lord.

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant,
and coming in the likeness of men.
And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death,
even the death of the cross."
Philippians 2:5-8

in Jesus we have the example of true humility - and despite the fact that Jesus had EVERY reason in the world to be proud, (and we, as humans, have NO REASON whatsoever to be proud), He humbled Himself, became a servant, and was obedient to the point of His death on the cross. and pastor really conducts himself according to his faith. and he is the example for us all. and that's why he and his ministry are so precious to me. and i'm sure, to many of us. :)