Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sheer crackers!

I am literally going crackers this end of December! What on earth is going on that all the storms are blowing in?

First, it was exams... Just nothing else but cramming and exams whilst trying to manage camp as well.

Then, it was a slightly maverick volunteer, whom we'd chucked out earlier, trying to 'prove' himself (as far as we can tell!) in another program and going way too far!

After that it was full steam ahead for camp with 2 more volunteers pulling out last minute, one because she didn't realise camp was still on (>.<!!) and had health issues, another because of college open day! (>.<!!!!!!!).

And the day before camp, I host our family Christmas party with extended family on my dad's side... and race to hospital in the wee hours of the morning because my oldest uncle who came to KL specially for the party, had a heart attack.

Then camp where I was once again, discipline person (my favourite position... NOT!!!!!). And trouble in the form of a friend's son - A. From Day 1 to Day 4, the only complaints in camp were all about A, A, A... So much so, I had to babysit him and follow him around like a hound dog. All because A was extremely unhappy about being sent to camp against his wishes. Extra guilt on my part for inviting him to camp just because I felt sorry for him and thought he needed more interaction and fun with youths of his own age. My error.

Ran games (short argument with new volunteer who couldn't understand why we 'force' youths to do activities and why we 'make things so difficult for them), ran session, and end of camp... time to go home, with a tummy bug picked up from camp (and still not over).

Went home and lots to take care on mom's side.  At least happy she'll let me take care of things!

Then back to KL where... volunteer no. 2 who skipped camp because of college open day and who borrowed RM2K from me to attend AW Basic and promised to pay it back by working in our secretarial firm .... emails his supervisor to say he is going to take the day off for his college student council meeting (>.<!!!!!!!!!!) and is not planning to come back to work anymore!!

I swear, the gods are out to get me this month!!!!!!! Rant rant rant!!!!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Battered women

When I was in England, there was a women's shelter run by the Women's Aid Organization in the nearest town. I attended the training and roped in a couple of friends to join me.

In one of the classes, they played a casette recording for us to listen to... It was the testimony of a lady from the WAO who had once been an abused wife and is now running one of the bigger shelters.

She shared, "I remember my mother telling me that I would be beaten by my husband. When I asked her why, she said, 'That's just the way it is.' Sure enough, not two weeks into my marriage, my new husband slapped me across the face hard. I was shocked because according to all my mother had taught me, I had done nothing wrong. And I could hear my mother's voice in my head telling me, 'That's just the way it is.'"

Here in Malaysia, some of my kids have told me that they have been beaten along with their mothers. What shocks me is that they tell me they've been to the emergency room of the local hospitals 'many times'. My kids even get hospitalised because of their injuries.

My question - why doesn't someone rescue and save them there and then? Why must it take 'many times' for them to be safe?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Heading to 2013

Phew... December is always an exceptionally full month, what with year-end camp, and with GST licence in between as well...!!

My calendar is filling up full for 2013 already, and I'm not too sure whether or not to drop a couple of the activities I've planned!

I find myself wondering whether the direction I'm headed in is correct... or whether it's time to shift. Maybe the restlessness is God's way of nudging me to move.

I'm looking again at other countries... I think if I can save the funds, I'll drop by Africa and have a look.

But ultimately, for a movement to make an impact, it has to reach a solid size. Until and unless I 'settle' and choose ONE thing to grow, nothing will.

I struggle with the question, "Do I make a difference?" Right now, there is nothing that I can measure... Working with youths, I won't know the results in their lives. I've volunteered with youths and kids for so many years... And I find that because I hop here and there, serving so many in different capacities before I finally settled down with my own society, I have never 'measured' results. And there's nothing tangible to measure anyway. Just because a youth grows up and finds a job and works steadily, have I made a difference?

And sometimes I struggle with the question of should I serve those who need healing in their hearts and empowerment to move forward, or should I serve the poorest of the poor or the sick or the disabled? How do I measure the 'worth' of what I do?

I have bigger dreams than what I've produced so far. Do I stay with the society I've created or do I make a quantum leap to my dreams?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sponsored Power Series 1st Follow Up

The Team did a great job! :> I asked each team to come up with their own activity for the follow-ups and this was awesome! So much love and so much fun!









Bites of Delights

Pure magic! We took the children from 3 Homes to see the show and they absolutely loved it!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Solid plans

Can't sleep yet... Mind is too full thinking, worrying (a bit!), planning...

Going back tomorrow - cutting short hols - to be with the orphanage kids attending a show for free tomorrow. Sponsoring bus transport for one of the excellent organizations that really helps underprivileged kids in a poor neighbourhood to attend the show.

Also, the dance class fees for two special girls whom I'm sponsoring has gone up to about RM500+ a month as they continue on further in their training... In my heart I truly believe that God has a very special role for them as they are both passionate in serving God in dance.

Sponsorship fees for my two girls in the Philippines has also increased to accommodate the college expenses of the older girl.

One of the girls in the YLD programme needs sponsorship for living expenses as she does a vocational course.

The Dana Belia funds have finished... And from here on we give the kids in AV what we can and seek for funds.

I've been wondering what to do next year. I've just newly linked up with PS The Children and been accepted as a volunteer... Finally on the journey towards my dream of serving children and teens who've been sexually abused. But I confess, I'm wondering where to slot them in!

I'm supposed to continue my Masters in Counselling next year... more expense and a lot of time. I'm supposed to apply for audit licence with all the studying that entails. I have one more exam to complete in tax. I'm definitely quitting AW Foundation... Whilst I love the work, I can't give 100% anymore, and I'll never serve somewhere I don't give 100% in. This is not including work!!

I feel like pulling back from some of the volunteer work and start focusing on my own work, because I see how important jobs are and how many I can help by just offering them work, and also focussing on setting up small businesses that those who are not highly qualified, especially my kids, can work.

Now which do I give up, and how?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Love and forgiveness

I just came back from my dad's cousin's husband's funeral (I know! A mouthful!)

I call my Dad's cousin 'Auntie R'. She has always impressed me by being a fierce, determined, loyal 'Dragon' lady. Some years back, my dad heard from another relative that Auntie R's husband had run away from financial problems and that Auntie R was struggling.

My dad being the warm, generous man that he is, offered her a job in our firm and really gave her the freedom to do whatever she liked whilst earning a salary enuff to support herself and her two children.

I remember Auntie R telling us that because of this, from the time my little cousin C was 12 years old, just finishing primary school, she went out to work to earn spending money. Imagine, such a little kid!

Over the years, we'd hear from Auntie R about her husband, whom she refused to divorce and still heard from once in awhile. Auntie R was the one who earned the money for the family, and I heard that her husband didn't have much contact with his kids.

My fierce little cousin proved to be a replica of her mom, and is very successful for such a pint-sized little girl in England.

Recently, Auntie R's husband had cancer. And she took care of him throughout his illness, which really boggled me. This was the man who had run out on her, leaving her destitute and struggling to survive.

Today, I attended the funeral. And I was amazed. My Auntie shared the good memories of when her husband had been there for her. My little cousin cried as she shared the memories of her dad's advice; his kindness and compassion.

I could not help remembering all the times when he had NOT been there for them... Not been a father or a husband to them.

It was a lesson in love and forgiveness that I'll not easily forget.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Through

I finally spoke to Madeleine... That inspirational, powerful, funny :) lady who started PS The Children and braved hell for the kids.

So much that she's poured out generously to me... Lots of avenues to continue on the journey to working with kids who've been sexually abused. Yes, together is better.

One of the things she said was, "Go through the therapy yourself, so you will know what it's like for the kids. Too many therapists are wounded healers." Ughs...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Purpose, not duty

"I had been driving myself because I thought the success of all my endeavors depended on me when, in fact, I should have trusted in God and relied more on His strength and His will and His timing." Nick Vujicic in Unstoppable.

I've been feeling that way about volunteer work. It made me smile to read when he said that he kept going with his motivational speaking engagements as though it was a duty rather than a purpose. I feel like that too.

Maybe it's the reminder that God, and the people around me, love ME just for me, rather than for what I do, makes all the difference.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Change Your World



This reminds me of when Gordon asked us, "What are you passionate about?" as part of our grounding before the Sponsored Power Series.

My answer, "I'm passionate about changing the world."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Just a little..."

It always makes me smile, albeit grimly, to read the subtitles in A Beautiful Tragedy... The part where the doctor tries to tell Oksana, "A little... You just have to eat a little... No one is asking you to eat lots!"

I remember how friends and family used to tell me that... It feels like quite a long time ago now... Now I can eat anything! I can just look at food and tuck in!

Last week, someone bumped into me who hadn't seen me for a few months and said, "You've put on weight, eh?" I chirped, "Yes!" He bent over and said, "So time for you to lose some weight?" To which I admantly replied, "NO!"

Good grief, I've been on all kinds of medication the last few weeks because of my tummy... It's a bit of a wreck! The last thing I need is to try to be funny again!

I'm taking time out for ballet again... My bestest love in all the arts. First class back is today! It's funny to think, more than 30 years of my life have been spent, at least partly, in a pair of thights and a leotard :>

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sponsored Power Series

Whew! It was worth it to see the kids faces! They loved the SPS! One Home refused to allow the kids to leave on Sunday until after church, and the kids told me they cried when they saw the volunteer who was supposed to pick them up driving off! We had a nasty moment with the Chairman who wanted to cancel the event straightaway because the kids were making noise... Grief! Kids will be kids! He had no sympathy whatsoever, and if not for my dad, the whole event would have been cancelled! As it was, thank goodness, we could go on with the BBQ at the end of the session, though the kids were sad to not have swimming thrown in. The kids told us they're looking forward for our 6 months continuing sessions!

Really happy to see some familiar faces and know that they're gonna benefit from the workshop!


Making posters!

Small groups debrief

Coaching/ training

Workbooks!

Graduation

At the BBQ!

*sigh* But come Monday, I heard that my mom's having one of her turns again... I feel really tired today, and after dealing with all the ups and downs of e SPS, this is the last thing I feel like handling...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Mia Michaels' choreography

I love Mia Michaels' choreography... She takes what happens in her life, brings it out from her heart and turns it into movement that is real. Dance works for me because it's not about words... It's all about bringing out what's in you and putting it out there to 'speak' for you... I never feel so alive as when I've just finished dancing... For that moment, you can see me.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Miracle birthday

Had an amazing birthday celebration... because my mom and bro came to celebrate with me :> And my sis invited my auntie's family to come too! It's been what... since I was 21 or 22 years old the last time we've celebrated my birthday together?

I don't think I could ask for more :>

I had the strangest dream a night before my birthday.... where I dreamt that someone invited me for dinner with her family... And in her dining room, I saw her mother, father and brother smiling at me, waiting for me to sit down. And in my dream I cried, "You're so lucky!"

I had so many birthday wishes, courtesy of FB :> ... 200+. I wish sometimes rather than birthday wishes 'admiring' the work I do, there are closer, funny wishes from friends who can say, 'I know you.'

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Names all in!

Phew! Finally all the names of the youths are in for Agape Vision's Youth Leadership Development programme - 25 youths and we cut off! As it is, not enuff volunteers as we have 10 - an average of 2.5 rather than our preferred 2 youths to 1 volunteer. Excited about the 2 new organizations we added - Shelter and Hope Worldwide. Different sets of youths but both excellent organizations.

For the Sponsored Power Series, we have 51 kids coming and 16 volunteers. Just enuff and it's gonna be exciting and fun! The Team went overboard with fun ideas for the kids!

Whew! Off we go!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Zhariff - a hero!


This is Zhariff - the guy born without arms who overtook me at the race - his skinny body happily passing me and leaving me in his wake!

The coolest thing about Zhariff is that he spent months in Acheh helping to coordinate the relief effort for the tsunami victims. How inspiring is that?

If he can do it, what limits are there for me with my fit and healthy body?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Me and Sue at the finish line of the Adidas KOTR 10km run!! We lost sight of each other during the race, and as I was panting past the 9km marker, Sue texted me that she had arrived!! Arrrggghhhh!!! I can't believe how long it took me to finish the last km; it must be my slowest 1km ever! My legs could barely lift themselves into a walk! *lols* Can't wait for the next race!!! *beams*




When touching matters

I love Lucy's work with the Deaf kids... how she brought in Deaf young adults who could relate better with kids to empower them against sexual abuse. She opened quite a door too, as kid after kid shared. Sad to say, even when the truth came out for kids in a Deaf school, the judge let the teacher go. Such is Malaysia's system at the moment. Yet, many kids were helped by her work, and I'm so proud of her!

When touching matters

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Just saying...

Running a volunteer organization is not just about the youths... it's about manging the volunteers too ^.^! Some days, I want to scream my head off and vent my frustrations, instead of being on the receiving end and having to be nice and patient when I don't feel like it!!!

Okay, time for a perspective change - remember the good, and blow the bad away with a kiss! *lols*

Is it?

End of EA and onwards to YLD...

Inviting new Homes, inviting old Homes...

A whole new bunch of youths come to us and we will run again with them on their new journey, giving our all.

Maybe it's the pause, and maybe it's the graduation, but again comes the question, "Did we make a difference? ARE we making a difference?"

Maybe the question came up because one of the Homes was none too happy when their youths (all young women) came back confident... They saw it as 'arrogant' and I suspect it's because of their religion which propogates humility especially, most especially, in women. Thank goodness the other two Homes had positive things to say about the changes in their youths!

Maybe it's assessing different programs and choosing one, not knowing yet if it will have the greatest impact. We never have known. We, or rather I, have always just dived right in, trusting that even if it doesn't have a great impact, it will have some impact.

When I met up with C, we discussed and discussed all the different ways in which we can collaborate individuals and organizations to have the greatest impact on the children/ youths that we will meet who are or may have been sexually abused. And she warned me not to spread myself too thin, which is something she noticed I seemed to be doing. (No kidding! Duh!)

I told her that I would not give up my work with the youths.

It DOES take a lot of time, energy, effort... And in a quiet pause, I wonder if the results reflect the effort, or if, it really doesn't make much difference.

I'm tempted to go to Metro Ministries and train with them awhile; learn from them. Working with the toughest inner-city kids, whatever 'magic' they have that causes the kids to keep coming, is what I wanna learn! There is an impact there that keeps going. Of course, one thing they do have which we don't is regular weekly follow-up! Volunteers who visit every single kid every week to check on how they're doing, all the way until they're grown up!

At the point at which I can't remember anymore why I'm doing what I do, that's the point at which I stop.

P.S. A funny memory today... I don't know why it suddenly came to mind... When I did an exercise where I could choose to save others, including myself, or save others and 'kill' myself... The trainer asked me, as she went round, if I had 'saved' myself, and I said, "Yes". Her response? "Well, it's about time, Gillian!" I wonder why that memory came to my mind today...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Full circle

One of the things that I wanted to do when I was in London was to visit a centre called One in Four. Dr. Goh from Help Uni recommended me to go visit them when I shared in class my dream of setting up a Centre for abused kids.

I felt so, so nervous the night before I went... It felt as if my dream was too scarily close! So I got there... and waited... and waited... My appointment was at 9a.m., but nobody was there and nobody was picking up the phone either. I panicked thinking I had the wrong place, but the sign on the door said 'One in Four' so I stayed.

Finally at 9:45a.m. a lady came up adn started opening the door and I ran up to her. Turns out Linda forgot our appointment :> but she was ever so nice and gracious and invited me in.

The whole place was so warm and cozy and welcoming... They had a proper office, and 3 counselling rooms done up to look like living rooms. And in the corner, there were toys! My eyes brightened as it looked as if they counselled children as well.

We had a chat, and Linda discussed with me starting a branch of One in Four in Malaysia. She recommended me someone that she knew in Malaysia who knew how One in Four works as she had been volunteering with them - a lady called C.

She had another appointment, so we had to rush the discussion, and she promised to put me and C in touch thru email.

Yesterday, I finally got in touch with C. Guess what? She was formerly a country manager in AsiaWorks >.< Can't believe it! No wonder Linda described her as a 'real go-getter'.

Anyway, going to meet up with her tomorrow.

It's funny, I closed my eyes just now and just saw myself heading on this express-train push towards my dream... and what I saw, was myself breaking my board.

It feels just the same.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

EA Malaysia 2012 Graduation


They've graduated!! After 5 very, very full months.

And now we go on to the 'What's next' - self-coaching lead by Wee Sern and Jennifer for 6 months, all the way to EA M'sia 2013! Whew!

Meanwhile, lots to prepare... YLD starting Sept 22nd, and Sponsored Power Series for orphanage kids on Sept 29-30th! Busy to the max!!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Realisation

Yesterday, one of my girls came over and was her usual affectionate self... Unusually though, she started to pour out more and more of what she is going thru lately... All the things that are stored in her mind and heart that she doesn't normally share behind her smiling face.

She loves hugs, and as we playfully swung our arms around, I looked down... And saw what I expected to see... Faint lines scrolled sideways, up and down...

I've seen these too often in my girls', and sometimes boys', arms... Times when the hurt, the frustration, the pain, the anger get too much and they use whatever is their favourite implement to make the deep cuts that leave those faint lines...

I did what I usually do... Share and talked with her about what she can do next time when she is feeling low... Call or write or FB... Communicating the pain makes it less.

But I never share with the youths that sometimes, being an adult doesn't mean everything goes away.

What really encouraged me today was this chapter in a book I'm reading:

"I had hoped I would never feel like self-harming again. But in reality, rather like an alcoholic who doesn't stop craving a drink, I finally had to accept that I would always feel like harming myself when I was at my lowest point. Accepting that, and embracing it, was the key that would allow me to channel in a different way the feelings that went with the urge to self-harm.

I needed to keep myself safe, not for someone else, but because I thougth I was worth it."

Beautiful and perfect.

Tough decision

Really tired... Didn't get to sleep after 2-something a.m... Couldn't seem to knock-out.

I woke up really early for the comm service with our EA M'sia youths because we had to pick up youths from one centre.

We brought them to the Home where our other EA M'sia youths were staying and they had morning discussion. It was then that one of the house mothers of that Home said, "Eh, what happened to that boy's face?"

I looked, and at first I thought it was just the normal rough and tumble scars that all boys seem to accumulate. Only it wasn't.

I was really at a loss as to what to do. There were circumstances that would suggest it'd be wiser to keep silent and look away.

The youths did an excellent community service :> Thank God, as we were being audited by Dana Belia, the providers of our EA fund, yesterday. But it was kind of a 'blur' day for me... All I could see was my youth's face.

Eventually I spoke to someone who has ties with the Welfare Department. She was absolutely furious, and told me that she would take action.

I confess, I was rather alarmed at that... And my youths who were involved were VERY upset at that.

*sigh* Whenever I'm faced with something like this, and being a volunteer, I see this crop up often, I remember the other instances I faced when I was advised, "Keep quiet about it."

This was my first time deciding not to, and I am pretty sure that because of my decision, there will be consequences because of the people involved.

So... I'm worried. But... I think if I'd stayed quiet, I'd still have sleepless nights... and maybe more of them. Maybe it's time I learn to stop keeping quiet.

Update: *sigh* It looks like there's gonna be a big hoo-ha about this that will affect not just the kids but also the Centre. I'm really not happy about that as it's a good centre, even if they are poor. :(

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dr. Robin Harfouche


I listened to this incredible lady's testimony one year when she came to Malaysia and was very touched. She has walked such a long and amazing journey in life to where God is now using her powerfully.

I remember watching her testify and heard her stumble over her words as she started to share about the sexual abuse she had been thru as a child. It's tough to share... And I totally respect her for sharing her story again and again.

One thing that she shared in another time when she was preaching is how even though she was 5 years old she knew that to tell the truth of what she was going thru would break up the family... even though she was 5 years old, she knew.

And it's true. Children are incredibly knowledgeable little beings...

'Why' for the Centre? Because no kid should suffer in silence. Because any kid brave enough to share deserves to be listened to and receive care, protection and counselling. Because any kid who doesn't have the words to share needs someone who can piece the pieces together for her.

That's some of the reasons 'why'...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Finally set up!

We've received our official approval to set up Agape Vision as a society :> I'm so happy and relieved! It's been quite a ride and quite a long journey from the time we first dreamt of doing this, back in 2010, all the way to today.

This year has been such a wonderfully 'cushioned' year because of the Dana Belia funding... No need to worry about fund-raising and finances... And thanks to our terrible 'stinge-ing' habits, we've got extra left over to continue our program for quite a while!

You know something... one of the things that has held me back from going full-force with my dreams of expanding the work I do with setting up a counselling centre for abused kids, and setting up centres all over the world for rescuing youths is finance.

But I just realised today as I was doing my work that actually, I'm in the perfect place for that. I CAN viably earn quite a bit that I can then channel to the work that I do.

I always thought it had to be 'one or the other', but it doesn't have to be, does it? I CAN do both!

And by doing so, I'll solve the biggest worry I had for both the set up and the continuous funding. Also, I've realised that my work puts me ina  perfect position to discover who is generous in the corporate world *grin*.

I guess God does have a great and perfect plan - He knew exactly what He was doing when He placed me where I am... It's just that I'm sometimes so bone-headedly determined, I forget He has a bigger plan and it doesn't need any improvement :) ... Just the faith to walk in it!

Friday, July 20, 2012

LP153 Torch Pass

This morning's torch pass was so beautiful... I have to stop going for torch passes lah... This one made me cry again! Goodness knows why... probably because SP is 1/2 my enrollment too!... and maybe because seeing the seniors always makes me feel...

I don't know...

It always brings me back to my own senioring journey to see other seniors... I watch them and wonder what works for them... why it didn't work for me... I wonder if the next time will be different, and if I want to have a next time!

YK asked me about senioring LP157, and a part of me is jumping to do it, and another part is holding back in fear...

Unusually for me, I'm pretty 'free' around the time LP157's 3 months journey will be... Coincidential? Or a 'selah' time that I should grab and NOT fill?

And what's my intention if I choose to go?

Next week is Mastery... I'm looking forward to it because of what YF shared when I asked her how to get over senioring results ;>... But I don't know if the answers are there, or just within me.

And on another note, about the Torch Pass, you know what ---> Loving... contributing... giving... having others win... These are the reasons I love what AW do. For a moment, just a moment, I see that the world I dream of which is full of love and giving, is more wondrous than I could ever imagine. I know it... Because I've seen it... Even if it's just for a moment.

Committed EA Team

Poh Li was saying that she has never seen such a bunch of more committed volunteers. And she's right :>

Sometimes, when I'm asking for the Team to do something, I feel a wee bit apprehensive and guilty... After all, we are all unpaid volunteers. But they jump in to do it anyway and give their 100%.

I am so very blessed :>

Monday, July 16, 2012

The movie Brave

One mistake that I made.... When I asked the EA youths in my small group what struck them most about the movie that we took them to - Brave - one and all said, "The love between mother and daughter."

Sigh...

Some heart longings we can never heal...

Buddy Team Outing 2


Missed the youths like crazy!! And e volunteers too of course :>















Check out Cindy's super-hot mee!




















Having breakfast















  
Team discussion..
The youths need to decide what to do with the community service
as RACTAR is fasting during that time. 


Posing outside the cinema
















At cinema 7!




Thursday, July 12, 2012

Change of plan

Help Uni just confirmed that I can't join the Sept semester :(... The subjects require me to have had other classes first. I'll have to start in January 2013.

I'm sure it'll work out for the best in the end... God ALWAYS has a plan. But yesterday and today I was thinking, especially as I looked at the other AW seniors... I gave up so much to do senioring in terms of time, energy, resources, heart... It took so much out of me, and the results absolutely STANK.

And looking back, Was it worth it at all? Was it worth it to have given up so much when it was a rough journey for me and a worse journey for my small group? I feel as if I've failed them miserably... They didn't grow as much, gain as much, as those in the other small groups. Not to mention the two that I lost...

I went into LP senioring just because I wanted the LPs to have an amazing journey like I did... but that didn't happen... The opposite did. So... what was it all for?

I often say that I have no regrets in my life. All journeys in the end showed themselves to be 'worth it'. But frankly, if I could turn back time, I would... To the time and day I said 'yes' to senioring, and change it to a 'no'.

I am so sorry, Team.

To live a dream

"Nobody promised it would be easy... They just said that it would be worth it." I still find I need to have counselling hours to do the work that I dream of. What is my next step? I'm going back to college for my Masters in Counselling and I'm going to visit One In Four... But what else must I do?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Life on the Native American reservations

This is really shocking...

One in Four org.




The organization I want to vsit. I'm dreaming all the time about creating this... About how it will work. Thank You God for A who has agreed to work in my centre when I set it up. So much left to create for this to come true!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Random thots after ALI

One ALI last night and one tonight... A guest event the night after. For non-AW's, 'ALI' and 'guest events' are just AsiaWorks post-completion events.

I love seeing the glow and 'awake' looks on those who come for ALI... I grasp that they've gotten something that excites them and they see possibilities in their lives that have not been there before. I get especially excited when they come and sign up for the next stage - the Advanced. I know they'll grow and change and renew in ways that they've never thought, or dared to dream, possible.

And yet, last night when I was watching one girl in particular sign up, my mind wandered to one of my shelter girls. I had an aching longing for her to be sitting right where this girl was sitting... Having experienced what this girl had experienced, and having the opportunity that this girl has.

If I wanted my girl to be there, I'd have to cough up the RM2K, I knew... And I've 'coughed up' a lot over the past year. Somehow it's never enough... there are always more who need the spaces in the training room... so many who need the changes and freedom that they can experience.

In September, I will be holding the Sponsored Power Series for orphanage children in conjunction with AW Foundation. I emailed a note to the trainer to suggest that perhaps the training had to be 'tweaked'a  bit though! The Home kids are often not as good in their studies, not so literate, and have burdens and heart-wounds that other kids have not had to face yet.

The PS training conducted by AW was never meant for such children, and is a high-powered training that kids who are better educated and come from stable homes can absorb better than my kids. I know that because I've sent 3 of them twice and I had 'reports' of their inability to concentrate by the end of the courses! *lols*

How I wish I had the ability to do what AW does so that I could take it to those who need it and can't afford it. I think I'll never run out of finding things, courses, camps etcc. that will benefit those who can't afford it and try to stretch my resources to bring it to them.

I wonder sometimes, when I'm very tired, if I'm right or wrong to do so. After all, one thing which we're cautioned about in AW is that it is often for the growth of the other person to go through the road they need to take in order to attend the training. So ... should I just not bother at all and not make it any easier for them?

Next month, I'll be going down to London and visiting One in Four. I wonder what they'll have there, and if there are opportunities there for me to train and grow in confidence to start my own centre in Malaysia. I know one of the biggest hurdles for me, besides 'finance' is 'how-to'. Whilst I do pioneer things, I always make sure I have a term of reference first! I want to see what a centre looks like and what healings are possible before I start one of my own.

God lead me...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My uncle

Woke up in the wee hours today when my auntie called to say that my uncle has passed away in Jakarta. I'm not sad for him because he has been suffering like crazy with lung cancer.. I'm glad the pain has ended but I am sad for his children.

It makes me think about life too... In a rather dreary way, I'm afraid. Just the 'what is it all for' of life.

My uncle is in his 60's. That's it... Just 60+ years of life... and then he dies.

There's been so much conflict... stuff I'm definitely not going to put on a public blog!... and then it's the end. Now what?

Thinking about my dream... I think, isn't it ironic that my dream is to counsel abused children? And that when I've finished setting up the centre, I want to set up centres all over the world for child soldiers, runaways, child prostitutes etc.

Why? Why does this world suck that way? Why should there be a need for such centres at all? Why can't people just love kids so much so that there will be no need for such centres? Why is this world so full of hate, anger, abuse, war, neglect, apathy etc.?

And why live, if this is all the world is about? Sometimes... I don't get it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

MCCS

One of the centres we work with, Annai Illam, just changed over to become MCCS. We visited them on the day of their opening since 6 of our youths are from MCCS.

Little did we know, the youths had prepared surprises for us... and many of the speeches were of thanks to us.

We were also surprised to see that the bulletin board was full of Agape Vision and Expedition Agape photos! It was so sweet!

This was really an acknowledgement that I needed.... To know that the work we do DOES make a difference in the lives of our youths. Somedays I wonder... and to hear the youths and the adults say, "Yes, this had an impact" is a precious gift.

One year to the day....


Exactly a year ago I went into the AsiaWorks Basic... How far the journey led me! Today, two of my enrollments are going in to staff the Basic. I've enrolled 13 friends/ family/ colleagues so far, I think? And I've watched their lives change too...

When I look at my photo from the time I was in the Basic, I can see so much change in me since then... I'm bolder, I stand straighter, I smile more, I speak up, I'm determined, and at the very base of it all... I'm happier. The messed-up threads in my life straightened out and colours shone and glowed again in my life.

I am so blessed. Thank You God for making the wrong things right again. One year ago, I could not dream that I would be so happy. :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sharing

It feels so strange to share my dream with a total stranger, but... what have I got to lose?

I emailed to M from PSTC... never met her, though we communicated thru email when I was organizing the sessions under the Keeping Me Safe program for the orphanage Homes. They are the only charity working with sexually abused children.

I really need her advice and know-how... she set up PSTC after all... and if we can work together, I believe the Centre I want to build will benefit more children.

*praying hard* now!

Hate

The hating never ends.... Shocked and horrified at the stones that are being thrown at CHC and my pastors... It literally makes me sick to the stomach.

Last weekend, I was with a group of committed, strong, loving people who believe in making a difference and who actually take action to see the world become a better place as people hope once again.

Why can't the world be this way?

I asked myself on my board, "Why should I care?". I have no answer for that... I only know that I do, and so do a lot of people. God bless us who do, for the world is cruel!

P.S. I think it's just me >.< Why must I ALWAYS be on the controversial side? Why can't I for once just be mainstream? Why must I always root for the underdog and the persecuted and the unpopular? >.< Dear Lord Almighty, why on earth am I me?!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Live My Dreams


It sounds crazy, but... what the heck! I only have one life to live!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Breaking the Board

Oh shoot... I forgot until just now that if CV is next week, that means annual Breaking the Board time is also next week. And considering my last post, I'm getting serious hives about it!!!!!! HALLLPPPPPP!!!!

Unfulfilled dreams

Last weekend I finally popped back home for the weekend. It's been a long time since I've gone back to Penang... I always protest that I'm too busy. My last visit was in Chinese New Year and that was just until the 3rd day before I positively insisted that I must return to KL.

When nattering to a friend about how long it'd been since I'd gone home, he said something pretty poignant about how it was no surprise and that being busy was a method I used to avoid.

I was struck dumb for a while. And I thought a bit about that... What was I avoiding?

I don't know why at that point my dream came to my mind...

It seems ridiculous because really, others would say that I AM living my dream in the work that I do with orphanage youths and at-risk youths. But only I know that I have yet to strike the head on my dream... solidifying it and bringing it to reality.

And why? I don't know. Once upon a time I thought that it was because it wasn't my dream anymore, but when I check and check myself I realise that this dream means something to me, and I will never rest till I bring it to reality.

Then why the hesitance? Why can't I move forward? What's holding me back?

I know there's dollops of fear of failure there, but that hasn't stopped me before. I'm a bull-headed chick!

So what's going on I wonder?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My thoughts on the Expedition...

It was an incredible experience... Above and beyond what I had expected. It wasn't the 'activities'... It was just that 'magic' that somehow appeared and glowed brighter and brighter with the love and trust and bonding that grew amongst the youths... Amongst youths and volunteers...

I just read the notes from my Affirmation Envelope... The sweet words that speak of a difference made when I did not know it...

And I'm thinking today of one precious youth in particular today who asked me, "Can you be my mother?" How do you answer a question like that? How do you break a heart that has already been broken too many times?

God grant me wisdom...

Expedition Agape Malaysia 2012 - The Expedition

Expedition Agape Malaysia 2012 - Before Expedition

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

EA Final Planning Meeting

Less than a week to go! The youths scrambled to complete planning for the Day Camp, Sports Day, party and finished up their fundraising...

Wee Sern asking the youths, "Why are you going there? What do you want to create?"

Playing 'Blanket Game'

The youths roared as they tried to outdo each other... but we also realised that they did not know everybody's name!

Line up according to number... A lesson in leadership. After this round, the youths asked for another chance and a discussion session, much to Wee Sern's surprise. But in Expedition Agape, that's how station games are run, and the youths are well-used to it! Wee Sern still managed to throw a spanner in the works when he told them, the second time around, to arrange themselves in the order of their names!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Baby D

I'm feeling rather blue... I think it was the shock because I was unaware what was wrong with Baby Destiny. I opened my FB page today and saw her memorial service and all the horror and grief flooded in a second.

And I couldn't help asking "Why God? Little Baby D's parents love You and serve You faithfully in church as pastors... Why did You take away little Baby D?"

I don't understand... But in His quiet assurance, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts", I find comfort.

Baby D, everyone had been waiting and longing for your arrival, beautiful baby girl. Now that you are gone, we kiss you goodbye and we miss you. Have a wonderful time in Heaven and know that you are loved.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Another Pathway

I was watching one of City Harvest Church's testimonies spoken by a lovely lady who is now working in the church office.

It brought me back to my youth days when there was nothing I wanted more than to serve God full-time. But somehow everytime I tried to go towards full-time, there would be another pathway that I would end up on. The pathways were not those that I liked, but they always had a meaning for me that I could not have anticipated... People along the path whose lives I would touch and who would touch mine.

And so I kept going... and I am still on this path now. It's been very different from a pathway kept in a church office... and as the years passed, I began to see that being in a church office would never have suited me. I am too restless to be in a church office. Nothing exasperates me more than having to serve God's children who are safe in His fold non-stop.

I love being out with the people who need to know His grace and love and mercy. I love creating the avenues for them to heal and begin journeys towards destinies and dreams that He has for them from the time of creation. I love reaching out with His love for hurting and aching hearts. How Daddy God loves the people of this world.

There is a wistful side of me that wishes sometimes that I was in 'full-time ministry' simply because there is no lovelier place to be than next to His feet 24/7. But taking His light into the darkness... that's another role as well.

EA Face Your Fear

Oh, we had a super time yesterday! When our guides took us to the start of the Adventure Tour which is a tiny crawl space that you have to slither thru, I immediately regretted not begging them to please allow me to take in my camera at my own risk. We were advised not to because the camera would be battered, and indeed, when the tour ended and I surveyed my poor torn and shredded Expedition Agape 2010 t-shirt, I could understand why!

We abseiled, crawled, slid, climbed, slithered... through a really long, long passageway. It was awesome!!

At the foot of the Batu Caves stairway before our journey began

Just outside Dark Caves... The caves are not lit with floodlights to conserve the natural eco system

Bravo and Manchested went first

Through the dark passageway... armed with torchlights!

The guides were really good! It was educational as well, so the youths learnt plenty.

Just outside the starting point of the Adventure Tour... This cave is lit by the skylight.

Muddy, wet, bruised... and very happy! The youths had a brilliant time!

Whoo-hooooooo! We made it!