Monday, January 07, 2008

A series of blessed events

Hi folks! Hey, you know, i'm pretty much brimming with shorts stories here and there about how God has really just shown himself to me in such cool ways. I think that there's no better time to do it then now, otherwise i'd simply forget and all of it would fade into the deep depths of my memory. So, without further babbling, here is my truckload of testimonies!

1. The exam grades

Last semester was a busy one for me because i was juggling schoolwork, workplace work and project, church and mission trip stuff and my own running training. Remember that terrible paper i had last year, the module called Acculturation Psychology? I studied for it, but i studied all the "wrong" things! Whatever that came out in the exam were stuff i did not study for. I left the exam hall 30minutes earlier, and that is something i've never done in my entire schooling life.

So i pretty much felt that i messed up my whole paper, and i began preparing myself mentally to redo that module. The only complication with that would be: if that module is only available in the july semester, then i'd be wasting the first 6 months (Jan to June), and effectively, one whole year!

I went about my holidays trying not to think about the possibility of what might happen. I just told myself that whatever happens, God has a reason for it and that i trust him for whatever that may come. I had to ready my folks mentally too should i really have to repeat. But nothing could erase that feeling of dread that made my heart sink to my stomach just thinking about seeing a red mark on my transcript.

When i returned from my mission trip on the 23rd of december, i immediately checked for my exams results when i came home after dinner. And you know, God is good... I had gotten a B- for that terrible module. I had procured a B-! Like, WOOOOOWWWWWWW!

Knowing the state of my exam script, with the contents being either big blanks, general knowledge, and scanty bits of hazily recalled information, and having left early, it is only by a PURE MIRACLE that i passed, let alone obtain a B-.

***PRAISE GOD!***

2. Overcoming Sickness

2A. (prior and during the mission trip)

Apparently, a few weeks before leaving on my mission trip to East Timor, my bloating from IBS starting acting up again, and the day before my departure, i started experiencing sharp pains in my left ear. The pain just came out from the blue, and i don't remember having ever felt them before and i sure didn't have any prior injury to warrant the pain.

My folks suggested that these may be signs of anxiety, but since i didn't feel anxious, i had a feeling that these obstacles coming my way could be something more spiritual in nature (when we are bent on doing God's will and work, the enemy would want to get us down!). Knowing the possibility of that, I refused to be discouraged and i asked my parents to pray for me.

In addition, i kept having these persistent and disturbing thoughts that i was going to be sick on the trip, and that i will surely be bogged down by it. The thoughts kept bugging me and in some ways, the mental happenings manifested a bit into the physical and i began to feel a little headachey and nauseous. I had to keep rejecting those thoughts.

When my team and i arrived in Kupang, they celebrated my birthday! HAH, with a really cool doughnut with a candle on top. So cute lah, i wonder who brought the doughnut all the way from Singapore. So i told them about the health related struggles i was having and they prayed for me.

Suffice to say, i was NOT SICK throughout my trip. The only time when i got motion sickness was after a 12 hour long van ride, which i recovered from after a night's rest. And yes, NO BLOATING from IBS during my trip! AND, NO EAR PAIN either! HAH!

2B. (during my Worship Team Advance, aka, camp.)

A few days before going for camp, i went shopping at Jurong Point, and i think i caught some bug. My nose became really itchy, stuck AND runny, and i would sneeze ever so often. It was uncomfortable and i know i wasn't exactly sick. This uncomfortable respiratory problem prolonged for close to one week.

I slept through one night at camp with a clogged and itchy nose. But the next morning, something amazing happened.

During the worship session, Pastor Jenn told us about how God had given her an annointing on her hands. It had happened some time ago when a visitor speaker had visited our church (Kobush? i think.) and had prayed for her. And when the speaker had prayed for her, she felt a supernatural sensation in her hands and she has been able to recognise the same sensation which signified that God has his annointing on her to do His work. Meaning that He will work with and through her whenever she uses her hands to pray for and bless others.

So, she told us that after asking God if she could, she said that she wanted to symbolically pray for each of us so that we could receive this same annointing. She did, and prayed for pretty much everyone. When she came and prayed for me, i didn't feel anything significant, but i believed in whatever God can do anyway, whether or not i can see or feel.

After she prayed for me, i sat down thinking about my stuffy nose. I realized that: hey, it's NOT normal for me to have this stuffy nose. I'm NOT sick, and i know that for a fact because my condition wasn't getting worse, it was just stagnant, as if i had a perpetual allergy to something. Even in air conditioned rooms, i don't have this kind of problem. I missed my freed air passageways!

So, i thought to myself, since my hands have been prayed for, i shall use them!

I laid both my hands around my neck and prayed. I asked God: Ok, God, i pray that you will clear out my air ways, and that i'll be able to breathe freely again like i've always been able to. I don't normally have sinus issues, so Lord, i pray against this problem. (end)

I did not experience anything SUPER INSTANT or like thunder and lightning or anything moving through my body.... But you know what. In the next few minutes, i actually felt my air ways clearing. First it was one nostril that cleared up, and then the next one also cleared up. And suddenly, i could breathe freely again! As in, seriously! It was like, my nose moved from being totally blocked and dripping to completely clear.

Isn't GOD AWESOME?!

***YEAY! THANK GOD!***

3. Hearing His Voice of Love (happened during the Timor trip)

Although i've been a Christian pretty much all my life (second generation Christian), there're times when i struggle with knowing whether God loves me. You know, you hear the same line: Jesus Loves You, so many times but yet you don't FEEL it like the way you would when someone says it to you personally or hugs you or something.

But during on morning worship session in East Timor with my team, the Lord spoke to one of us about how much he loved us, and that team member shared it. In confirmation, another team member also felt God tell her that he loved her.

For myself, during worship i was singing really loudly but something inside said: stop singing so loudly, just be still. So i stopped and sat down and asked God, "God, what do you want to tell me or the team?"
And i thought i heard Him say so tenderly: I just love you.
Even as i am typing this, my eyes fill with tears remembering His insistent and gentle reminder.

After worship was over, the team shared their experience during worship, and i shared mine... And i tell you. I DON'T KNOW WHY AND HOW, but when i narrated to them what i had heard, i started to tear, and then all of a sudden, i started to BAWL. YES, BAWL. Like, the kind of crying which involves -wailing- and a lot of tears. I mean, like, hello, i COULD NOT CONTROL IT, it just came out so strong from the depths of my subconscious being and i had to HIDE my embarrassment by laughing with a "hee hee hee" in the midst of my crying. HAHAHAHA. I bet i scared my team mates a bit. I was really fighting to suppress whatever sound that was coming out through my lips.

I've NEVER cried like that in front of strangers (yes, i love my team, but they are not super close to me that i would cry in front of them, except for maybe one or two) as an adult.

I was quite shocked by what was happening. I'm no stranger to the notion of crying when God touches me or someone, but wailing? And in front of others? NO WAY! That kind of crying, i do only in privacy, and even then, it is very rare.

One of my team mates rallied the others to pray for me during that extraordinary moment and i felt so odd. HAHA. So yes... God really surprised me that morning, and it's an experience i won't be forgetting.

4. Repairing the broken areas (during the Timor trip)

Just a bit of background information:

As a child, i've always been jealous and starved of attention and affection. It's not that my parents never gave me any. I just wanted to be treated with devotion ALL the time. So you can imagine what kind of horror breaks loose when there was even a tiny mention of having another sibling. Finding that out was the most horrifying thing to me because to me at that time, if my mom had another kid, i would no longer be loved as much and i was not going to allow that to happen.

It did not help that in the presence of babies and young children, my mom would coo over and cuddle them and "forget" all about me. And because of what i saw and felt, it did not assure me that she would still love me if another sibling arrived.

Ever since, i had hated young children because of what they represented. I had the notion that they were irritating, troublesome and that i'd be far better off without children. And i always thought that young children did not take to me well like they would to my other peers.

Another one of my struggles is related to how i look. I'm part confident of myself, but a part is also always seeking man's approval and praise. So when i went to East Timor (now don't you laugh ok!) i craved the admiration and approval of the people.

Sounds stupid i know, but you know how as locals, we might find foreigners interesting? Yeah, same concept here. As a foreigner, i had also wanted some form of attention.

But on one of the days on a visit to a secondary school, i felt rather rejected and insignificant in comparison to my team mates, and though i was smiling, laughing and looking like i was enjoying myself, i felt a wound inside festering.

But let me tell you... GOD WORKS IN REALLY FUNNY WAYS. Listen to this:

Our Timor co-ordinator, Dick, who is also a member from my church who helped us with the arranging of transport and everything else, was hanging out with the neighbours' kids next door. I was hanging around outside our house (which is next door to Dick and the kids) when
Dick yelled over to me: JOLINE!!!

J: (turns to look over the fence to the house next door) Yeah?
D: You've got a FAN CLUB! (gestures to the children)
J: HUH?!
(then suddenly, ALL the children yelled, "HI JOLINE!!!!!!!")
D: (says something i could not hear)
J: Huh?!?
D: Never mind!

Later on, i popped over to the neighbour's house with my team leader and i found out from Dick that, the children became my "fans" because....... HAH, AIYO, this is so weird! Apparently, one of the kids was from the secondary school we had visited earlier and she saw me. So when i got to meet her at her home, she told me in Tetun (the language used there), "You, Bonita.". "Bonita" means "beautiful" in Tetun.

I was quite astounded by all this because never in my life have i been told by anyone so unabashedly and with so much admiration that i was beautiful. And the more i thought about it, the more i was beginning to see God's hand in it. You see, God did two things through this situation.

He had brought and used his innocent little children to touch and soften my heart (my first problem) and at the same time, he was assuring me that i was already beautiful (my second problem).

I then knew that i was hearing God, through his little children (that i found so hard to love for so many years), and that I was hearing and receiving his love for me.

I brought a camera over and took pictures with them, kind of like an unspoken way to tell them that i will remember this moment and that they were important enough for me to remember them. And the girl who spoke to me hugged me so tightly during the phototaking!

Isn't God cute? :-D
I certainly think so!

**************************************************

Ok, that was a REALLY long post lah. But i KNOW that for God's glory, i shall speak of His goodness in my life! And here it is!

I just realized that the testimonies cover areas of inner (emotional and mental) as well as physical healing. AHAHAHA! I so happy man.

Think the post is too long to edit now lah, so i won't bother to for now. I am just too excited to let it sit in my draft box! So, here it is! (will update if i can remember more that happened to me in the past months)

3 comments:

Dominic. said...

Yay!

I'm glad that God did touch and let you experience Him in ways real and tangible.

And you know what?

It doesn't have to end at East Timor. Not does it have to end in mission trips.

Because God is the same here, there and everywhere.

So let's continue to seek Him and expect Him to move and work in ways which will amaze us and blow us away! Even in our families, in our workplaces, in our schools, in our communities, in our local church, etc...

cheers!!

la said...

thanks for writing, jo. its very welll written, an absolute pleasure + joy reading what the Lord's doing in your life!!!!!! *muacks*

Joline said...

dom:

I completely agree.
Hm... being back in the normal places tend to dull things. shucks, it must not!

la:

hey lala... your comment means a lot to me, i read it over and over again and it makes me grin inside. hee. but i dunno how come i cannot submit it to COOS's testimony page leh, apparently u need a password to get in???