Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Generation of Fun

I had an interesting conversation with my friends tonight about relationships and commitment. One of my friends said that this generation is different from the past generations during our parents’ time, during our grandparents’ time. It is true. This is a new kind of generation. It is a generation without the fear of God, without honor, without end - a generation that wants instant gratification, a generation that appreciates very little, a generation with an unquenchable thirst for pleasure.

This generation is constantly searching for happiness in all the wrong places. Looking for love at bars, in a darkroom at nightclubs, and with other attached people. This generation has it all wrong, chasing after the wrong things like money, fame, and random sex with strangers in all the while believing that all of these things will make it happy - make it extremely happy.

Unless this generation realizes that life is not a detour at every turn, it will crash and burn in the agony of constant search for the unreachable, unrealistic Utopia. The only true way to happiness is through loving Christ, to truly love Him and pursue Him with all its heart, with all its mind, with all its strength and with all its soul. Unfortunately, this generation of the world will never learn this secret until it is too late and this earth is burning in hell. A warning to this generation: you will not even get a drop of water to cool your tongue as you are in anguish from the flames of hell. (Luke 16:19-31)

My heart goes out to this generation of the world. Until it repents of its self-centered ways, stops nurturing its flesh, and learns to abstain from sin; if it never looks to Christ as Savior of the world, hell is its destiny. Hell is its reward. Hell is its mirror.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I Remember

Another restless night. My mind never stops thinking. Watched a movie on Netflix, hoping that it will soothe and cradle my mind. Sleep. I want sleep, but my thoughts rage on. Pictures of the past make me remember, force me to see what I no longer care about.

I remember walking into the bathroom to see my mother drunk, out cold on the floor.
I remember hating her for not loving me.
I remember being the black sheep, the escape goat.
I remember wishing my mother would reciprocate my desperation for her affection.
I remember my sisters playing sick, not wanting to face the world.

I remember finding out my pseudo father was a master Kung Fu fighter.
I remember life was easy once.
I remember the chaos of running from my home country.
I remember the trip on the boat to Freedom.
I remember the refugee camp in Guam.

I remember the chaos of running from home after another beating from my mother.
I remember sitting on the bus crying because my mother hates me,
because she will never see me as a daughter, because she will always see me as monetary value, because the melody to Miss Saigon was so beautiful.

Then I remember that my future is bigger than my past.
And I am thankful once again that God loves me, that I am His daughter, and that I am valued.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wrecked to be Better

This week has been a week of struggles – spiritually, emotionally, and physically. God allows certain people into our lives to cause certain pain or joy, with eventually an outcome that may or may not be good.

After many years of counseling and more than a year of deliverance, I thought I was fine. I thought I knew how to walk into a healthy friendship/relationship and be happy. A few things happened this month, a few things happened this week - and this week wrecked me.

Once again, I find myself that little girl who did not have the voice to scream for help when one of her mother's boyfriends pinned her down and fondled her body. Being violated over and over again is like being murdered emotionally every time you think it is safe to look up.

Although this kind of abuse killed my senses; tonight, I find myself angry for allowing my past the leverage to drown my spirit. Tonight, I refuse to stay silent and forced myself to fight back, to look at my interactions with men - Christians and pre-Christians.

After many insane relationships – the kind where you expect a new result from the same behaviors – I have learned that good things take time to cultivate and that it takes about a year or two to establish a new pattern of how I relate to men. Yes, I have hurt men and have been hurt by them.

God is so good because tonight, He has shown me that I no longer am trying to be different; I am different. I see that I can now walk away from a less-than-His-best-for-me-relationship without being totally broken. Instead, I walk away stronger. Most importantly, I now see that relationship is about learning. And real learning comes from commitment to love that person unconditionally, to put in the time and not walk away so easily, to educate myself and using my creativity, and to applying God’s love and truth with everyone I meet.

I was wrecked this week. But because of God, I was wrecked to be better.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Photo Class Assignment One

These were taken at Stanford University. A man stopped me and asked me if I were a professional and I said, "No, I'm just starting." He then said, "You sure look like you know what you are doing." I guess it pays to have a job where I look at artwork all day. ::wink::

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tigers and Alligators, Oh My!

Pattaya – May 22, 2010

On the last day of our mission trip, a team of us spent the day with the orphans from the Ban Jing Orphanage.

Originally, we were supposed to have 23 kids, but they grew to 36 kids. There were only 18 adults, so we all had 2 kids each to look after.

We took the orphans to the Tiger Zoo in crazy hot weather. The sun was beaming down on our sweaty heads and overheated bodies. The children lined up one-by-one as they waited to be distributed to their pseudo parents for the day. My children were Bo, a 7-year-old-girl and Cham Poo, a 2-year-old-girl.

All of us had a sticker to place on our shirts. I thought Cham Poo, which means Pink in Thai, was worried about her sticker falling off because she kept pointing at that particular corner where the sticker was stuck on her shirt. It turned out, she wanted to know if I thought her shirt was pretty. I thought it was an odd question because she had on the same shirt as all the other children. Then it dawned on me that it was a treat for them to have nice clothes. I noticed that people could see the light bulb popped over my head. Doh!

We took the children through the zoo watching different shows. We saw the tigers jumped and slept with the pigs. We watched man against alligators underwater, elephants dancing and throwing darts at the brave volunteers. Had ice cream, lunch and plenty of tamarind candy.

Cham Poo pretty stole my heart when Ping told me that Cham Poo calls me mommy. She ripped the rest of my heart out when she cried every time I left her side and was out of her sight. Cham Poo made me understand what it truly felt like to be a mother. I have no children of my own. The love I felt for these girls were different from the love I have for my nieces and nephews. I love my sisters’ children greatly, but this love was something I have not felt before. This love was a reciprocated kind of love between a mother and her child rather than an auntie and her sibling’s child. This motherly love, it was not even mine to have, but I felt it strongly. It marked me. I have watched this kind of love in my sisters for their children, but never truly felt it for myself until this Saturday, at the zoo, with two orphans.

Unfortunately, because I am single, I was told that I could not adopt Bo and Cham Poo. And if for some miracle that the Thai government allowed me to adopt in Thailand, the child will have to be HIV positive or a cripple.

I felt crushed when Malina told me this. My heart was saddened for the girls and for myself. I wondered when God will bless me and allow me to feel that kind of love again. Then, it made me think of my own mom. She has missed so much not knowing me, not wanting me, not accepting me. She actually denied herself of the greatest achievement – to simply be a mother.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Every New Thing

Pattaya - May 21, 2010

I woke up feeling new. Last night, we had a sleep over/slumber party with the prostitutes. We went to gather the ladies at their bars, paid the bar owners 300B to take each lady out of the bars. Once out of the bar, you negotiate with the girls as to how much you will pay for their time and serve. Fortunately, TAMAR, a ministry that works with prostitutes explained to the girls that we wanted to celebrate them and offer a fun night - no sex required. I can honestly say I have slept next to a prostitute.

We had dinner with the ladies, played games, sang karaoke, swapped stories. At the end of the night, they asked for prayer and for healing. I prayed for a woman who had a lump on her back. I felt she had unforgiveness and she repented of that. I then prayed over her and literally, I mean literally saw her lump shrink. It was not 100% gone, but it shrank about 50%. It was no illusion because my friend stood there and watched the lump. She was jumping up and down when she saw it shrink too. Then another girl came over to touch the lump. She said that it was hard in the beginning and now the lump was soft.

Yes, I woke up a new person. Every new thing you do become a part of you. As Christians, we have wealth of supernatural resources, and this wealth itself is intoxicating. We kept wanting to pray for every sick person so we could experience the sensation of having the Holy Spirit move through us.

God is so cool. And following Him is so much fun when you are living the life you were made for.

The Lucky Ones

Pattaya - May 20, 2010

Last night, after we heard news about Bangkok burning, the government placed an 8 o'clock curfew. This is a good thing because it shows that the government is protecting us. They are saying they will not let it get out of hand.

We also believed it was a blessing. God heard our prayer to shutdown the sex trade and God used the government to make this happen. Last night was the first time Walking Street was totally shutdown! Total darkness. Walking Street is the number red light district for Pattaya.

An organization from Cambodia shared during our meeting this morning. I thought I have seen and heard all the evil there was to know, but I was wrong. Cambodian Hope Organization (CHO) was founded by a Cambodian refugee, Chomno. He rescues children from the ages of 8 through 10 and placed them in a community he started called "Safe Haven". The kids in Cambodia, the same ages as my niece and nephew, are rescued from being drugged each day. They were drugged by the traffickers so the children can endure sitting in the heat begging for money. They were drugged to endure their limbs being chopped off so they will get more money when they beg. They were drugged each day so they can tolerate the rapes by foreigners. They were drugged so they can work 12 hours hard labor on the farm. The ones who met Chomno are the lucky ones, because CHO provides vocational training such as sewing, fish farming, motorcycle repair, computer skills and English. The rest are not so lucky. They are still out there-drugged, raped and abused.

Chomno asked for us to pray concerning a rich and extremely powerful soldier who contracted AIDS. He went to a witch doctor, and the witch doctor told him that he will be cured of AIDS if he slept with 500 virgins. He has raped 100 girls already and is looking for 400 more victims. Pray for this man to be stopped. Only God knows how. We need a miracle.

We heard about the Buddist temples disappearing. It turns out that when the people go to the temple for prayer or for purification, the Buddist monks were raping the young girls, so the villagers stopped going to the monks and started going to the churches for help. Cambodia is a totally different world from America.

The Cent One

Pattaya - May 19, 2010

There is so much to do, yet so little help. Our only way to get much done was to start our day interceding for Pattaya. We blessed this nation and prayed for God to breakdown the strongholds. We cried out to God for more of Him in this land. After an hour of praying, we gathered our groups and head out to face the darkness once more.

Our team leader was Kim. As we walked to the beach of Pattaya to do our outreach, Kim found a penny on the group. As she picked it up and held it to the sky, she declared, "You are the cent one." We are the sent ones. She reminded us that as children of Christ, we are righteous, which means we bring blessings to every land we set foot on, every employer we work for, every household we enter, every friend we make.

Serving God is not difficult. Disobedience is harder to do. God wants to bring fulfillment to our lives along with our full potentials.
I apologize, but there was so much that happened today. I will list them rather than crafting an essay:

- We prayed for a tourist guide on the beach for his bad back. He told his friends that he felt something and his body felt lighter, then he jumped to prove that his back got healed.
- We met a ladyboy and she asked for us to pray that Jesus would take away the bad karma. She closed her eyes as we prayed for her to know Jesus and that He would bless her. At the end of the prayer, she got goosebumps. We asked her what happened. She said, "I saw Jesus with His arms spread out on the cross and He was right in front of my face. He told me He loves me." Later on that night, Kim saw the ladyboy at the bar and she made Kim pray for everyone at the bar. Kim said, "It is great when they start the rival for you." On a side note, my roommate asked the ladyboy earlier if she had any children. The ladyboy turned to Janette and said (in English), "I am not a woman." I thought that was so funny.
- Ryan, Chuck's younger brother, prophesied over a fortune-teller. She had tears in her eyes.
- An ice-cream seller had an ear ache. I got the privileged to pray for her and the pain instantly went away.
- We saw a demon possessed woman take a bath in the water fountain. We said hi to her, but she gave us a scary face and walked down the beach and started cutting her hands. We couldn't help her, though that would have been cool to cast out demons.

Mercy Me

Pattaya - May 18, 2010

Today, we spent time with the orphans from Mercy Center. It is a safe place for the Thai children to learn English and Thai. It is a safe haven from the drugs and poverty of Pattaya. The veracity is that if Mercy did not exist, these children, ages of 5-13 will be placed in brothel, sold as sex slaves and left for dead if they contracted any STD or HIV. Yes, there is such darkness here.

Mercy center is understaffed so we all went to help clean, garden, fixed motorcycles, computer issues, whatever is needed. After three hours of hard labor in the humidity and bright sun, we were exhausted by the constant heat hovering around us to the point of seeing white spots before our eyes.

Our reward came at 4pm. The children charged in after classes with their flirtatious smiles. They are very hard to resist. The glee in their eyes broke my heart and resealed it when I handed them cookies. These precious ones make me want to place a tent outside the center just to be close to them. We enjoyed dinner with them and waved our good-byes as we hopped on the back of the song-tao. A song-tao is a pickup truck, a cheap taxi, about 10 baht (B), though I was tricked into paying 150 bahts my first day. FYI, 31B is equivalent to one dollar.

Our next adventure was the street outreach. We went to the open bars, where all the prostitutes are just starting out. They are behind the counters. We just buy them drinks and share about God`s love. The closed bars (Go-go bars) are for girls who have been in prostitution for so long that they have become addicted to drugs and alcohol. It is understandable that the ladies have an addiction - they can only do such work while they are high. I guess the close bars are like the strip joints in America except you actually touch the girls without the bouncers punching your lights out.

We were able to speak to two bar girls. One was 19 years old and she never heard about Jesus. It saddens me that this beautiful girls has to go through life trying to find love from a buyer. She had a boyfriend for two years. When she got pregnant, her boyfriend left her after 4 months. Another lady was 31 years old and she was on the fence between Christ or crime. Last year, one of the missionaries told her about Jesus and she said she felt much better about who she was and left the bar scene. Then, after 6 months of no visits from a Christian, she went back to the brothel. She said that now another Christian is here, she knows that she is supposed to follow God.

I have always found Christian women so beautiful and Christian men so attractive. I was wrong. It is really the Holy Spirit in them that makes them so attractive to me! One of our younger men, Chuck is 22 years old, has the most appealing heart. You can literally see his heart smiles when he looks at you. I am sure the bar girls see this, too. Chuck tried to say, "God loves you" in Thai to one of the bar girls. She gave him a curious look. Chuck instantly looked at the interpreter and said, "What'd I say, what'd I say?" The Thai interpreter said, "You said, 'animals love you.' "

Monday, May 17, 2010

Girls Behind Bars

Pattaya - May 17, 2010

Extreme Love taught us the Thai culture and some Thai phrases. They warned us that we will fall in love with the bar girls and want to help each and every one of them. The girls` main dream is to find a foreigner to love and marry them, to find a man who will take care of them for the rest of their lives. Though I am female, I do have a heart for the bar girls. My compassion for the prostitutes is/can be overwhelming that it hurts sometimes - because that is how I love; fiercely. I thought, that fierce love is what it means to live, to make life mine. But it is not. To live is to love deeply for God`s people the way God love you.

Today, we learned about intercession. It means to have a relationship and communion with God. It is a privilege to intercede, not a burden. We then prayed over Thailand concerning the cu and blessings over the people. Bangkok is burning right now - in the natural and in the spirit. The Thai people believe that something is seriously wrong. There has been many cu`s, but not like this for over 20 years.

Towards the end of the day, we paired up in twos for our prayer walk. My partner, Carol (God`s Christmas Carol) and I walked down Soi 6. It was hard to feel in my spirit the darkness, my heart being ripped by a huge dull hook as I saw bars after bars with girls in nothingness letting their bare buttocks and breasts hang out. Girls dancing on bar tops, trying to hide their shame behind alcohol and drugs. Our hearts and minds could not fathom the vile things that went on in the bars. Children being sold for their virginity. Seeing a man in his 70`s wooing a 13-year-old. All we were able to do was pray in tongues. That was the only way we found strength to walk down that strip without fear and tears. It was the only way to fight indignation and judgment. These men`s presences manifested in the perversion, the lust, the emptiness. God reminded us that these are broken people and God loves them still.

We followed the streets back to our hotel, feeding the Holy Spirit with praises and worship, blessing the people of Thailand with a new land, a new life. A life without prostitution, a life filled with redemption and righteousness.

Fish Spa

Pattaya - May 16, 2010

I keep thinking "I am going to Thailand, God`s going to do something big in my life. There will be some changes. I need more of Jesus," but my thoughts have nowhere to settle and stick.

Maybe I am forcing too much on myself. My expectation might be too high. The hunger for more of God, more of an extraordinary life has its own rules, I cannot control it, I just have to go with it or I will never be fully satisfied. I am afraid of what God has for me here in Pattaya, Thailand. I am afraid if He does not.

The streets are crowded with tourists, mostly older men with Buddha bellies with young Thai girls at their sides. Young as in 18, if not 15 years old. It is an intense spiritual environment here. The thickness of darkness, lust and sin slap you at every turn. My heart hardens, I do not want to see the ugliness in the men. I do not want to see the desperation in the beautiful faces of the Thai girls.

My roommate, Janette, is from Australia. She is soft spoken and accompanies me to see the beach and the shopping malls. On our walk, we see a T-shirt stating, "Good boys go to heaven and bad boys go to Pattaya."

Our orientation for Operation Extreme Love- Thailand does not start until 5pm. The weather is extremely humid. It is 95 degrees and we sweat while we window-shop for a foot massage. What we find, a fish spa. A tank filled with water up to our knees. A tank filled with Nibble fish (Garra Rufa fish) from Turkey.

You put your feet/legs into the tank for the fish to suck the dead skin from the outer layer of the body. I have always been afraid of fish. Ask my younger sisters. They will tell you how I refused to swim out to the fish unless they held my hands during our snorkeling trips in Maui. Today, I will overcome my fear of fish. Holding my breath, my thoughts and feet up, I dip my legs in - screaming!

"I am not scared," I tell myself. "Well, not so scared." The sensation of tiny mouths scraping my skin brings micro-electrical shocks to my nerves. It is the real thing since my last day in Palo Alto. I think my body and mind have been numbed during the 20-hour-travel. Why? I do not know.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reign on Me

You know the saying “the eyes are the windows to your soul”? A friend made a comment last night about me that was surprising. He looked to our mutual friend on his right and said, “Can’t you see the hunger for more of God in her eyes?”

That question, that thought, that revelation has never crossed my mind – to search for a person’s hunger in his/her eyes?! I have searched for signs of hunger through the lives people lived, the things that came out of their mouth and the way people viewed others, but I have never tried to look for the hunger in their eyes.

All I know is that my heart thirst after God, longing to gather the crumbs of His teaching and touch the shadow of His presence. Any little amount He can spare makes a concert of Angelic senses through my veins. But God is good. Very few people understand how good He is. We look for the scraps under the table when He had already prepared a banquet for us. Yes, I am hungry for more of God. I just wish I could learn how to reach up, stand tall and sit at His table to feast in His presence. I know it is there ready for me, ready for you.

On rainy days, jealousy of people who were born into a Christian family plagues me. They knew Jesus so much longer than I have. They have access to His love and goodness all their lives while I had to struggle and battle with my demons like a drowning person without hope of a savior.

Sure, the hunger for more of Christ is in my eyes. Christ is all I want because once upon a time, I wanted to understand what love was. Love is there if you truly want it. Love is Jesus. During the darkest days, you can find Love wrapped in difficult situations and hidden away between each battle, each bad relationship and each thought of jealousy. I realized that if I had not stopped for a second, I might have missed God all together. God is good. He made me stop to discover Him and His love. Because He pulled me from the abyss of darkness, smacks me in my chest with His redemption, I hunger for more of His goodness and presence.

Yes, my friend was right. It surprised me that he saw in me what I did not see in myself.