Archive for the 'Labouring In The Lord' Category

UNHCR Refugee Carnival

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

UNHCR refugee child

In conjuction with World Refugee Day 2007, UNHCR is organizing their 2nd Refugee Carnival, this year focusing on refugee children. 150-200 refugee children from various refugee communities in Malaysia will be attending this carnival. Most of these children are Rohingya Muslims, Chins, Myanmar Muslims and other ethnic minorities from various countries. The Carnival is to provide opportunity for these children to play in a safe open environment, most of whom normally live in cramped flats that are shared with 20 other refugees.
If you are keen to help out as a volunteer for the UNHCR World Refugee Day, I am looking for photographers who would lend their skills at a photo booth set up by The Photographer’s Gallery.

Date: Friday, 15 June 2007
Time: 8.30am - 12.00pm
Venue: UNHCR premises at 570 Jalan Bukit Petaling, 50460 Kuala Lumpur

I’ll be volunteering there on Friday so if anyone is keen to join me, please email me at grace [at] livewiremedia.org or reply to this blog post. This is an opportunity for us to be salt and light to the community by providing our services and skills. Let us shine forth Jesus as we serve the community.

Finishing Up The Nepal Video

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

Finding An Inch on A Bus

It’s been a journey. Literally. From Malaysia to Nepal and back, and now shuffling between Choon Ean’s place and mine to finish editing the Nepal video. Oh, and not to mention to KL where we had to translate the interviews to English. It’s been a challenging process, and a long drawn out one. But even as I see the video coming to its completion, I feel this sense of satisfaction and awe at what God had put together.

This is how the editing process went:

1. After shooting about 20 mini DV tapes, not including extra footage in another 10 tapes from other mission teams, we divided the tapes for the digitizing process to be easier. We separated the tapes which had interviews in it so that Choon Ean could get it translated.

2. Choon Ean travelled to Asian Outreach in KL where she would meet at first 2 ladies, then just one of them, who would help us translate the 16 of 21 interviews done in Nepali. This process took about 4 days, once even travelling to Klang. She wrote down exact timecodes of when a sentence would start or end, or even midway a sentence, as our main translator, Heike, figured it out in English. Quite difficult this, since most of the time the Nepalese are talking in high speed without noticeable pauses between sentences.

3. Once we got that done, we discovered that it’s hard to divide tasks between 3 editors (especially since editing is such a lonely process!). So in the end, we settled on Poh Sim creating the graphics and text for the video, Choon Ean and I to do the major bulk of the editing.

4. A month or so ago, Poh Sim travelled from Penang to KL for a week to help with this video. Choon Ean attempted to cut a rough structure of the interviews but that was a mammoth task that stumped her for days. Most of the time, Poh Sim and I were digitizing footages at separate workstations. I was also trying to cut the opening for the video.

5. After a while, Choon Ean had a rough timeline. I viewed it, added more interviews. Poh Sim took leave and came down to KL again and both she and Choon Ean looked at it, gave feedback to finetune the timeline further and it went on like that. With much prayer, we managed to put together the interviews into a structure that we all felt was right.

6. In the meantime, I had written to God TV in the States to tell them about our little project and whether they may be interested in broadcasting our content. It took them a few weeks to reply, but they did! They told us to send them a DVD of our video once we had completed it. So that’s exciting!

7. After we got a structure, I continued adding visuals over the interviews, music and slowly interweaved it all together. Almost like knitting. :) Choon Ean chose photos that would go into the video on a separate computer, and Poh Sim got busy doing the graphics.

8. Finally, our video is nearing completion. It now runs at close to 25 minutes in duration but it doesn’t feel that long because every part of the video feels really exciting! I just completed putting in all the subtitles in yesterday so by this weekend it will all be done. We did a test screening with my cell group members and some colleagues of mine and they all felt touched by the video. I knew that it would be impactful. Not because of our skills but because it’s entirely God’s project. If He started something, you’d be sure that it will end right.

All Charged Up for 2007!

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

All those months of planning finally came to its peak on the 9-11th of March at the Charge Up! 2007 Conference. Over 70 people from all over the Klang Valley, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak turned up at Life College to listen to main speakers Pastor Ed and Pastor Cat, as well as Louis Pang. Pastor Ed and Cat’s messages were heart felt and challenged us all as God’s media servants to do what really counts for Him. Do we glorify God in all that we do, seeing that we can bring a difference to the world out there? Or are we merely photographers, snapping photos for fun, but never seeing a bigger picture - one that includes God.

Louis Pang not only shared tips on photography, he shared his life. The amazing thing about it all was how he started, through those humble beginnings and where God has brought him now. It goes to show, that if you put God first in all you do, He will give you the desires of your heart.

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

I am blessed to see many lives being touched through this conference, from as young as 15 to those over 50! People holding point-and-shoot cameras to those having DSLRs with multiple lenses, some as long as my forearm. You’re never too old to learn. This year, we’re going to have our first Charge Up! Borneo! in August. The theme will be on videography skills. Keep an eye out for that, but for now, do write comments about the recent Charge Up! Conference. It will be wonderful to hear your testimony and how God has spoken to you through this Conference. You can type out your testimony as a comment to this article. God bless and keep honing those skills!

Back from Nepal

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Grace:

Finally we’re back in Malaysia after 3 weeks in Nepal. So much has happened in those weeks. Since my last entry, the bandh was lifted the day after that. Praise God for that, because that meant that we could complete the interviews that were still outstanding in another town. After that was done, we finally took a break by trekking 5 hours to Ghandruk, a beautiful village overlooking breathtaking 22000 foot mountains. I’ll post the photos later. We spent one night there and came back the next day to rest. And finally, travelled to Kathmandu where we did a whirlwind of shopping! (and did things like eat Japanese food!) So all that is over now, but the editing is just beginning. We’ll have to translate all those interviews into English and then the edit can start properly. Hopefully we can get the finished product by April. So do continue to pray for us as we complete this project.

I am so blessed with the experience of going to Nepal, seeing all of God’s people, hearing their testimonies. It really causes me to pause and see how BIG our God really is. How much He can do in Nepal, and not only that, wherever we are. This same God that we serve has the power to raise the dead…how much do I really believe that…that I can see miracles happening where I am? That multitudes of people can turn to Christ and experience His love and power?

Now that I’m back into the daily stresses of life, I do hope that I will not forget this truth, but write it forever in my heart. Taking it to wherever I go, whatever I do. More is yet to come, and I’m sure that it’ll never be boring with this wonderful God of ours.

Choon Ean:

The first day back felt somewhat odd. Life seems so overwhelming in the city after 21 days in Nepal. Two things that helped give me a sense of stability - making sure I spend my first waking hour of the day with God, and deciding to keep up the habit of walking. So I walked to church yesterday for Zone Prayer Evening. Took me 50 mins. Seemed luxurious compared to the conditions we faced walking in Nepal, not to mention an injured ankle and a super clogged-up nasal passage to my lungs! Got to reflect on a lot of things during the walk to church. Also a good personal reminder to not get swept away by the rushing flow of life’s traffic but to set and follow a steady, purposeful pace instead. “Stay on track, steady in God.” (Philippians 4:1, The Message)

Anyway, thought I’d share some snippets from my journal which includes a poetic-reflection written over the last 3 mornings in Nepal and the 1st morning back in KL…

What feels strange:
- not having vapour coming out of the shower and mouth and almost everything damp or wet
- not having a personal pastor physically present in your life everyday
- not having such big portions of food served to you at mealtimes

What I definitely don’t miss:
- the planning and process of taking a bath in such a way that you’d feel the least cold
- the mental stress of walking along & crossing very busy, dusty, honky streets
- the 2.5kg of weight I somehow managed to leave behind in Nepal despite such big portions of food!

—–

What I want to remember.
8-28 January 2007, Nepal.

To look
…at life, not just while you’re rushing through it
…at love, not just while you’re yearning for it
To listen
…for the leaves that make the hillsides whisper
…for the footsteps that make the paths rock with laughter
To learn
…what it means to trust
…what it means to hold fast
To laugh
…at yourself and with each other
…at times when you just don’t know any better
To lay down
…my hopes, and be sure of His perfect peace
…my heart, and know that His presence will never cease
To lift up
…His Word, whether I’m feeling strong or weary
…His Name, both in the mountains and in the valleys

—–

Poh Sim:

Since I’ve been back, many people have asked me how the trip was. And to everyone I say, “It was good. It has been a good time of rest in the midst of work.” And that’s something very rare, at least for me. Since the beginning of the trip, God reminded me of His abundant grace that He so readily pours out when we call upon Him. And throughout the trip, God has shown us grace upon grace, and goodness upon goodness.

It has been amazing to see all that God is doing in the land of Nepal. The people who are hungry for Him, their simple faith, God’s healing and miracles, the growth of the church, the willingness of the people, and so much more. There are many things I could tell you, stories to share, but perhaps the one thing that impacted me most was the life of Pr. Palan and his family. It was such a blessing to be with them and be part of their lives in the past 3 weeks. It was the spirit of the man who loves God so much that He would lay down everything and be obedient to the call of God that really captured me. And seeing God lift them up and doing mighty things through them makes you stand in awe of a mighty and wonderful God.

This has challenged me to love God more, to be humble before Him, to seek His perfect will and to walk in complete obedience to the His call. I am really thankful for the experience that drives me to a greater fellowship with my God.

Coming back home, I have made it a point to give thanks in many situations. Thanking God for the sun and heat, for the rain that falls, and even for the crazy Penang drivers. I find myself going, “Where’d you learn to drive?!” Then within the same breath, thanking God for them, being reminded that it is nothing compared to the madness of the traffic in Nepal. I have also learnt to stay focused on God and continue to dwell in His presence in the midst of the business of work and the many things that demand my attention. It has been a great trip, though the journey continues with God. Amen.

Learning to listen, to worship and to give thanks in everything….

—–

nepalhome

We want to thank all of you out there who have been praying for us. Continue to uphold Pr Palan, Surya and Natasha in your prayers and for God’s harvest and His workers in the fields (and mountains) of Nepal.

    Unpredictable Living

    Monday, January 22nd, 2007

    It’s our last week in Nepal and we were supposed to hike up Ghandruk today- a trail near the Annapurna Range. We’ve been told about how beautiful it’s supposed to be, how tough it is, cold…etc. Everything has been geared towards climbing that mountain. But yesterday, unpredictable Nepal became….well, unpredictable.

    A bandh (pronounced as Bun) was announced yesterday. It means closure. And by this I mean roads. No cars or motorbikes were allowed to travel anywhere in Pokhara. The bandh is enforced by the Maoists and mostly for various reasons like increase in petroleum prices, seeking vengeance for a family that’s killed on the roads…etc. When we first found out about the bandh, we heard that 4 buses had been burned.

    The bandh can run for a day or for as many days as possible until some sort of ‘agreement’ is arrived at with the government. Well at least we can still go out of the house. The last time Pr Palan and his family had to stay indoors for 21 days as there was a curfew. No one was allowed out of their homes. There was no food, no way of getting out, and no work. I can’t believe that things like these happen, but in a politically-tense country, everything is possible.

    We made the best of what we could and stayed mostly indoors to look at our video footage and organize our thoughts. In the evening we walked 4kms one way to Lakeside, Pokhara where we had our dinner and booked our flights out of Pokhara for Friday. Then we walked 4kms back - uphill. If the bandh continues we may not be able to get to the airport easily, and I heard it was 10kms away from where we lived! Not a pleasant idea at all! But somehow in my heart, I know that God is still in control of everything and it’s all in His hands.

    At least we got an elephant ride in Chitwan National Park (4 hrs away) on Friday. :) What a nice treat!

    The Elephant (Ride) and the Rat (Run) – Day 12 at Chitwan

    Monday, January 22nd, 2007

    Pr Palan thought it’d be good for the 3 of us to have a break from our shooting schedule so he sent us out on a south-Nepal-style… er… safari?

    It was the 12th day and we had arrived at the Riverside Resort next to the Rapthi River in Chitwan after a 4-hour treacherous drive round winding tolkienland-like cliffs caused by earthquakes. Despite the dust and the mist and the crazy buses that are reputed to take an alarming number of lives each year, the view was breathtaking especially the place where three rivers met.

    Oops! Didn’t pick out a picture of any of that… wasn’t planning to write about the journey there… got carried away. What I AM supposed to write about is our safari experience!

    Well, first we were advised by Pr Palan (before he left with Anil to speak at a conference nearby) not to eat too much otherwise we may feel nauseous on the rides later. Then as we sat down for lunch, we were told by the hotel tour coordinator to eat a heavy meal as we won’t be back till late. Our growling stomachs decided to follow the latter. After which we were quickly scurried to the riverbank to catch our “dungga” which was simply a boat carved out from a big log.

    Nepal - Day 12

    Our mild-mannered, binoculars-wielding tour guide pointed out quite a number of species, mostly feathered. There were hundreds of Siberian ducks on the waters, some egrets, kingfishers, etc… not too bad considering that it wasn’t exactly the most popular season for the safari. The highest levels of excitement was when we rocked through 2 stretches of faster-moving waters (he called them rapids but they weren’t really that rapid), and when we spotted two elephants crossing the river. This was apparently near where we were supposed to get off the boat, so we happily jumped out and ran after the elephants. Or rather to the nearest foreground we could find!

    Nepal - Day 12

    Nepal - Day 12

    Nepal - Day 12

    One of the coolest things for me throughout the trip was the freedom to switch roles here and there… sometimes you hold the video camera, sometimes the wide still, sometimes the zoom, sometimes the boom, sometimes the light…. Anyway, I hadn’t been doing much video before Chitwan so it was kinda fun to get the hang of capturing moving objects. Some things we saw didn’t move though. Like these signs (& smell) of rhino presence during the trekking leg of our tour.

    Nepal - Day 12

    Nepal - Day 12

    Then came the elephant leg! Along with trunk, tail, tusks & tongue! ;) The next 2 hours saw us threshing through a forest with other tourist-topped elephants, with the drivers searching & pointing out animals in the brush. Altogether, I think we spotted 4 rhinos, 4 wild boars, 4 peacocks, 4 crocodiles, 2 deer, and 1 unidentified running species. The German that was sharing our elephant was quite disappointed that we didn’t catch sight of a tiger. He actually took the liberty of offering 1000 rupees from each of us to our driver if he found one! I was kinda glad we didn’t have to cough up the amount at the end.

    I quite enjoyed the ride… it was like being kidnapped & dragged into the woods in a cartoon sort of way, with a couple of memorable stops - once to leave BIG signs & smells (& this time, sounds) of our elephant’s presence and another to see our driver ON THE GROUND, running AWAY from us! Thank God he came back before our elephant ran away WITH us!! Quite a concern since we were near the crocs then!

    Here are shots of each of us, hanging on to our personal corner poles in our own personal way!

    Nepal - Day 12

    Nepal - Day 12

    Nepal - Day 12

    One more for the road! =)

    Nepal - Day 12

    The high point of the day’s excitement was yet to come! No photo though – you just have to imagine from here on. A single bed on one side of the room and a double bed parallel to it with a side table in between. Perpendicular to the beds, a bamboo rack for luggage and a bamboo cupboard beside it.

    Earlier on when we first got settled in the room, I had caught a glimpse of a furry black rat, about 4.5 inches long scurrying on the floor from the corner wall of the double bed to the corner wall of the single. When we got in from the elephant ride, Poh Sim found rat poo on her bed. Grace then reported it to the hotel staff serving us during dinner who simply responded as though it was the most amusing yet natural thing to have a rat in our room!

    The following narrative may not be completely accurate due to the intense sensations & emotions of the event that spanned the duration of approximately 1 minute:

    When we got back and plonked our stuff down on the bamboo rack, our furry fourth roommate suddenly ran out from hiding! This time Grace & Poh Sim saw it and cried out in unison. I let out a yelp half a second later as a reflex of realizing what they had seen and followed Grace’s leap onto the double bed. Poh Sim I think, was already on the single. Grace in higher pitch & faster pace than usual, expressed her dissatisfaction about the waiter’s blatant ignorance of her complaint and picked up the feedback form on the side table.

    It was about then that I verbally noticed that one of the pillow ears on our bed had been gnawed off. To which there was a tyrade of more dissatisfied noises, cut short only by the rat which decided to run from the bamboo rack to under the double bed. This of course sent both Grace and I flying (& yelling) to Poh Sim’s bed. Then before we could catch our breath, the rat scurried to her bed too which sent all three of us bounding back to the double!

    So we stood on the double for a bit and suddenly burst into laughter at ourselves running away from a rat that’s probably trying to run away from us! And at the feedback form that was thrown onto the floor in between the beds during the second leap over to the single! It was never filled out in the end. Once we had the courage to come down, we were kept occupied by the business of migrating our bags and stuff from the open rack to the closable cupboard, and deciding the best positions on the bed for our heads where rats were least likely to run! =P

    And now I have no idea how to end this originally-intended-to-be a short lighthearted posting! But since it’s already 5am, and I can hear the rooster next door crowing, as well as my brains freezing, I think I’m just gonna simply… end.

    Nepal Day 9: Piamiae

    Thursday, January 18th, 2007

    Blog entry by Saw Poh Sim (RGBC, Penang):

    The day started off with us waiting for the 4 wheel-drive to arrive. When it didn’t, we had to catch a bus to the town where the jeep service is. The bus ride was half and hour long and was bumpy; however, nothing compared to what we would experience later. The jeep ride was a memorial one, 2 hours up a bumpy track. It was like driving up a jungle-hiking track. Pr. Palan and Anil used to race up the track on their rented scrambler bikes.

    Because the ride was so long, we had to stop a couple of times to “water the plants by the road”. First contribution was done by the Nepali people with us in the jeep, and the second one by our very own members ;)

    After “everything” was shaken out of us during the ride, we finally arrived, together with the new company we picked up along the way – a little puppy. Even the little pup was feeling the consequence of the bumpy ride and almost got left behind cause he started to throw up.

    Finally, we met the pastor of the church at Piamiae Village. He was a picture of strength at the age of 82. He walks 4 hours down the track for training sessions at Khairani and another 4 hours back. He was one of the first Christians in that place and faced persecution from the villagers. However, they persevered and later others came to know the Lord. They still face challenges such as the lack of electricity, water and proper roads. However, they are in good spirits and are thankful to God for all that He has already done. They even have a new church building up.

    When it was time to leave, it was down the bumpy track again. However, before we could reach the town, a tractor that broke down completely blocked the path down. That meant that we had to pick up our equipment and track down by foot. Poor Choon Ean… it was a huge challenge for her as she sprained her ankle the day before. But praise God that it was only about a 20 minute walk and there was sufficient light till we reached our destination.

    That day, we experienced what Nepal was like – unpredictable. But most of all, we also experienced the grace of God. We were thankful that the tractor did not break down further up the road (which meant a longer walk), that there was enough light, that God was our strength (esp for Choon Ean), and that we all got back safely. The goodness of our God is prevalent in every situation. Praise God for that.

    Nepal Day 7 - 8: Khaireni

    Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

    Khaireni is a small town situated about 45mins away from Pokhara. The drive there was relatively smooth compared to Baglung but still I felt it was quite a distance to travel on such a frequent basis. We had quite a few interviews lined up for us there. But the moment we arrived, we took our time to explore the area surrounding Khaireni church where Pr Palan was training some leaders within the region.

    It was a rather cold day and the sun in Khaireni doesn’t come out till at least 12pm. So in the cold, muggy, misty weather we walked around the village. We met some women who looked like they were on their way to work. (holding sickles and all!). So in our broken Nepali we sort of communicated to them that we’d like to follow them. And follow them we did.

    Through fields of wheat, down rocky the rocky cliff, across a field, to reach a river. They were so amused at us. And the women stopped to even attempt to ‘chat’ with us further. By chatting I mean grunting and waving our hands in the air, as if playing some sort of charades. One of the women even tried to put her blanket over my head and her basket…since I looked like a Nepali! (I have a picture of that but there’s a slight problem uploading pics at the moment, so all photos will have to come later!) They then left us, crossing the river into the forest beyond us.

    It was then that we noticed another 2 women sitting nearby a few metres away. One of them was waving to us. Gee they’re really friendly towards tourists! Maybe we looked lost. Anyway we walked over to them, and instantly they offered to feed us some fruit they were eating. Not to seem rude we accepted it, but Poh Sim and I looked at the fruit strangely and then at each other: They had given us pomelo SKINS to eat! Uh, gingerly we bit onto the skins, and surprisingly it was sweet! We then met some of their family members who seemed to appear out of nowhere. Through our half past six Nepali again, we somehow managed to communicate that we were from Malaysia, staying at Aunty Jutta (A Christian German lady)’s farm nearby. They pointed us in the right direction and off we went.

    Later on, we discovered that we had shared food with some of the lepers who lived with Aunty Jutta. She is an amazing lady…abt 70+ and going strong. 40 years ago she left her hometown to come to Nepal as she believed that God led her here. Sbe was a nurse and she saw how the leprosy patients were treated here. Once they were cured (yes there is a cure!) they were still outcast by society and had nowhere to go. So she gave up her life to build a home for these people. After a few years of renting a place in Pokhara, she decided that they needed their own secure space. She just took a bus and rode till God told her where to stop. And this farmhouse now was the place that she started the home 26 years ago. She didn’t have the money to buy the land, neither did she know how she was going to do it. (non citizens couldn’t purchase land, so she gave up her German citizenship for these lepers). Her testimony is really amazing and we recorded it all on video.

    We met other amazing people in our trip here to Khaireni but to detail it would take too long! The other highlight was the next day when we went back on a bus loaded with Khaireni Christians to Pokhara. It was a 44 seater bus but it was cramped to about 70-80 people! How amazing. And they are going to Pokhara to do outdoor evangelism. If only our church members back home would be so excited about cramping into a bus, riding 45 minutes to another town and giving out tracts! So often we just hear comments like..”Aiyoh so far ah? Don’t want to go la”. Or “Sit 3 people on 2 seats? Stand all the way? You can go ahead. I’ll stay back and pray for you.” We have so much to learn from these Nepali Christians.

    The festival was amazingly crowded. I have never seen anything like that before. So many people, like ants all over the place. The place to see and be seen, as one Nepali Christian brother said. Truly so. I suppose you’ll see it when we get to upload the photos next time.

    Nepal Day 4-6

    Monday, January 15th, 2007

    These past few days have been a roller coaster of sorts. God’s bringing me to a new place where my heart is renewed in Him. These past few months, I’ve been feeling numb and working like clockwork, my heart not 100% in Him. Just being away from the hustle and bustle of KL life has really opened my eyes to see new things.

    Nepal - Day 4-6

    Nepal - Day 4-6

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    Photos From Nepal - Day Three

    Thursday, January 11th, 2007

    It’s our third day in Pokhara and we started the day spending some time with the Lord. All three of us felt that God was prompting us to pray more and spend more time with Him. We have been quite tired this last year, in fact most of the times striving with our own strength. But it is our heart’s desire to also receive something from the Lord here in Nepal.After covering ourselves in prayer, we left for one of the most famous Hindu temples here. Anil, our ever friendly guide and translator led the way.

    Nepal - Day Three

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