Believe it or not, it is now June 2016.
I have not written much in a while. It’s been seven months since my previous post about a new perspective in leading worship.
I cannot believe how fast time has flown, how far I have come in life, and how much Jesus has worked in my life in this past year.
I arrived at this new country. In a new school. Around new people. Around new minds. It was not as pleasant as I would have imagined my first several months here would be. And, I think I’ve written about that last year. All the hardships. All the trying-hard-to-adapt. All the confusion. All the doubts….
I can go on…
But, that is not what I have logged on to write about.
I came here to write about what happened after those first several months of affliction and homesickness.
As the new semester kicked in on the first day of February (Yes, most North American high schools start their new semester in February, it’s not just mine), it was….
I got the worst report card I have ever gotten in my entire life, and the first week, I remembered, was already very hectic. Teachers were already giving us assignments and projects and what not. However, things started to take a turn.
Relationships and friendships started growing more. They began blooming until for the first time, I felt like I was not alone in a foreign country anymore. I felt like I was home. I finally felt like I have adapted (yes, after five months. It literally took me that long to adapt).
Activities started piling up. I joined two Model UN conferences that blew my mind away and inspired me that the youth of Canada has so much potential to change the world. I really underestimated the people here. I could not believe what I was seeing in front of me and what I was hearing. I began feeling a growing sense of social awareness that I had never had before. I started seeing the world in a completely different way.
My English class, for example. So much assignments sometimes. I hated (<- note past tense) reading. I hate writing essays, especially if I have to write two of them in 40 minutes and it would be graded. But, this class made me see the world in a whole different way. Odd, right? I mean, it’s only English? Actually, English Grade 12 is like English + Literature + Social Science + History + Media + Communications. But, this class made me question the underlying motives and views that were engrained in my mind. Back in my old school, we were always taught to think a certain way (Actually, I never really did much thinking because it was pretty easy back there). But, still. Everything was taught very mechanically; everything was dictated. And, I think its very normal for education and life in general in Asian countries to be that way. Our education systems are fairly rigid and do not promote much creativity. Whereas, in a Western country, it’s the opposite. English Grade 12 made me realize that. There were many ideas in this world and events that go on in this world, and I was always led to view them from a certain perspective. I have never considered alternate perspectives. But, English class has opened my mind and changed my perspective on a lot of social issues. English class has taught me how to question the norms and values of society and has made me actually think more critically on the many things that go on in this world. Plus, I started to fall in love with reading again (*Grade 5 and 6 flashback*)
(Okay, I don’t know why the topic has been reverted to sociology…)
Another thing. People. I do go to a school in Canada that is majority international students. I did not consider the effect of this when I was choosing schools (such as cultural and language barriers). But, being surrounded by a global community has pulled my narrow mind out of its cage and stretched it to the furthest extent. Hearing other people’s ideas about the world has not only changed my perspectives but has made me question many of the elements of the society that I live in today and has helped me learn to celebrate different backgrounds and views.
I hope you’re not thinking that I’ve become an apostate or something because I’m NOT. I love the God that I worship, and He has done great things in my life. But, I’ve just had so much moments this year where I went something like, “Oh wow. I’ve never thought or looked at this issue that way before.” or “Yea. You may be right. I’ve always been told to think this way, but now that you mention it…” (Sociology again..) Sometimes, just listening to a conversation between my teachers or a conversation between my peers about a certain issue or idea is inspiring to me. When you’re always being dictated by people, you just never get a chance to discover things for yourself.
Speaking about discovering things by yourself, I remembered during the beginning of this year the main reason that I knew I had to move was because I honestly felt that I was stagnant. The circumstances and people around me were not making me grow (at the most part) but were just limiting me. So I think this year really gave me a chance to discover things about myself and God’s calling for my life without being dictated and by defined by people and circumstances.
I’ve been discussing a lot about school, so maybe I should discuss about church now.
Worship leading has always been a passion of mine. I’ve never felt like I wanted to do full-time church ministry, but part-time church ministry is always something that I loved to do. When I came to Every Nation Church Mississauga, I was….
It was nothing like the massive MSI church in Jakarta with fancy equipment and pitch-perfect singers and musicians.
And, at first, I did not really like that.
But since I started to lead the worship services on January, I learned that worship is not about music. I used to be the kind of the person that said, “If the music is not played in a certain way, I cannot worship.” or “If the singers are off, I can’t focus on worship.” or “If these songs are being played/not being played, I do not feel like worshipping.”
And I learned that was WRONG WRONG WRONG.
There were many things in EN Mississauga that I could do that I could not do in Jakarta. Likewise, there were many things in EN Mississauga I could not do that I usually do in Jakarta. I really learned that worship leading is not about what I want and is really about other people and the church. Some things may not work musically or structurally in EN Mississauga but would in Jakarta, but that is okay. Worship is not about music or about myself.
I grew a lot from worship-leading in EN Mississauga mainly because I had to adjust to the differences in EN Mississauga from previously serving in MSI Jakarta. It was a humbling process that I’m really grateful to have gone through.
As I look at myself and evaluate who I am and how I think now, it’s amazing how much I’ve changed. I don’t think I’ve ever changed so much over the course of a year. From the people I’ve met to the classes that I take to the activities that I participate in school and church, everything has changed me.
I had A LOT OF FUN this year. The fun that I had this year may not have been the same kind of “fun” that I would have had if I had stayed in Indonesia for another year. But, IT WAS FUN. LEGIT. NO REGRETS.
And, I just don’t know who else to be thankful for except the God that I worship. He really is a God who is in control over everything. He really knows what is best for His children. He really does take care. He really is a faithful God.
There were times this year where I just told myself, “I’m so tired of living this life. I want to go back home. I want the comfort of my parents again. Was it the right time and the right choice to move?” There were times where things just felt out-of-hand, and I was losing all control. There was especially so much pressure on me this year. My family spent a lot of money on me. If I was not fruitful, the guilt that I would have felt, as they have invested so much into me, would have been tremendous. However, GOD IS IN CONTROL.
“Your world’s not falling apart. It’s falling into place. I’m on the throne. Stop holding on, and just be held.”
I remembered reading this in the beginning of this year.
“12 The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13 And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them” – Deut. 28: 12-13
I finally understood now.
Living under an open heaven. That was what this year meant to me. It was a year full of “I don’t know what else to do God, so all I can do right now is just trust in You.” It was a year where God showed me his faithfulness by putting me into the most vulnerable position, exposing all the dirt and all the false idols that I have rested on for security in the previous years of my life. It was in this vulnerability that I learned more about who God is. It was in this different season of my life that I discovered more of what God has called me to do. It was in this different environment that I no longer felt stagnant and caged by the people around me. For the first time, I felt like I was not being limited, and that there is so much out there for me to discover and for God to reveal to me.
Lending to many nations. I never thought I would have met so many people from all across the globe in one school. Interacting with a lot of them and sharing our ideas and lives was just a blessing for me (and hopefully to them as well lol).
If I were to go back in time, would I have done anything differently?
This year was awesome. I am so grateful to God. I am so grateful to my parents for supporting my decision of wanting to finish off in Canada in order to get into university here. It was not an easy journey, but HEY, I’m here in Singapore after a full 10 months have passed.
As most people already know, I got into a university that I’ve always wanted to get into, which was blew my mind away. Well, technically, I had my eyes set on another university previously, but for some reason, God redirected me to this one. But anyways…
it was just crazy.
This year was insane.
So much of God’s grace, revelations, and favor.
Now that I look back at this whole year, I realized that there were so many times where I felt like I was losing control but God really was in control. There were times I felt like, “WHAT IS HAPPENING? WHAT IS GOING ON?” or “THIS JUST DOES NOT MAKE SENSE, GOD!” Well, now I just feel stupid for not trusting in Him. I could’ve saved all the anxiety.
In addition to that, I met so many great people this year that have left very large footprints in my life. I cannot even comprehend how fast time has gone by and now I’m leaving all of those people again. But as I mentioned in an Instagram post awhile ago, this does not feel like a good-bye. This feels more like the first several chapters of a book.
Going to school and living in general here is tough. But, I could not have pulled through without God’s strength. I just could not have done it without Him.