Monday, August 4, 2014

"Foodie" & Hospitality to Strangers

On my flight back to Sabah a couple of months ago, I sat beside a Middle Eastern man who engaged with me in conversation for almost the whole duration of the 2-hour flight. I gave him my name card and asked him to call me and I promised I would take him and family of seven (5 children and wife) to eat Laksa mee-hoon or one of the local cuisines. He did call but somewhat it was recorded on my voicemail. I tried calling the hotel but could not get the reception to locate him. On the last day of his visit, I remembered him telling me when he was flying to KL from KK, so I went to the Airport hoping to meet up with him at the 2nd Terminal, AirAsia and waited for him for nearly 2 hours. At the end I did not see him (perhaps the plane flew off from Terminal One) but while waiting I met a Singaporean friend with his family whom I knew through a Church Camp I just conducted in Malacca. I wanted to show hospitality to someone I befriended on the plane but it just did not happen.

Over the past week in Singapore, I was nearly stressed out for I had meetings with people six days in a row from last Tuesday. I attended the Preaching Conference at SBC, Tuesday and Wednesday and caught up with a number of SBC Faculty members. During the Conference I had a good time meeting with former students, fellow pastors and church leaders whom I got to know over the past 6 years in Singapore.

On Thursday I had two meetings with two Church leaders, one of whom lent me FF Bruce's In Retrospect: Remembrance of Things Past. I grew up with FF Bruce's books, The Gospel of John, Romans, Are the NT Documents Reliable?, Acts Commentary in Greek, Hard Sayings, and many others.

On Friday, I had 4 guests from Hong Kong staying in my flat. They were here to attend the Precept Conference (Singapore is a Conference Centre, another blogpost on this, God willing). But I befriended the husband of one participant who did not join the Conference. So we toured Singapore together for one and half days; he knew many more eating places than I do. I was glad to tag along and joined in his food trail. For the first time I learned that there was such a word called, "Foodie", perhaps a reference to someone who likes food. I had a great time chatting with him over many things. He was formerly a high-level civil servant and is now a lecturer. He was genuinely surprised at how little theological lecturers were earning in Singapore; easily double the salary package in Hong Kong. I did not share Christ with him but showed him kindness and hospitality the best I could. Believers and non-believers alike appreciate those who are sincere, honest, kind and caring.

And yesterday I had a long meeting with four church leaders after the Sunday service concerning a pastoral position. At the end of the 90 minutes' conversation, I had the opportunity to share a bit about my pastoral experience on how I took on the title of Senior Pastor only at my farewell service. Twice when it was offered to me I turned it down. I had not wanted titles or positions. For all intents and purposes I was the Senior Pastor of my church though my official title was Pastor Sidang (Church Pastor). I was the Chairman of both the Elders' Board and Church Council of Elders and Deacons. I was the District Superintendent over 24 churches in my 2nd year as pastor. I was serving the Lord day and night without a care in the world and without regard to my financial well-being. I am poor but in the Lord I am truly rich, touching and transforming thousands of lives, by His grace and power.

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