ONE OF OUR two cats is named Fiver.
He's adorable, won't hurt a fly (literally), and looks really cute.
But he's short-sighted, is a true scatty cat (jumps at the slightest noise), and eats too much.
He's so greedy that we used to think he lives to eat.
Until what happened a few years ago.
One day, Fiver swallowed a 1.5 m rope I left on the floor.
It was too late by the time we noticed it. He had to pay for it painfully.
He hid in a corner with a sorry look on his face, and didn't ask for food for two days.
Finally, we took him to the vet.
Usually he would struggle and cry a lot when we took him out.
But this time he just sat in the car, didn't move and didn't complain.
It was sad.
The vet said we needed to leave him in the hospital for 'observation'.
"If he still looked bad after two days, we'll have surgery," she said kindly.
At around 4 PM the following afternoon, I received a call from the nurse.
"You cat may be dying," he sounded urgent. "Please come."
And he added, "When an animal has given up, it has a look; ma'am, your cat has been sitting in a corner all day with that look."
It took 15 excruciatingly long minutes to race to the animal hospital which, to my horror, was a very noisy place.
There were rabbits, some cats, and a huge Alsatian barking its head off.
As the nurse brought me in, he kept saying, "Your cat has given up."
Oh Lord, don't let him die. I prayed desperately.
When I reached Fiver's cage, I cried.
He was parked in a corner, facing the wall, with his eyes closed. And shivering.
Then I called out, "Fiver . . . ."
Before I could repeat his name, he sprang around and ran to me.
And cried out his usual Fiver-wants-food cry (Fiver doesn't know how to purr or meow).
At this point, the vet and four nurses were crowding behind me.
O look, Fiver is back. He's come out of his look!
Everyone spoke at the same time.
One of the young nurses clapped her hands.
As I carried him in my arms, Fiver started to vomit strips of what-was-once-rope.
Finally, I took him home that day.
That evening, Fiver vomited the rest of the rope and was fully recovered by the following afternoon.
We learned several lessons through this episode:
1. Fiver is not a very smart cat.
2. Fiver is a very greedy cat.
3. But Fiver doesn't live for food.
4. He lives for us, his master/mistress.
We are not very different from Fiver.
Like him, we sometimes pay for our foolishness painfully.
And like him, we live - and could only live - for our Master.
Friday, June 13, 2008
AFTER Ulaanbaatar, Julienne and I spent two nights with our friends in Beijing.
Here's what we learned:
- When you arrive in China, you must register yourself at a police station (unless you stay at a hotel, which will do that for you). At the police station, I chatted with a Chinese American who had a 'warning' because he registered himself only after nine days in the country.
- The city is ready for the Olympics: very clean, I hadn't noticed anyone spitting, and people were very friendly to foreigners. Talk to any taxi driver about the coming Games - and you could the people's expectant spirit.
- Silk Street - a popular shopping place for tourists - wasn't our thing. Julienne was actually terrified by the overly friendly sales people.
- But the Great Wall was magnificient. If you go, you must not miss the cable car up and tobbagon ride down. (It felt dangerous!)
- The Forbidden City was over-crowded with tourists, but Julienne and I enjoyed the dressing up in costumes. I was some famous empress and she was Mulan.
- Visited a local market and bought four bags of nuts home. We were impressed that it was very organized and clean (compared to our Jurong East wet market). Shame on us.
- Had a $1 wash at a hair salon. It's hard not to laugh when things are so cheap.
- Sales people asked the most personal questions. Two Starbucks gals found out where I was from, whom I traveled with, why I went to Mongolia, and how old my daughter was all within seven minutes.
- When people are tired, they just sat down anywhere, we noticed. I saw a man stooping down in the middle of a bridge, and another sitting on a highway - out of the blue.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
THE MONGOL workers are hungry.
They’re hungry for reality in their walk with God. They’re hungry for transformation in their country and personal growth.
So hungry that from four mornings of training, my schedule was stretched to five-and-a-half full days of teaching, counseling and speaking.
And from writing and design skills, I also gave the devotions – on Jesus feeding the multitudes – and team building workshops to the 26 Campus Crusade workers.
I also spoke to journalism students – twice – on how they could be gatekeepers of change in their country. After my talk, a group cornered me and I ended up giving them a message on boy-girl relationship.
BECAUSE they were hungry, they absorbed everything I taught. One staff with the Teachers’ Ministry (which has 600 disciples) typed out my devotions everyday and emailed them to those who couldn’t come.
On the second day, the leaders asked, “When can you return to train us again?” (I have a date for April 2009.)
EVERY NIGHT Julienne – my faithful prayer partner, encourager and helper - and I went to bed bone tired. But God taught us afresh that when we give our five loaves and two fish to Jesus, our baskets would never be empty.
Indeed our hearts were always full.
Our joy was complete.
Highlights in Mongolia
- The SKY: think sparkling blue swimming pool in the air.
Mongolian SPRING: sunshine, showers, sandstorm, and snow – all within one week!
- SURVIVING Ulaanbaatar’s traffic: some cars have right-wheel drive and others left wheel drive! Go figure.
- SHARING and praying with Boggii’s (staff worker) mum, a Buddhist, who served us home-made cheese, and dumplings boiled in milk tea.
- STAYING in a hotel that made us feel like being in a Bourne Identity movie. But the toilet worked, the bread was great, and the room was warm (it was May but the temperature was still below 10 degrees C). We also got to play with the owner’s handsome black-and-white mongrel, which we called ‘our dog’.
- SALADS – lots of it (surprise)! And we enjoyed the food (surprise!). PS: I only had two close encounters of the mutton kind.
STANDING on Ulaanbaatar’s highest point and holding an eagle (I saw a photo of that 15 years ago and always wanted a go at it). The 11 kg beauty belonged to a Kazakh nomad with a black berry in his pocket.
- Mongolia was my favorite James Herriot’s STORIES come true. When a one-week-old lamb fell asleep in my arms, I looked up to heaven and prayed,“Thank you Jesus. My life feels more complete.”
- SUPPORT: Your prayers and gifts made a difference to the team of laborers I trained. These people are committed to bringing the gospel of hope to their country, where 99% of the 2 million people do not know Jesus.
love the ocean - God made it for Himself
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- In the Old Testament in the Bible, there was a man named Jacob who "wrestled with God and man." He wouldn't let God go until God answered his prayers. God admired that and renamed him Israel, "the one who fought or wrestled and prevailed". He fought with man--his inner man--and conquered his own weaknesses. He's my hero. He is what I hope God and man see me to be.