1) Stay with the Koller family
Even before I left Singapore, I was already feeling homesick! I can’t imagine I would be leaving to a country, unknown to me, for over 2 months and worse still, without my parents!…sob…sob…:) I would also be away from my room, friends, bed, computer…ahh!
But I left Singapore on the 8th of November for the United States. This was my first time in the States, a country I’m sure almost everyone outside of America would love to visit – oh…ok, not everyone. The first place I went to was Orlando in Florida (after a stopover at Los Angeles). Here I stayed with the Koller family. I got to know Sharon Koller from the Reformed-Charismatic Email Discussion List. She joined the list as a member on 15th June 1998. I got to know her better and found out she was a member of a PDI Church. As explained above, PDI is a Church planting organization with Reformed and Charismatic persuasions. Through her, I got to know more about PDI. When she heard I was going to the States, she invited me to come to stay with her family. She also told me about a PDI conference that was going to take place when I was over in the States. Thus I stayed with her family in Orlando from the 9th of November to the 19th of November (except for the time I was in Gaithersburg, Maryland at the PDI Small Group Leaders Conference).
In Orlando, I got to meet Sharon, her husband Jim and also her two kids Michael and Jenny. Throughout my stay there, I really enjoyed getting to know them better and also meeting up with some of their friends. It was just a great time of fellowship. I learnt many things about America and I also shared about life in Singapore. We also talked about a lot of interesting Christian issues. I spent quite a bit of my time playing around with Jenny and Michael, who were both under 10 years old – and I really enjoyed it!
On the 11th of November, I visited Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS). I sat through a class by Richard Pratt and then got a tour around the Campus. I also browsed through their bookstore and bought many books as the books were on sale.
On the 15th, I attended my first Sunday service at a PDI Church – I went to Metro Life Church, which was the PDI Church the Koller family attended. On the 18th, I went to Universal Studios with 2 Metro Life Church members and also attended Crossfires – the Metro Life Church Youth Group.
2) 1998 PDI Small Group Leaders Conference in Gaithersburg, Maryland
On the 12th of November, I went with Jim Koller and other Metro Life Church members to Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland for the PDI Conference. We did a bit of sight seeing in the afternoon and I was able to visit the Capitol Building and actually go inside it. It was really beautiful in there!
On this first night, the services started with Worship, a drama presentation and then a great sermon by C.J. Mahaney – the PDI team leader/Apostle. One thing I’m always concerned when I attend Charismatic Churches is that many tend to overemphasize the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, which I think is not healthy. The topic chosen for this whole conference was actually on “The Gifts of the Spirit”. I was thus excited to see what they had to say about the miraculous gifts. I expected them to present a very balanced view of the gifts – avoiding any abuses and excesses. They were after all Reformed in theology, and I knew I could trust their teachings. And I was not disappointed.
CJ said that he knew the topic he wanted for the 1998 Small Group Leaders Conference already in 1997. And he also knew back then what he wanted the first and the last messages of the Conference to be on – the first message was on the relationship between God and the gifts (and how the gifts are meant to bring our attention towards God) and the last message would be about the relationship between love and the gifts (and how the gifts without love is useless). I thought that this was very balanced. Two things that I felt charismatics tend to do is to focus on the gifts instead of God and also tend to forget that love is greater than any gift! And straight away as CJ mentioned about the first and last message, I knew this Conference was going to be good and balanced. At the outset of his sermon, he said :
At the beginning of this conference as we prepare to study and experience the exhilarating gifts of the Spirit, let us be reminded of the following : All gifts from God are intended to direct our attention to God and create fresh affection for God. Here are my concerns – we must be careful about and we must guard against about becoming preoccupied with and passionate about the gifts themselves while ignoring their ultimate purpose. And we must be careful about and guard against becoming familiar with the gifts of the Spirit and fail to express our gratitude to God for providing these gifts so graciously in our midst.
The second day started with a teaching on Prophecy by Dave Harvey. Because the teaching took longer than expected, he continued it at the night session too. Again, I found the teaching on this important subject very balanced. In charismatic circles, there has always been much abuse on this gift, with many prophecies given that never come to pass. All these abuses have resulted in people denying that the true gift of prophecy functions today. And so it was refreshing to hear this good teaching on prophecy by Dave. Dave called for consecration, humility and character of those in the prophetic ministries. He also taught that Prophetic Ministries should be established in the Church and flow from the Church. This would enable others in the Church to validate one’s calling to the prophetic ministry and provide accountability as one is under the discipline of the Church. Lastly, he made three points about the prophetic ministry : 1) Scripture should be above every prophetic word in authority – true prophecies never contradict the Word of God. 2) We are all sinners and are not perfect in our prophetic ministries. 3) Prophetic ministries don’t function independently, but with interdependence with other gifts and the Church.
After the morning teaching by Dave, I attended my first seminar teaching on “Making Room for the Holy Spirit.” In the afternoon, I went to Bob Kauflin’s (PDI leader of Worship) house and had lunch with him and some other worship leaders in PDI Churches. We had a great time together and talked about PDI worship music. At night, there was a lot of prophetic worship and the leaders were dancing on stage, following the continued teaching on prophecy by Dave.
On the third and last day, I attended my 2nd seminar teaching by Jeff Purswell on the “Non-Spectacular Gifts.” I was quite impressed that this message was held in the main sanctuary and that more than half of the whole conference members attended it. CJ was also there to introduce Jeff Purswell and listened in during this teaching. Before the conference started, those who signed up for it were asked to choose 2 seminars out of 8 which they wanted to be present at. I suspect that many opted for the more spectacular gifts like Prophecy, Healing and Tongues – at least that was what I did! However, I also suspect that the leadership didn’t want people to be too focused on the more spectacular gifts and ignore the not so spectacular ones and so made the majority of people attend this teaching by Jeff Purswell. If I’m correct, then I do respect and admire PDI for taking this step.
The last meeting, where everyone was present, was led by Mickey Connolly. He preached a message on “1 Corinthians 13: The preeminence of Love.” What a wonderful topic for the last message of a conference on “The Gifts of the Spirit!”
I really enjoyed the conference as a whole. The teachings were extremely balanced and edifying. And the worship was some of the best I’ve participated in. I’ve always loved PDI worship songs and it’s great to be singing those wonderful Christ and Cross centered songs and worshipping God with the PDI band. C.J. and the whole of PDI leadership team are really passionate about the cross of Christ and that makes it ever more special to be part of what they’re doing and have done. I hope I’ll be able to participate in more of PDI conferences in future.
3) Goodbyes and my long bus trip
On the 19th, I said my last goodbyes to the Koller family. I had stayed with them for more than a week and I felt very sad to leave. They had treated me very well and I was and still am so thankful to them for that. I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I didn’t say I really missed them and cried a bit on my long trip to Alexandria, Louisiana. I took many buses and spent about 19 hours on the road and at different bus stations. There were many people around me and it was quite frightening. But thank God that He brought me safely to my next stop.
4) Stay with Pastor Bob Vincent
On the 20th, I met Pastor Bob Vincent and her wife Sandy. I managed to take a tour around the Church he pastors – Grace Presbyterian Church – and the private Christian school sponsored by the Church – Grace Christian School. At night, we went to a dinner with quite a few other Church members, and I also got to meet some former members of the Reformed-Charismatic list.
The 21st afternoon was spent with Pastor Bob in a gym! We did a bit of workout there. Then we went to Books-a-Million for a chat and talk which I enjoyed. Dinner was at Eddie Ratliff’s (also a member of the Reformed-Charismatic List) place. Eddie cooked some very scrumptious Mexican food for a whole group of us.
The next morning I heard Pastor Bob Vincent preach on Spiritual Warfare in his Church, followed by a visit to the Jewish Synagogue and a cell group meeting at night.
On the 23rd, Pastor Bob Vincent, his family and I left for Pensacola. Their family was on the way to spend thanksgivings with their relatives and stopped over at Pensacola to leave me with the Dunkerleys. Well, that was the last day with Pastor Bob and his family. I really appreciate them welcoming me into their home and am very thankful to Pastor Bob for the time he spent with me – knowing he’s a busy man! He’s a wonderful guy and pastor and one person I really respect.
5) Stay with Don Dunkerley
Don and Eileen Dunkerley welcomed me at their place on the night of the 23rd. Their place was very beautiful and well-decorated – even in the bathrooms! On the night of the 24th of November, I met up with David and Rhonda Dunkerley – Don’s son and daughter-in-law – and helped them unpack in their new house!
On the 25th of November, I shopped at a Mall in Pensacola. Later I went to Don’s office and walked around the historical Pensacola sites near the sea which was quite fascinating.
At night, I managed to get a good seat at Brownsville Assembly of God (BAG) thanks to Eileen’s connections! I met up with three people there – Jim Hicks, Joshua Woor and his father, Rusty. Both Jim and Joshua are good friends and from the Vineyard Leadership Institute (VLI). I had an excellent time talking to them about Vineyard, Brownsville AOG and the revival…etc. We sat together during the service and later on Rusty kindly offered to drive me back to Don’s place – this was already very late at night! This was my first time at Brownsville AOG. I heard that there was a time that people had to queue up early in the morning just to get a seat at night! But by this time, there weren’t as many people waiting for the revival services at night. The praise and worship was very upbeat, though I felt it was more of a concert like performance (with the choir performing) than much participation. This could also be due to the fact that there were no lyrics shown anywhere so it wasn’t easy to participate in singing and worshipping God. The style of the music was also very different – cross between Old Time Pentecostal and the Vineyard style. And evangelist Steve Hill preached quite a good evangelistic message on sin and salvation. Later on there was normal ministry time where most people went up to be prayed for.
On the 26th, Don’s family invited me and a visiting Myanmar pastor for thanksgiving lunch in a high class restaurant. Later, we went to the Pensacola beaches which were really beautiful!
The next day, Eileen sent me to the Pensacola beaches in the afternoon and I stayed there by myself for quite a few hours enjoying the sight. I spent some time writing some letters too. Dinner was at a Cajun restaurant and on this last night Don shared with me about his past experiences with JI Packer and Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
6) Short Stay at Los Angeles
On the 28th of November, I left Pensacola for Los Angeles. There I met my sister and a friend who came from Australia. We stayed at a youth hostel – The Banana Bungalows. It was a new experience to see all these backpackers and talk to them. A lot of them are on backpacking trips by themselves that have lasted or is going to last for months to a year or two!
29th was a Sunday. We (my sister, her friend and I) went to two Churches in the morning. The first was West Bethel Presbyterian, where we met Pastor Anthony Kim, a Korean youth pastor who’s studying in Westminster Theological Seminary, Escondido. He later brought us to another Presbyterian Church where his friend from WTS taught. Later that night, we saw the big Christmas show along the streets of Los Angeles. During this show, we saw a few Hollywood stars!
7) Contiki Tour along the West Coast of the USA
On the 1st of December we left for Anaheim to catch our “Contiki Tour” trip. On the 2nd we left on the Contiki Bus for San Deigo, stopping by Mexico for lunch. The 3rd was spent in San Deigo and the 4th in Phoenix.
On the 5th, we went to Sedona, a place which I really liked. It started to snow there! The 6th, a Sunday, was spent at Grand Canyon. It was snowing heavily there and therefore we couldn’t get a clear view of the Canyon. The afternoon was spent in a restaurant 5 meters away from the rim of the Canyon writing postcards back to Singapore! We went to Grand Canyon Assembly of God Church in the afternoon. The pastors prayed with us that we’d be able to see the Canyon clearly the next day as the snow melts away. Dinner was spent in a steak house again a few meters away from the rim.
On the 7th, the snow melted away and the whole tour group was able to sit on a helicopter and tour the Canyon. Later that day we arrived in Las Vegas and visited Graceland Wedding Chapel where “Elvis Presley” performed for us a fake wedding ceremony involving a “couple” among our tour group. We also passed by a “drive-through” wedding chapel in Las Vegas!!
The whole of the 8th was spent around Las Vegas. The place was quite amazing. The hotels were giant and the whole place was quite entertaining. My sister and I sat on the “Hot Shot” ride on the Stratosphere hotel. This ride was a reverse bungee jump! We also caught a David Cassidy EFX show at night.
The 9th was spent in a factory outlet where we all bought some cheap clothes. On the 10th, we were at Yosemite Park, another beautiful and snow-filled place. On our last day (11th) with the tour group, we arrived at San Francisco and spent some time at the Fisherman’s Wharf.
8) San Francisco, Oh, San Francisco!
San Francisco is a place I will never forget! What I did during my week there would forever remain in my memory. One of the things San Francisco is famous for is that it hosts one of the biggest shopping hubs in the States – Union Square. The youth hostel I stayed in with my sister and her friends was just a few minutes walk away from there. But it wasn’t the shopping or Union Square that I will forever remember. It wasn’t the other tourist attractions either. Rather, it was my experience and time spent with some beggars I met in the Union Square area that I would never forget.
San Francisco is unique in that the areas where homeless beggars congregate around are also the areas where many shops are at – Union Square. Not surprisingly, most tourists go to Union Square to do their shopping. However, not only is it a great tourist attraction, it is also a great “beggar attraction”! You’ll see many beggars in that area. And many sleep and live on the streets just outside the Union Square area.
Many tourists who go there would probably feel appalled at seeing so many beggars there. They may feel it an unpleasant distraction to constantly meet these beggars (mostly blacks) on the streets begging for money. Other tourists would no doubt feel sympathetic and perhaps even give some of these beggars money, though focusing on their shopping and other things. For me, I had a week to spend in San Francisco. I didn’t know the place well, but the first thing that caught my attention at Union Square wasn’t the shopping, but the beggars. And I spent the rest of my time in San Francisco thinking of them.
On my first night (11th) at San Francisco, I was struck by all the homeless beggars I saw. That night I asked God to provide me with opportunities to minister to them and even take one out for a meal, and through that get to know more about these homeless people.
The 12th of December was my first full day in San Francisco. I started to explore the whole of Union Square. I did some shopping alone, though my mind was on all of the beggars I saw. I met a white beggar. He was looking for money. I talked with him for a while and planned to meet him and his wife for lunch later. This way, I could spend some time talking to them and getting to know them. I then went shopping for the rest of the morning – though very much filled with anticipation of meeting my “guests” for lunch!
The sad thing was that I was late for the “appointment” as I had to meet my sister and her friends before that. In the end I waited and waited, wishing they would still come, but the couple didn’t show up. I felt very sad that I lost this opportunity to talk to these beggars.
But I knew there were more opportunities. And because of my “foul-up” earlier on the day, I was even more determined to talk with some beggars and decided I wouldn’t reach my room that night before talking to some. On my way back I searched for opportunities. Eventually, a black guy came up to me. I walked on at first but then seized this opportunity. I told him I would treat him to dinner and asked him where he would like to eat. He chose a Japanese restaurant by the streets. When we went in, I could sense that the waitress didn’t like me bringing a beggar in to her restaurant! She pointed to the beggar’s cup he was holding (which every beggar had and used for begging) and she didn’t look too happy. Anyway, we both sat down and ordered our food. I found out that my guest’s name was Elijah. He went to Church when he was young but doesn’t go anymore. I asked him questions to try to understand him and other beggars better. I left him with US$20 and planned to go to meet him the next day to go to Church together.
The next morning he turned up at our meeting place a bit late, but eventually we made it to Vineyard Christian Fellowship, San Francisco (VCFSF). The Church had about 200-300 people. The music was good and Elijah liked it. But I had to say I left disappointed. Firstly, though the Church did try to welcome new comers, a lot more could be done. I tried to let the people in charge of the new comers ministry that Elijah was homeless and not a Christian and had hoped they would put some effort into following him up – maybe be a bit more welcoming to him by talking more to him or offering to bring him out for lunch to get to know him better and eventually share the gospel with him. But I ended up taking Elijah out to lunch by myself and then we parted. I told him of the cell groups and Sunday Services and he said he would go. I can only hope he went and someone was sensitive enough to follow him up.
That night I went to Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church. It turned out another AOG Church was having their evening service there and this Church was Portuguese speaking – full of Brazilians. I went through the service since I was already there. Worship was in Portuguese, but the sermon was translated.
Wednesday was another event-filled day. I bought Chinese takeaway for lunch. While lining up for my food someone asked for some money and so I gave them a bit of cash plus left them with a Christian tract. Then I went to Walgreen’s – a supermarket – to buy a drink. On my way out of Walgreen’s I met some homeless beggars outside. These people were quite different from others though. They weren’t black and they looked very “punk”. I felt sorry for them (hmm, should we feel sorry for punks?…ha…) and just gave them my lunch.
Later at night, I went again to Glad Tidings Church for their Wednesday service. On my way I met Bernard and Alisa Norris – a homeless married black couple. Alisa told me they needed a place to stay overnight. I told them I would love to help them (and I really would, if I could!) but couldn’t because the youth hostel I was staying at would probably not allow beggars in! All I could do was give them the address of VCFSF and told them to go there on Sunday to see if the Church could help them with a job or shelter. I gave them a little cash. They were very thankful to me and hugged me a couple of times. Just to see them in such a state saddened my heart. I wanted to cry. I left them after holding hands with them and praying for them. I told them I would come back to see if they are ok after the Church service. On my way to Glad Tidings I couldn’t think of anything else but Bernard and Alisa. I prayed that God would have mercy on them.
At Glad Tidings, we started with a prayer, followed by going to the neighborhood for caroling and giving out pamphlets for the Church’s Christmas service. The caroling was very fun and an eye-opener. I tagged along and sang with about 30 other people. Seeing the people – mostly black low-income families – enjoy our singing was really something! After each performance, the people would thank the group and most said that they never had something done for them like this before! I managed to talk with a pastor that night and arranged to meet him the next day to discuss some things with him – things that were heavy on my heart concerning the beggars on the streets.
I went back from the caroling and searched for Bernard and Alisa. I didn’t remember the street or exact place I had met them earlier. I was probably so overwhelmed after hugging them and praying for them earlier that night that I didn’t think of the need to remember exactly where they were located! I tried to go back the same route to look for them, but I couldn’t find them. I searched the whole area for about an hour plus – going to every possible place and parallel streets but I still couldn’t find them! It was about 10-11pm and earlier Alisa told me not to come back as it was dangerous at night. But I told her I was traveling back by that way anyway. And I wanted to bless them in any way I can – even more than they wanted me to bless them.
Dangerous or not, I wasn’t really concerned. What I so wanted to do was to see if they were ok. However, in the end, I wasn’t able to find them and the next day (17th, Thursday), though I searched in the morning again, I still couldn’t find them. I can only hope they are ok.
Later, I went to meet up with 2 pastors (Carlos and Mike) from Glad Tidings AOG and had a good talk with them. Pastor Carlos was very familiar with the homeless and so we talked about them. I learnt many things – like how many homeless chose to be so (I kind of guessed that through my previous experiences of talking with them). I was told not to give money to the homeless as they didn’t need it – food is provided by the city but most of the homeless want freedom from all rules set by the city that need to be obeyed in order for the homeless to receive shelter and food. The homeless probably also prefer being homeless beggars because they can earn more through begging!
This Church and other AOG Churches near San Francisco are praying that God will provide them with cash to buy a big building and start a ministry for the homeless. I think that’s great. The pastor told me many Churches aren’t doing much simply because they don’t have the resources to do much, although there are so many needs out there. I talked to pastor Mike later and we had a friendly discussion and debate about Pentecostalism and tongues as evidence of the baptism of the Spirit. He claimed that in his thesis, he wrote that Calvin and Luther spoke in tongues! I would like to get a hold of his thesis! :)
In the evening I went to visit Alcatrez – that famous prison off the shores of San Francisco Bay area.
10) Bill Wilson, Beggars and being in the ‘Center of Urgency’
As I reflect on my time with the homeless beggars in San Francisco, I’m reminded of a conference I attended a few years ago. Bill Wilson of the Metro Church in the Ghetto was the speaker. He’s known to have the largest Sunday School in the world – over 10,000 kids I think. He pastors in one of the most dangerous areas in the States. He brings all these kids to Church – whose parents are into drugs, alcohol…etc. Being in that place has taught him many things, he shared. He could easily have chosen to live and pastor in some other place safer and better, but he chose to live in such a dangerous life there. Why? Because he wanted to get out of his comfort zone and into the center of URGENCY. Being there wakes him up, gives him a new perspective. Jesus mixed with sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, beggars – the scum of society. We Christians need to minister to these kind of people too. One thing that Bill Wilson said struck me. He told of how once a week he would make the effort to eat with the kids in the streets and just spend time with them. Why? He said it wasn’t so much for them, but rather for himself. He needed to be in the ‘center of urgency’! He needed to keep his heart soft and compassionate for these people. And the only way to do that is to spend time with them, and know them well. Know what they are facing and going through. Only then, when one gets out of one’s comfort zone and into the ‘center of urgency’ – only then, will we learn to be more compassionate and caring for those less fortunate than us.
My time in San Francisco is something I will never forget. Being there was fun in a way. It’s always fun to minister to people. To reach out to the lost. To get to know new people. But more than fun, it was necessary too. I need to be in such places to be in the ‘center of urgency’. It may only be a fraction as dangerous as the Ghetto, but it has awakened me up to the need of these people. I will definitely go to San Francisco again, and rest assured that I wouldn’t be spending my time there shopping for material things – but rather shopping for souls!
Before I end of this section on San Francisco and the homeless beggars, I’d like to share something I’ve been thinking about. There will always be the question of whether it is right to give money to these homeless beggars. Like I discovered through talking to Elijah and also to Pastor Carlos, most of the homeless beggars there desire to stay beggars. It’s not as though they aren’t offered help from the city. They are offered help, but most of these beggars desire the freedom that comes through begging. So in a sense, it’s the pride of the beggars that keeps them on the streets. They probably don’t want to get help from the city because it may require them to do some work and change their habits. Because of this, should we continue to give them money? Wouldn’t that only support their living on the streets? Well, perhaps it may not be wise to give so much money to them. But as Christians, I think even if we don’t give them money, there are lots of opportunities to minister to them. In fact, ministry shouldn’t involve merely our money. We should take the step to talk to some beggars and even bring them for a meal. Let them know we love them and care for them. And share the gospel with them and bring them to church even! It probably isn’t wise to dispense money so liberally but I think the way to go is to really spend time with them and take an interest in their lives and share with them the gospel. I want to challenge anyone who reads this to take an interest in at least one homeless beggar on the streets of San Francisco if you go there. Bring one out for a meal. Talk to him/her. And pray that God will use your act of love to minister to the beggar. He is faithful and He loves beggars more than we think!
11) Vancouver, Seattle, Whistler and my first White Christmas!
On the 18th of December, my sister, her friends and I flew to Vancouver from San Francisco. We took a Limousine (!) to Whistler. I think this was the first time I sat in a Limo. Whistler is a famous place for ice-skiers to go. We stayed there till the 26th – yes, we spent Christmas in the snow. I think this was the first time I had a White Christmas. We also ate turkey that night!
On the 20th, I attended the Whistler Community Church. And on the eve of Christmas, I attended the caroling sessions at both the Conference Center and Whistler Community Church.
On the 26th, we arrived back in Vancouver and on the 27th, I attended the 8 am Holy Communion and 10am service at St. John’s Shaugnessy Church. I received the Body and Blood of Christ from J.I. Packer in the first service and Packer preached on 1 John during the latter service.
On the 28th, we drove to Seattle to spend the day and night there. We ended up watching the movie “Prince of Egypt”, followed by playing in an arcade’s “midnight madness” special for 2 hours. For $15, anyone could play as many arcade games as they wanted to from midnight till 2am! That night, I slept in the car to save money – I think this was the first time I’ve actually slept overnight in a car! The next day we spent our last few hours in Seattle on the “underground tour”, visiting the fish market and also the first original Starbucks.
Back in Vancouver on the 29th night, we watched the Ice Hockey match between Vancouver and Colorado. This was the first time I had seen a “live” Ice Hockey match. I think the game is one of the more exciting and fast-paced sports around. However, the fact that fights were allowed to break out during games (without any referee or player intervention) seemed very ridiculous. But I guess it’s allowed because of it “entertainment” value!
The 30th of December was spent touring Victoria Island.
12) A Church ministering to the homeless
On the 1st of the New Year (1999), I spent the night at the Art Gallery in the city from 6:30pm to 8pm and observed the Vancouver South Vineyard Church members feed the street kids and the homeless. Here I saw for the first time how a Church ministered to the poor and demonstrated the love of God through good deeds. I was indeed impressed! I also managed to get to know some people from the Church (Ian, Ken, Elaine, Joe and Vickie). And later on the 3rd of January I visited Vancouver South Vineyard for their Sunday morning service.
On the 4th, I met yet another Internet friend from the Reformed-Charismatic Email Discussion List – Monique Edwards. We had lunch together. Later that day as well as the next day, I spent some time in Regent College and in its bookstore. I met Elaine, a Singaporean studying in Regent, for lunch on the 5th and on that night I watched the movie “Shakesphere-in-Love”.
On the 6th, I ate Dim Sum for lunch. It was during this trip to the States and Canada that I started to develop a love for eating Dim Sum – authentic style. The last time I ate authentic Dim Sum (in a restaurant with the trolleys and all!) was in Australia many years back.
7th of January was a packed day. I was at Regent College in the morning and afternoon. I attended the Chapel hour and also a lecture on Transformation Theology by Reformed lecturer Charles Rigma for 1.5 hours. I got to know another Singaporean studying in Regent College – Regina. At night, I attended a Miracle Crusade with Henry Hinn – the brother of famous faith healer Benny Hinn.
13) Toronto and the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship
The group of us left for Toronto on the 8th of January. On the 10th morning, I attended St. James Cathedral and also Calvin Presbyterian Church. In the evening, I attended Grace Toronto Church (PCA).
The 12th was the last day I spent with my sister and her friends. For lunch we ate Dim Sum at Chinatown. And in the evening, I brought them to Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (the Church where the Toronto Blessing started – the Church was formerly known as Toronto Airport Vineyard). After the service my sister and her friends separated from me. I went to stay at a Bed and Breakfast place owned by Jane and Mel Seniuk – their household provided lodging and breakfast for those interested to attend the TACF.
I decided that before I left back to Singapore, I would spend some nights at TACF. Little did I know that there would be a Pastor’s Conference going on in TACF then. Because of this conference, meetings were held throughout the day. Night meetings were opened to all, but day meetings were only for the participants. On the 13th, I inquired if I could attend the day conference. Thank God I was allowed to. I didn’t even have to pay a thing for the conference as they said I could participate in the conference as a helper – helping up in the kitchen. I missed a few hours of meetings, but managed to get some free food and also attend the day meetings free!
Thus on the 13th and 14th I listened to John Arnott, Ken Goll and Derek Morphew preach and teach. I was very impressed with Derek Morphew’s teachings on the Kingdom of God.
On the 15th I managed to fly off from Toronto as scheduled. Thank God for that because the flights the past few days were delayed due to heavy snow.
I arrived back in Singapore on the 17th of January – on my 20th birthday!