Thursday, April 28, 2011

Prayer updates 28 Apr'11

I am now into my 2nd week of 3rd chemo cycle. God has continued to sustain my health in the last one week. I did not vomit, neither did I suffer any physical pain (due to back or chemo side effect). Sometimes, I forgot that I am a cancer patient if not for my daily chemo, my limited stamina and the large scar across my abdomen. I think my Ambrotose health supplement by Mannatech has helped to boost my immune system and improve my digestive system. My past prayer to partake in the church ministry has slowly been answered. I will be teaching youth Sunday school on 8 May, leading fellow brothers and sisters from PRC in a Bible study on 13 May, facilitating a topical study for my church's elders, deacons and pastoral staff on 31 May. I was also asked to consider a longer commitment by teaching systematic theology at Jubilee School of Missions (禧福宣教学院) in Chinese language once a week for ten weeks starting from 27 Jun. The school focuses on equipping laity, missionaries, and pastoral staff for grassroots ministry. I am really excited at the avenues God has opened up for me, my only concern is the stability of my health.

At the same time, I am also excited to be living in such a time in Singapore, where election is round the corner and the opposition parties have come up strongly against the ruling party. I finally have the chance to vote again. Yes! The Worker's Party has formed a formidable team at Aljunied, and Singapore People's Party has a credible team at Bishan-Toa Payoh. I believe it is good for the opposition parties to form proficient teams to challenge the status quo. Ever since I came back from Boston last August (I was away for almost three years), I have become conscious of the much higher cost of living, and the tighter squeeze on the lower and middle income group. The percentage of those living in private housing (condos and landed properties) has jumped from 11.3% to 16.9% between 2000 and 2010 (refer to Department of Statistics Singapore to compare type of dwelling in 2000 and 2010). If not for the recent cooling measure on the property market, those who hold property will hoard more properties while those who do not hold any property face more challenge in owning the first one. Though S'pore has recovered fast from the world recession, part of the GDP's growth comes from the integrated resorts. I have been hearing stories about social problems related to the casinos and have seen increased loan sharks' activities.

As my theological school (i.e. Boston University School of Theology) is known as the school of the prophets, I have become more sensitive to social issues after being trained there for three years. I am not sure whether religion has become so private that we can only talk about spiritual growth and evangelism in church, as if social concern is not spiritual at all. I know the importance of segregating religion and politics, and S'pore is an official secularized country; at the same time, our God is also concerned about the less privileged. I am not a Marxist, a capitalist or an aspiring politician. I am a Singapore Christian, and I seek to live my faith in context of the wider society. I wish there are more concerns for the less privileged in church, and more things could be done to narrow the widening gap between the needy and the rich. In fact, I think the spirit of Christ does encourage us to invite the less privileged to the fellowship table, and to care for the needy in church and society.

I invite you to join me in prayer for:
1. My health to continue stabilizing. I do wish my cancerous cells are shrinking, and God does give me more years to serve in ministry;

2. If my health continues to stabilize in the coming one week, I will be researching and compiling resources for my systematic theology class. Please pray that I will have sufficient Chinese language resources, and God does give me sufficient energy and time to prepare for the class;

3. The electoral campaigns to expose Singaporeans to fair and sound arguments for a better society together whether from the opposition parties or the ruling party, and the elected party to be committed to the promises made to the residents;

4. More energies and resources to be dedicated to the less privileged in the church and society, rather than to church expansion project. It would be wonderful if different denominations could unite in an effort to organize financial literacy class or job fair for the less privileged. May the less privileged see the Christ in us.

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