Thursday, July 16, 2009

3 Cups of Coffee

It was going to be another ordinary weekend. Discipleship. Gym. Karaoke. Jamming. I couldn't sign up for Operation Encounter because the spaces were filled. Then, at camp, someone fell sick. And I got a phone call. "We have an extra space. You interested?"

I'm glad I went. It wasn't just another evangelistic event. We learned about the heart and soul of culture. There are many different ways to see the world. That's why we have many different cultures. If you visit an Arab friend, he gives you 3 cups of coffee. The first represents peace between you and him. The second represents friendship; the reason he invited you into his home in the first place. The third represents the sword; his willingness to die for you. Profound!

During dinner I asked someone if he would give me three cups of coffee. He said he would give me two and a half cups. Why two and a half cups? Maybe because the half cup was a sword like the one used by Peter Pan. Or a Keris. Anyway, if someone asked me if I would give them 3 cups of coffee, I would say no. Because I'm not Arab =)

According to James W. Sire, "Everyone has a worldview". What does a typical worldview look like? At OE, we learned it looks like an onion. The onion has 3 layers. The first is called 'cultural behaviour'. It is "Manners, conduct; a way of behaving" according to the Reader's Digest Great Encyclopaedic Dictionary.

Let's look at cultural behaviour of the Agta people in the Philippines. A little boy is caught stealing a missionary's pen. The boy's father scolds him and beats him. Like what most parents would do. But there's more. Dad picks up a machete and chops down his house. Then he leaves the village with his family. They are gone for three months. Then they return and rebuild their house. That's how the Agta people punish stealing. If it was the Middle East the boy's hand would just be chopped off.

our cultural behaviour is influenced by our cultural values, defined as what is considered good and honourable in a culture. In many traditional cultures, the 3 greatest things of value are survival, community and identity. men go out to hunt or plant food to feed their families while women take care of children. everyone participates in group activities such as harvest festivals and initiation ceremonies when boys become men. And there is a connection to the land because the people farm and hunt on it for food.

On the other hand, the three most important things in western culture are mobility, convenience and privacy. We buy a car because we can drive around to anywhere. We depend on our mobile phones to call people any time we need them. we build tall fences and make sure the neighbour's house doesn't have windows overlooking our backyard.

At the core of our worldview is cultural beliefs. it is our beliefs that drive our values. a belief is defined as what is held to be true or real, with or without evidence.

Some cultures practice negative values. In Irian Jaya, Indonesia, there is a tribe that practices betrayal. They think it's honourable to backstab your friend. Don Richardson, a missionary to the tribe was telling them about Jesus and Judas. When they heard about Jesus, they thought he was a good person. When they heard about Judas, they thought he was a hero because he betrayed Jesus for good money! Don struggled to tell them why Judas was wrong. Then he realized that this tribe made a peace agreement with another tribe, by giving up one of their people to marry another person in that other tribe. The first son or daughter born from that couple was called the 'peace child'. If someone killed the peace child, the two tribes would become very angry. So Don Richardson described Jesus as a peace child; He came to make peace with God and man. Judas killed the peace child. Immediately, their perception of Judas went from hero to zero!

OE rocked. So did the people and organization that ran it! Wycliff Bible Translators is all about making the Word accessible to every tribe and tongue, in their own native language. Their passion to reach out and willingness to teach us how is exemplary. Three cups of coffee for them =)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bittersweet randomness

14 January 2002. I fell in love with the prettiest girl in class. My face (and hair) have not changed since then.

Unfortunately, she rejected me. But this is not the point of this blog post. Or my life in particular. Man the holidays are really getting to me =) Need to find a part time job.

Let there be light...

23rd July 2005. And there was light.

More reminiscence

A bookmark I made for OCF AU's Op Welcome for semester 1, 2008. Inspired by a KFC voucher.



And then there was beach day...


Joanna the hot babe

Justin trying to be a hot babe

I wore no sunshades and no sunscreen. Had a massive fever that night. And peeling skin.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Food for thought

OCF Convention 2006. Man, I had the most interesting angel back then. He gave me the bird...

The apple was getting brown as I only checked the fridge few days after being informed of the bird's existence. But before his spark of creativity he sent me this note:

Thought before the food. God uses any schmuck? okayyy... anyway this angel really rocked. Because I don't remember who my angels were in all the camps I'd been... except for this one.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Remiscence: The Tristantos

2 girls. 4 guys. 1 band. The Tristantos!

Reminiscence: prayer meet

Semester 1 2008. These were challenging times for OCF AU. So a few of us decided to have prayer meet every morning. 

After that we would head off to David Jones for brekkie...

I seriously need to learn how to be dependent on God again, to the extent of seeking Him first thing in the morning. Iron sharpens iron; the journey made worthwhile, with like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ.

Night Shot

AACC Church Camp, Victor Harbour. 8th March 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Web

The web can be used to do almost anything these days

Edit images...

Make Mindmaps...

Plan the week...

To do lists...


No need for paper. Don't need to worry about losing your USB. Don't need to carry heavy files full of notes everywhere. Seriously if the Internet fails one day (an undersea optic fibre cable snaps somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean) I won't need to do ANYTHING.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Random Quote of the Day

"Theory: Yoshi and Justie are trying to make me fat. Fact: they are succeeding"


Random Pics

Kiran after being told she can't drink teh tarik

Breakfast at ETC...RAWR!

Katrina's goal: lose 5 kg...

Caleb trying to be cool...FAIL =)

Trust me, this wasn't edited on Photoshop, it's Ben's actual reflection in the mirror...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Yet another surprise birthday...

Thursday night 11pm. Katrina had a long day and was pretty tired. Suddenly I got a call from Norman: 'Make sure she doesn't fall asleep! Give her a call or something, we're coming to your place right now'.

So I did: 'Hey Kat, I'm just going to ask Adrian what time Catholic church service starts so your father can go this sunday, but I can only do that after his quiet time. So don't sleep yet ya. I'll talk to you on Facebook.

Because Erwin, Huey Chi and I were already on the way to Kat's place the Facebook conversation didn't happen. It was now Caleb's turn to keep Katrina awake. So they chatted online and he made up this wild story about getting evicted.

Gotta give it to Caleb for great acting skills. By the time we arrived he was still acting, outside Kat's door. Kat was too busy paying attention to notice someone coming up her door; Norman with birthday cake...

 Gotta love James' face!

Midnight birthday surprise. Parents coming over. Still 19. What more could a birthday girl want?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Best BS Group Outing Ever

Last Friday after OCF, I saw this on Facebook.

Penny wasn't coming to the BS group lunch because she would be working. So the next day at Primo Cafe, Jacq, Joel, Jonathan, Amos and I discussed plans on how to change her Facebook status...

Sunday. Jonathan picked Penny up from hospital at 7pm, as planned. He told Penny he was collecting stuff at my place and needed her help. Meanwhile, Amos bought the cake and magic candles. He came over to my place early to light the candles...
Penny came up to my apartment, opened the door and...

Her prayers were answered...
This was followed by an AB dinner at Blue and White Cafe. We had lamb, her favourite...

Back to my place again for cake cutting. While Penny was being entertained, Amos, Jonathan, Joel and Jacq took turns logging onto Facebook, uploading pictures of Penny from their phones and cameras, tagging, and writing on Penny's wall. We hoped to bomb the news feed so that when her friends logged on all they could see was Penny Penny Penny Penny Penny...her wall would be so happening and the number of tagged pictures of her would explode overnight...

Mission Accomplished:

This is what OCF is all about. And it all starts with the BS Group =)

Life after assignments...

Thanks to a certain someone, I feel compelled to update more often...

But once again, depends on how I feel =)
Had 5 assignments due last Friday. So last week was one of my more anti-social moments...

They were major assignments. So certain sacrifices had to be made. No drum lessons. No Korean BBQ. No Gears of War.

Glad I made those sacrifices. Because the presentation on Friday was AWESOME.

How did I celebrate? By going back to a normal life. On saturday, resumed guitar and drum practice. Went back to gym. Had a BS lunch where we organised a surprise party for Penny. Jammed with Ronald and Lionel. Restarted drum lessons with Amanda and Athena. Went to Life Group.

He's getting better!

Edward, Katrina and Aaron all agree on one thing: Lionel can sing!

Sunday. After church, celebrated Andrew's birthday. Jogging with Ben, Danwin and Wei Shern. Surprise party for Penny.

Prince Andrew

Best picture of Liz and Betty ever taken.

The birthday cake was chocolate mixed with rum, nuts, lemon zest and raisins. All thanks to Mel the master baker...

One very surprised birthday girl. Best BS group outing ever!

Feels good to have a life again =)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Easter Camp

A week before camp, I went up to the site with a few others to pray. Among our prayer points was an increase in numbers. So far that week only 55 people signed up, only slightly more than half of what was expected.

The power of answered prayer. around 120 people went for Ecamp. There were not enough bunks for everyone, so a couple of brave souls (myself included) decided to sleep in the gym. The next morning it felt like waking up in a giant refrigerator.

God moved mightily at Ecamp. During the apologetics session there was a guy who kept challenging the speaker with theologically impossible questions. That night God opened the spiritual eyes of this 'doubting Thomas' to see Him for who He really was. The angels in heaven rejoiced and a few of us wept for joy as he declared Jesus his Lord. This, my friends, is why we have Ecamp. Not just to remember His death, but to celebrate the return of prodigal sons and daughters. And it was His Cross that made this possible!

Many people question the relevance of OCF. "Students are better off serving in church", they say, "under the guidance of pastors and paid staff workers". Even churches nowadays have their own international student ministries. The answer lies not in whether OCF is relevant (that's an irrelevant question) but in how it has changed and impacted the lives of so many students who called themselves OCFers. And these students have gone on to become pastors and missionaries to distant lands. Among them are those who got saved in camps like this one, and now go on to preach the joy of salvation to their family members, their friends and to the ends of the earth.

And so, I feel proud to belong to OCF. It is a ministry unlike any other. It's not perfect. Of course there are conflicts. Of course there are politics. But it has accomplished much more for the Greater Good. So here's to 50 years of OCF, and here's to 50 more easter camps to come!

Friday, January 2, 2009


I've been thinking a lot lately about selflessness. What does it mean? To me, selflessless means nothing unless it's put into action. And I have seen many actions over the past month that define selflessless.

Look at OCF Convention 08. The committee who fought against stress, self doubt and self comfort so that God could touch the lives of those who came. The people who overcame shyness and awkwardness to reach out to the other delegates in order to make them feel welcome. Without the selfless actions in the kitchen, pulpit, PA, bible study, AGM and people's homes, Convention 08 wouldn't have happened in the first place.

My graduation ceremony. Graduating with a Masters of Architecture is impossible without the sacrifices made by the parents. Especially mom. Back when I was 13, she turned down a high paying position. She left her company and joined my dad's firm. If you asked her why, she could sum up her answer in two words, "The children". A high paying position meant flying out of the country and only returning once a few months to see the family. In comparison, my father's office was only 5 minutes away from home. If Aaron and Lydia were naughty, they would be walloped almost immediately. So even while the cat was away, the mice won't even dare come out and play.

The trip to Melbourne and Tasmania. Tell me, where on earth would a person wake up at 4am to drive someone he only just met, together with his parents to the airport? Only in Tasmania, as far as I know. To those who drove us around, took me to a cool vego place for lunch, brought us to church, the fish and chip shop and for the Christmas BBQ, THANK YOU!

New Year's Resolution: Find out what it means to be selfless. By observing others and doing it more and more! Because the only way some people will see Jesus is not in a sermon. Or a song. But in actions that come from a heart that is thankful for His selfless love on the Cross. Amen.