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Branson!

It’s been a great summer so far. I’ve been learning a lot, growing closer to God, meeting lotsa good new fellas, having lots of fun, free passes to theme parks and shows. What more can you ask for? Nothing I can think of right now (or maybe Malaysian food?). Man, spending a summer with a bunch of Christian guys and girls who have given up their summer to grow closer to God is the best major decision I’ve made in the US so far. Of course, there are some people here who are spiritually younger than I am, and some who are spiritually more mature, but that’s how it is in the body of Christ, and each of us has a responsibility to build each other up. I really really hope this Mac is as good as they say, coz I really do not want it to die now. No backup storage to store pictures!

BSF HQ

Guess what? I volunteered at the BSF HQ for 4 days last week. It was fun, and we had some extra time to tour San Antonio a little bit, eat the good food around, and just plain sight seeing. The only weird thing was, there wasn’t volunteers who were my age. In fact, the youngest volunteer (besides me) had a son my age. The rest had grandchildren my age. ‘Spiritual grandparents’ they called themselves. Anyway, it was all good. Thank God for opening the way for me to volunteer at BSF HQ.

Summer No. 1

It’s my first summer holiday in the US, and I’m gonna be spending most of my time at a Summer Training Program called Ozark Mountain Encounter, organized by the Navigators. It’s basically an intensive discipleship program, and I have no idea what I signed up for. So, I guess I’ll just wait and see. Anyway, this is just the final update before I leave for San Antonio to volunteer at the Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) HQ, and then to the training program for 2 months, and then back. If any of you are reading this post, please do not forget me! I’ll be back in August. Christians, pray for me that I’ll learn a lot at this program and that I’ll finally know for sure what God wants me to do with my life and the direction I should pursue at this time. So many opportunities and doors here, but I can only walk through one at a time, and after I walk through a door, certain doors will shut, but new ones will open. “Which door next? That is ze question!”

God & Music

I first came across this name last year I think, not sure who introduced me to her. Then this year, Leonard introduced me to her again. At first, I thought she was just an above average singer (like most of you) but after watching her concert on Deep Rock Drive, I think I have to change my opinion. She’s a good singer (but she’s no Leona Lewis). Either way, more intriguing than her voice is the way her determination got her what she wanted. Kinda reminded me of the Randy Pausch’s last lecture. He said, “Remember, brick walls let us show our dedication. They are there to separate us from the people who don’t really want to achieve their dreams. Don’t bail. The best of the gold’s at the bottom of barrels of crap.” Basically I learnt that you gotta keep striving for what you want to achieve your dream.

 

Last week, though, I had a different outlook on things. As I began reading about Steven Curtis Chapman’s life, he wasn’t the kind of person who chased his dreams. He chased after God and left it to God to give him his dreams. In light of the new revelation I got, I had to change my focus a little bit and do more like what Steven Curtis Chapman does, with the same fervor as he, Marie and Randy demonstrated. So I guess it will be God first, and God willing, music follows.

1 down, 5 to go

I’m done with my first semester and by God’s unfailing grace, I’ve been able to transfer my academic success from Malaysia to the States. In a nutshell, this semester wasn’t too challenging, but things got a little bit tricky sometime in March when I had a number of stuff to do and I wanted to do other things instead. Oh well, that’s all in the pass now. If you’re wondering what I got for my first semester, well I got a 4.0. The only reason I’m posting this is not to brag but to thank God for helping me through my first semester here.

 

On the down side, I think I may have to be here for 3 years, which means that I’ll be done with college in December 2010, and things will get a lot tougher from now on. I just hope I’ll be able to carry on doing my best and trusting God to do the rest. The next time people ask “How do you study?” I’m going to make sure I answer, “I just do my best, and trust God to do the rest.” That’s all from me for now.

Hm, I’m still not sure how to properly express myself here in the US. Fortunately, within the past week or so, I’ve been given a few opportunities to show a little bit more of what I’m really about. The first event was the Navigators Year End party (pictures on CriticallyAcclaimed®). Managed to show the more sporty side of me by playing frisbee and volleyball with one hand, and then playing some football. Excelled in most of them, and did nothing to embarrass myself! Yay! Then while we were chatting they were saying things like “Is there anything you’re not good at?” and I just stay quiet and smile. Of course I was pleased to hear that, but at the same time I’m reminded of Luke 12:48.

 

The second event that enabled me to show more of myself was the final fellowship between CG members. Played a game that required us to put some answers to the questions, and I think nobody expected me to say the answers that I did, but it was good ‘coz it allowed them to see the other side of me that I haven’t had the opportunity to show. I guess that’s one of the reasons I came to the states anyway: to learn how to express myself better. Slowly, but surely, I’m coming out of my shell…..

Cheating Myself

Ask any Malaysian who has been out of the country for more than a month or so this question: “What do you miss the most?”, and one of the thing that will undoubtedly get mentioned, maybe after family and friends, would be “Malaysian food !!” or as some may paraphrase “Roti canai, nasi lemak, kai fan, asam laksa, ha mee!” Well, I’ve tried numerous methods to ensure that I’m not one of those who misses Malaysian food (since I’m gonna be here for quite a while). Below are some of them.

 

1) Eating Asian food in America

Unfortunately, this is the sure fire way to make you miss Malaysian food even more. Maybe it’s just Texas, but American Asian food comes nowhere close to Malaysian Asian food. In fact, I think I can cook better asian food than the Americans do.

 

2) Eating all kinds of food

Sure, try to forget the memories of roti canai and nasi lemak by eating country fried steak, burritos, pasta, pizzas and burgers. Sorry bud, it just doesn’t work. The memories formed by the sentimental values of eating roti canai and nasi lemak are just too strong to be overcome by the weaker American, Mexican and Italian food.

 

3) Eating things that taste like Malaysian Food

Eating Kebabs and dough cooked without yeast probably comes as close to naan dan daging lembu as Akmal Rizal does to Wayne Rooney. Has some similarities but nowhere near the same.

 

4) Creating a cognitive dissonance between price and food quality

Food in America is more expensive, hence it must taste better. This method only works if you truly believe that. I on the other hand, believe that the best things are free (or close to free). So, go figure.

 
To date these methods have not been completely successful, but it has reduced my cravings for Malaysian food to some extent. However, as long as I’m trapped in an abyss of space void of Malaysian food, my craving will increase day after day, and I can only hope that it does not pass the point of unbearable cravings before May ’09. Or maybe, I’m just cheating myself.