20 July 2009
My parents are well and healthy. Recently, we took a trip to Hainan Island with them to visit our relatives. It was a first time for us. So you can imagine the excitement and wonder about me as the only photo they have of me, was that of a child about 5 years of age. I prayed about this trip as I knew my dad wanted very much for me to go back and meet his siblings and their families. Having met my uncle and aunts, I could feel the extent of my dad’s heartache – being separated from his mother and siblings since young, staying with his father in Singapore so as to study and work to support his siblings back in China and the early deaths of his parents. My mom recently revealed that during the early days of my dad’s career, he would remit most of his earnings to China, leaving very little for our family. That meant we were literally living on my mom’s salary. It must have been extremely tough for my parents then. I thank God for my dad’s faithfulness and perseverance and his love for his siblings. This Father’s Day, God gave me the words to write my first letter, in Chinese, to my dad – expressing my love for him, sharing my thoughts and telling him of my desire to have both he and mom come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour. We also found out my dad’s birthday from the family records in Hainan. In early July, we had a great time celebrating my dad’s birthday for the first time.
Chee Meng has been committed and responsible in his job. Each day, we thank God for His providence through him. Each day, we pray for peace, joy, integrity, safety and protection for him. Each day, the children look expectantly to his return. It’s such a joy to hear them yell ‘DADDY!!’ when they hear his key turning in the lock. I give thanks for Chee Meng’s heart of thanksgiving when his camera and lens were stolen during our holiday in Hainan. I could sense his anxiety and dread. Yet, he gave thanks that his precious children and the passports were safe. That really lifted our troubled hearts and we were able to enjoy the rest of our holiday. As we bought travel insurance, we managed to claim some money from the insurance company. It’s so true that ‘what a family experiences on a vacation is largely determined by the father’s attitude and leadership prior to and during the vacation.’ (Leadership + Family Vacations by C. J. Mahaney on his blog May 2008 from http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/Blog)
For the last few months, Chee Meng had been tolerating a nagging backache. He is constantly watching his back and trying, with great difficulty, to avoid worsening it. The doctor has referred him for physiotherapy. On top of this, he caught my virus recently and has been coughing (his cough is not contagious). Thus his energy is further sapped. Please pray for complete healing for him.
John is our Assistant Chef. The Chef’s recommendation is a meal of tuna/salmon and cucumber mayo sandwich and a salad. Other main courses include mixed noodles, porridge (rice/oat/multigrain), steamed sweet potatoes and brown rice with soups. I’m so happy that John enjoys cooking. God has answered a prayer I prayed four years ago – to teach John to prepare a meal by the time he’s 9 years old. God is so good!
John has also proven himself to be a very mature and responsible big brother. When Rebecca was ill and I had to go out for groceries, John volunteered to look after Li-Ann so Rebecca could rest and listen to the Bible CD. When I came back, everyone was fine and happy. Another time, when Chee Meng and I went to get some dining chairs, John played with the girls, had them take lunch and did the dishes. When we came back, we were surprised at the silence that greeted us. Worried, we quickly investigated. We found that John had worn Li-Ann’s nappy for her, got the girls to nap and set the alarm to remind himself to wake the girls up. Then he sat in the bedroom and read his book, ensuring that his presence was felt so the girls would rest and not play. He was undisturbed when we came back and only came out after he woke the girls up an hour later. John was doing exactly what I do everyday. I was very impressed! He did as instructed and even more – he did it willingly. On another day, John told me he not only had to wash Li-Ann up, he also had to clean her underwear as it was soiled. WOW!! I certainly wasn’t expecting him to wash her panty. Thank you, John, for loving and serving your sisters.
Six-year-old Rebecca is growing to be a sweet and endearing young lady. Rebecca loves to observe and interact with others. In spite of her age, I’m rather amazed at what the Lord has taught her. When her classmate at abacus class said it was alright to cheat as the teacher won’t find out, she promptly reminded him,” The teacher may not find out, but you are not helping yourself.” I praise God for her integrity. Another evening at abacus class, Chee Meng shared his joy when he heard Rebecca asking the administrator if she knew Jesus (the administrator is a believer). I was elated! I thank God for a brave evangelist! Rebecca helps around in the house, plays with Li-Ann and looks after her. In fact, my friends had praised her for watching Li-Ann when I was not with them. Rebecca is now more confident in her reading and is diligently devouring different versions of the Bible for children and other books such as Little Women (abridged version) by Louisa May Alcott and the Little House series (unabridged; eg. Little House on the Prairie) by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She is independent and generally motivated in her learning. For Rebecca, I pray that the Lord will reveal to me her gifts and passion so I may be able to nurture them and encourage her to be a good steward of her talents.
Petite and active, Li-Ann is very cute, curious, cheeky and chatty. She talks ALL the time and is upset if we ignore her or if she doesn’t get to pray first. With family, friends and familiar folks whom she feels comfortable, she would initiate and maintain conversations, mostly in complete sentences with relatively good articulation. Li-Ann often tells us how she feels or thinks. One day, she said in her sweetest voice,” Thank you mommy for the dinner.” Another time she said,” Tell wai po (grandma) swimming is nice.” Did you hear her speak? She was so clear and sincere. “Yea! I did it!” That’s how this precocious four-year-old encourages herself. Of late, Li-Ann has surprised us by ending her prayer with ‘In Jesus’ name, Amen.’ Previously, it was only a simple ‘Amen’. I suppose she had heard us say it so many times and she decided to try it for herself. I’m so thankful that Li-Ann wants to communicate with God. I pray for her salvation and that she’ll talk to God everyday. Li-Ann is very diligent when it comes to hanging and folding the laundry. When she first folded about twenty pieces of underwear in one sitting, I was shocked. Her limbs and body are definitely stronger now and her concentration has improved. Moreover, as Li-Ann is eager to try her hand at almost everything, I know she can be further stretched and challenged. With appropriate motivation, she will do simple practices on the abacus with fairly firm hands. With encouragement, she can do 7 sit-ups on an exercise bench while holding onto her thighs. There was also great joy when the swimming instructor related how Li-Ann stood submerged, while holding her breath, for many brief moments. What a breakthrough! When we first started in January 2009, she was very clingy and fearful. WOW!! My baby is learning how to swim!! It is hard for me to believe, even now.
How am I doing? Picture a snapping turtle, dragging her tired body around, drained of every ounce of energy and ready to snap at anyone who steps on her tail. With Chee Meng’s cough and backache, he speaks only when necessary and manual labour is an absolute no-no. Essentially, I’m handling everything. It’s especially overwhelming as I don’t seem to be able to take a break from anything; what is unimportant today becomes urgent tomorrow. There are endless things to do and by the time I settle down to do my own things, it’s already close to midnight. Today, I poured out my heart to two very long-time friends. Almost instantly, I felt my burdens lifted off me. They empathize with my situation and reminded me of my priorities. Then, I realized I felt trapped because I had kept all these to myself.
While it seems bleak, it is really not so. This afternoon, when I couldn’t find parking at NUH to bring Li-Ann for her therapy session, I asked her therapists to help pick her up and when they are done with Li-Ann, to let me know. They were very understanding and helpful and even videoed the session so they could show me what they did with her. I thank God for their kindness and thoughtfulness. On the way home, Li-Ann kept telling me what she had done. She must have enjoyed herself very much. I’m so thankful for the way the children are growing and developing although there are many things I’m unable to do. I also give thanks that my recent application to MOE for the Exemption from Compulsory Education for Rebecca has been approved.
Furthermore, I thank God for an opportunity to share with my cousins in Hainan about how God had provided for us with regards to Li-Ann’s development, and during my breast cancer surgery and treatment. We keep in touch via email now and it’s my prayer that they will be saved. It’s been 3 years since the diagnosis and my doctors are happy with how I am doing. They remind me to eat healthily and exercise regularly. The mammogram that I took in June shows that everything is well. I thank the Lord for His protection. Please pray that I’ll ALWAYS give thanks, take ALL things to the Lord and abide in His will daily.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. – John 15:4