Since I was going to visit USS with Huiyi on her birthday, I considered proposing there instead. It would have been an enchanting, unique and memorable proposal at the very least. After all, how many people have actually proposed at USS before? I had already planned for Gideon and Caleb to camp at the alley to capture the entire sequence.
Here are three of the many photos I took with my iPhone 4 during the first recce trip:
The idea was to propose at the Pavilion (a little hut with powerful binoculars at the outskirts of New York, overlooking Far Far Away). I would blindfold Huiyi and bring her to the Pavilion and leave her there to listen to tracks that I had lined up for her in the playlist, while I quickly make my way to Far Far Away. The end of the playlist would include a pre-recorded sound clip of my voice asking her to remove her blindfold.
Immediately, she would be visually greeted with an A2-sized poster that reads, “I will show you your FUTURE far far away…” I would have placed this poster directly below or beside the binoculars before I scooted off to Far Far Away. She would then look into the binoculars as prompted and see me at Far Far Away (*inserts Huiyi’s shocked reaction here*) where I would be holding up five placards (either concurrently or consecutively, I hadn’t decided then) that looked like this:
At this point, I will then gesture to her to return to the iPod to listen to the next track – the song that I had recorded for her. During my second recce trip to USS, I had already timed how long it would take for me to run (90 seconds) or walk (180 seconds) from Far Far Away to New York, and vice-versa. I had more than enough time to move from Point A to Point B.
Now, the idea was to link up with Shrek and Princess Fiona (whom I would have hired for an hour) to deliver to her a set of three placards after she finishes the song. These A3-sized placards would have the same words – “Yes!” – printed on it in different colours. I printed these placards for her to show me her obvious and only response to my earlier question at Far Far Away. (I honestly thought that by doing it this way, I would have stayed true to my cheeky personality.)
Then I would take a relaxing stroll back to the Pavilion from Far Far Away, since I only needed 180 seconds, and the song lasted four minutes. As soon as she sees me promenading in, Shrek and Fiona would prompt her to show me her response with one of the placards. I would then saunter towards her, and finally get down on one knee to put the engagement ring on her finger.
And when she agrees to become my fiancée, we would embrace, kiss, enjoy this special moment together and take lots of photos in the basking sunset. (Gideon and Caleb would have appeared by then…) Then we would take a short 20-metre amble to Mel’s Drive In (an American restaurant in USS), where our friends would already be waiting in ambush to commence the engagement party immediately. Finally, the evening would end at 8:55pm, and I would usher everyone outside to watch USS’ complimentary and fireworks scheduled at 9pm.
It was an extremely complicated, but comprehensive plan. Yet I was convinced of it. It was an ambitious plan of course, but nothing was beyond an idealistic sanguine.
Next chapter: the preparation before USS.
I think it’s fair to say that I’m not just a passionate individual but also a person with many passions. And something that I’m exceptionately passionate about is the Word of God. This keenness was originally infused into my spiritual bloodstream by JH, when I was much younger; I saw the fire in his eyes whenever we discussed about the Word of God or when we pursued truth. I also have to thank Him for introducing me to JP, who is undoubtedly one of my greatest influences in this area, even though I’ve not met him yet. It was JH’s gift – Pierced by the Word – that got me into JP’s solid teaching.
And it’s not surprising, a decade on, that I discuss the Word of God with the same fire in my eyes. One of the most satisfying things in life has to be reading familiar scripture and to have the Holy Spirit breathing into you new perspectives. I revel in those kinda revelations – don’t you? And so I find myself asking myself, “What then have I done to impart this passion through my lifestyle and how can I continue to perpetuate that?” I scrutinised my actions and I am inclined to believe that I have done my part.
- I am a keen student and an even keener teacher of the Word. I enjoy preparing lessons and thrive in teaching them – it rejuvenates me when I exercise my gift.
- I prepare sermons with excellence and will never preach something I do not understand fully; the last thing I want to do is to undermine or shortchange the pulpit.
- I memorise scripture in my own time and I encourage everyone within my sphere of influence to do likewise.
- I attempt to give scripture-based advice whenever I have the opportunity to dispense counsel, instead of just depending on my wisdom and experience.
- I base my ministry objectives and vision on the Word of God; the daily themes of PIERCE were lifted from Hebrews 4:12 and the three primary roles of my GII Shepherds were derived from John 21:15-17.
- I invest money into purchasing knowledge and fill my mind with the right things, instead of overspending on things that have little eternal value.
- I make time to attend additional teaching seminars and conferences instead of just depending on the Sunday pulpit for my Word input and whenever possible, I will encourage my leaders to sign up and go together with me.
- I have progressively added audio sermons into my iPod and listen to sound preaching (pun intended) more than I listen to music. In fact, I’ve done this so much there’s nothing but sermons and teachings in my 8GB MP3 player.
- I subscribe to snail-mailers and online feeds and whenever there is new material, I’ll feast my mind on them so that I am able to generate new thoughts.
- I am actually more enthusiastic to shop in bookshops (or online book stores) than in shopping centres or departmental stores.
- I attempt to pray scripturally so that my prayers are theologically accurate and always be aligned to/with God’s divine will.
- Lastly, I try to spend some time each day to meditate on at least one portion of scripture (but I could really do with some improvement here!).
But why do I tell you all this? To boast? (Oh heaven forbid me from that!) I am deliberately detailed in proving my passion for the Word because it has been a journey for me and I wish to encourage you to ask God to expand your capacity to love His Word. You see, I was never so into it right from the beginning. I certainly did not expect myself to end up at this point and I most certainly do not expect myself to stagnate here too – it’s one reason why I am massively looking forward to my theological education in 2012. I concur with what EC said at last year’s IDMC, that while theological credentials are beneficial, theological competence is essential.
But this is the hardest of them all for it is a daily death of self-denial and an utter dependence on the Spirit to enable me to do so – while I make a sincere and genuine attempt to put into practice what I have learnt, more often than not, I fail at achieving this and for that I am the chief of sinners despite all the “accomplishments” listed above. They’re really just merely accomplishments and nothing else. I will never be able to attain godliness (and holiness) by my own doing; I’m constantly a long-shot away from being Christlike and how I long to fare better in this arena. The Word of God repeatedly reveals my carnal nature and humbles me greatly for it exposes my sin and shortcomings. I don’t know about you (actually I do, I’m just writing rhetorically), but no matter how much I profess to love the Word, the most crucial thing is that I live (and do) the Word. In fact, the more I love the Word, the more I discover my sinful desires and the more I realise my need for the grace of God, the counsel of the Spirit and the redemption of Jesus Christ to see me through each moment.
how sweet the sound,
that saved a wretch like me.
All right, I have no idea how I ended up there but I guess what I really want to say is that, if I could only choose one passion to impart to the next generation, it would be the passion to pursue the Word of God. I pray that it becomes your primary passion too, especially if you are an influential leader in youth ministry.