The pace at which I live is about to get crazy again and I hope I am not getting too old to keep it up. I took a very quick trip to Singapore this past week, leaving at 5:45 on Thursday morning and returning at 7:00 p.m. on Friday. I went directly to the office from the airport. Fortunately I have the art of packing lightly down to a science: one small flight bag. I had a wonderful time catching up on the work of the team there who a doing a marvelous job with few resources. I had a chance to renew some familiar acquaintances, meet some of the new staff and do some planning for the future, including a trip to Batu in Indonesia.
After work I made a quick trip to check into my hotel, which turned out to be quite modest, but in a very convenient part of town, and then took a pleasant walk to Clarke’s Quay to meet up with my friends and co-workers Dr Su Min and Dr Sing Yu. You cannot tell from their names, as is usual in Chinese culture, but they are a married couple; both retired doctors. They treated me to a wonderful dinner at a Chinese restaurant, authentic, and extemely complex, not at all like the ones in Canada. I had Peking Duck for the first time which was definitely an eating experience.
First, the entire duck was presented to us for viewing and approval and then whisked away. Shortly thereafter, the skin was served, sliced very thinly, wrapped in steamed pancakes accompanied by spring onions and a sweet bean sauce. Yummy! Then the waiter asked how we would like the remainder prepared, as there are several choices at this point. We then chose to have the remainder chopped and served as a spicy, garlic-y stir fry. With accompanying vegetables it really was surprisingly lovely, not to mention, costly! Thankfully my hosts insisted on treating me to the meal.
Friday, I was back at the office for a meeting with our Canadian friend and co-worker, McDaniel, and got caught up on their news and plans. The happy circumstance of it being another friend Eddie’s birthday provided a good opportunity to fellowship over lunch at a local Japanese restaurant. More food! So much for that diet! It was a great surprise to see my dear friend Mel – whose wedding to a Mexican-American pastor was one of those happy/sad occassions where you think that you are losing a friend – walk in and announce that she will be returning to Singapore for a year and take up her previous position with Media Resource Group! I have missed working with her since she married and went off to the States two years ago.
I hopped the incredibly efficient Singapore transit to the airport with plans in place to join the SE Asia team for two days of planning meetings in early November. By the time I boarded the plane I was rejoicing in the privilege of serving in this work but also burdened by a number of areas of concern for others. Bill and Sharon – who are our key facilitators for the Cambodia training scheduled in November – are dealing with the fact that Sharon’s dad is gravely ill in Canada so will probably need to head home, depriving the teaching team of their most valuable facilitators. We are also concerned with the fact that while the news has been focused on Thailand’s problems, Cambodia is still struggling with severe flooding resulting in a loss of much of the rice crop and the livelihood of many of our listeners there. We have also heard some of the details of the severe consequences some of our friends in Malaysia are dealing with as a result of their faith commitment. I cannot go into more detail on a public forum like this, but I would ask for you prayers for them, as they are facing life-changing persecution.
This is a time of major transition for the Asia team headquartered in Singapore who face many decisions as they seek to establish a new leadership structure. We would appreciate your prayer for these situations, knowing full well that God is in control and that His work will go forward and it is our privilege to be a part of it. I will be very busy during the entire month of November in travel to both Cambodia and Indonesia, and ask also for your prayers for Steve and I as we manage our marriage commitments in the light of all that the Lord calls us to do for Him.