Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Near Future

Future... I like to think about the future, especially my future. And lately I thought a lot about it.
It makes me excited, but also apprehensive.

1. China trip
Excited because I will see and do a lot of new things, but apprehensive because of the language. Last Friday was my last day to work full time in my company. Previously I thought that I could use this two full weeks (until 10 May) to learn basic Mandarin conversation. But now, the company asked me to work part-time everyday (2-6pm) because they haven't found out a replacement for me. There gone my studying time... I think later I will count on my Mandarin phrasebook and dictionary :p
Still not sure whether I should go to Shanghai from Beijing. If the trip with Rev. HR is confirmed then I won't go to Shanghai as I will spend the last 5 days in China getting involve in his team. He needs to get the visa to go there. I haven't applied for any visa also.
Anyway, I think my boss will even go to the extent of asking me to cancel my trip to China and will reimburset the ticket cost.
Hmm... waiting for His answer... really need His spirit of discernment...

2. June holiday
Coming back from China will be a full month holiday in June. Excited because I will spend time with my parents in Phuket and after that will go back to Bandung, but apprehensive of what I should do for 2 weeks plus in Bandung.

3. Trinity T. College Life
This is the most exciting part, and as a result... it is the thing that makes me most apprehensive.
A lot of questions came up into my mind:
Why TTC? What will happen? Will I be able to cope with lessons & reading materials? Will I be busy with classes and papers? Will I be able to cope with the great minds of the lecturers from various school of thoughts?
Other than that, it's about the scholarship. It motivates me to study well. I want my college days back. I studied International Relations and I loved it, so all the classes and reading materials were not a burden for me. Well... I hope it also will apply in my Theological study. I love God, so study Theology is not supposed to be a burden for me, but a process to enjoy.
But the problem is, scholarship also means there are some expectations from others (the church and organisation that funded me). I don't like to think about human's expectations. For me, God's expectation for me is the most important thing. But... I cannot just disregard their expectation. They are still the people whom God used to fund my study.
The situation is quite complicated I guess.

Well, I'm basically a phlegmatic. And one disadvantage of being a phlegmatic is they are coward. They are afraid to confront people. They are afraid of rejection. They are afraid of hurting people or being hurt by others therefore they don't like to build a deep relationship. They are afraid of challenges, sufferrings and failure... They constantly look for comfort zone.

Many times when I think about the future, fear will take charge. It IS dangerous.

In times like this, I always find comfort from Elisabeth Elliot's writing on the famous (and one of my favourite) hymn by Horatio Spafford, "It is Well with My Soul". It is the first chapter of her book, Secure in the Everlasting Arms. Here is the excerpts:

Just after the Arab-Israeli War in 1967, I spent 10 weeks in Jerusalem. One afternoon I was invited to have tea with Mrs. Bertha Spafford Vester, who had lived there all of her 91 years, a fascinating woman. She was the fifth daughter of Horatio Spafford, who wrote "It Is Well With My Soul."

I remember sitting in the small dining room of the beautiful hotel where I was staying, which had been the home of the Spafford family, and I noticed this old lady. She fascinated me. She happened to sit just across from me and I could sit there and watch her eat and watch her talk to the servants, all of whom of course she knew because she lived there in that hotel. And I wondered who she was and finally I asked my waiter and he told me that her name was Mrs. Bertha Spafford Vester. I remembered that name, Spafford, and somehow or other--I don't really know how in the world it happened--she found out that I was in the hotel and might enjoy having a cup of tea with her. So that is what happened.

The story of that beautiful hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul," is familiar, I'm sure, to very many of you. But Mrs. Vester added many details that were certainly brand-new to me.

The great Chicago fire of the 1870s caused Spafford, a wealthy businessman, to take stock of his life. Wanting to know Jesus better, he decided to sell everything and move to the land where He had walked. "He" was capitalized, meaning where Jesus had walked. Shortly before the ship sailed, he was delayed by business but took the family to New York. For some reason that he was unable to explain, he had the purser change their cabin, moving them closer to the bow. He returned to Chicago to finish his business.

Then came a telegram: "Saved alone." The ship had sunk. Mrs. Spafford had survived. Their four daughters had perished. Had they been in the cabin originally reserved amidships, all five would have been drowned, for it was just there that the steamer had been struck by another vessel.

As we sipped tea and munched on Arab sweets, Mrs. Vester, who was not born until after the disaster, told me how her mother had described that terrible, black night when she and her four little girls were flung into the cold sea. Frantically, she had tried to save them. Barely she had been able to touch just with her fingertips the hem of the little gown of one of her babies, but she could not grasp it. She herself had been miraculously rescued as she floated unconscious on a piece of flotsam.

During Mr. Spafford's voyage to join his wife in France, the captain summoned him one day to the bridge. Pointing to his charts, he explained that it was just here, where they were at that moment, that the other ship had gone down. Spafford returned to his cabin and wrote the hymn which has comforted countless thousands:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll--
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

That word "lot" is not one we use in quite that way. It means whatever happens, that which comes by the will of the powers that rule our destiny, a share, a portion, an assignment. When we draw lots, no human power controls which will be ours. But Christians know that we are not at the mercy of chance. A loving hand, a great wisdom, and an omnipotent power rule our destiny.

The government of all is on the mighty shoulders of Christ Himself, who sees all long before it happens. All is intended for our blessing. How different things look. Yet think of the faith of Horatio Spafford, suffering the loss of all his children and writing, "Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well."

To love God is to love His will. That which He gives we receive. That which He takes, we relinquish, as glad to know ourselves in the hands of God as we should be sorry to be in our own, as Fenelon said. As glad to know ourselves in the hands of God as we should be sorry to be in our own. Wouldn't you rather be in the hands of God?

With what astonishment of gladness or sadness we receive some things. With what reluctance or delight we relinquish others. Yet we find that we can bear our own sufferings while of others' sufferings we say, "I could never bear that."

My friend Jim, whose wife has cancer, wrote to me. "The assignment is so hard, but always there are the gracious gifts, the winks of heaven--a friend stopping by, a plumber coming at the perfect moment. Coincidences? Not to one with the eyes of faith. God shields us from most of the things that we fear, but when He chooses not to shield us, He unfailingly allots grace in the measure needed. It is for us to choose to receive or refuse it. Our joy or our misery will depend on that choice."

"LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; and have made my lot secure." Psalm 16:5

What an encouragement! In times of worries and fear, I sometimes would say, "Whatever my lot." and it will remind me of this beautifully-written and God-inspired article.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Day with Rev. HR and His Wife

A special call...
A call for total surrender to GOD even on the simplest thing of daily lives...
A call for faith to His providence...
A call for sacrifice... die to yourself and your loved ones...
A call to live for Christ... and bear His cross...
A call to fully understand God's heart... His mercy and compassion...

A day with them has opened my eyes and heart of what God can really do in ordinary people's life. He is undescribably amazing, and I stand here totally in awe of Him and His works.

I believe my Creator knows me well, what I would and wouldn't be able to bear. That is why he did not call me for this particular mission.

Still... He is calling me to do good works that are just right for me...
And yes, just like Rev. HR and his wife who are faithfully doing good works that are right for them, I also want to be faithful to my calling.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." -Ephesians 2:10-

Monday, April 19, 2010

New Toy

I bought a new phone a few days ago! *happy mode ON*

Why happy? Coz this phone can make my life easier in the future. How?

- China trip: help me to show map of China and to speak Chinese :p

- Quiet times & TTC life: help me with my study (Bible with lots of translation, commentaries, dictionary, note-taking, etc.)

- Life in general: more organized (files, time management, to do list)

- Mind-refreshment: I refresh myself by reading international news on newspaper. It is something that I seldom do lately coz in the office we don't subscribe to any newspaper and I didn't have much time to read there. Now it's like having newspaper for 24 hours in my hand :D

- Lighter carriage (a.k.a burden): Only one gadget to do lots of things!

Hopefully, lesser time to access information means more time for much more important things... things that are unseen :D
"Things seen must be used as tools to develop the greater things unseen."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Small Group (No Name Yet)

I am amazed by God's work in our Small Group I don't even know where to start.

The church started the idea of Small Group at the end of last year. At that time me & Dyn planned our groups. Both of us would lead this group that consists of Lis, Kem, Mel, Ton, Jas.

Off we started... meetings by meetings...
The chemistry is there, I must say. We could openly share about our life. And it's not just sharing. It is sharing with a 'deep' content, very spiritual... and we were growing in numbers, too.

I try to see each of us from God's point of view. There are HUGE potential.
God has planted the seed. And it is growing now.
Someday they will become huge trees with strong roots, sturdy stems, and ripe fruits.
In 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? 20 years time? I do not know.
Time is in His hands and His plan is sometimes unfathomable.
"Beyond imagination". That's the term I usually use :)
For me, I am amazed by His work in our lives. I am grateful of God's appointment to be part of this group.
Trully, this ministry is a priviledge. To see us in this stage... growing... is like to indirectly see God's hands doing works in our lives.
We are pilgrims... in progress..
We are struggling to find out God's calling in our life...
We are determined to have a better relationship with Him...
We are struggling with our weaknesses...
We are doing our best to witness for Christ...
We are praying for each other and for salvation of the people we love...
We want to be like Christ in our thoughts, our words, and our deeds... A vision that we would not be able to achieve in this life... but we knew that this is what God wants for us...

LORD, please, keep working in our lives. We are tools in Your hands. Use us to bring glory and honour for YOU alone. Amen.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Finally... the letter came...
TTC accepted me!
Uogghhhh! So relieved and joyful!
Quite speechless now...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Unexpectedly Amazing Weekend


Big boss suddenly pushed me to cancel my resignation. Offered me better salary plus commission. Is it evil trying to tempt me with money when I commited to follow God's calling? Or God is trying to tell me that my time there is not finished yet?

Confused with the all the possibilities and choices.


A friend introduced me to Rev. HR who has been serving HIM in China in the past 7 years. And he is gonna have another trip in May (17-26). My planned trip is from 10-22, so I'm supposed to be able to take part in the first 5 days of their trip. I have always prayed that this trip would be a meaningful one, a life-changing one. Is it the answer from GOD?

Also want to share my conversation with Rev. HR who has been an encouragement for me personally:

At first, Rev. HR asked me whether I was prepared for the worst. I asked him what it was, and he replied, "You might be arrested." I actually had a worse idea in my mind, which is death. So, arrest would be more lenient than it. That's why I firmly replied back, "I'm okay with it." But, what troubled me more is my lack of Mandarin language. I let him know that I can't speak Mandarin. "Can I still be helpful?" I asked. He answered me, "Although small, still can be used. Although a little bit, still can be used." ("Meskipun kecil, tetap dipakai. Meskipun sedikit, tetap dipakai."). I felt like a fool, that is the theme for our Mission Week! What was I thinking? Have I forgotten what message had been delivered through the sermon? Ittaaaa! Arrgghhh!

What encourage me more is when I asked him whether he was able to speak Mandarin since he was a child. He told me, "No. I started to learn Mandarin when I was 34 years old when I was sent to China, just then I started to pick up Mandarin." His answer struck me. For a few seconds I was speechless. In my mind I thought, "Hei, Ita! See this man! He started to learn Mandarin when he was 34 years old. You are now ONLY 26 years old! Definitely still be able to learn!" Jiayou! :D

Well... regardless of what will happen next (whether I will go with his team or not), I learned a valuable lesson from this conversation.


Me, a counsellor, become counsellee :p I realise I might not be as strong as I appear, that is why I was so touched by the song "Safe Within Your Arms" sung on the second day of Revival Meeting, by four God-gifted singers. At that time, I felt "haunted" when I thought about my future life where my life will not be mine alone, but to be shared to a lot of people. I imagined myself dealing with people's expectation, people's demands, people's needs. Why did it occur in my mind? Because on the first day of Revival Meeting, I made a commitment to give ALL to GOD. Then after that I started trying to foresee what might happen when I give ALL to HIM. But the result was that "haunted" feeling. But GOD is good, during altar call on the second day, Rev. AC asked whether there was anybody who wanted him to pray for them. Of course I did! :) And in his prayer he mentioned about unwavering faith. Yes, that is one thing that I need: UNWAVERING FAITH.

Safe Within Your Arms

Verse 1 :
Whether I'm right or whether I'm wrong
Whether I'm weak or whether I'm strong
Whether I'm sure or may be confused
Feeling loved or feeling used

I know a place where I can go
somewhere that winter winds don't blow
There I am warmed by loving arms
held with care, next to Your heart

Chorus :
And I'm safe, within Your arms, Lord.
I've become a child again
I've come back to the source of love,
where healing can begin
Though the world would say
I must be strong and prove my worth
by what I do
I will rest assured in Your embrace
and find my strength in You

Verse 2 :
Whether I'm walking in the light
or whether I'm stumbling through the night
You are a God, whose promise endures
Though undeserved, Your love is sure
When I an tempted to pursue
plans that may lead me far away from You
gently You call, "My child, come home.
I will never let go of one of my own."

Back to Chorus

Friday, April 2, 2010

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

Forbid it Lord that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ my God
All the vain things that charm me most
I sacrifice them to His blood

See from His head His hands His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ere such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small
Love so amazing so divine
Demands my soul
Demands my soul
Love demands
my soul
My life my all


Jesus has given all... voluntarily...

"The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father." (John 10:17-18)

Want to be like Jesus....

I lay it down, LORD...

My soul... my life... my all...