Changsha 2015

This year our Changsha trip is just before summer holidays rather than the usual before school reopens in Spring. Three of us, Nic, Wilson and myself set off on 2 July (Thu) while Ps Ronald & Howard (translator) set off on 7 July. It was very heart warming to see familiar faces of brothers and sisters in Christ who have the same love for our Lord Jesus!

The key and primary focus was the 4.5 days Praise and Worship Summer camp in Hunan Bible Institute on Sat, Mon-Thu. This was the first trip that we ministered in a church, Cheng Bei Tang as we arrived slightly earlier due to flight schedule of the airlines. Cheng Bei Tang is is more than a century old church, with more than 1000 members. Their worship ministers, inclusive of worship leaders, musicians, vocalists and choir members are almost 100, but those who were able to attend amounted to around 60.

It has been less than a year since I have been back and there are so many significant changes. The church that worships in Hunan Bible School building now has youths involved in their praise and worship. The youngest participant in our camp is 9 years old! Besides training the students in the Bible School who will be pastors and leaders of churches, it warms my heart that even the teens in church is rising up too!

Another unexpected event was the salvation of six people at a praise and worship service on Sunday night. The praise and worship service was not evangelistic in nature. Little did we know that our Sunday afternoon worship and fun time at the river will reap the soul of one into the Kingdom and also others.

Teaching basic keyboard within 3 afternoons to a class of students who has never played before is a crazy challenge! On Sat afternoon, there were quite a number of senior ladies who had zero concept of music what more than play. I took a long while to help them find the note C on the keyboard. I went on to teach basic chords in C major even though some of them were not able to play. I focused on getting them to understand so that they can practise. To my amazement, on Monday afternoon, the ladies came back and were able to play the C progressions and even do simple accompaniment! They practised hard on Sunday, this I am sure! By the end of the third day, they were able to play a full song in C major in very simple accompaniment!

I am also very glad to be present for the year 3 students’ graduation. I got to see most of them before they leave the Bible school back to their respective home towns or placement. Only a small percentage remains in Changsha city. This graduating batch has a good number of talents in praise and worship. I pray that God will use them mightily in the places that He has placed them.

It was also unknown to us that the Sunday we were in Changsha is the first service of Xing Sha Tang. a church plant in the Xing Sha area of Changsha. The church’s building is right across this temporary meeting space and its hall can sit up to 2500 people, not including the overflow room capacity! The Hunan Bible School will also be moving to the same compound when it is ready. We led worship for the first service and witness the goodness of God in bringing double the expected number of 20 people!

All I can say is that God is soooo good and I believe He has more things under His sleeves to bless Changsha city, Hunan Province and the whole of China!

Changsha 长沙 2013 – Part 1/2

Three of us, Nic, Manson & Pauline, set off the Changsha on 31 August 2013 to conduct a summer worship camp for the students of Hunan Bible Institute (HBI). It was such a blessed time to see how the students have grown over the last 3 years. I didn’t plan to do any videos but thank God for the few who diligently videoed and passed us the videos. Such fond memories. Praise the Lord!

Weekend in Herrnhut

I arrived at Frankfurt airport on 5 July after 18 hours of flight travel (including transit) to meet up with a friend who is traveling with me. I am so thankful to be able to have a shower at a Frankfurt hotel and had lunch before boarding my train at 1pm from Frankfurt to Lobau with a transit at Dresden. By the time we arrived at Lobau, it was 7.30pm. The ride to YWAM Herrnhut castle, where we are staying, was about 15min but we stopped by the supermarket to get some bottled water and small bites. It took me 28 hours from the time I boarded my first flight to arrived at Herrnhut! As you might have guessed, I completely crashed out that night!

YWAM Herrnhut Castle with a dry moat surrounding it.

I have longed to be in Herrnhut for many years, drawn by the Moravian history of a century long continuous prayer virgil and from which birthed the first Protestant mission sending force. I have heard friends who have been to Herrnhut describing the place as thin, referring to the distance between heaven and earth. Besides having open heavens it is also a very deep well where the Moravian church had dug the wells of living waters continously for a century.

THE WOODS

The first place we went on 6 July Saturday morning is the woods right next to the YWAM castle. Once I stepped into the woods, my spirit felt an immediate refreshment by the tangible divine presence of the Holy Spirit. In the woods, there are many hidden spots of spiritual significance. We first headed to the monument commenerating the first tree chopped by Christian David to clear the land for the building of Herrnhut village. The name of the village Herrnhut literally means “The House of the Lord”. As true as what its name implies, God has made his abode in Herrnhut exemplified by its history through the devotion of the Moravians.

The woods behind YWAM Herrnhut Castle. The monument where the first tree was chopped by Christian David to clear the land for the building of Herrnhut village.

WATCH TOWER

One of the signicant places in Herrnhut is the Watch Tower. The Moravians spent a big portion of their time keeping watch in prayer over Herrnhut and Berthelsdorf (the village where Zinzendorf lived), both spiritually and physically. The Watch Tower is strategically positioned at place whereby it can see both villages. Before reaching the Watch Tower, there is a cemetery dedicated to the Moravians. This cemetery does not have the usual creepy-eerie feel. There is a deep sense of peace that all these saints are resting in the arms of our Lord Jesus. The tombstone of Zinzendorf and his wife, Christian David and also the famous missionaries Leonhard Dober and David Nitschmann, who sold themselves as slaves to St Thomas island to preach the Gospel to the slaves who had never heard of the Gospel, together with many nameless, faceless Moravian heroes of faith are found in this Moravian cemetery. Here’s a link with tells of Christian David and Daivd Nitschmann story, including worship song video, if you want to know more http://timschaaf.wordpress.com/tag/johann-leonhard-dober/. The Watch Tower gives a 360 view of Herrnhut. Rolling meadows, pretty houses and the woods give a breathtaking view of this small, quaint village that God chose to pour out Himself so mightily.

The tombstones of David Christian, Zinzendorf and Leonhard Dober at the Moravians Cemetery.
20130708-171124.jpg
View from the Watch Tower

BERTHELSDORF

The Sunday afternoon was such a beautiful weather that we took a walk to Berthelsdorf. It is about 4-5km walk from Herrnhut town. The castle of Count Zinzendorf was not opened so we basically looked at it from the outside. Following which, we went to the original church building of the Moravians when the Moravian church started. By the time we got there, the church santuary was locked. It was a Sunday mid-afternoon when everyone was back home. We believed it was God’s purpose so that we did not get distracted by the interior of the church santuary. The gate into the church compound was not locked. Instead we wandered into the garden of the church (many tombstones as well) and was drawn to a fountain. Before arriving at the church, we ran out of water and was extremely thirsty and there was no shops or stops whereby we can buy water. The fountain looked so inviting and we felt that we needed to drink it even though we are not totally sure if the water was potable. We said our prayers and drank from it. The water was so fresh and sweet! In the natural we were quenching our physical thirst, but in the spiritual God is quenching our spiritual thirst at this place of deep well where the Moravians had dug deep. We sat at the bench next to the fountain and worshiped, soaking in His presence!

Berthelsdorf Moravian Church and its garden with a fountain of refreshing spring water.

Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. Revelation 21:6 (NASB)

Stepping Out into the Unknown

Last Saturday, 20 April 2013, I was looking through my iTunes library and found a recording of prophetic word released to me in 2006 by a highly respected minister of God. The focus of the word was directed to my impending mission work in East Timor where I was sent out at that point in time. The summary of the word is that God will perform signs and wonders through me in the land and the lives of the people will drastically improve through community transformation. As I look back, I know deep within me that I did not walk in the fullness of the prophetic word that was given. In my own assessment, I believe I walked about 20-30% of what God intended for me at that point. I did witness AMAZING signs and wonders and was blown away but what I experienced was only the tip of the iceberg that God has in store for me. The journey to Timor was so amazing that YWAM Singapore Faces magazine featured a summary of the my story of how I ended up in Timor. Upon coming back to Singapore, due to pressures from all sides, I did not continue the work and missed out on God’s promise for myself to see the transformation that God will do in this beautiful island. God’s destiny for Timor is not hindered by me as God is bigger than this, but because of the decisions I made, I missed out in being part of a move of God that He has invited me to be part of so as to experience Him in a different way. Below is the article in FACE that summarized God’s amazing work in my journey of mustard faith in 2008.

Article on Faces (YWAM Singapore Publication) in 2009
Article on Faces (YWAM Singapore Publication) in 2009

My church is taking hold of the promise that 2013 will be a year of moving into the new level, a higher level. This is also what the Lord put in my heart as I crossed over into 2013. New level means getting out of my own comfort zone and trusting God in ways I never had before. I cannot let my fear of man and fear of the unknown shortchange me of walking in the fullness of God’s blessings. The only person who can hinder my journey with God is myself.

Here’s the song that has given me much encouragement and strength and hope it blesses you as well! O God, give me Your faith to walk this journey ahead!