Monday, 31 August 2009

Ultimate, for now

1 -

Thanks for a season of tremendous blessings.
Thanks for the angels in the stairs.
Thanks for each and every one that means more than gold.
Thanks for a home away from home.

Now I will thank you for preserving my health and safety tomorrow.
Thank you for the favors of tomorrow, and the grace for a smooth travel.
Thank you for the prayers of the blessed souls.
Thank you for pleasant and memorable adventures traversing half the globe.

Thanks again for your hand, to hold us forever,
Thanks again for your strength, for one more day,
Thanks again for a promise of days yet to come,
Thanks again too for business unfinished, lose ends untied and doors agape.

Enduring love, cover me,
Unfailing wisdom, lead me,
Everlasting authority, reign over me,
For great is He who holds the Key and presides over all these.

So now, help me to
trust in the LORD with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding;
in all my ways acknowledge him, that he will make my paths straight

Take my hands and hold me close, lead me across the threshold bold.

For a season with hands held high, feet unfettered and flying,
Taking hold of that for which He took hold of me.

Farewell spires, clock, and foxes' hole.
See you again when this season past and another come!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

2 - Penult

The penultimate night in Waverley House with a room that resounds and echos, not with the melodies of the Jazz festival outside, but with every keystroke.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

7 - New

7 -
Thank you, if just for new things and another cloudless sky.
Thank you for encouragements twice.

Monday, 24 August 2009

8 - Destiny

Destiny Church,

It has been close to 20 months since I first came.
Thank you for everything throughout all these time.

You made this season all the more special for me.
From breaking the walls of an old English house, painting a community hall on a scaffold tower, fitting a 'spinning mosque' on a chimney, making a hole through a ceiling, and many more, life is seldom dull with you all.

I will say that this is a special church indeed.
In no small ways are the efforts everyone puts in, persistently, tirelessly, every Sunday (and other days of the week too) make this really a great place to be. The spirit and faith is high, I know everyone here have their fair share of challenges to face, yet you stay unfaltering and in good cheer. This is an overcoming church and I do not doubt great things are coming, even as we are already doing mightily on a global scale.

If I can only thank each of you for the small and big things that you've done and the extra miles you've gone for each other. Looking at all these, it is impossible for God not to bless and in good time too.

May God's grace, favor and anointing continue to flow ever freely upon this House of willing hearts.

P.S. Destiny's facebook here.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

9 - SS Great Britain: Red Coats

After days of cloudless sky, a gentle woolen carpet has fallen over the city. After being in Bristol for close to 20 months now, today I finally manage to set foot upon the SS Great Britain. While the experience with the Great Great Great Old Lady will have to wait for another day, I will recount one of the highlights of today's visit.

I have the good fortune to see soldier re-enactors from the Crimean War. SS Great Britain has served as a troopship during the war for these impressive soldiers. Their striking red coats are not the best stealth suits, but they certainly looks intimidating, especially when worn by a company of Goliath.

This is our passionate storyteller and the tale today mostly concerned the Battle of Alma, the greatest action as seen by this particular company.

To watch the men fire their riffle at such close range was quite an experience. The sound of the shots were deafening and these thunderous roars sent many younger children crying and clinging onto their parents for dear life. The rifles were also quite smoky post-fired and I can imagine how the visibility on the battlefield will be when hundreds and thousands of these went off at once.

From a higher vantage point... it must be quite a surprise for the passengers on the passing ferries and boats

According to our guide, the British troops (who are volunteers rather than conscripts), exceled at marksmanship. With such weaponary and skills, they can fire 3 times per minute and with deadly accuracy too, from a considerable distance. Like medieval archers having competition, so these infantrymen was encouraged to compete to be the best shooters. These were the top 2 for this morning's demonstration.

And this is the bullet, which I believe is a Minié ball. These cylindrical leads were truly designed to kill. They pack enough punch to inflict terrible wounds and have no problem shattering bones. Limbs hit by these will need to be amputated, even with today's medical advancement. We were also told that the bullet can easily penetrate a few bodies, which wasn't surprising at all considering us being mostly watery meat-bags.

After the performances, we were invited to visit the soldier's camp.

The cooking apparatus from which the re-enactors had their meal.

The tent they lived in was so small that it is a wonder how they fit so many men of considerable statures sleeping inside.

And the personal artifacts of individual soldiers, (not all soldiers have all of these).

This has been a very enlightening and entertaining experience about English military history.

More about the ship soon.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

10 - count the cloudless days

10 -
Thank you still for days mostly wholly sunny.
Thank you for your kind grace and zeal.
So lead us further up and further in.

Friday, 21 August 2009

11 - Of David

11 -
Thank you again for another day of amazingly clear blue sky.
Thanks for the parting of the clouds, the banishing of the storms and the continual reign of light and stars in the sky.
Thanks for your kindness, grace and mercy, favor and love.

Thank you above all for making the way, the bridge over which the dead may cross to life.
Thank you for even before the Day, you have love and not harm in mind.
Thank you that you have not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. (Psalm 103)
Thank you for you are the one whose love is unfailing and ever righteous and true.
Thank you for in your hands, mercy has tempered judgment.

So I ask now, for an acquaintance stuck in a bubbling tar pit.
That your purpose would guide him still.
Let you mercy and grace not forsake him even as you are still faithful to David.
Justice is in your hands. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail.
But who is righteous? Who is he who has not fall short?
So once more, I thank you for your mercy and blood, through which you now see us.
Thank you for the good that will result despite and because of these evils by your kindness and compassion.
Thank you for with you possibilities exists still, hope never cease.
So have compassion on your wayward child.
And thank you for keeping those who belong to you safe.
Remind us now and forevermore that God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
And by your love, I ask, to help us sow that which will result in blessings a thousandfold.
So now, through your people let peace on earth and goodwill flow.

Thank you once more, for ever being there and the promise of a lifetime to never leave and forsake us.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

12 - More than Gold

12 -
Thank you once again for another perfect sunny day.
Thanks for reaching forth, with the hands of those united in the blood of the lamb.
Thanks for the fellowship that means more than gold with each passing day.
Thanks now, in advance for the homeward journey of a friend.
Thanks now too, in advance for a long awaited advancement for another friend.
Thanks for the possibilities to come.
Thanks for not opening doors that lead nowhere.
Thank you once more for blessing the gates and the doors, through which the sheep shall pass and find pastures. Bless your name!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Paris: Gobelins Summer School - Final Chapter

This will be the final entry on my trip to Paris, with snapshots of various locations. I will begin where it started - a shot of the Kingscross-St Pancras Station in London

Some streets in Paris near Gobelins by day.

The busy Latin Quarter by night (on a Saturday).

The Latin Quarter early on a weekend morning.

The St Michel Square besides the Latin Quarter.

The compact bookstalls along the Seine around the Notre Dame area, stretching all the way past to the Louvre.

A fountain with Egyptian motives.

And some wet pigeons and sparrows bathing at the same fountain.

A building nearby, vaguely reminiscent of the Wills Memorial Building in Bristol.

Another monument along the road.

An Aussie Bar.

The Statue of Liberty, or at least the one who faces her greater sister in New York close to the Eiffel Tower.

The Moulin Rouge and its scarlet windmill.

The majestic Basilique du Sacré-Cœur (or the Basilica of the Sacred Heart), standing tall and proud on the highest point of the city, atop Montmartre. The place of prominence befits the white building's wonder interior. I'm particularly fond of the massive Jesus mosaic on the apse, entitled Christ in Majesty, which is among the largest in the world with the white dove above him (photography forbidden inside though).

And a good meal in a restaurant by the George V metro station, on Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

Has Optimus Prime disguised himself as some ketchup there?

And this is end of the journey, a view of Paris Nord before departure. One of the obscured train towards the left was the Eurostar we took.

And so concludes another memorable and enriching chapter of my life. A big thank you to all those I've met, from the organizers, teachers to all the international friends, you are the best in making this trip what it is!