The Gibson Gazette
This blog contains the ramblings of a Brit who been living in Singapore 20 years and counting.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the name above every other names. 2009 had quickly passed us by & as we thought about the year, we truly thank God for His grace & mercy to us. It hasn't been an easy year for the whole economy with recession but we give thanks to God for His continued providence to us. It has been a year of many of our loved ones who have promoted to glory. At the same time, we are grateful to God for many of our good friends both here & overseas who have been constantly supporting us in many ways through your encouragement, prayers & even your love gifts which meant a lot to us.
As a family, the Lord has done great and mighty things in our family. He has shown Himself to our 3 lovely children. He has shown Himself as Jehovah Jireh to Melody. He has shown Himself as El-Shaddai to Gideon and He has shown Himself as Jehovah Rapha to Matthew. You will see their reflections and testimonies in their own little column.
One of the highlights of last year was when the church celebrated Tim's 44th birthday with a big chocolate cake and a gift of vouchers for him to have tailor made shirts and trousers. We truly want to thank God for giving us a group of great and dedicated people who truly have loved and supported us all these years. All glory to God.
This year the Lord has given our family this scripture:
“Blessed is the man (family)
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.”
Psalm 1:1-3: (NKJV)
Last year may have been lean economically but it marked something of a spiritual awakening for me personally and also within our church. I ended the year with a series of messages on “Spiritual Urban Legends”, revealing dumb things we believe as Christians and what the Bible really says on these issues. This series let me to get real with God and seek Him above all else.
In our Church as well we have been seeing a renewal, starting in our Tuesday night prayer meeting. We used to have a set format of worship, word and ministry but now we can have a full two hours of worship or a mix of worship and sharing all as the Lord leads. One session I was leading worship and we sang one pre-learnt song in over an hour and a half of worship. God is drawing us to Himself to send us out of that place of intimacy into the harvest to be fruitful in 2010. I’m excited about ministry in 2010 and am already preparing to go on my first mission trip to the Philippines at the end of this month. When I went there last year the Lord used me to speak at crusades, see many healings including one elderly man who was completely healed of paralysis in his left arm and teach hungry leaders about living by faith. I expect He will do greater things this year!
As the rest of my family has much to say I will cut my sharing short now and had over to my beloved wife....
Just last May, Tim, myself and a group of 13 brothers and sisters from our church went to B.C orphanage in Cambodia. It was a very enriching trip as we went there to love the children, to counsel, mentor and be a blessing to them. We went through Master life (disciple material) with them and gave talks to encourage the principal and the teachers of the school. We went there to bless but we were blessed by them more. One of the highlights of the trip was when we went to Phnom Penh for one night and we were able to bring our sponsored daughter, Sreynine, from the orphanage to spend a night with us. She was truly delighted as this was the first time she had ever stayed in such a hotel. I was really excited with this bonding time and Tim showed her photos of his parents, siblings, in-laws, nephew and niece. We had a good time of watching Disney cartoons and eating snacks in front of cable TV. The next day we brought her to the Central Market to do some shopping. This time we just wanted to pamper her. She was overwhelmed with all the clothes, shoes & bags that we bought for her. It really did not cost us much to bring such simple joy to a child's face. Indeed the Lord has commanded us to be His vessels of blessings to the fatherless, the downtrodden and the insignificant ones. Finally it was time for us to say goodbye. It was a difficult farewell but she encouraged us that she loves us and will pray for us. I will always treasure the time we spent together.
Last year was a struggle for me as I saw people I treasured pass on to be with the Lord. One of our cell members, Jack, who was 26 years old went home to be with the Lord last July. He was always the joy of our cell group. It was not easy for us as he had faithfully come to our cell group in his wheelchair for about 8 years. I gave a eulogy at his funeral about how his life had taught us how to have simple faith. One incident that demonstrated this was when he came to our cell group and a fan was broken. It was so hot and we did not know what to do. Jack was in his wheelchair and he wheeled right to the fan, prayed for it and it started spinning (even today it is still going strong). What a miracle!
My youngest male cousin passed away on in November. He was 54 and had Downs syndrome. Praise the Lord that he gave his life to Jesus and was baptised a few days before he passed on. Indeed no one should be deprived from hearing the gospel and knowing the Lord. His death was such a testimony that many of his siblings came to know the Lord. He had few friends when he was alive but on his death, many people from church came to say a final goodbye and send him off in style.
Just before Christmas, I received a phone call from Malaysia (K.L) that my close friend, Mary aged 56, had passed away after battling with cancer. She had been such a close friend to Tim, myself and the children. Needless to say, I just knew I needed to fly there to bid my final farewell to her. The airfare was expensive but thank God that someone gave me a Christmas gift which covered it. God is always good in providing for me at the right time. Her funeral was beautiful, like a wedding. Her casket was covered with roses & there was a slideshow of her life with many of our happy times together. I shared a eulogy about her. Our family had spent some time with her in June. She was not in her best health and I tried to encourage her but she encouraged me instead. She was full of joy and she shared with me that her only wish was to be in Jesus’ everlasting arms. She mentioned that 'my heart and my flesh will fail me but God is my portion and the strength of my heart.' She had grown so much in the Lord during her illness. She still wanted the best for others and still gave us her best hospitality, never thinking about her own needs. She has taught me sacrifice really is.
Each death has truly taught me something. John 12:24: 'I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds’. No doubt I do deeply miss them, but they will be fondly remembered in my heart. I have learnt to move on in life and to sow into people's lives. This is the legacy I hope to pass on.
Last December, I went to the Philippines for a mission trip with Youth Impact. There were about 100 youth who went to bless the people. Before the trip, I was not sure whether I could raise the funds for my trip because it was the recession period. However, my mum reminded me that I should look to God and not men. I decided to make 20 boxes of muffins and within a short period I raised $700 and even some more for my expenses. Indeed God once again showed me that He is truly Jehovah Jireh, my provider.
Every day was quite a busy day for us. Usually, in the morning and afternoon, we would go for street/village evangelism to invite people to the church rally in the night. During street/village evangelism, we also had time to share Christ with the people and pray for them. They really inspired me because, when they were healed after prayer, they were really excited and you could see joy in their faces. We also did mercy ministry by bringing cartons of clothes from Singapore to them. They were so happy when they were given a piece of clothing and they wore the immediately. They were so happy, even with little things. The Filipinos really touched me a lot. Their living conditions are so bad that I wonder how someone could live in such conditions. All these things did not deter them from knowing Jesus and they showed ka great openness to know more about Jesus.
The Filpinos not only had receptive hearts but they were very friendly and they loved people talking to them and making friends with them. The children there adored me and I adored them too. This trip was really fruitful to me because I was given many opportunities to share Christ with the locals there. I also overcame my fear of praying for people who needed healing as I was afraid that the person might not get healed even when I prayed. However a new faith has arisen through this mission trip and I know that if I have faith as small as a mustard seed, I can move mountains.
Another thing that really inspired me was when we went to a church on a little island called Olango on Sunday. There was no band but only a guitar and the church was small, dirty and the roof had lots of cracks. However the people didn’t seem to worry and all they desired to do was to meet God, worship Him and let His spirit fill their lives again. It really dawned on me that my Church in Singapore is so good with a dynamic worship band, a nice building which is fully air conditioned, yet we get too comfortable that we forget that it is all about God and not us.
Another thing that touched my heart was the love that they had for us. I remember a girl called Amalta. She barely knew me, but when I was about to leave the island, she called my name and said she would miss me and that she loved me. She just gave her love so easily and I came to the realization that this is what I should be like, to be like a child loving everyone around me, having a child like faith.
Overall, this was my second mission trip and it was a really wonderful, awesome and fantastic time. I am really grateful to God for your partnership, support and love to me. It certainly had made me more thankful to God, being happy for simple things. I really miss the Philippines and am excited about my next mission trip. I know that the goal of sharing the gospel has not stopped, but it continues right here in Singapore. Once again thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a blessing to the Philippines and in return I am blessed too.
I am delighted to give my thanksgiving to God. Last year was a big exam for me (Primary School Leaving Exam). I am grateful to God that He helped me to get good exam results. It was a national exam and I got A* for Maths and 3 As for English, Chinese and Science. I have always struggled with Chinese, but truly nothing is impossible with God! At the same time I was in the top 10% in my school and I got s scholarship of $350 from the Government.
I went to our church Kids camp for the last time before being promoted to the youth camp. Last year Kids' camp's speaker was my dad and He preached on 'The Promises of God'. God is awesome and when I honour Him, He promises me success.
After the national exam, I was confused as to which Secondary school I should go to. I was spoilt for choice. However when my mum prayed with me, we felt that God wanted me to go to a Christian school, to have a Christian influence so that I can impact the nation. The Lord has brought me to Presbyterian High School which is quite a good school and they focus more on character development. The school intends to mentor us to be mature and responsible citizens.
I have just turned 13 and I am truly enjoying the Youth Group and my secondary school. Please continue to pray that I will be disciplined in my time management and be a role model to my peers.
Hi I am 6 years old and this year I am in Primary 1 in Woodlands Ring Primary School which is very near to my home. This is the school which Melody and Gideon both went to. I am enjoying my school and have lots of friends. However, please pray for me as I need to learn Chinese and am struggling in this!
The Lord was really good to me last year. He showed me He is Jehovah Rapha who heals all my sickness. As you all know, I was born with an imperforated anus (no anal opening). Since birth until last year my mum had to help dilate me because I could not pass motion on my own as I had serious constipation. Each time when my mummy did this for me it was very painful and she felt heartbroken too. My mummy always asked me to trust God for healing and one night I asked my mummy why God had not healed me even though I kept praying. However, mummy just asked me to keep pressing on to believe that God would hear my prayers one day. Then one day in September I was in great pain and I just prayed to God to help me pass motion on my own. At last the Lord heard my prayer and I could do it all by myself. I got all my family to come and rejoice with me in the toilet! Since then I am proud to say that I do not need my mummy's help.
Last November, we had our Kindergarten graduation concert & I acted as a Tin Soldier. I really enjoyed it and everyone said I was cool and handsome.
That's all of our family news for now. It is a bit too long but we hope you enjoy reading it and continue to pray for us. This year on March 26 it is Tim's parents 50th golden wedding anniversary and it is also our 16th wedding anniversary. We will be there to celebrate with them and the rest of the extended family, relatives and friends. We will only bring Matthew because Melody and Gideon still have lessons going on. We would appreciate your prayers as we are going on a budget flight (Air Asia). Please do cover us in prayer for our flight journey and itinerary.
We are grateful to God for every remembrance of you. We truly appreciate your friendship, encouragement and prayer support, which means a lot to us. It makes serving a joy and a pleasure because of friends like you. This year we believe God is going to do greater things in our family and in our church. We stand together with you in prayer that God will accomplish His purpose in your life and that this year is the year of favour for you.
Lots of love and blessings from,