Monday, June 29, 2015

The Love of God (1917)

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"This hymn was written in a citrus packing house in Pasadena, California, by a German-born Christian named Frederick M. Lehman. At age four, Frederick and his family had migrated to America, settling down in Iowa....

In 1917, his finances had gone sour, and he found himself working in a packing factory in Pasadena, moving thirty tons of lemons and oranges a day. One morning as he arrived at work, a song was forming in his mind. He had been thinking about the limitlessness of God's love, and during breaks he sat on an empty lemon crate and penned down words with a stubby pencil.

Arriving home that evening, he went to the old upright piano and began putting notes to his words. He finally had a melody and two stanzas, but almost all gospel songs of that era had at least three stanzas. At length, he thought of some lines he had recently heard in a sermon. (Editor's note: in another version, some say he remembered these lines from a poem on a card, received from a friend).

Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made,

Were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade,

To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry,

Nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.

--- The above extracted from Then Sings My Soul, Robert J. Morgan


The words from this poem were found to match the melody that Frederick had written! But who is the original author of this third stanza? It was later discovered that the original version of this verse was written long ago in Hebrew, by a Jewish poet Meir Ben Issac Nehoria. The first english translation, however, was found carved on a prison wall by some painters, and one of them was so impressed by the words that he jotted them down, preserving it in the process. So "coincidentally", these words matched the metre of this song that Frederick M. Lehman would write hundreds of years later.

So complicated, and while some historical facts may be unreliable in this case, one thing is clear. This hymn was incomplete without the third stanza, and God completed it through His perfect timing and perfect plan :) It is amazing to see how God cares and exercises His providence, even in hymns... so that many years down the road, countless people are edified through the words of this song.

photo: (Write of God's Love Pencils/Notebook -

Sunday, June 28, 2015

what we do, what we used to do, and why we do what we do

so what is project en courage about? 

while it is founded on the grace (恩) and courage given by God, the main thrust of Project En Courage is, simply, to Encourage

the past year or so has been very very tough, to say the least. but amidst our trials and struggles, God sent many along the way. fellow prayer warriors.. thoughtful gifts... whats-apps.. sincere questions of concern. we have been deeply touched by all whom the Lord has used to encourage us and remind us that we are truly not alone. these people are our inspiration!

over the years beginning from our courtship days, PP and i have somehow stumbled into this little habit of embarking on projects, both big and small, with hopes of thanking these people and giving practical and encouraging gifts in appropriate seasons. it started with simple bookmarks, small quantities...  and soon, as more people are sent into our lives.. it envolved into something alittle more "large-scale"....

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badges to remind our friends of a verse we would like to share with them :)

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canvas bags for children we love :)

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hand-sewn luggage tags  (this was TEDIOUS!)

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 calendar stickers

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postcards to encourage us to write to one another :)

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we cant produce hand-made so efficiently anymore, so we have moved on to practical and meaningful everyday little things that hopefully can point someone to the Lord. they are personally and thoughtfully designed, with the intention that you may be reminded of God's truth and faithfulness  :) may these little products that we come up with bless you, or the person you intend to encourage!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

project en courage

PP and i have been working on something for the past 6 months or so. it's our... little project.. and it has culminated to...... this :)

we are definitely launching this with much fear and trembling, for much is at stake - our testimonies, our time, our strength.. but with God's leading, step by step, here we are, and we covet your prayers and support :) to be honest, this project has already been a blessing to me, to keep me occupied, to make use of what God has blessed us with, and while designing, to fill my mind with godly things that are good and lovely.... especially in a season that has been very tough. daddy himself was in full support, and a few days before he departed, though unable to speak and often very drowsy, muttered the word "shop" to ask about its progress and smiled to see the website...

we spent a long long time playing with permutations and brainstorming for a name that would be straightforward in revealing our objectives and what we are about. we knew it definitely had to reflect God and who He is. at the same time, we wanted people to know our objectives, which is to promote gift-giving and encouraging one another in the faith. it took a long time, and one day, it finally clicked, in more ways than we anticipated! thank God for the inspiration :)

here's the explanation behind the name, Project En Courage :)

Project - we do not really view this as a business, or a profit-making venture, but a little family project and a little ministry. may you be blessed through this project, so you can be a blessing to others as well.

En - 恩 refers to the grace of God, without which we will not be here. It is God's grace that allows us to be saved from our sins, it is God's love that caused him to send His Son to die for us, and it is God's mercies that we are not consumed. The wife's name - 恩玮 meaning God's Great Grace. It is definitely God's Great Grace that we hope to sing of, and to convey in all we do.

Courage - Project En Courage is started in a difficult season, as our dear father battles the last stages of lung cancer. where else can we find courage to face up to future days? who else can we look to, for strength? It is at this very season that we find we need courage even more than before, and praise God, for even though we do not know about tomorrow, we know who holds tomorrow.

so we embark on this journey, with the hope of encouraging others with Project En Courage, for we know in the process, we ourselves will be encouraged :)

Sunday, June 07, 2015

saying goodbye to daddy

some days are ok, but i have been muddling around some days. things seem to be a blur. lethargic, anti-social, lost, sad, and a deep ache of missing my daddy that is quite inexplicable and hard to explain. it's difficult to say goodbye to someone you love so dearly, who has been a big part of your entire life in so many ways, shared so many precious moments and memories. some may ask: how are you? how is your mom? ah, we are keeping ourselves busy. it's quite hard to describe what the grief and sense of loss is like.. not sudden, for it has been there, since the day we found out

i don't really want to talk about it or come to terms with it, but i am forcing myself to type this out so i might find some closure through my reflections and note down the things i do not wish to forget. 

God's timing is perfect. this entire journey has shown me so much, moulded us so much.. individually and as a family. there is only that much that can be said of a man when he passes on. but when a man is used by God, there is so much that can be said of him and how God has worked through him. this is the story of my dad. he has run his race and allowed God to work in his family, his company, his service for the Lord, his friendships and relationships with others, his love for children.. and even in his sickness and his battle with cancer. 

during the weeks leading up to his last day, daddy grew weaker and needed more help in going to the hospital for check-ups. in God's perfect timing, PP began his holidays and we were more flexible in being able to help. there were a few occasions when the doctor seemed at a loss for words when he saw how frail and weak my dad was, and how much weight he had lost. "Do you still want to fight?" he asked. "Yes!" my dad said, punching his fist in the air. this was my daddy, a fighter. he was not the type to sit down, give up, and wait for his last days to come. whatever he could do, he wanted to try. 

in those times i sat or stood with daddy, he would look at me, smile when our eyes met, hold my hand. he probably knew my heart was breaking to see him in that state. that was his way of reassuring and comforting me. 

we just celebrated mother's day before daddy was admitted for the last time. daddy has never been good with words and writing and his swollen fingers make it difficult for him to write or type anything of late. i offered to write down what he wanted to say to mummy in a card that my sister had made. as he talked and i wrote, tears flowed down my cheeks. it was nothing fancifully expressed, but i tasted of the love, gratitude and sadness that he felt towards mummy. later, he asked me, "was my letter well-written?". haha. totally trade-mark of my daddy to egg for a compliment :)

the last check-up he had was the only time he succumbed to sitting on a wheelchair from home, to get to the carpark. when the doctor asked him whether he wanted to be admitted, daddy was reluctant. doctor mentioned that everytime daddy was admitted (for drip and protein), he seemed to perk up for awhile. never did we know that it was not to be so. daddy lapsed into a long sleep and did not wake till one and a half days later. we swayed between plans to bring daddy home or to place him in a hospice to alleviate the stress on my mummy. when dad woke, it became clear that he wanted to go home. arrangements were quickly made.. my sister (the planner) quickly bought the equipment and arranged the necessary logistics. brother-in-law planned the medical necessities and ambulance services, brother and PP stayed over on the many nights to accompany my daddy. in that one week, things were uncertain.. but we knew that things were not good. we sat with daddy, sang hymns to him and communicated with him. he clearly understood what we were saying even though he did not say much. and gradually, he responded less and less. 

the night we brought him home as he desired, we tried to have a family worship like we always do every sunday. that night, we sang

  1. "Saviour, more than life to me,
  2. I am clinging, clinging, close to Thee;
    Let Thy precious blood applied,
    Keep me ever, ever near Thy side.
  3. Refrain:
  4. Every day, every hour,
  5. Let me feel Thy cleansing pow’r;
  6. May Thy tender love to me
  7. Bind me closer, closer, Lord to Thee.
  8. Through this changing world below,
    Lead me gently, gently as I go;
    Trusting Thee, I cannot stray,
    I can never, never lose my way.
  9. Let me love Thee more and more,
    Till this fleeting, fleeting life is o’er;
    Till my soul is lost in love,
    In a brighter, brighter world above."
  10. he left in the wee hours of the morning. somehow, mummy found it difficult to sleep and was woken up despite feeling very tired. she sponged his lips, read psalm 23 to him, one hand holding his, the other on his chest.... . "爸爸。你这样好辛苦啊。放下吧。孩子们都在这里, 你就安心吧。” and dad's heart stopped.

looking back, there is no question that God's plans leading to this day is seamless and perfect in every way.. providing for us in every sense of the word.

it's true that we miss our dearest daddy very very much, but with God in the picture, we accept that He truly worked out everything for good. daddy is not in pain anymore, not suffering anymore.  this grief is a better type of grief than the one we had when we first found out about daddy's illness. knowing he is no more suffering, versus knowing he is going to suffer. whatever it is, im thankful that in these two types of grief, we have hope because Christ has triumphed even over death. 

my dear friends... if you happen to be reading this, it is my prayer that you will know of this hope that goes beyond this life. there aren't many things as painful as witnessing someone you love suffering physically. if you can't quite imagine this pain, than you must know that whatever/whoever enabled us to go through this trial is worth knowing.

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, 
concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, 
even as others which have no hope. 
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, 
even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1 Thessalonians 4: 13-14

on a separate note, treasure your loved ones and spend as much quality time as you can with those who matter to you. talk to them, hold their hands, share with them, take pictures, put in effort to celebrate each others' birthdays, and find ways to make one another happy. don't take for granted the time you have with them...