Archive for June 2007

Constant Change For Perfection

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We're all like clouds, that move across the sky... we change forms right right before our very own eyes... jmc

I was reminded of this song when I was cloud gazing on the way to Damai Laut for our family holiday.

I have indeed changed. I've been to a few places. My father was in the army so we had to move places from time to time. A few years here... a few years there.

When I graduated from college, I thought I could be stable... staying where I was, working... making my own family in a stable place.

But God took me some where else... and when I thought I was home, He took me again to some other place.

I met people along the way... some had impacted my life... some had left marks... some had wounded me... got healed... but there are scars that are still obvious til now.

Life's a constant change... we take one step forward and unknowingly, that simple step has taken us to a million miles. .. taken us to places...That simple step has changed us, moulded us, prodded us forward even more.

Good thing He was there. And He's still here... to guide me... to speak to me when I think nobody's around to talk to... encourages me when I think everything seems hopeless and I am feeling really helpless... walks with me when i think i am alone trodding my path... guides me... and constantly molding me into something that can be used... that can be a vessel. and if He thinks I'm not fit for a certain mold, He'd break me... again and again... to form a new one... more beautiful... more fit. I am changing... to the sole purpose of His glory... changing.. and yet the same. Same plans... same purposes... same meaning... same janet... and yet... inwardly... outwardly... He keeps molding me... sometimes it hursts especially when he softens the rough spots, sometimes it feels wonderful when the smooth surface shines...

Thank God... that through this journey of constant change.. He's there... always the same... never changing... never leaving... never stopped loving.

I am in His hands... and I pray I'll always be... until one day... that special day when He comes again... and bring me to His place... and will say in my presence... that I don't need to change... I don't need any more breaking...coz in His grace and in His love, He has prefected me. At last!

Swiss Garden Holiday -2

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This is the continuation of my story about our holiday in Damai Laut, at Swiss Garden Hotel.

When we woke up the next day (which was very late), both of us smelled so creamy... hahaha! Actually we smelled like babies. And we were so hesitant to shower coz we wanted to relish our body scent. But we showered anyway.

Then we went to the pool.

read the rest of the entry here:

Swiss Garden - Damai Laut

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The Drive
Damai Laut is a 3-hour drive from KL. The drive was very smooth.

Schenker and Samantha were asleep almost all of the time… Thank God we have 2 car seats now. I can at least rest and take photos in the car while traveling.

(The happy and comfy travellers)

(The Happy Driver)

read the rest of the story here:


posted by Jan

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I subscribed to this devotions for women... So I get a daily dose of encouragement...and it really helps me through the day.
Today's verse:
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

God's plan is the expression of His love. Never in our lives will God ever express His plan except as an expression of His perfect love. God always has our best interests at heart. He'll take any situation a person is going through, even if it is a terrible one, and will use it for a good, overall purpose in one's life.

It's good to be reminded once again about His purposes and plans. There are certain times that we forget about it... like when we're at our busiest, lowest, highest or in whatever situation that keeps us away from remembering His purposes in our lives.

Hmmm... got me to thinking... what really is His purposes for me? What are His plans? Sometimes, when I take a look at myself... busy with the kids, with all the housework in mind... and not forgetting that my husband would be coming home soon and i haven't cooked dinner yet... i get to thinking... Do I exist just because of them kids? Do I exist just to do housework and just be a wife?... a tag along during grocery shopping time? When all these come to my mind... and when there's no reassurance, I feel really down... and feel like I'm running around like a headless chicken... no direction, no goal.

But God, in His awesome faithfulness, reminds me... over and over again... like today...that... He has a purpose for me... plans... to give me life and a hope... His purpose that I would mother my kids. I have two great kids... imagine God giving me the chance to raise two future great people for the Lord! Imagine being a wife to a "great man" in the Lord!!! ... Imagine keeping a house where "great people" of the Lord come for rest, comfort and prayer!

Suddenly LIFE comes back to me... with hope, with meaning, with a purpose... to be a blessing to my kids, to my husband, friends, and nations! Isn't that awesome?

Thank you God for getting me excited again... thank you God for bringing me back to you. Thank you for today's encouragement. Looking forward to hearing from you tomorrow, Lord. Good night!

Damai Laut

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Weeee!!!! we're going to Damai Laut for our family holiday! I can't wait to go for holiday again. Last time we went for holiday was in February this year, during Chinese New Years Holiday. went to penang and hatyai, thailand. we drove then. this time, we'll also drive. the hotel (swiss garden - damai laut) got bath tub. so i'll make sure we bring with us some things for spa. i wanna do a body spa with peter! hmmm.... really can't wait.

read the rest of the entry here:


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Peter led the devotions today. He talked about "giants" in our lives... especially us, workers.

Giant is an allegory of something that distracts us from being effective in serving God. He gave the example of King David in 2 Samuel 21:15-17

(2Sa 21:15) And again the Philistines warred with Israel. And David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines. And David became faint

(2Sa 21:16) And Ishbi-benob, who was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear was three hundred shekels of bronze in weight. And he being girded with a new sword thought to kill David.
(2Sa 21:17) But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid, and struck the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, You shall not go out to battle with us any more, so that you do not put out the light of Israel.

Observations were made:
Two things were different …..
1.David was an older man, without the robust strength of his youth.(In the midst of the fighting, David became exhausted. -Gone were the days when he was so strong and robust!)
2. A Philistine giant, Ishbi-Benob was out to get David.(It would seem like Ishbi-Benob had been waiting for such a moment – when David was the most vulnerable, in order to make his move).

Known as on of the heroes among David’s men. A fearless and willing volunteer, fiercely loyal to David. Abishai comes to David’s aid... smites the giant and kills him. They won the battle!

Howevere, David’s valiant men gather around him and make him swear that he will never go into battle again.

Why? Is it for David's own safety?

Hmmmm...Something more important is at stake: “ In order that the lamp of God might not go out “... meaning...David, as king, was like a lamp that reflected the character and purposes of God to Israel and the surrounding peoples.
To extinguish this witness would be an assault on God’s redemptive purposes for the nations.
We are lamps to team members, family, ministry colleagues, UPGs,etc
As with David, the forces of darkness seek to prey on our vulnerabilities in order to diminish the intensity of our lights to the UPGs, family, friends, etc .
Watching Over Our Hearts
(Pro 4:23) Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it.
Pro 4:23 - Heart - Thy thoughts, will, and affections. For - From thence proceed all the actions, as of the natural, so of the spiritual life, which lead to eternal life.

We need to look for opportunities to reassess personal strengths and weaknesses.
Like David and his men, we must rise to the challenge and search deep within our hearts and take a closer look at our own giants and vulnerabilities.

What are our vulnerabilities?
Painful memories
Interpersonal relationships
Emotional Instability

2 Keys for personal growth & ministry effectiveness :

1. Self Reflection
2. Accountability

“A bitter truth is better than a sweet lie”

Looking within is not easy, but it is far better than ignorance & denial.
Take time to get quiet, and reflect. Listen & wait upon the Lord. Speak to a friend.
Speak to a counselor.

As I reflect today's devotions... I came to ponder upon this:

It does hurt sometimes when friends correct/admonish us... but according to the scripture: Open rebuke is better than secret love.

When we allow people (leaders, friends, counselors, pastors, etc.) to speak to our lives... only then can we experience a total change of heart and of mind and true love will manifest in it's greatest form... to love and serve (effectively) HIM.

Only when we have a total change of heart can we minister effectively to our "neighbours".

Only when we're refreshed can we refresh others.

Only when we're willing to submit can we serve others.

Only when we recognize our strength and weaknesses can we have a total change of attitude towards our walk in the Lord.

God has indeed spoken to my heart.

Be blessed!

My Reflections on LOTR

posted by Jan

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My Reflections on LOTR
My friend asked me last week what my favorite movie was... and I told her it's the LOTR (The Lord of the Rings) Trilogy. That movie has really impacted me... I have watched it 50,000 times and I could watch it 50,000 times again. Hehehe. Actually, when she asked me about it, I remembered I wrote my review and reflections on the story. I opened my mail box (coz I sent it to friends for encouragement like ages ago) and found a copy. I started reading... and once again, it has encouraged me. I decided to post it here, hoping that as you read... you'd be encouraged as well. Skip my grammatical errors though... or better yet, contact me for corrections. Thanks!

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – Janet’s Review & Reflection
I had the chance of seeing these 3 movies, the part 1 of which was the first movie Peter and I watched two years ago (the second part was the first movie we saw together after we got engaged and the third part was the first movie we saw after we got married). After seeing the first part, I was urged to read the books as I was excited to see how the ring was going to be destroyed. I got a friend of mine from the US to send me the books and to my surprise, I got four of ‘em!!! The other book, entitled The Hobbits, is, I think the introduction of the trilogy, of how Bilbo got the ring & of how Smeagol, who later became Gollum took the ring forcefully from his cousin Deagol. He wanted the ring so much that he killed his cousin.

I love the story. True enough the story revolves around “good wins over evil.” And yet it’s not as simple as that… There’s something deeper, more meaningful. In fact, you could draw out a million themes from the story, e.g. the ring as a symbol of sin; Frodo and Sam - great friendship; team work, etc. I wanna write more on “ team work “ as one of the themes for the Lord of the Rings. The story itself teaches how a team can achieve its mission through working together in unity in spite of the differences.

However, for those of you who haven’t read the books, or even watched the movies, I would like to share with you how the story goes, otherwise, you may skip this part to go straight to my reflection.

Somewhere, some time, extremely long ago the evil prince Sauron forged a golden ring. The ring enabled its bearer to rule, and made him evil, if by chance he was not evil from the beginning. One Human being, Isildür, cut Sauron´s hand in a battle and took his ring. Isildür, who originally was a noble king, of course became intoxicated by his desire for power – so he lost the ring, his gold and his life.

In the course of numerous vicissitudes the ring fell into the hands of a troglodyte, Gollum, who became so possessed by his possession that he withered into a tiny monster, sitting in his cave, patting his ring all day long. One day, several thousand years later, he lost his ring. By accident it fell into the tiny hands of Bilbo the hobbit, a peaceful homunculus with hairy feet and dirty nails. Frodo, Bilbo´s even smaller nephew, of all impossible personalities, finally got the sacred mission of bringing the ring in security. It had became necessary to do so, because by then (i.e. about the end of the 14th Century A.D?) the Sauronic ring had begun to activate itself, attracting the attention of the evil prince (still going strong on his dim mountain) who had begun to mobilize his black, mounted ring-ghosts to track it in order to carry it back to its maker. If they had succeeded in doing so the ring would have enabled him eternally to rule over Middle Earth, the homeland of elves, hobbits, humans, and of all decent creatures.

Frodo is given due briefing by Gandalf, the wizard. Around the tiny hobbit a brotherhood of eight is formed: a couple of exiled human kings, a fierce dwarf, an elf archer and a couple of fellow hobbits. They take off on a long quest in order to throw the ring back into the Crack of Doom from which it was originally forged, because that is the only way to destroy its evil power for good.

However, Sauron´s new proselyte, Sarumon the wizard by now is breeding a new race of evil, dark warriors – the orchs – out of the infernal swamp. With their assistance and by means of Balrog, a giant monster, some huge trolls, and innumerable ugly monsters he tries to frustrate the quest of our small peace corps. The story goes on and on…


After seeing the three movies, I was awed by how each character was able to reach the mission (which I wasn’t able to see while reading the books as I was interpreting the story literally)! I would very much like to relate the Lord of the Rings trilogy to “m work.”

First, let’s get to Gandalf, the wizard. He goes here and there, trying to make friends with every creature. He goes to the Shire to visit his Hobbit friend, Bilbo Baggins, and realizes later that the ring was in his possession and later on turned over to Bilbo’s nephew, Frodo. He believes that Frodo would be the one who would go to Mordor to destroy its power. He then goes to Saruman to tell him about the ring but to his dismay Saruman has joined forces with Sauron, the enemy. The whole movie, it was Gandalf who goes to all the leaders of the different groups of people just to awaken them to join forces against the forthcoming war.

Gandalf represents a “m mobilizer”. It’s like he’s going from church to church just to see the churches joining together to finish the “remaining task”, to reach the Unreached!

Second, Frodo and Sam represent the “frontliners”. In the Bible, as Jesus sent them two by two, this, too, happened in the story. Although at first, Merry and Pippin were with Frodo and Sam, somewhere along the way, they had to let go (unwillingly) of the two and join others to fight in the war. There is so much to learn from this. Frodo and Sam represent Paul and Barnabas, Frodo being Paul and Sam being Barnabas. Frodo was quite a weak person (but bold and courageous) and Sam was there to encourage him. The two had their own role and they didn’t forget that. Along the way, towards the “crack of doom”, nearing the fire to which Frodo is supposed to destroy the ring… Frodo became so weak due to the heavy burden. Sam, always remembering his role as a companion to Frodo didn’t take the ring himself. Instead, he carried Frodo to the gates of fire so Frodo could throw away the ring by himself. I remember Sam when he said: “I can’t carry the ring, Frodo, but I can carry you.”

That, I think was a neat representation of how partners can work together as a team. Each knew their own role, not overstepping each other, not envying of the roles that was given to the other. And yet, both are going towards one goal!

There was one time when Gollum tried to talk Frodo against Sam. Frodo, as weak, tired, and burdened as he was, believed Gollum. He then told Sam to go back home.

This too, can happen to us. When we get so weak, so burdened, so burnt out, instead of trusting and believing our partners, we tend to listen to the lies of the enemy. We tend to get discouraged and become distrustful. But the story doesn’t end here coz Frodo realizes later that it is not Sam, but Gollum who is trying to break them apart, it is Gollum who is trying to deceive them so they would not complete their mission.

Third, here comes Aragorn (the last heir of the line of the kings), Legolas (the elf) and Gimli (the dwarf). These three come from three different races. Legolas and Gimli know so well that Aragorn is the king. They both submit to him. They both listen to his instructions. Legolas and Gimli have different personalities and sometimes they clash. And yet, when it comes to work, they are united, forgetting their differences. The goal is to fight the enemy and not each other!

Wonderful! In a team, there are always different personalities because everyone comes from different backgrounds, different family values, different cultures, etc. Yet, to achieve the team’s goal, one has to forget the differences and focus on the work and not on the other person’s weaknesses and differences. One conversation between Legolas and Gimli hit me the most (this was when they went to Mordor, to the black gate to take away Sauron’s eye from Frodo and Sam). It goes something like this;

Gimli the dwarf: I wouldn’t want to die side by side with an Elf.

Legolas the elf: Then let’s die side by side as friends.

Fourth - the strategy of taking the eye(attention) of Sauron from Frodo and Sam. The team went to the black gate courageously, hoping to stray Sauron’s eyes from looking towards Frodo and Sam. Although they didn’t know where Frodo and Sam were & they didn’t have a report from the two and yet they believed that the two were just there, somewhere, going towards their mission, to destroy the ring. They were too few, being outnumbered but they had courage to go there and call the enemy’s attention away from the two. They had courage. They fought. They hoped. This is like supporters back home… constantly hoping… praying… and interceding for the workers!

Yes indeed. The story is about good winning over evil. And yet in our work, we have to remember that to be able to win the race, it takes unity... submission… acceptance… it takes trust… it takes believing that we are there for a reason, no matter how different we are from the rest. It takes courage amid hopelessness. It takes devotion and commitment that we will never give up until we see hope… until we see light… until we see victory… until we see our efforts are not being wasted… until we see that the remaining task is finished…. Until we see Him glorified by all tongues, all tribes, all nations… Until we see Him Eye to eye!!!

I pray that this reflection of mine would encourage my co-workers to go on with the work that is entrusted to us. God does not see our weaknesses alone, nor does He see our strength alone. He sees beyond that. He sees our hearts, our willingness to obey, and above all, our commitment. Let's continue to run the race!

His Grace, Love and Mercy

posted by Jan

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Last night was aweful.

Peter and I were invited for dinner by friends last night. they wanted to take us for Chinese food. But since my tummy and chinese food don't go along well together, Peter suggested Black Canyon - nice Thai food they have. So we went there. Ordered some nice Thai food and black mocha something.

Peter sent us home after dinner... he had a meeting to attend with. The wife came with me since the husband was also going to attend the meeting. The wife is Filipino by the way, married to Malaysian Chinese. The wife speaks English to me even when we're alone together... which I find very awkward. I understand if we're with our husbands. It would be rude to speak in our own language and other people who don't understand it are listening... but to think that we're speaking English with each other while alone... sounded very awkward to me. Last time, I tried speaking to her in Cebuano/Tagalog coz she's from Davao... but she kept talking to me in English. So I started talking to her in English too. But I haven't gotten used to it yet. It really felt so awkward.

Anyways, while driving home, Schenker fell asleep in the car. So we had to carry him in. He didn't wake up until one hour later. But the moment he woke up, he started looking for his daddy. I want to see daddy, mommy. I told him we don't have to car to go to the office coz daddy is using the car... and besides, even if we have a car, mommy won't be able to drive. But he kept insisting on seeing his daddy... and cried and screamed and cried and screamed. because of this, samantha got the spirit too... and started crying... and screaming. It has stressed me so much, knowing that I have a guest in the house. I tried keeping my cool... but the stress was there.

I started feeling sick in my tummy. I didn't whether it's because of the food or the stress in hearing the two kids cry at the same time. This situation was really hard. I think this was the hardest so far in having two kids. There's no consolation for Schenker and Samantha cried coz her brother was crying. I cannot carry two babies. The boy was asking me to carry him and everytime I put samantha down, she would stop crying and start screaming! Awful night indeed.

I went upstairs... carried two of them while sitting on the bed... the sick feeling was getting intensed so i started praying for God's grace and strength. Comfort and peace for our boy... I almost cried. But after praying, Samantha calmed down a bit. And when I put her back in her cot, she doidn't cry... and she went to sleep straight away. Thank God!

I carried the boy downstairs and just when I couldn't hold the sick feeling anymore... Peter arrived home!

I went to the bathroom and threw up everything I ate. It felt really awful. Anyways... it always does me good every time I throw up when I feel sick.

In times like this... when I turn to God.. He doesn't fail me. He's always there to answer my prayer and comfort me... giving me strength. I admit... I fail so many times... dunno what to do... feeling very weak and helpless... but everytime i turn to Him... He's always by my side. I can only depend and trust in Him who gives me strength and wisdom... and loves me unconditionally.

Awful night indeed but in times like this... this is when I experience His grace and mercy... and love.

A Good Encourager

posted by Jan

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Auntie Karen led the team devotions today at the office. The topic was on encouraging others. It has reminded me once again that there is importance in encouraging others. I used to do it.... sent emails once in a while just to encourage friends. But I guess due to the busyness in life... i got no chance to do it continuously.

According to her... there are two kinds of encouragement. One is affirming others of what they do - expressing gratitude, acknowledging them, and communicating our appreciation for their efforts (whether succesful or not). The other one is affirming others of who they are.

Ways to encourage others include: spoken word, written word, and actions.

Also there are five ground rules for being a Good Encourager:
1. Base your encouraging on obeying God, not on your feelings.
2. Be sensitive to cultural differences.
3. Avoid flattery and too many compliments.
4. Begin with your family.
5. Find out what encourages the other person.

few things in life enables us to flourish as much as encouragement. It empowers us, motivates us, strengthens us, cheers us on, builds us up, and gives us courage. All these results come from such a small investment of time and energy.

Note: Karen attended the "Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills" seminar and this was one of the topics.

I really hope to be able to encourage friends again...

Samantha's Dedication Day

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Samantha was dedicated to God today! Woke up at 5:00am to prepare for church coz we're attending the first service for Babies' Dedication Program. Left the house at 6:45 am. I realized I haven't been out of the house so early for a long long time. It was actually nice to see the dawn again. I said dawn coz here in Malaysia, 6am is like 4am in the Philippines. And everyting starts/opens at 9am here so waking up so early is quite unusual unless you're a morning person... which I'm not. And am glad that Peter is not, too. We're both nocturnals... and our kids are getting there too. Anyways... like what I've said we woke up quite early. I loved the morning breeze... It felt very relaxing... and cooling...The church wasn't so packed compared to the 2nd serive time. It was full alright but not to the point of cramping or something like that.

Peter was amazed to see a couple of couple friends. One couple had 4 kids and the youngest was Samantha's age. The other couple had one (her age, too). And the girl was sooo pretty. It was nice to see Peter's friends.

Before the service started, we went to our cradle roll class room and took some photos and listen to the instructions for the last time. When we went inside the church, there were seats reserved just for us. There were 9 babies who were going to be dedicated.

The dedication was very simple... we said our oaths and prayer of dedication to God. It was sweet and simple.

We didn'd finish the service coz Peter had to go somewhere else for a speaking engagement. (This was the reason why we didn't join the dedication at the 2nd service. We usually go to the 2nd service which starts at 11.00am but have to go early also coz Samantha's cradle roll class starts at 10:30am.) Peter sent us back home and headed to another church.

While waiting for him... I washed the cushion/couch covers. I've been planning to do so for a long time now and I only got to do it today.

When Peter came home, I had a quick nap. Appreciated the rest. I haven't been taking a good nap since Samantha came.

I told Peter that I pity our kids. He asked why. Coz I said Baby Dedication here is so simple... no parties... no godparents.. no gifts! Hahahha. So he took the family out for a good dinner. Went to TGI Friday. Hmm. I just loved their barbecue beef with Jack Daniel sauce. The good thing in TGIF is when you order a meal, you get a free meal for kids too. So our Schenker Boy had chicken tenders and chips - for free. AFter our dinner, went to jalan jalan some more. Saw a few clothes a liked... but no money to buy. this month, we're a bit tight.

Anyways... back to our girl...I thank God that we have dedicated her at 6 months. Last time with Schenker boy, we missed the mid-year dedication program because we weren't able to attend the briefing - we were out of town then. So had to wait for another half a year for him to be dedicated and he was almost one year old already.

Being a parent is really no joke... have to really be careful... especially on the formative years. Coz this is the time where you set a foundation... THE foundation. Must really ask God's wisdom to be able to do our part in being parents. I said this coz when we were reading our oaths... we promised to really be responsible... to train up the child in the way he/she should go... and lots more... cannot play play one. (i sound like chinese already - he he). SO help me God!