Category Archives: A Walk To Remember
Life is a journey that never ends; let’s take a trip into my history to reminisce the (good) ol’ days.
Over the next 24 hours, I will celebrate my 8th 21st birthday, by having lunch with none other than my best friend, Lionel, and dinner with my fiancée, Huiyi. I’m just two years from turning three decades old – that’s more than twice the age of the new youths initiated into youth ministry. I feel older but more alive than ever!
- By December, my salutation would have changed.
- By January, my ministry responsibilities would have increased.
- By February, I would have completed my undergraduate programme.
- By March, I would have accomplished another of my childhood dreams.
- By April, we would have completed the pre-wedding photo-shoot.
- By August, Huiyi and I would have changed our marital status.
- By September, I would have embarked on my postgraduate programme.
- By this time next year, I should be in New Zealand with my wife, enjoying my honeymoon.
That’s a lot of things to look forward to in the next 365 days. But before I arrive at next October, There are 28 reasons to be thankful, most of which are for people who close to my heart. I believe that people define lives, not possessions or pursuits.
1. Huiyi: My fiancée has become such a big part of my life, ministry, personality and growth. There’s no one who knows and understands me better than she does. She is the strength behind my passion and the stability within my authenticity; her grace towards me and her forgiveness of my tainted past gives me more reasons to believe in young people. Without a doubt, she is the most important person in my life.
2. Home: My family has made my house feel like home. My room is the best place to be at night. I will miss it once renovations begin to transform it from an overgrown teenager’s to a newlyweds’ room.
3. Maisie: I’ve enjoyed a relationship resurgence with my beloved younger sister, and watching her flourish in her career and achieving her dreams makes me beam with pride. I love her with all my heart.
4. Mummy: Honestly, watching my mother slow down is something I am learning to cope with. Her years of sacrifice is now taking its toll on her. It is my prayer that as my mother ages, my sister and I will adapt to her changes. Home, Maisie, Mummy – the next three thanksgivings.
5-8. Family-to-be: In the last year, my knowledge of Bryan, Uncle Kheng Leong, Aunty Rosalind and Xianyi has grown. Our conversations have moved beyond the superficial and I am thankful because I am never one who likes to scratch surfaces. I look forward to getting to understand them a little more intimately in the next year. I believe by faith that my entire family will coming to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
9-10. Shepherds: My family outside of my family is one whom I’ve the privilege of shepherding. Recently on youthministry.com, it sent out an article on “Sharing Your Life With Your Team” and I see it as God’s way of affirming how I’m doing ministry with them. Huiyi and I always remind each other that it is our absolute delight, honour and privilege to have them play the role of groomsmen and bridesmaid at our wedding. But beyond that, I look forward to doing life with two groups of them; the boys – Keith, Bradley, Kun Jie, Caleb, David, Shavinn; and the girls – Melody, Natalina, Yixian, Melissa, Andrea and Sheena.
11. Grace AG: Six days ago on 15 October, I arrived at my 2nd full year in full-time ministry with Grace AG. I still feel like it’s a dream job because I don’t feel like I’ve worked a single day in the last 730 days. I wake up everyday feeling unbelievably thankful for all the way my church believes in me. And it has been fantastic working with friends – Ps Cuixian, Ps Jadene and Suhui.
12. Ps Ronald Yow: The one most responsible for my career joy is none other than my irreplaceable boss, mentor and role model. He has been unbelievable in guiding me as a youth minister and profiling me as the youth pastor. Thank you…
13. R-AGE: My my, look at how the youth group has grown! It has been a joy pastoring the flock at Bukit Batok and I look forward to journeying with those at Tanglin Road in the coming days.
14-20. Buddies: It’s never good to walk alone. I am delighted to call Lionel, Kurk, Gideon, Johann, Kenneth, Joel and Cheryl my contemporaries whom I check on, and who keep me in check.
20. RMIT: I never expected myself to perform so well in school. It is indeed by the grace of God because I know that I’m not a brainiac. I have also enjoyed learning alongside responsible classmates, and from the occasional good lecturer.
21. Ps Edmund Chan: In the last 13 years, there has only been one man has spoken so deeply into my life into such a deep-seated issue that no one has ever ventured into… Being with him in Perth was already a treat, but the moment that I will never erase from my mind is the lunch we had together on the last day. I couldn’t stop my tears from running down my face.
22-23. Mentors: I have the privilege of being mentored by greatly esteemed and highly respected men of God. And there are three I’d like to thank God for. Peter Chao and Ps Benny Ho who has looked out for me, given me their time and attention, dispensed invaluable advice, pointed me in the right direction, and most importantly, believed in me. I cheekily (but audaciously) asked the Lord for mentors to guide me in leadership, preaching and growing deep, and He sent me the best in the business…
24. Mentorees: I am a product of mentoring and it has been instinctive for me to mentor others. Over the year, I’ve had the wonderful privilege and opportunity to journey with young people bursting with capacity and capabilities. I still believe that the greatest gift you could ever give to a young person, is to believe in him. It’s been an absolute joy!
25. Friends overseas: This year, I’ve spent Autumn and Spring with Chin Seng and Ervina in Perth and had the privilege of being Daniel Heng’s best man, who flew back from New Zealand to hold his wedding. (I would have loved to catch up with Liang Zhi in my last trip…)
26. Going overseas: It’s amazing how the Lord rewards my desire to travel with the most number of trips I’ve ever gone on in my life in one calendar year. I am always thankful to get out of Singapore – be it for mission trips, vacations or even just a short trip up North across the Causeway for a weekend getaway! May the frequency increase with age!
27. A deeper hunger: I find myself desiring God with increasing intensity… More than just the things of God (books, sermons, conferences, ministry) but God Himself. For He alone satisfies. If Jesus is all, then Jesus is enough.
28. A consistent devotion: Of course I’ve missed some days and in some periods, even a couple of weeks. (Even pastors struggle!) But if I were to put my finger on why my hunger for and knowledge of God has increased, it is simply down to spending time with Him regularly… And just enjoying His presence… And allowing His living Word to breathe life into me.
I’ve probably missed out a couple of items or people but well, these are the first 28 thoughts that come to my mind… So here goes, happy birthday to me! I pray that I’ll easily have 29 items to thank God for 365 days later! (:
The lovely Chin Seng and Ervina whisked me away to The Left Bank after the conference ended for an advanced birthday treat! I’m blogging this from their place before returning to Jandakot tonight, where I’m staying with Ps Edmund and Ps Ann. It has been an amazing experience so far, staying under the same roof as two people I esteem so highly. I’ll write more when I have time.
For now, I’d like to remember how tremendously blessed and privileged I am to share the same stage as Ps Edmund, Ps Ann and Ps Benny even for just five minutes during the fourth session at the IDMC Perth Conference. Yes, Ps Edmund threw me a surprise again as he did previously at Eagles Conference.
I was little more prepared this time, but unlike the last time where I had 30 minutes to prepare, this time, I had a grand total of five seconds to respond; yes, he summoned me to the stage, on the spot. Never in my life would I imagine this favour and opportunity happening to me. Ever. God is amazing. All praise to Him alone.
ILYTTE stands for “I Love You ‘Til The End” and it is what we have affectionately titled our wedding website. which will be progressively filled with wedding-related content as we count down to 12th August 2012.
Below contains the link to every chapter in this proposal series for your navigation convenience.
For those who have followed this “drama serial”, I trust that you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. And for those who are reading this for the first time, may you discover God’s amazing grace in our relationship… Enjoy! (:
P/S: Stay tuned for my next endeavour – it’s going to be even bigger than this one! (:
- prologue to the proposal story.
- I. the elements of a memorable proposal.
- II. the crucial milestone – her family must know.
- III. the most nerve-wrecking moment.
- IV. the ultimate engagement ring.
- V. the first idea – Perth.
- VI. the second idea – Mapletree Business City.
- VII. the first group of people involved.
- VIII. the secret weapon – her birthday.
- IX. the third idea – Universal Studios Singapore.
- X. the preparation before USS.
- XI. the red tape that I couldn’t clear.
- XII. the two visits before the first visit.
- XIII. the relentless schedule that week.
- XIV. the other ideas that were rejected.
- XV. the final excursion that decided my destiny.
- XVI. the walk of shame.
- XVII. the sunset on his screen.
- XVIII. the birthday that nearly ruined the proposal.
- XIX. the inception – the surprise within a surprise.
- XX. the one mad week of errands.
- XXI. the one regrettable conflict.
- XXII. the time to face the music.
- XXIII. the most romantic amateur Chinese song.
- XXIV. the music that changed the mood.
- XXV. the actual visit to USS.
- XXVI. the rain on my parade.
- XXVII. the lead-up to the proposal.
- XXVIII. the change parade and the final countdown.
- XXIX. the wait is finally over!
- XXX. the love at first sight.
- XXXI. the question we’ve all been waiting for.
- Through her eyes: The pre-proposal.
- Through her eyes: The unexpected twist.
- Through her eyes: The fateful day.
- Through her eyes: The unforgettable evening.
- XXXII. the first meal together as an engaged couple.
- Through her eyes: The blissful dinner.
- XXXIII. the drive back to Lakeholmz
- XXXIV. the walk of anticipation.
- XXXV. the entrance of exuberance.
- Through her eyes: The engagement party.
- XXXVI. the professional post-production pace.
- XXXVII. the analysis of the video.
- Through her eyes: The post-engagement.
- XXXVIII. the after-proposal reflection and reaction.
- epilogue – I love you ‘til the end.
38 chapters and over 18,000 words later, I find myself smiling at what I have accomplished. This is a personal achievement really, as an author and as Huiyi’s fiance. There was no way I would have completed this if I wasn’t in love with someone who was worth the effort and pursuit.
The thing about Huiyi is how she, by being who she is innately is – a simple and private lady – has turned me from a fickle-minded man with commitment phobia into a man who desires to love her not out of convenience but out of commitment.
Funnily enough, not once did I ever feel the need to please or satisfy her. It was natural for me to want to do it. And I guess you could say this is one of the few and rare instances where a want is so much more desirous than a need.
Like many other couples, “P.S. I Love You” is one of our favourite films because of the concept of the film and the thoughtfulness of the male protagonist (more like the mother of the female protagonist if you watched the film).
It is also from this movie that we have come to embrace “I love you ‘til the end” as the motto for our relationship. It’s such a big part of our lives that we are considering naming our daughter Ilytte, if the Lord wills it, of course. (By the way, if we ever have two daughters, the younger girl might just be called Mizpah.)
August 2011 would be the 45th month of our courtship and by God’s grace, in another 12 months we would be pronounced husband and wife.
We have argued countless times and we have experienced numerous cold wars – I think that’s all part and parcel of every growing couple. And it’s all about getting to know each other better everyday.
Many couples will identify with this – there are still new things that we discover about each other daily, that are as repulsive as they are ravishing, and we are honest enough to admit it. But love isn’t about rejecting what’s nasty and choosing what’s nice.
Love isn’t just commemorative or occasional and it is neither an annual nor a monthly affair. No, love is about embracing and liberating; love is about using the yesterday’s pain today to heighten tomorrow’s pleasures.
So yes, we believe that love is everyday. And everyday we must choose to love each other more than yesterday and less than tomorrow. Love is both a verb and a choice, and we must choose to make love an action.
It is my desire that one day, you will come to know in your heart that my Saviour, Jesus Christ, has loved and you and I to the point of death. He is the one that has truly loved ‘til the end.
And so, He remains our inspiration and motivation for wanting to love each other ‘til the end.
Our prayer for every person who reads what I have written is that down the road of life, they will find someone whom they can love every single day, and ‘til the very end.
Why? Because that’s how my God loves me. And that’s how I hope to love Huiyi, by God’s grace, as Christ loves His church, ‘til the very end.
Huiyi and I can’t wait for 12th August 2012 – the first day of the rest of our lives together. We hope to see you at our wedding!
God always knows what’s best for us.
Remember how I complained about Him sending the rain instead of the sunset?
The rain, incidentally, became the x-factor of my proposal; the heavy rain singlehandedly transformed the proposal into something so special and romantic; the relentless shower provided the platform for me to exhibit my knight-in-shining-armour heroics; the harsh weather conditions allowed Huiyi and I to share those intimate moments under the orange umbrella.
Truly, it was God’s raindrops that set this proposal apart from the rest.
And no amount of human planning could make this proposal as special as it turned out to be. I asked God for a daily recurring sunset but He decided to bless me with a once-in-a-lifetime thunderstorm instead. I am confident most people who have viewed the video would agree that it was the rain that produced the goose-bumps!
“Even though we were hoping for a sunset proposal, the rain made the proposal so unique and sweet. Whenever I hold my umbrella in the rain, it means something to me.” I think Huiyi summed it up perfectly on her blog. (Click here to read her closing thoughts on being engaged to me.)
Next chapter: epilogue – I love you ‘til the end.
Please forgive me for doing something as technical as this. Think of it as a literature review fused together with romance.
The sound of raindrops practically set the tone of the video. And if you match the Chinese lyrics of the song to what was happening in the video, you’d realise that everything was poetic.
We first appeared in the video, side-by-side under the umbrella to “坐在我身旁”. And as you hear “回家的太阳“, the scene had the sunset in the backdrop, with us walking towards the camera.
Now for my first favourite scene…
Caleb captured our synchronised footsteps in the pouring rain as we walked across the frame. WOW – what a moment! It was an encapsulation of a journey that we would walk together, even in stormy seasons of life! Indulge me please, for I am moved by my own vivid imagination…
The silly way that I swiveled the ring box was something completely spontaneous; I actually did it because I was nervous! But look at how nicely it turned out – the camera transformed my anxiety into cheekiness. And speaking of camera magic, what looked like me gently kissing her on her cheeks was actually me whispering instruction into Huiyi’s ear.
And here comes my rock star moment!
Actually, it wouldn’t have been possible because the original instruction I gave to the crew was to set up my guitar on the guitar stand I asked them to bring along. But I think they didn’t not because they forgot but because they didn’t want to expose my Cort to the rain. They practically saved my guitar…
This meant that I had to take it out from the case when I got there and it created a wonderful MTV-esque scene. I felt like a rock star filming a music video in the rain! It’s like a dream come true, really – to do in real life what I’ve always seen in reel life (without spoiling my guitar). Wonderful!
And the next scene tops it all…
I must really hand it to Caleb’s technical brilliance. As the song reached its chorus and the scene reached its climax, the soundtrack was removed and in place of it was the live recording of my song presentation to Huiyi, complete with the rawness of the rain!
I loved it! And the stunned look on Huiyi’s face was absolutely priceless! Especially when she turned her head to the left and back immediately to size up what was going on – this was captured candidly and beautifully!
At this point, I think Huiyi still had no idea that she was gripping the placards in her hands. On hindsight, looking at those placards must have spurred me on and gave me courage to do what I did. I was staring straight at the love of my life and the answer that she was going to give.
This “YES!” placard, juxtaposed with the five placards in the background, formed a wonderful and self-explanatory picture of a proposal in its purest form.
The raindrops that ricocheted on the camera lens and the glowing lamps created such a wonderful lens flare! It was truly a cinematic moment that only God could help us to create, and at no cost!
(Please continue to indulge me because I think it was so cool when I removed the guitar! Wearing that checkered shirt proved to be priceless too! Yes, my imagination is running amok!)
The soundtrack returned to the video at its crescendo as I got down on one knee to open the ring box to present the ring to Huiyi to ask her to marry me.
And then came Huiyi’s favourite moment of the video…
It was the few seconds when she said “YES!” to me and when I smiled the widest and happiest smile of my life as I removed the ring from the ring box. Frankly, I’ve never seen myself so happy before too! And yes, Huiyi still beams each time she sees that scene.
And as she revealed the other two placards in her hands (that also read “YES!”), her best friend appeared, as if to endorse and affirm her of her decision…
I think it was a special and wonderful moment for the two of them to remember and talk about for the rest of their lives… I’m sure of that!
Again, I must compliment Caleb for syncing “把你未来放在我肩上” with the moment I put the ring on her finger. I don’t care whether it was by incidental or intentional, I only care that it was an inspired moment! Absolutely brilliant timing!
The video closes with us exchanging a kiss with her holding the “YES!” placard and the two of us standing at the front of “Will You Marry Me? / 让我照顾你”. Again, another award-winning moment.
The final Hollywood moment that we enjoyed came at the last shot…
As the camera focus blurred, leaving two orange lights (which matched the orange umbrella) in the background (complete with the lens flare effect), it concluded the entire video for us before it moved into the photo slideshow.
And if you haven’t already realised, what you hear during the slideshow is what Huiyi heard in her earphones just before I removed it.
Man, I think I should enter this out-of-the-world video (which I will embed for the last time) for some wedding competition… Wait a minute – I did!
Next chapter: the after-proposal reflection and reaction.