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perth day 2: uptown girl and downtown boy.

With barely four hours of sleep in my tank, I staggered out of the Leontes Way abode while Huiyi swaggered out completely refreshed. Ervina very kindly alighted us at South Street, where we had breakfast with Su Ern at the rustic Ootang & Lincoln cafe. Breakfast was exorbitant by any standard despite it being an enjoyable experience for it was wonderful to share a meal with Pastor Meng Cham’s daughter for the first time.

We made our way to Perth City after breakfast by train and I think I had one cup (of coffee) too many. By lunch, I had already consumed three shots and that (I reckoned) proved to be my undoing for the second half of the day; I found myself visiting the washroom once every hour. Down Under became an uncomfortable experience down under.

As we sauntered through Wellington Street, Murray Street and ultimately to Forrest Avenue where we picked up Liang’s black Mitsubishi Colt at City Towers, fragments of where I’ve visited the last time I was in Perth (in 2007) began to return to me. We put our belongings in the backseat and thanked God for the favour we have received from such generous friends.

We strolled to Saint Mary’s Cathedral and spent some moments at the pews, and committed to God this new phase of our courtship. That was a sweet moment that we both enjoyed – God and us in a beautiful place of worship. I couldn’t ask for more.

Functional eating meant that we settled lunch at the substandard House of PASTA. We interchanged between the red and yellow CATS (Central Area Transit System) to get from place to place and we eventually ended up at Harbour Town, where the factory outlet stores were located. We were quite proud that we exited City West unscathed – our wallets still looked pretty healthy.

Like in Singapore, Tuesdays are also half-priced waffle days at Gelare; the smell of toasted (or baked?) waffles proved too tempting for us and we succumbed; I think I have been eating too much… So thankfully I lost some weight at night with frequent visits to the lavatory.

On hindsight I’m glad I proposed to Huiyi in Singapore instead of in Perth. While it was a picturesque moment over sunset at King’s Park, there wasn’t anyone to help us capture that moment. We immediately thanked God for the amazing Gideon and Caleb. They contributed significantly to a wonderful video – we wouldn’t be able to relive that special moment if not for their dedication and commitment to Huiyi and I. Thank you, boys!

Our final stop of the day saw us end up at Leederville, where we met Pastor Mark Varughese together with his wife, Jemima and son, Ezekiel. Ps Mark was the plenary speaker for Rhema Conference 2010 and it seemed only yesterday that we brought him out for lunch at Zhou’s Kitchen in Singapore. That was nearly four months ago; time has flown us by indeed…

Giadini served excellent pasta – yes, we had it again for dinner – and I ordered Prawn Ravioli and Angel Hair Agio Olio for Huiyi and I respectively. The portions were huge – so we had enough to takeaway for dinner the next day.

We went to the nearby San Churro Chocolateria for our dessert of Spanish Hot Chocolate almost immediately after before driving 25km back home. (I’m secretly proud that our navigation back to Leontes Way was successful on our first attempt!) It was wonderful to spend a little time with the Love Birds when we got back for it gave us a preview of the D&M (Ervina’s self-coined “Deep & Meaningful”) conversations that we were certain to engage in when we embark on our Albany-Denmark road trip on Thursday.

P/S: I’ve written this entire entry enroute to The Pinnacles as Huiyi persuaded me to rest early last night. She forbid me from using the computer. I guess there’s a new hierarchy established now, especially when it comes to physical rest, which she’s enjoying now, seated beside me in the 4WD coach.

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ten ways to inspire hope to a generation.

1. Give them a vision. And see their commitment in action. I think young people are not afraid to work hard; they are only afraid of a lack of vision.

2. Believe in them wholeheartedly. This never, ever gets old. Being patient with and watching them blossom is one of life’s most beautiful scenes.

3. Challenge them to follow Jesus. One of the best ways to fire up a youth group is to see young people make first-time decisions for Jesus.

4. Remind them to evangelise. R-AGE, we must remember that eGig is not for entertainment and iGig is not for interest; heck, it’s not even for us.

5. Give them a platform to perform. The unpredictability of young people never fail to surprise and impress me. And of course, make me ROTFL.

6. Let them express themselves. Their creativity and spontaneity always reminds me to trust them, that one day, they will eventually get it right.

7. Watch them worship God; they will inspire you. ‎Stella’s deeply emotive performance tonight was BY FAR the best dance performance I’ve ever witnessed.

8. Create memories for them, for it galvanises the ministry; pictured above is the first combined R-AGE photograph since GI and GII became autonomous.

9. Intercede on their behalf. The highlight of my day was gathering with a few of my key leaders to pray and cry for one of our hurting leaders.

10. Thank God for them. It is my joy, pride, privilege and honour to be a part of R-AGE, and my awesome responsibility to lead and pastor them.

thirteen thoughts after 30 hours of Rhema.

1. Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1, NLT).

2. Faith is not what you do but who you know, not where you go but who you follow and not what you hear but who you hear from.

3. For the first time in the history of Grace AG, R-AGE and Rhema, our young people worshipped God without anyone on stage leading them.

4. The greatest testimony today belonged to Kenneth, who by faith rehearsed last night, before requesting for unlikely eventual approval from his CO.

5. Putting out 2 drum sets was sparked by a Newsboys video I watched more than a decade ago and it was a delight to see Janice and CAMY actualising it.

6. I felt the Spirit’s stirring as early as 7:15am, during prayer time with my team, resulting in lots of tears, snot and a revitalised spirit.

7. While the “musician-less” idea was inspired from my time with SOAR247 in Shanghai, it was Melody’s earnest reading of Scripture that moved me deeply.

8. Completely non-sequitur, but I do miss jamming with a band, rocking with a team of musicians and performing my heart out.

9. I will always, always retain a soft spot for the worship team because I spent my first decade of ministry as a worship leader.

10. I enjoy breaking norms, casting vision and accomplishing feats no one has done before; the more it can’t be done, the more I want to do it.

11. When the respect is earned, when the authority is established, when the role is played out, when the work is finished, the title becomes secondary.

12. Ministry is about people. Sometimes it’s about work, but this work should always revolved around people; I thank God I work with young people.

13. Talking to young people whom you’re unfamiliar with at first soon ignites in you God’s love for them, and you’ll never see them the same way again.

ten quick and random thoughts after Rhema opening night.

1. I really enjoy working with young people, regardless of whether they are experienced or emerging ones.

2. R-AGE really has an abundance of talented and committed youths and I am grateful to God for all of them.

3. It is my prayer that you will thrive in faith, hope and love. We are ready for You… Are you ready for Him…?

4. There’s nothing we can do to manufacture God’s presence but we can do everything to do our best for Him.

5. I thank God for the young adults who serve in R-AGE for they play an integral role and contribute significantly.

6. We have a delightful batch of 13-year-olds at both GI and GII; what a joy to see them serve God as ushers or in the choir.

7. If given a choice, I’d rather not do productions because it’s tiring, but it’s immensely gratifying to see a vision come to fruition.

8. From recording the above video from the gallery, God reminded me of my calling and duty towards this youth ministry.

9. This is a fantastic opportunity for me to put more names to faces and to know these precious youths a little better.

10. I really, really, really, love young people and I consider it an honour and privilege to be able to pastor this youth group.

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