Threading on. [Myanmar, 2017]

” It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a story teller. I’ve been captivated by beauty and grace while threading on in the ordinary”.

Before heading to this trip, my heart was full of anticipation to go. Mainly because I have been broken into pieces by a friendship that would have meant something to me. A friendship that I thought would last for a long time. To come back, saying that, “I am alive” would sound so pretentious. Traveling, it opens up my eyes to the things unseen. It mends a part of our broken soul.

Every culture, and every city, I witness people fighting – fighting to live and to love. The racial conflicts in the country that have left the Muslim-Burmese dead, have pushed them to live in fear. Yet, if we just took the time, to sit down beside them, to listen to their stories, we will know that they are just humans, like me and you. The war torn country has killed many innocent people, and left the people homeless. And it breaks my heart to know and to see that hurtful comments was still hurled on them.

And this verse came to me in 1 Corinthians 1:27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

I have firsthand witness people with nothing giving much, because they know how it feels to be broken, to be emptied and to love even when it hurts. Living in a first world country, sometimes I can’t help but feel ashamed at myself. How could I live wanting more than what I deserve, more than what I need, more than what I want, when the people do not even have the basic needs met. How could they give so freely, lend a helping hand so easily even when they do not have much. I got lost on my way to a certain shop, and had to seek help. The only person I saw was having lunch by a roadside store. He immediately put down all he is doing and guided me to the place that is 10mins away. And to think that he have used his precious 30minutes break to guide me to a place, made me realised how selfish a person I must have been, how foolish I must have been in the eyes of God.

How could they, smile so sweetly, put down their things to hear my needs, and help me without a second thought. And even after all this, how could I still complain about not having enough, not being understood. The things I felt became insignificantly small, as compared to them. The troubles and hurt I feel became insignificant all at once. The complexity of my own mind became simple gradually. And I thank God for His love that was poured out to me so lavishly. Who am I that You are mindful of me. Its extravagant to know, how far You would go, to say that You love me.

Thank you for giving me the courage to thread on, to love once again. The broken heart, shows that we have love before, teach me to love the way You do. Give me a brave heart, just like the people.

Till I see you again, Myanmar.

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The cost to follow.

Without God, we cannot.
Without us, He will not.
Augustine

Freely receive, freely give.

Traveling has always played a huge role in my life, and recently the new found joy of heading out for missions, and spreading the gospel of Christ. To offer all that I have up to the altar, because all this possession was never mine to begin with. Being out in the field, as much as I can in the recent times, I realized that the major part of being able to go out there was because of the love I have freely receive by the people who is in my life who never fails to love, edify, give and bless me. They have given me courage to lose sight of the shore as I venture out into the ocean. The manifest of God’s love into my life is through their time and constant prayer.

Heading out to the mission field allow my heart to come alive. The devil has placed in me constant self doubts, self hate, and negative self image every time I am prepared to head out, which further assure me what I desire to do is actually is actually in God’s plan. Yet the price to pay for leaving and seeking God was not always easy. There were things that I was forced to let go, and things I had to give up, so as to not lose the chance to seek God first. There were times when I have to learn to let go, but not doing it until I have a battle with God. And like Jacob, perhaps the pain in the hip socket will be the thing that always remind us the faithfulness of God.

The cost to follow will never be easy, but what we have done for Christ will never be in vain. 4 years ago, when I became a Christian, I paid a price of being abandoned by people who I held dearly in my heart. People who left eventually when they could not understand. Yet, this was a price I was willing to pay, because till today, Christ has still been the best thing for me. There were moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have a feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well. Without sadness, there would be no joy. Without suffering, there would be no compassion.

Afterwards, I had to let go of a toxic relationship which led to betrayal, and hurts. Yet the comfort of letting go back then was know that Jesus has intertwined. The comfort of walking out then and healing from the broken relationship is that God has saved me from even more heartbreaks. It took months to heal, and even days when there was too much uncertainty in walking out. But eventually His big hands have covered me, and there’s joy in just traveling, seeing the world and sharing His love. And some day, this special guy will come through my serving, holding the same verse as me.

Romans 1:1 Paul, a bondservant (love slave) of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle (an envoy of God’s word), set apart (separated from comfort, lifestyle, sin, failure and pride), for the gospel (call) of God.

Many are called by God, yet only few are chosen. The ones who are set apart are the people who are willing to rise and be separated for Jesus. To be chosen, we need to consecrate our lives, and there is a price to pay. Abraham had to be separated from:

  1. Home country; our comfort.
  2. Father; our custom.
  3. Nephew Lot; worldly.
  4. Ishmael; mistakes.
  5. Isaac; pride.

The cost to pursue God lies in seeking Him first. And till today, giving freely whether it is possessions, time, and love for the cause of God is something I have never forgotten to do so. Before I am working adult, I am first a child of God. While growing up, people have said that I am different. I do not fit in anywhere but I think it is okay to be different now. I do not have everything, but all I have will always be found at the altar. The spirit of the world has come, but it has nothing on me. And like Romans 1:1 has said, one day, I want to stand in front of the throne, and be someone like Paul, who has given up everything to seek Him first. My priority in life has always been Jesus. He is no fool to give what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose. Christ is my reward, always.

The City of Colors, Bangkok.

Bangkok.

The land very well known for the riots that have been happening recently due to the elections. But my trip to Bangkok opened up my eyes wider. To me, this city was a City of Colors, a City of Vibrancy.

From the start of my trip to the end, I met up with so many people, made friends with so many people. This country has a way of making people feel so welcomed. The hotels in Bangkok, or rather The Grand Alphine hotel have one of the most friendly, warming staffs. Wherever we go, we were greeted with warm smiles. And that was something lacking in my own nation. The smiles of the people there, brightened up my day every single day. And if any nation should be sulking, it should be them, yet they lived their lives to the fullest, and not forgetting the cheapest form of happiness, SMILE.

There were a few particular incidents that really touched my heart. The first was meeting the man who cooked Tom Yum beside my hotel. He was the only guy cooking, with a business full of people, he ought to be very stress. Yet, he took it in his stride to sing, dance and entertain his customers while cooking the Tom Yum, and catering to all our needs. The second was the really friendly staff, who delayed her own going home time to help us with our phones. To be honest, it was really late. Yet they spared no effort and making sure that they have helped us before leaving. The third was sitting on tuktuk and talking to this really friendly man who broke into a genuine smile when we complimented him.

They told me Bangkok is dangerous, yet I beg to differ. I saw how it was possible to change the mood of someone by smiling, how warm they were in helping us and being friends with us. How someone would spared no effort to make sure they were helping us.

This is the City of Colors. Not in terms of physical needs. But the hearts of this people were colorful. It touched my heart. It did because I saw how genuine people could be, something I am pretty upset to say that it is missing in my own country. The people were always supporting and helping one another. They were so ready to lend a helping hand to the outsiders. This City, more than shopping and good food, was a city of Colors. A city that I will definitely go back too, for a longer stay. And perhaps one day, learn to cook from the guy who cooked Tom Yum. It is worth the visit.

Bangkok, you are the city of Colors, City of warm and vibrancy. Thank you for showing me that in the midst of making a living, its possible to be warm and full of vibrants. Thank you for showing me that a simple act of kindness is by smiling. Thank you for showing me that kindness and happiness is simply a smile.