Saturday, July 31, 2010

Uncle Thien's Bible Study Group

Last night, Uncle Tien brought me to his youth Bible Study group.  At first, he said that there might only be four members showing up.  When we got there, however, there were already six people!  The study was on John 6.  This chapter talks about Jesus's sermon from the shores of Capernum.

The format of the study was quite similar to the ones we conduct in Toronto, except this group doesn't use any study guide.  We simply do a close reading to understand what's going on in that chapter.  The study was conducted in Mandarin, led by girl named XiaoDan.  She just finished her studies in theology in Hamburg, Germany.  She was very enthusiastic and made the study quite enjoyable.

At the end, Lisa asked all of us to recite one verse from chapter 6 that Dan Dang had chosen to be the most important.  She chose verse 35, which goes like this: And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh unto me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.  Since I was reading from a Chinese Bible in Mandarin, I decided to interpret it into English while most everyone else recited it in either German or Mandarin.  Perhaps my current Bible study groups at Logos and Lingfu could also adapt this strategy.

In the past, we discussed memorizing verses after each study, and reciting them at the beginning of the next session.  However, this important activity always seems to be conveniently forgotten at the next session.  As a result, we have yet to commit to memorizing verses from the chapters that we've studied.

In the closing prayer, I spoke in English and I prayed for my dad.  While in Switzerland, he prayed with me for the first time a few nights ago.  First I prayed, and then he followed.  He didn't just sit passively and listen to me pray, but participated by speaking directly to the Lord.  When I was praying about this last night, I was so overcome by the Holy Spirit that I broke down and was virtually sobbing and praying at the same time.  This is so uncharacteristic of me to render myself so vulnerably to complete strangers.  Thankfully, the Holy Spirit was with me and I was able to complete my prayer.  Last night was a very liberating evening for me.

Afterwards, we sat and chatted.  I described to Lisa what Lingfu is like, and she described her church to me.  Currently, they don't even have a pastor.  The church is basically run by 20 or so members of the Mandarin congregation.  She said that now, every one of them have a great responsibility because they no longer have a pastor to lean on.  Whatever becomes of their church will depend on what these 20+ members do with it.  I responded that if God didn't think they were capable enough for the task, He would not have placed it on them thus.  She agreed and we both felt very thankful to the Lord for showing us this scenario.  As small as Lingfu is, at least I have Pastor Rex and his wife Ellen to lead the congregation.  I thank the gracious Lord for his providence and blessings.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Hindu Chariot Festival @ Toronto (click)

While riding a canal cruise in Amsterdam, I was chatting with another travelling couple from Ireland who said that when they visited Toronto a few years ago, they saw an amazing parade to honor the Hindu god, Ganesh.  I had to struggle to grasp what she was talking about becuase I had never heard of such a parade in Toronto.  The Gay Pride and Caribbana parades I hear about every year, but not the Hindu Chariot Festival.  And look!  Here's an article about it in the T.O Star.

Returned from Paris and the Netherlands

I felt like I would  never want to go back to Paris again.  Then I thought of the Musee d'Orsay and all the paintings in there that I have yet to see, and my heart feels a bit lighter.  Next, the thought of exploring and enjoying Paris with the Ogden Gang makes me feel almost inspired. 

Of all the places I've travelled to, Nieuvliet has been one of the most enchanting.  I definitely want to visit Oosterburg again to see the other villages besides Sluis.  Seeing "ai-ya" auntie and Aunt Jing and her husband again was a very heart-warming experience. I still, however, feel sory for not having met Uncle Liang for a second time before he passed away last year.  Visiting his gravesite was a bittersweet experience that I cannot as yet find words to express. 

I now look forward to visiting Zurich and revisiting the Ermitage at Arlesheim. 

Numerous times has my temper and patince been tested.  And every time, if it were not for the worship music that I carry with me everywhere I go, I would have lost my mind, and probably my respectability.  I listened to Pastor Smith's sermon on Being Judgemental and Critical again today, and what I got out of it is: forgive others, lest my resentment build up walls that block my path towards Christ. Amen.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bern, Engleberg & Luzern

Just came back from a 2 day trip to the capital city of Bern.  I was very excited when I saw the Canadian flag outside the consulate building.  Englewood is great for hiking, and the hostel that we stayed in was very clean and comfortable.  Luzern is definitely a place that I must visit again and truly explore.  Photos to follow.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

First Impressions of Switzerland

1.  The water truly does taste sweet. 
2.  There are a lot of nice water fountains everywhere you go.
3.  The weather is not as hot as Toronto.
4.  Pedestrians and cyclists are better respected on the streets of Basel.
5.  Fruits and vegetables are very expensive.