Time for a major reflection again as yet another year draws to a close! This whole year has honestly passed so quickly – it went from orientation to CTs to promos to start of Dec hols and here we are at the end. My true holidays have only just begun though because I’m finally done with my 5-week internship! And more time at home + at church retreat meant I finally had time to reflect properly. I really have a lot to thank God for this year, so let’s start from the beginning 🙂
I think this was our first cell in school? Also best attendance haha we haven’t been this big since then. Friday afternoons with my favourite people! Didn’t really find new close friends in JC because RG was already too good and the bar was set too high. But it’s alright – oldies are goldies! I’m really thankful for this close-knit group of batch mates + seniors whom I can share my Joy Junk Jesus with and it really brightens up my day whenever I run into any one of them in school 🙂 Gonna miss this tons next year but I’m sure the young ones will bring some refreshing vibes!
Hong Kong in March seems like such a long time ago! Honestly doesn’t even seem like this year haha but that was a fun holiday with the extended family (for once!!) Now whenever I think of HK, I think of cosy family times and chill cafes 🙂
First youth camp overseas! I believe this was in June (the whole year was really a blur…) I really love going for camps and spending extended periods of time with my church friends hehe younger or older there’s always so much to learn from all of them ❤
My lovely class! Honestly not very close to anyone in particular which is kinda sad hahaha but that’s okay if I’m okay with it right? They are all so special in their own way and very kind individuals 🙂 Can’t believe I haven’t seen them in 2 months!!
Major fast forward here to October in Vietnam! Halong Bay was so picturesque ahh God’s creations are truly amazing! This was such an impromptu getaway but much needed respite from my promos mugging. Take me back 😦 I distinctively remember lying on the deck while waiting for dinner, watching the sky turn from pink to black, feeling the boat bobbing up and down and taking in the vastness of the sea and sky.
Volleyball family! Has been a big part of this year with all our late trainings cry. I’m so bad at it hahaha but I’m grateful that my teammates are so friendly all the time and we have no drama at all. Training will be thrice a week next year and I’m honestly not ready for Saturday morning trainings again hahaha.
A lot earlier on in the year, 10 of us agreed to perform for the seniors’ grad night, but when it finally came to it, only 4 of us managed to make it for practices and stuff haha. Nonetheless it was really fun dancing again with the dance batch mates! It’s also easier to choreograph a dance for fewer dancers! It was pretty tiring to have to practice at night after work (because 3/4 of us had work attachments) but it all paid off in the end 🙂
Living my UK Christmas market dreams at Gardens By The Bay’s Christmas Wonderland? Everyday at work I would scroll through Insta and see all the pics of snow/ festivities/ holidays in general boohoo not cool at all. Severe wanderlust! GBTB’s version was actually not bad I guess! It was way bigger than I expected. Only issue I had with it was the lacklustre prizes haha they really looked very taobao-esque… And the games were impossible to win (but I guess carnival games are designed that way)
Christmas parties for friends and family! I finally baked cream puffs again and stuck some $4 snowmen in to make them look more Christmassy. Really thankful for friends who turned up at the very last minute ❤ I’ve been eating a lot (too much) of good food since Christmas oops.
Another big part of my after work night life – dance pracs in church! We look the same age on stage but we are actually 28, 17 and 14 hahaha I’m really very grateful for the opportunity to dance and perform for God! It was an entire different feeling to dance for God’s glory and not my own. It was liberating and empowering because I wasn’t focusing so much on the steps, but on the message and the emotions of the song! I think it also helped immensely that we had two actors to show the crucifixion of Jesus and bring across the message more plainly.
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And yet another big part of my life this year (later half) was BCM (kids ministry)! It takes me away from worshipping and learning in youth service, but the kids here are so precious and I really love being here too 🙂 I especially love it when they come in pink princess dresses or loud disney princess clothes hahaha. Some of them can get quite clingy and clamber all over me, but there is still cuteness in that 🙂
Here are my biggest takeaways from prayer walks this year! Left: lil Vietnamese girl named My Ngoan! Ju and I visited her house earlier in the year and spoke to her parents for quite a while, understanding more about their roots in Vietnam and their religious beliefs and all that! It was truly such a surprise when I saw her one day in BCM ahh because her grandma asked her dad to let her come to church. And she even performed for Christmas! Hopefully one day her parents will come along with her 🙂
Right: super duper friendly aunty who is always at home and always so smiley whenever we visit her! She goes to the TCM clinic in church and I hope she will get the chance to come for our services one day.
Ended this year with three days of zone retreat! Featured a lot of games but also plenty of time for reflection and worship 🙂 There are so many things I have to thank God for! ❤ One of my favourite moments was worshipping by the seaside. I think nature is really the most tangible aspect of God’s majesty.
Looking down at the sand beneath my feet, God reminded me of Psalms 139:17-18. “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with you.” Can you even begin to imagine having that many thoughts of anything?
Looking straight ahead, I saw the vast ocean. I was reminded of the song Amazed. When I sing the words ‘how deep, how wide (how great, is your love for me),” I think of the ocean. It is the deepest and widest thing my limited human mind can picture.
Looking to my right, I saw the waves relentlessly chasing the shore – first surging in from a distance, then melting into a soft foamy caress. That reminded me of God’s gentle way of loving us. While His fatherly love is no doubt a powerful force, he showers it upon us in the tenderest of ways. I thought of this line by Sarah Kay: “There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.” We are so imperfect and so ungrateful. Yet even when we repeatedly fall short and choose worldly things over Him, He never stops loving us and pursuing our hearts.
In 2018, I’m going to try to learn to love without any expectations of reciprocity. Be careful what you pray for ahh but I think God has been trying to teach me this even in 2017. I think a lot of the times I felt hurt this year was because I sat there feeling like I hadn’t received the love/treatment I deserved, but through my Christmas dance, I realised and appreciated (on a deeper level) how Jesus never received the love he deserved! The saviour of the world loved us so much, he came down to suffer for us, being spiritually tempted by the devil, being physically tortured, lash after lash, and being mentally tormented by the curses of those whom he had blessed. And even after learning about all this from the Bible, we imperfect creatures still don’t give him our 100%! So suck it up YH!!! I have so so much to learn from Jesus.
Memory verse for 2018:
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” – Isaiah 43:2