Monday, May 31, 2010

This Photograph Is Proof

I'm living in a story that proves that when God calls, we don't have to worry. I have spent the last decade learning to trust God to provide. He always has. Maybe not the way I would have liked it but He always made things work out. Learning about Faith in bible school strengthened that desire to live like the heroes of faith. I had requirements for God though. I told Him that He had to provide for me and I wouldn't ask for any financial help from my family.

I was working part-time, at one point with two jobs, so as to support myself. Money was still tight though. There was one night, near the end of my shift at a Christian bookshop, I discovered that I had no money in my wallet, my farecard was empty and I had less than 6 dollars in my bank. I was contemplating borrowing money from the bookshop's cash register but that would have been really difficult to explain. I even thought of the possibility of walking home from the city, but that would mean I would get home too late to wake up for bible school the next morning.

So I prayed and worried, and prayed and worried. And gradually the worry faded away. There wasn't any solution but peace seemed to override every other emotion. About 20 minutes before my shift ended, my brother called me up. He was 'in the area' and asked if I needed a lift home. There is a difference between faith and pride. God takes pleasure in one and distances himself from the other. Faith believes for help, pride turns it down when it doesn't look like what you expected. I readily agreed to the lift.

Deep down, I longed to be able to rely on God like the heroes of faith did. Like George Mueller, or Smith Wigglesworth or like my grandfather. And I would ask God, 'Is faith for the poor? Can I not learn faith if my family is middle class?'

God must have smirked.

And so I quit my part-time job to focus on the last year of my bible school. It was financial suicide. But even when things made no logical sense, God always came through. Meals were paid for, people gave me lifts to school and home so I saved on bus fare. I made it till the end of bible school. I found a job 2 weeks after the last day of school at Christian Outreach to the Handicapped and I've been working there for just over 2 years.

I have a diploma in Information Technology. The job market suggests that I can earn up to $3000 in the IT sector. But that would mean that I would be doing something that I did not enjoy. I wanted to go into Mass Communications back in my polytechnic days and I would have if I were confident enough. My results were good enough and I passed the written test. If only I could answer the questions during the interview. I froze because of insecurity.

Incidently, my friend wanted to get into the same course later on. He borrowed photographs that I took on a trip to Israel to use in his 'portfolio'. He was handsome and smooth. I wanted to write. Get into journalism, advertising and media. He wanted to get to know the chicks. The last I heard, he had become an air steward. Probably for the same noble reason.

He got in. With my photographs.

Well, more than 10 years later, I find that I'm learning to use what I love, in my work. I write, I photograph, I create simple advertisements and I use social media to promote my organisation. Communications. God has a great way of bringing you to your calling.

I'm planning a missions trip. Its happening this Thursday for 3 weeks.
It started out with just 2 people unsure if they could go. Now we have a team of 6 who will not be stopped.
It started with zero finances and a missions policy that would not support our team members. Now we are only 500 dollars away from the budget and a product sponsorship worth thousands of dollars from an internationally reknown cosmetics company.

God is good if we let Him be. If we allow Him the opportunities to fulfill His promises.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Love For What You Hide Is Growing Like The New Born

Dedicated to the most beautiful birthday twins that I know.
Lysandra and Lavinia.

Hide. Hide behind these words
They are a shield for my ego, my precious ego,
easily bruised and so sensitive.
You could fill it until it stretches and grows
and yet it would fit in one clenched hand
like a single gold dollar
of a boy in a video game arcade.
And that boy would wander,
looking at every screen, every ticket-spitting machine
wishing he could win some meaning.
He would ask, what drives you in this place?
And shrill alarms bells and spinning flashing lights
would reply and he would never know
if they were the answer or the distraction.

I know two women,
born nine minutes apart
Their eyes are strong,
nourished and trained;
But unlike the twenty-something executive with a gym membership,
meaningless repetition with polished metal and black numbered weights.
No. Picture the labourer in the humidity,
carrying a thick stink, covered in the raw sheen of perspiration
his muscles the by-products of actual labour, straining with purpose.
See life's necessity chiseled into these women's faces.
They have never backed down,
I believe they don't know how.

Pride props up her chin.
Confidence her second skin
She dresses dangerously.
No one is safe, especially not me
Her smile is oil,
rare, precious, fueling my moods
Diamonds highly desired
and yet unaffordable.

Win all the attention and affection in the room
Send ripples down their spines
with your laughter, like bells rejoicing,
like peace from a mountain stream
Everything will be alright
because you are here, you are happy.
You are the reminder of hope.

- Daryl Goh

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blind Faith Revolutions That I Can Watch But Hate The Sound

We are always trying harder,
Crying out for more committment, demanding discipline.
But the problem is we've never
come to the end of our own effort.
Am I a failure because
I refused to live disciplined?
Because I rebelled?
Or could I somehow have become a believer too?

I'm sorry Johnny,
I'm not great like you
I cannot do what you've done
I cannot write hymns and I haven't started a movement.
Hey Suzy, could it be
you spent all that time
in the meeting rooms and under the tables, simply because
you wanted to be near daddy?

We've unwound this red tape
and entangled our heart
We've used it to blindfold compassion
no wonder our love got lost.
They tell us to pray for revival
But recognise that I've been living
my revival for a decade now
And it started with failure.

- Daryl Goh

You Can Do Amazing Things With A Fifth A Third

One-fifth One-third ain't bad. At the end of the poetry writing month, I have written 9 poems. 9 out of 30. I wish I had more time and more inspiration but I am somewhat satisfied at what I've managed to achieve. Anyway, this is the most I have ever written in a month.

I should try again after the missions trip in June.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Closer by Anis Mojgani

come closer.
come into this. come closer.
you are quite the beauty. if no one has ever told you that before know that now. you are quite the beauty. there is joy in how your mouth dances with your teeth. your mouth is a sign of how sacred your life truly is. come into this. true of heart come into this. you are true of heart. come closer. come closer. know that whatever God prays to He asked it to help Him make something of worth. He woke from His dreams scraped the soil form the spaces inside Himself made you and was happy. you make the Lord happy.
come into this.

come closer.
know that something softer than us but just as holy planted the pieces of Himself into our feet that we might one day find our way back to Him. you are almost home.
come closer come into this. there are birds beating their wings beneath your breastplate gentle sparrows aching to sing come aching hearts come soldiers of joy doormen of truth come true of heart come into this.
my heart was too big for my body so I let it go and most days this world has thinned me to where I am just another cloud forgetting another flock of swans but believe me when I tell you my soul has squeezed into narrow spaces. place your hand beneath your head when you sleep tonight and you may find it there making beauty as we sleep as we dream as we turn over when I turn over in the ground may the ghosts that I have asked answers of do the turning kneading me into crumbs of light and into this thing love thing called life. come into it!

come you wooden museums
you gentle tigers
negro farces in two broken scenes.
come rusting giants!
I see teacups in your smiles upside down glowing. your hands are like my heart. on some days how it trembles. let us hold them together. I am like you. I too at times am filled with fear. but like a hallway must find the strength to walk through it. walk through this with me. walk through this with me. through this church birthed of blood and muscle where every move our arms take every breath we swallow is worship.
bend with me. there are bones in our throats. if we choke it is only on songs.

- Anis Mojgani
(Check out his blog for his 30 in 30.)