Monday, 17 February 2014

FIRE Weekend 5 - Faith Inspired, Renewed Experience

First of all, I would like to thank you to all those who made this seminar a success and a memorable one. This is not only my first FIRE Weekend ever, but also my first seminar in the past half a year or so since I landed in Penang for my further studies. Truthfully, nothing felt better than hearing all these inspiring talks that not only challenges us personally but spiritually too. None the less, its the free worship break-out point where I could just express myself like nobody's business. Overall, I loved it when I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit days before this seminar was on.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

ER2013 RISE UP - My Testimony

ER2013 banner goes up 

ER2013 theme: RISE UP! (Luke 7:14)

In this year's ER, it did not feel like ER at all; not even close to the pass ER's that I've been to; serving or participating. Definitely, this year's ER was extremely tiring. But overall, it was a success made. Praise the Lord!

When I took my first step in the Archdiocesan Curia and Cathedral Pastoral Centre(ACCPC), I was amazed at almost everything - even the elevator(sakai bah)! The building appeared to be so much more bigger than what I had imagined all these while. However, when we went there to set up the place and clean it, I thought to myself, "Nay.. even if this building is big, I don't think there would be that much cleaning to do." As soon as I reach the doors of the main@multi-purpose hall, I was dumbfounded. The hall was so big I could not believe what I saw; I thought I was dreaming but I was not.

Then, as we started cleaning the hall and the foyer of the 3rd floor, there was just so much dust that I have swept I could not believe my eyes! Sweeping the foyer alone made me so hungry and tired I wish I could just lay in bed and sleep or take a nice cold shower. But when it came to sweeping the hall, it was disastrous because the dust in the hall is two times more than that of the foyer! I wanted to complain to God just then till something reminded me that there was going to be 600 over people coming to see God working in their lives and in others.

As I was reminded of that, I instead told God that if there were really that many people coming for this year's ER, let it be that I can count their hair that falls onto this ground, this floor that I will be sweeping throughout ER2013. Thus, when each day of ER ended, and as we clean and sweep the foyer and hall, YES, there were many hair that fell onto the floor; countless indeed! I was amazed, yet I was annoyed because the hair kept flying from one end to another as I swept.

Besides that, during the whole week of ER, I had very few hours of sleep and most of my days were cranky. Despite being cranky, I did all I can to even put a smile on my face as I served God. Honestly, I did not get much from the sessions throughout the Youth Conference that I was in. Most likely because I was tired or was being bothered by so many things in my head. I guess its also because there were so many things going on in my family right now.

Despite all those worries that were going on in my head, God never stopped showing me how marvellous He is. I believe it was during the worship night itself that I broke down real bad. I broke down because there is this current issue that has been going on in my family for almost a year now and it has gone from bad to worse. We 'lost' one of our dearly relative in a 'war' but the fight is still on. From there, I had this urge to call all of my family members to RISE UP and pray as a community. God had told me that He will bring our dearly relative back to us for nothing is impossible for Him. All we have got to do is to continue to pray and to seek God. Although nothing has happen yet, God says that He will eventually give him back to us one day.

Besides that, God has shown me many wonders during the concert night itself. For a moment, I thought that there won't be many people who were going to turn up for the concert night due to the gloomy day. But in just an hour difference, I saw many people coming in and the whole place was getting sardine pack! Since the day was all gloomy, I prayed and prayed non-stop to God for good weather. Upon seeing a rainbow appearing, I know that He is here with us. After standing up for more than an hour, my energy was drained, like a phone battery that was dying. I had a backache so bad I needed to sit down; even though my backache was so painful, I still continued my worship that night.

I did not care about the people around me - what they thought of me in mind; I just continued praising God while sitting down as I know what is best for me. I also prayed to God that I can last till I reached home and I did. Surprisingly, towards the end of the concert night, I regained about 25% of my energy(I think..). Not wanting to waste that spare energy, I used it to the fullest, especially on the Rise Up flashmob dance. I danced with all my heart that moment and I did not care about the people around me.

Upon seeing strangers who were clueless about this dance just randomly joined in and dance what they see, I felt so blessed and touch. People who did not know anything and just dance with all their hearts for the Lord has shown me that God has indeed touched their lives that night in many different ways. I recall praying to the Lord to send revival in ER2013, especially the concert night and by seeing over 3000 people dancing spontaneously has truly showed me that God listens and answers to our prayers for He is a God of revival.

Then on the last day of ER, I was practically like a zombie due to lack of sleep. As soon as I got to ACCPC that morning, I headed straight for the servants lounge and went to get more sleep. I could not help it but I was just too tired. But praise God, I did not feel sleepy any more for the rest of the day. However, I felt so pressured for no reason; I felt so lonely and depressed. Most likely it was because I had not made any new friends yet. I got so caught up with this emotion that people would stare and me and wondered why I look so down. Deep down, I told God, "Why am I getting this sort of emotion at a time like this? Why do I feel so miserable? If you are trying to tell me something, then say it!"

Thus, during Jude's session, we used up his whole session on intense worship and that was when the message came to me. He was trying to tell me all along that I must rise up from my depressing past. Yes, I have a past; a lonely, depressing and miserable one that caused me to cry only in my heart, almost everyday. Back in the past, I did not have many friends and most of them come and go as they like. I was despised by many; I was rejected, teased, gossiped, etc. I did not have any true or even any real friends back then. I remembered the time when I was being betrayed by one person(in whom I thought I could rely and trust on)till it caught me to a point of being very antisocial and vengeful.

But what reflected in mind was to remind me that Jesus, too have experienced what I have experienced back in the days; He has been in my shoes before. Like me, Jesus was rejected, gossiped, teased and betrayed. He was also once considered a weirdo. What I have gone through, He too has gone through it, before I did. The only thing left right now is to put the pieces of puzzles that forms the full message of what God is really trying to tell me. Although I have yet to understand His message, I'm very sure one day I will.

In conclusion, this year's ER was truly and eye-opener to me because I have learned that in small little things we tend to keep in heart can be very much visible to the eye in the future. Thus, we must RISE UP from whatever that stand our way from growing in faith, or perhaps in anything. I have also learned that humility is everything; we must always humble ourselves not only to God but to others as well. As long as we are humble, people will want to know more about us and why we are that humble. In the end, when they see Jesus in us, they too will start to follow His ways and start praising and glorifying His name.As of our ER2013 theme: RISE UP!, when people start following the way of Christ, they are in real fact rising up.

Therefore I say to you young man, RISE UP! (Luke 7:14)

Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Power of Prayer

Have you ever wondered what prayer can actually do to you? Have you ever wondered how it works and how powerful it is?? I have and my purpose of writing this post is to share what the power of prayer is to me. All content is based on my personal experience and how I can show you how the power of prayer works in my life.


The year 2012 has been a really tough year for me as it is my final year in high school and I have many struggles in managing my time for these and thats. Even though it all happens in 2012, it began at the end of 2011[somewhere between August and September]. I had so much to cope on. My studies, my club and many other things. After the school choir's outgoing and incoming committee meeting, I was elected to become a secretary AND a sectional leader. I accepted this task thinking I could manage it on my own, but then it was hard. I was skipping many lessons and my studies were all going down the drain.

During my second mid-semester test in 2011, I had failed so many subjects and did not even get any A's at all - not even my English or Maths! I failed 6 subjects out of 10(excluding Bible Knowledge). Although I have been busy with 2 continuous choir competitions that year, that shouldn't be the blame. Throughout a period of 3 months, I barely talked to anyone because of this shame. Not even my closest friend(we got the same number of failing grades but hers was better). For 3 months, I would sit at a corner in class, doing my own thing. People see me as 'studying' or 'reading' but deep inside, I was crying. I cried because I was afraid that my parents would not accept my bad results. I even read a thick novel of 300++ pages in just two days(record of reading books broken. LOL)! I was depressed.

One day, my good and trustworthy friend, Ann confronted me as she noticed a huge change in my behaviour. I would not spill a word out but she did her best to comfort me. She also gave me a small help by giving Merv's number to me so that I can share my problems with him since I would not share it with anyone else in the class. And so, I took the number and called on to Merv for help. Though it was through a phone call, he has really helped me and comforted me a lot. He said that everything should be alright only if I tell my parents about my results with honesty. All I had to do was think on the bright side, not the dark.

And so, I had tried several attempts but that dare just scares me every time I think about it. So since my eldest sister, her husband and her 1 year+ daughter was with us for holidays, I decided to tell her first so she could give me some good advice. Her advice was, "If you want to tell mummy daddy about this, better tell them while I'm still here in Kuching. Why? Cause Grace is here with us and so they won't dare to scold you out loudly or harm you as it will give Grace a bad example." Thinking of this, it sounds very cheeky and maybe, not honest enough. But to put it in a rational way, its true and its a way for me to get away from harsh scoldings that I really dislike.

On the last day of my sister's stay, I decided to tell my mum even though it was very late at night for my schooling weekdays. I prayed before anything happened. I prayed that everything will be alright and that my mum and dad will understand and are willing to accept my 6-failed-subjects in the recent test I took. Mum took it with calm as she was expecting that kind of result to come out due to my lack of presence in class and so forth. I was glad, but I know I have to make promises so that I would study harder than before.

But being elected as secretary and sectional leader leads to more problems. But it did not stop me. I prayed to God for guidance to help me in my last exam of the year while balancing it out with my club activities. I switched places and sat in front of class paying attention to all my subject classes. It was not easy, often when I concentrate, I start feeling sleepy and my head was spinning like a mad dog. I was not used to that concentration level but I fought it and tried. I succeeded and my exam results was satisfying. It was so much better than the previous test although it was not very good. I was very happy indeed. But then it only lasted for a very short period of time.

2011 passed by and there came 2012. I no longer had that passion to study harder and harder everyday to improve my studies. That passion of getting good results was dying slowly and I did not realise it at all. By the time I realised it, it can be considered too late to change anything. But then I would not want to believe in such things so I still continued on, striving for the best. It was during my mock exams when I realised how little effort I have put into my studies. The results were disappointing, but was as expected. I cried over a spilled milk when I failed my Biology and got an E in my Accounts.

Because of a quite bad mock exam result, I have decided to do my very own revision at home and at school with the teachers. I could not possibly sit down in a group of friends to do a study group - NEVER! So whatever task my teachers gave, I tried my very best to accomplish it whenever I can and do whatever I can. During those times, there were many temptations around me that every time I stumble into one, I get so fed up! At times, they just come in one whole group, I can no longer study at that point of time I would just leave my books and notes and walk around the house especially the kitchen until I'm calm.

However, I was still a little lazy as there was not many things that could motivate me. My mind set was always "Just sit for the test and don't care about anything else. But make sure you study!" And in the end, it always turn out the other way. I become more lazier. But I continued to strive for the best and I did. I sat for all my papers in SPM. Some were tough, some were expected, some were okay. But none was as easy as ABC. I know I have done my very best and I do not want to think of regrets. EVER.

After about a month later, all those frustration came to mind on how I did in my SPM. For a week, I was depressed and was afraid for not doing well. But once when I have had enough of frustration, I prayed hard to God to get rid of all those negative thoughts that was in my mind. All those thoughts that was disturbing me day and night. And He cast it out. I was then free from those. But who knew it could actually come back when the results were to be out soon. Although its a normal thing to feel so, I really did not want to be afraid or get panicky at all. But what gives me the negative chills is that I had have three consecutive dreams about getting my result. As I recalled, I also did dreamt of getting my results once, for PMR. But for SPM thrice?! That's crazy!

For my first dream, it had no sense at all, it was a very weird and random dream with no plots or meaning. But I dreamt of getting 4As and announced to people that I want to re-sit my whole SPM[that is INSANE]. For my second dream, I also dreamt of getting 4As but this time, I took like, 15 subjects!! Its really another crazy dream that does not bring anything to me. I mean like, I took clay-modelling and geography(got a C and B+ respectively) in SPM?! My mind has totally gone nuts. FYI, I took only 11 subjects. And lastly the third dream was the one I conquered the most. I was in the school hall and I was watching everyone else getting their results. Some were happy, some were not. I was queueing up for my turn and it was almost my turn till I realised I was actually dreaming. It was not at all the real day itself.

So I told myself in the dream, "NO NO NO!! SAM YOU CANNOT SEE YOUR RESULTS HERE. THIS IS NOT AT ALL REAL ITS JUST A DREAM! ITS JUST A DREAM JUST A DREAM! YOU CANNOT SEE YOUR RESULTS! ITS NOT REAL ITS JUST A DREAMMMMM!!!" Then I woke up and wowed myself for being able to control my dream. Seriously, I did not want to look at the results. My dreams don't decide what I get. God does, as stated in Acts 1:7. And so I wanted to lift it all up to God. But the question is, HOW?

It was then I found out a very powerful prayer I have made on my own in EWA13. I have used this several times this year and what came in return was not at all disappointing. Even if it did, I did not regret or felt sad at all. Instead, I felt happy and lifted. I use this prayer every time I need something or I when want to accomplish something. I even used this for sitting my driving table test and I passed! Trusting and believing in the power of this simple prayer, I've also decided to use it for my preparation of getting back my SPM results.

" Lord, whatever you give, I accept it. And for whatever you do not give, I trust YOU. For it is your will be done, not mine. Amen."

A self-made 'poster' that I put on my cupboard door as a reminder.

Days passed and the day of the results was coming nearer. I still felt calm as I continued praying that prayer every day. But on the day itself, 30 minutes before the results were released, I suddenly felt a great terror in me. I rushed to my room and prayed the rosary. I told God all my intentions and I continuously said that prayer. I also told Him to be with me and to send His Holy Spirit, angels and saints to be with me when I take my result. I also prayed to my patron saints, Mother Mary and my guardian angel.

When I finished the second decade, I was as calm as the day. I went back down and continued on my daily chores while saying the rest of the decades until I have completed the rosary. Then I was off to school to get my result about an hour later. I felt very easy and light and also, worry-free. Even my mum was surprised at how I reacted.

THIS is my result
In overall, I got 1A+, 1A, 4B+, 2B and 3C+

I was satisfied with what I got. VERY SATISFIED. For me, my maths and English is a must to get A. The rest, somewhere about what you can see. :) Although I did not get what I really aimed for, I am happy with what I've got because it tells me how much effort I have put in through these years. THIS is my effort and I thank God for helping me realised that. Doing what you have done best is important in life. Not getting what you want is not the matter. Rather, being satisfied with what you have matters so much more.

Besides all these, I really am thankful that God shows us that our dreams can be wrong. All you need to do is surrender everything to Him and He will give you what you are worth for. Are your efforts worth for dreams made to be come true? My answer is NO. God controls everything. Not our dreams. Also, I am really glad and happy that He has shown me what He gives for us is the best. It may be rough and tough in the beginning, but its not our will but HIS.

Although my result may be considered as one of the worse among my sisters, I can say it is one of the best yet. I say this because I have put in my full trust in God to help me handle my studies and exams. Also, I took my results with pride and a big smile on my face. I really thank and praise God for bringing me this far, teaching me many things. Now I understand why people say that prayers won't work if you say them once or twice unless you say it continuously everyday giving your heart to God. I now too understand the meaning of 'prayer changes people' and its power.

The power of prayer is so powerful even a miracle can happen. Just tell God what you need and tell Him why and say it with all your body and soul. He listens. Just by this small simple prayer that I have said day by day, I can say that right now I am changed. I have become a more positive thinker when it comes into terms of deciding, needing and receiving. And I praise God for that. So I hope all of you readers get my point of this post and understand what the power of prayer really is. God bless! :)


**Special credits to my blessed peeps**
1. Jasmine Ann for giving me Merv's number and comforting me
2. Mervyn Lee for giving me comfort and countless advice and also teaching me to learn to trust the bright side
3. My sister, Sandra Teo-Hall for suggesting when I should tell the truth to my parents
4. My parents, for being very supportive and understanding
5. My teachers for their patience and continuous guidance and support

Everyone, thank you so much for being there for me in those times of need.I really do appreciate it. YOU and your help. Without you, I won't be who I am today. Once again, THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU!!!!
xoxo -sam-

Thursday, 7 March 2013

ENLIGHTENED: Empowered Weekend Away 2013 [EWA13]

Hi there everyone!

Okay, so this is my very first post and also a very late one, but I will still like to share this with all of you since EWA13 was a very powerful retreat that I have been to. Beforehand, I would like to apologise everyone if you find this unmeaningful and not worth to read. I'm still new. However, lets get to what I wish to share with all of you :)

SO, you must be wondering what's EWA? Well, its basically a short, simple retreat for Form5&6 leavers/High school leavers, college and uni students and young working adults. Through this retreat, we are being prepared physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually on how we shall stand up and defend up on our faith. I wont be writing much on this part so if you want to know more, do take a look at this event page in FB though its over.. :)

Alright, I shall start sharing my experience in this retreat in which I will do it in a day-to-day basis as I did a journalling of it before posting this up.. Also, most of the time the praise and worship session are the ones that struck me in many different ways and I do not know why. There were many other sessions were in the schedule and it DID struck me but it was not as powerful as during the praise and worship sessions. So do understand yeah? :)

Day 1(24/1/13)

Honestly telling you, I did not really know why I came to this retreat. Is it a calling? Maybe but I did not seem to feel it. So mainly I came to this retreat out of curiosity and thinking that this would be a fun one and might even help me to get into a suitable college or something!(I know it sounds ridiculous, but seriously, I did think of so.. :O) And so, there were two sessions of praise and worship(P&W) on this day. For the last session of P&W on that day, our beloved guest speaker, Andre Ong led us into worship. He told us this: "Whatever that you have in heart right now, whether you are aware of it or not, lift it up all to God. Good or bad, don't care, just lift it up for God wants you to throw out all the insides of you so He can hear what your heart's desire are! Be it worship and praise among His name or even something you have done wrong and you wish to confess about it. He wants to hear it."
And so at that moment, when I came to think of what I wanted to lift up to God, my mind was a piece of clean, blank, unwritten and untouched white A4 paper! Because I really could not find what I wanted to express to God, I said a short prayer in heart, asking God to fill me with His Holy Spirit so that I may express whatever I really REALLY want to tell Him that is hidden from me. I wanted to be open with God.
For the first song, we sang Kau Rajaku by True Worshippers as it was requested by Andre himself. In mind, I was like, "OH NO, why this song again? We've been singing it for three weeks straight in youth gatherings and also during the first P&W session just now. I'm so sick of it!" BUT, I did not see what was coming after me. This is because this song was the one that shook me in the heart real big. So as we were all P&W-ing, I tried my really best to focus by closing my eyes and not to care of how the song has got into my nerves and being annoyed of it. After some time, I do not know how, I just felt like being pushed by an unknown force. True enough there were no hands that was in contact with me or else I could feel it.
My legs felt as if they were being moved by hands. It was like little girls trying to make their Barbie doll to walk by moving its legs or some sort. It really felt like that! I was moving from left to right to front and back! Sure enough the force grew stronger and I was moving even more and eventually, knocked few people by their arm, legs or even items. Then it came a time that I became so scared to even move one step for I really do not know where I was going. After too much of doing so, I fell on my knees and cried to God saying, "Oh Lord! I'm so scared of this! Help me Lord, help me!"
Then, BOOM! A flick of what has been buried in me all these while came up in mind. I was so afraid of the outside world that I myself was not even confident enough to step up and defend my Catholic faith. This is because I know that I WILL be away from home as the course I wish to take later in my college only has good offers in the Peninsular Malaysia. The ones in Kuching/Sarawak has very limited offers and if they do, the uni or college isn't really running in a good condition. THAT'S WHY. Also, over at P.Malaysia the population of other religions besides Christian or even Catholics is much higher than that in Sarawak here. SO, I was also quite afraid that I might fall into 'traps' and convert to another religion. I was this afraid because I love God a lot and I love being a Catholic too. I was just scared of being lost when I'm all alone there..
BUT, God proved me wrong. Although at that point I was crying hard as I really got in touch with reality and knowing how the outside world life would be, a warm feeling wrapped around whole being. It felt like I was sitting next to a big bonfire or even in the middle of a big ring of fire. It was so warm, I felt comfort in it. Normally to my experience, this warm feeling isn't that hot as how I felt that day and it normally last only for a while. But for this, It lasted throughout the P&W session. From that on, I got a flick of message that ran into my mind and I knew it was from God.
He said to me, "My daughter, do not be afraid for I am with you, forever and always I will be with you. You are kept safe in my arms and no one can harm you."
From then on, I knew why I was at that retreat-it WAS a calling after all.. A calling from God :) Through this experience, I was keen to learn in growing stronger and to defend my Catholic faith. I just need to know how and through this retreat, I knew all that I learn will make me a stronger person. :)
**Day 1 Extras**
I shared this experience with my group[Group 4] as we had a sharing time among our group before late night supper and they really gave me words of encouragement. To my surprise, they said this was not really a big issue as it is always something new we should learn. After all, we will get used to it some day. However, they did advise me to firstly find a Catholic church near the campus so that I can go to weekly Sunday masses and that my faith will be increased and renewed every week. Furthermore, this advice should not only be taken in by me alone but by all the other freshmen high school graduates too!! Or even to those who are planning to migrate, etc. :)

Day 2(25/1/13)

Okay, honestly on this day, I don't remember much as I did not do journalling on the night before I go to bed. Furthermore, I was very tired as it was a SUPER long day for a friend of mine, Lou, and I as we had minor diarrhoea. Surprisingly, only the both of us got food poisoning and the rest of the campers did not. However it was not a pretty big issue as we both do have weak stomach so that's most probably why we could not 'blend' in the food we took the day before. BUT, somehow I've learnt my lesson about journalling on events such as these. I must get it done on the day it happens and it will forever apply the 20-second rule. Get it started and done, or it never will. SO, apologies if there are anything that I have shared with you all that may sound a little quirky or weird. I journalled this few days after the camp. o.o

As I have said before, I do not remember much, so I can't recall when this happened but I am very certain that we were P&W-ing, and the song that was played was Everlasting God by Chris Tomlin. This song is so powerful that it touched me from the inside out and gave me strength, strength to rise as I wait upon the Lord. All these while, I have taken this song more like a praise song and not worship. But on this day, the intense of worship is so strong it shook me when the lyrics, 'You are the Everlasting God, the Everlasting God. You do not fade, You wont grow weary' was sung. To me, it was kind of like a wake-up message or even a slap in a face. This was because all these while, I am afraid to step out of my comfort zone, that is to stand up for my faith when I am facing the outside world alone.
So through this small part of the song itself, God was like trying to tell me exactly what the lyrics of the song has to comply about Him and I understood. I understand that He was everlasting and that He would not grow weary or even fade! But because His words had a huge impact on me and what I have abruptly done to my brains, I fell on my knees, crying. I felt SO sorry that I was denying God's everlasting presence, power and love. I cried and cried asking for forgiveness as I had denied His power and declined my trust in Him to actually help me overcome all obstacles when I'm alone in the outside world. From that on, I kind of labelled myself weak(in a good way) as I myself know I am weak.
When this sort of thinking came across my mind, the lyrics, in its own perfect timing came out 'Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord'. By just hearing this, a light bulb of strength came into me as I realized that God will grant me strength in my times of darkness, sorrow, denial and depression, etc. When I really realized that God can grant me eternal strength, I grew stronger, spiritually and mentally.
When that has struck me, I was still crying, but not as much as before. Slowly, I was led into quietness not by my own will even though the music faded slowly. Then when I was completely quiet for some time, I was rested in the Spirit for a few couple of minutes. I fell on my left side and just luckily enough, I did not hit my head on the wall as I was directly next to it - my head landed on some bags/books.
Although I was rested in the spirit, I was concious of everything that's happening around me(my eyes remained closed). While I was lying at the corner, my limbs were locked shut - I could not move an inch! So not knowing what to do even when having a concious mind, I just continued on praying to God. After a while, the pace of the music that was played suddenly increased quite a lot. Not long, mash-ups of P&W songs were played and the music became faster. Everyone else was joining in the groove and as for me, I could not do anything but continue on praying as I was still locked. Wanting to actually join badly I tried humming but failed as my voice was locked as well!! It really seemed like I was sleeping cause my breathing rate was as of a sleeping person.
The P&W session ended and they made few announcements and informed everyone about quiet time and still, I was there, unable to move. Since it was quiet time and I could not refer to what I've learned that day, I just said simple prayers to God. Not long after that, about 5 minutes or so my muscles started jiggling everywhere and my breathing rate was increasing. I was able to move and I was breathing like a normal awaken person again and since there was about 20 minutes left for quiet time, I decided to join in with everyone else.
However, I seriously could not focus on what I wanted to do. All that time I was only thinking of why I was so static like that and could not even do anything. So basically what came to my thought was that God is trying to tell me that I really should have more quiet moments in prayer with Him. I mean, really. Come to think of it, I was really asking why and I realized that all these time, we have put in most of our time to actually attend ourselves to the worldly things and pleasures, though they are only temporary. And when trials come, we fall. So the point that I think God was trying to tell me is that when you have practised putting in some quiet time with Him, it will eventually become a daily basis. And when it becomes a daily basis, it is easier for you not to fall into traps as your faith is strengthen every time you spend time with Him. And even when you do, its easier for you to conquer it and step up to continue defending your faith. Cause if you don't you will be corrupted and your faith will be shaken. But of course, God loves us so much, He will bring us back up on our feet, in one way or another even though we do not spend much of quiet times with Him. And therefore, we all should also be not ashamed of our GOD. For He is everlasting and everliving. He is omnipotent and omnipresence :)

Day 3(26/1/13)

Okay, so for this day, I have a LOT to write about because many things had happen on this day. But I have chose to write what I think is more worth to share about. So basically, I'm going to split this day into two different parts.

Part One
To share with you a little bit before continuing on with my EWA experience, all these while, I have been wanting to have the gift of vision and the gift of free-movement. I firstly wanted the gift of vision because I wanted to see God, Heaven and all that is in it because I've heard from people that it is a really nice place to be. For the gift of free-movement, I wanted it because I wanted to be cool and awesome like some people who knows how to dance very well by just doing it spontaneously. In fact, what really grew in me was jealousy and I woke up from that when I was in EWA. I don't know how but I suddenly sobered up.
However, I still wanted the gift of free-movement but this time I want to use it for good and not for being proud of it. So during the afternoon P&W session, I decided to choose one but I was still uncertain of which one I should go forth and ask God. I made up my mind and told Him, "Lord, I'm having a tough choice right now and I don't want to choose any more. Whatever that You give me, I accept, whatever You don't give, I understand and obey You."
So then I just worshipped Him like usual. But this time, it really felt different. It wasn't me but all the other campers as well. The aura of worshipping God was there and it was SO powerful it grew and grew every second. Everyone was there to worship God to their fullest. Then there was this beautiful song that has always been in my favourites that came up to play. The song was by Michael W. Smith - Open The Eyes of My Heart. This song has never failed to touch me and again, it did. One very small part of this song says 'I want to see You' touched me that day cause of my longing to actually wanting to see Him. And when I mean I want to see Him, I mean it and I really really do!
I then told the Lord, "GOD, I really Really REALLY WANT to see You!! Be it only a glimpse of Your shadow or Your sweet face. I WANT TO SEE YOU!!" From that on, I kept on telling God I wanted to see Him and I didn't care if I followed the song or not. I continued singing my own prayers and not the words of the song. I know I may sound crazy or a little too demanding, but let me tell you something. God wants to see how much you have put in an effort to actually tell Him that cause He is ever-giving. And so, I put in my faith to tell Him this - tell Him how much I want to see Him as I love Him and He loves me. This is also because I have finally realized that I wanted to see Him more compared to having being doing some free movements on my own(if you get what I mean).
Then there was this one point that I remember repeating the same words all over and over again even though the song played has changed. I kept saying, "Lord, I want to see You." And then it was when it happened when I saw a bright light and an image slowly forming. At first, I thought I was dreaming or something cause I closed my eyes or even thinking it may be the room lights that caused a bright light to appear. But no. Instead, a clear image formed and I could not recognize it at first.
When I realized what it was, I fell on my knees, cried and what I saw before went blank. What I saw was a humongous crowd of people praising and worshipping God to the fullest. You must be wondering, 'Okay, so where did you see Him after seeing a crowd praising Him?' Well, to what I saw, I saw many stairs going up to somewhere which appears to be the stairway to God's throne. Then that was where I saw a man sitting on the throne with the Holy Spirit next to him. And on right his lap, there was a child sitting with Him. So now the question that came up to me is, "WHO is the child there?" I questioned myself this is because the man sitting on the throne looked like Jesus so I was puzzled. But what I had in mind was that the person whom I saw looked like Jesus was God the Almighty Father and the child was Jesus himself.
As I was super uncertain about this, I confronted one of my ministry leaders, Mervyn and told him about this. What he had said could possibility be is what I have exactly in mind!! So from that forth, there was no more doubts and question about this matter. Merv did asked me if there are any other times that I would have seen images like these and I told him yes(I'll get to that soon). Because of this, Merv did advise me to continue praying as this might be the gift of vision or its even trying to tell you or someone else something.
After having confronted Merv, I felt at ease and lighter. I also felt so much lifted up and happy for God has given me a chance to see His glory.

A simple drawing of what I saw :)
p/s: sorry for the bad drawing! not much of an artistic person xD
Part Two 

For this part, I'm clueless of when it happened but I believe it was during the Eucharistic Adoration at night. During the Eucharistic Adoration, there was also confession going on down in the dining room. Since I had not went for confession for almost a year, I was thinking that I might as well go for it as I might not get to confess my sins while I'm studying elsewhere. So after confession, I went back up to join the adoration. Suddenly, I felt like praying for a friend of mine, S as she was very lost in this world and is very prone to be an atheist one day. At that point, there were some songs being played but I paid no attention to it. After thinking that I have played my part in praying for her, I wanted to pray for some others, but I did not know who. So instead of crushing my brains, I joined in the singing instead. 

At that time my hand posture was as of below[The one circled in red].

Till now, I have no clue what the song we sang was(it was my first time singing it) but I can tell you its a very beautiful worship song. Once I had the song in my head, I closed my eyes and sing it from my heart. I remember there was this one part that goes something like 'I will love you so much better everyday' that was repeated all over. Slowly, I put myself into those words and started swaying sweetly from left to right.
Not long after that, I felt like there was a soft swish of cold air on my palms. Soon, I felt like there was someone right in front of me, facing towards me and holding my hands. It really felt like we were dancing a slow, sweet dance. At that point, I also felt peace, love and assurance. That was when I know that God was there with me, inviting me to a dance and I was even dancing with Him! So eventually, I smiled and kept quiet, enjoying that dance.
It so happen that that night we were also talking about sexuality(guys and girls are given separate talks). So I kind of wondered, who will be my love life in the future? Then when this happened, when I was dancing with God, I knew, He was the perfect one for me. He is my TRUE LOVER OF LIFE, my Mr. Right and my everything! Since I was dancing with Him, it came to mind that my God is a very romantic God. <3 So if any of you think your boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancĂ©/fiancĂ©e or husband/wife is not romantic enough, you can always look for God. TRUST ME, He IS romantic! ;)
**Day 3 Extras**
Throughout this retreat, everyone was told to write affirmation notes to some of our friends so that they know that they are loved and cared for. And since it was the last night of camp, I had many undone ones, about 15 of them and I only had 2 done ones throughout the retreat. You must be thinking, "Nayyy, easy job to do!" But honestly telling you, its not. Cause when you write affirmation notes, it must be words full of wisdom and love, not just some trash can message.
So after supper, it would normally be lights out by 11.30pm but instead, I finished my supper early and went up to the meeting hall to write my affirmation notes. I wrote them in the hall cause it was quieter(most of the campers was at the dining hall) and it was so much easier as I could see the names of the participants and just jot their names on who I would love to write to. In that hall itself, there were only a handful of people - less than 10 I can assure you. The only people who were writing affirmation notes in there was Anthony, Philemon and I and the rest were doing their thing.
Out of the blue, Merv and Karen Lijong started this super random band by playing some songs. I personally think that they were hyper but not drunk. They played some songs and one of it was I KNOW IT and they made it sound SO superbly funny that the three of us(Anthony, Philemon and I) could not stand the laughters in our mouth and burst out laughing to the max. Honestly telling you, I have a high pitched laughter and cheer so the room was filled of mega-sonic-boom of my high pitched laughter. LOL. Also, Anthony commented that this small crowd of people giving cheers is so much better than a big crowd cause we were LOUD&SMALL!!
So when people hear the jam, laughters and cheers, they started coming in. When the room was filled with approximately 25 people, Kelvin Chan[diva daddy] and Natallee[big mama] invited people to come and join in the dance as the song I KNOW IT was played again. Some joined but not many of us did as we stayed back doing affirmation notes like I did. But seeing how funny the crowd everything was, I just laughed along while doing my affirmation notes and the whole campers joined in the party.
I continued on staying back but then my butt, legs and hands got really itchy when the song CHADA was played as it was my favourite! So then I really could not resist it and joined in the dance and fun. From that on, I did not continue on my affirmation notes, instead I joined the party. Just so you know, this party was an unplanned one and isn't even in the schedule. Overall, we finished around 12.30am and the party lasted for 1 1/2 hour(We got so caught up in time)! I was exhausted but I had so much affirmation notes to do, I'd rather prefer to do it in my room. However, the moment I was on my bed, no names could pop out of my head, non at all! Since I was already in my PJs, I chose to sleep rather than going back to the hall to search for names for me to write.
And so, the day ended and we were all exhausted. But then we all enjoyed party-rocking with God late at night, filled full of the Holy Spirit and energy. Again, I'm looking for this party with God again :)

Day 4(27/1/13)

The last day of anything has always been the saddest day to me as the fun we have are all put to memories and as I think of it, its always a bitter-sweet one. However, this time, not at all. Its one of my happiest and most memorable day ever so far. This is because I have received a lot during this retreat and I received so much more again on this last day. In the morning, everyone was like a total zombie and many could not wake up for the morning call due to last night's tiring party. Some remained sleeping until breakfast was over but got up after that.
During our morning worship, Benedict(Ben) challenged all of us - including servants to worship God without using our mouths. He said it like this, "Somewhere in the mere future, our freedom of worshipping our God the Almighty will be taken away from us. We wont be able to listen, read or talk about our God. So then, what are you going to do when this happen? You must find another way of worshipping Him that no other person can understand. And now, I want you to try NOT to sing along to the music. I'm only going to play the music for you but do not use your mouth to worship Him."
When I heard this, I was like, okay, what am I going to do? So then I told the Lord God to help me cause I myself know that this will surely happen in the end. The song played was Hear us from Heaven by Jared Anderson - a powerful prayer song in deed. As a start off, I didn't do much, but I did a little hand movements based on the lyrics and based on how I feel by putting myself into the song. In the beginning, it felt really awkward cause I normally worship along by using my mouth and this time around, I can't. However, I know the most important thing is that you worship God to your fullest of body, spirit, mind and soul.
After a few minutes or so, the actions I did become more and more intense and I would do every action for every word. I was filled full of the Holy Spirit and the actions I did brought out more meaning than it was in the beginning. By now, that awkward feeling was gone and I was filled with confidence, strength and energy. I felt so much lighter and lifted that I was really enjoying myself praising God in that way. Then out of no where, Ben said to everyone, "STOP. Everyone stop. Stop what you are doing right now.But all eyes remained closed."
I was in the midst of enjoying P&W-ing God and so sudden Ben said stop. In me, I was like, "WHYYYYY?!?! :O :O Why stop now, Ben?"
Then Ben said this, "Some of you have found a new way of worshipping God, some of you are on the way and some of you have not found any at all. If you have found a new way, try to find another way. If you are on the way, continue to search. If you have not, don't be weary. Continue to find a way and if it is not easy for you, tell God to help you and He will."
When I heard this, I was like, "OHH, okay. But another way? Hmm, I don't know." So I told God that if He wants me to have another way, so be it but if He wants me to stay put to this one for the moment, I obey as this is His will, not mine. With that, God only made me stick to one alternative way but I am still happy because I know what He has in store for me is good in every way.
During Andre's last session with us, He did not talk and share much to us within one hour. Instead, he used it for P&W. The worship song that was played was Spirit Come and to tell you the truth, I was not in the mood of singing so I used what I had learn earlier on as a worship for that song. There was this one part of the song that repeatedly sings SPIRIT COME. 

For this part of the song, my hands were lifted high up like this picture.
What I did was gesturing the Holy Spirit to come into me by withdrawing my hands back and forth from the hand position like the picture above. Also, I looked up into the sky, but with eyes closed as it reminds that Heaven is always above of me. I kept repeating and repeating that same movement for almost every other different words.
Then, the same thing happened, a bright light appeared and again I thought it was the room light. But then an image slowly formed. It looked like an upward ending in no where and it was superbly bright. For some time, I adored the structure of the tunnel as it was beautiful and I was still doing the same hand gesturing. After a while, I saw something like a small black dot growing bigger and bigger. I was puzzled. "What is that?!" I thought. But sooner, as the dot became bigger and clearer, it seemed to be like a man coming down from the tunnel. I noticed he has wings, was in a long robe and was reaching out on to me. I also saw his sweet face with a pleasant smile. I was quite stunt for a while with what I saw thinking that my vision was blur or something.
But then it got closer and I fell onto my knees.

In my head, I was like "OMG OMG, what was that? What was that?!?!" Sure enough I was gasping for air like a mad woman for I was quite in a total shock. Once I came to a more logic mind, I asked myself, "Was that an angel just now?" And I was not sure about it at all. But then I praise God for letting me able to see His wonders and for sending me His angel. And so, when all things made sense for that little moment, I laughed like a kid having fun being tickled by so many people. That cheerful laugh was what I gave to God because I was happy. I cried and laughed with joy. While I was laughing, I also told God how honoured I was for being able to see His wonderful works as not many people can. Even though I'm not worthy, but with such great love, God still gives us what we hunger for. Seriously, I can tell you I was like laughing so happily, I wanted to jump up and down the room. LOL :)

A simple drawing of the vision I saw that day.
p/s: sorry for the bad drawing! not much of an artistic person xD

As I was still unsure of what or who the man is, I approached Andre at the end of the retreat. I described to him what I saw and said, "Is it an angel or the Holy Spirit?" I asked this because what I saw looked like an angel but I was hand-gesturing to Spirit Come. So I was confused and thus, I asked him. Then Andre told me that it was the Holy Spirit that came down because I was inviting Him to come into me, and so He did. From then on I felt more relieved, knowing what it really was and thus, I went back home happier than ever.
And just so if you forget, this is why Merv told me to pray about it. So for the moment, I'm still unsure, but the best is yet to come. Time will come and eventually I will know whether it is the gift or vision or not. :)

-Thank you for reading! God bless! :)
-btw, sorry for a very long post. hehe ;)