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10 years #tohoku311

Today is the 10th anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake of Japan on 11th Mar, 2011, the most powerful earthquake (9.1-magnitude) ever recorded in Japan, triggering a triple disaster – earthquake, tsunami, & nuclear power plant meltdown, resulting in over 15k deaths, 6k injuries, & 2.5k people missing across 20 prefectures.

In memory of #tohoku311, here are some ministries that have been involved with tsunami/disaster relief & reaching the Tohoku region with the hope of the gospel, & Japan missions:

Be One (Tohoku Aid) – a group of inter-agency missionaries across Japan serving the Tohoku region after 3.11
Nozomi Project – faith-based social enterprise in Ishinomaki, using shards from broken pottery from 3.11 to create jewellery, helping women who lost loved ones with sustainable income (Nozomi means “hope” in Japanese; their motto is “beauty in brokenness)
3.11 Iwate Church Networknetwork of churches & organizations serving the damaged churches & community in Iwate Prefecture
English Presbytery Japan Mission (EPJM) – Started by the EP Singapore, small mission teams are organized almost every month for 1-2 weeks involved in disaster relief, community engagement, gospel ministry

Japan Prayer Group (JPG) – monthly prayer group (1st Tue) @ OMF Singapore, praying for Japan & OMF missionaries

#tohoku311 #2011tohokuearthquake #prayjapan

ACS Founder’s Day

Today (1 Mar) marks the 135th anniversary of the founding of Anglo-Chinese School by William F. Oldham (1854-1937) in #Singapore. Some interesting facts:

  • Oldham was an India-born British-American Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church (forerunner of UMC) & a Missionary Bishop for Southern Asia. He also founded the first/oldest Methodist church (Wesley) in Singapore. He died & is buried in Glendale, California.
  • The early years of education of #JosephSchooling (Singapore’s first/only #Olympic gold medalist in swimming) were at ACS.
  • ACS is mentioned as the alma mater of several characters in the #CrazyRichAsians trilogy; the author Kevin Kwan also studied there.
  • The school motto “The Best is Yet to Be” is from Robert Browning’s poem “Rabbi ben Ezra” (1864).

#thebestisyettobe #tbiytb #acs135

 

I attended an insightful public lecture by BGST on the increasingly important topic, “Is a digital church a real church?” The speaker was Dr Peter Phillips, Director of Research at Center for Digital Theology, Durham University. For those interested, an M.A in Digital Theology is now being offered.

This is my desire to honour You
Lord, with all my heart, I worship You
All I have within me, I give You praise
All that I adore is in You

Lord, I give You my heart
I give You my soul, I live for You alone
Every breath that I take
Every moment I’m awake
Lord, have Your way in me

© 1995 Reuben Morgan | Hillsong

It’s been more than half a year since the Covid-19 pandemic has forced schools to move to remote learning, both here in the States as well as in Singapore around mid-March to April. Two articles I came across gives us only a small glimpse of how great a challenge and impact social inequality and disparity has on society and the implications for Christians and the church. In a Straits Times (ST) article (18 April 2020, Venessa Lee & Stephanie Yeo), titled “How home-based learning shows up inequality in Singapore,” three families were interviewed and featured, discussing the struggles of children face with home-based learning (HBL), especially those coming from low-income families with multiple siblings.

How home-based learning shows up inequality in Singapore (Credit: ST Alphonsus Chern)
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A newly launched initiative by Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, Resilient Church Leadership (RCL) hosted a webinar on the new physical and digital nature of ministry, termed “Phygital,” especially in this post-Covid era, with Eddie Copeland, Nate Bush, and Mindy Caliguire.


(Facebook video here)

Read more about RCL here.

Remembering Jim Morris (1933-2020) – memorial service starts @ 17:40

I came across Louise Morris’ Stronger than the Strong after attending my first GoForth Missions conference, as well as the STEPS program @ OMF. The biography of Jim and Louis Morris began to inspire and encourage me towards missions, discovering the rich legacy of the Morris and many other OMF missionary families, and the pioneer Baptist missionary Adoniram Judson, and the amazing history of the Karen people groups scattered across mainly Myanmar and Thailand. What stood out for me primarily was Jim’s lifeverse (which has been mine ever since as well), from Paul in Philippians 1.20-21,

… according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I shall not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

To have arrived almost exactly 1 year ago here in Chicagoland for doctoral intercultural studies, his passing at this time is especially memorable and significant for me, as I owe much of the starting of my journey in missions to him. I praise and thank God for Jim’s life and the Morris’ legacy for His glory and kingdom. May their example model and inspire generations of disciplers of all nations!

Double rainbow

 

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As I was driving to the school library to pick up some books, I snapped a photo of what I thought was one rainbow, but it turned out to be a double rainbow after I relooked at it later. It reminded me of God’s covenant with Noah.

When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. (Gen. 9.16)

The 2020 Singapore General Elections (GE) was an interesting experience for myself. Being away for overseas studies with family, this was the first time I was going to miss being able to vote (the nearest Singapore embassy was at least a 12-hour drive one-way). Having been away for almost a year has taught me many lessons, and also caused me to cherish and appreciate more what we have in Singapore. After the euphoria and hype of the elections begins to subside, I found myself reflecting what lessons we could learn, especially as the Church, the body of Christ, drawing from the life of David and the disciples.

1. Crisis is both a danger & an opportunity

In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, several secular and religious leaders have noted that a crisis can be both a danger and an opportunity, particularly if you consider the Chinese word for crisis 危机 (wéijī), literally a combination of two words, danger (危险 wéixiǎn) and opportunity (机会 jīhuì). Nations and governments have had to deal with the widespread coronavirus from both within and without their borders, forcing massive air travel restrictions, severe lockdowns and quarantines, and ramping up of support for healthcare and frontline workers and infrastructures. Our Singapore government was hailed as a leading role model in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, especially in containment of imported and community cases, but also met some roadbumps in dealing with cases amongst foreign worker dormitories. Many questioned the calling of the elections in the midst of this pandemic as well. Although the initial predictions and political rhetoric was leaning towards the ruling party, to trust in and fall back on reliable leadership, and not to “rock the boat” in times of crisis, Singaporeans also showed that this could also be the impetus towards breaking new ground, making alternative choices, and taking a chance on new candidates.

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In the span of 2 weeks, we celebrated Father’s Day, my son’s 9th birthday, & the Fourth of July (America’s Independence Day). As we were preparing for the birthday celebrations, my wife noted that we’ve been parents for 9 years. As I was reflecting on Ps. 78, it seemed to be rather appropriate for these 2 weeks of events.

Psalm 78 is significant in the Bible and to me for various reasons. It is the basis for this blog’s title and focus, the concept of “skillful shepherds,” found in the last verse 72,

So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
And guided them with his skillful hands.

You can read more here.
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