by jha on 02/10/2014

Dear Joy,

Bet you didn’t expect the “r” to come this quick! Since my remaining time here is too short to dive into any serious design work and too long to stone away, what better use of time than to send you 96r. Muahahaha!

Thank you for 96.  You know I always (yes, always) look forward to your posts.

It’s a fact that the more one is unsure of who they are and whose they are, the harder it is to be a nobody.  This is why many are in an endless pursuit to achieve and accumulate things/projects in order to assuage their insecurities and to help them feel less of a nobody. On the contrary, those who are secure find it easier to lay it all down because they know it doesn’t change who they are or how much they are loved by the one who matters most to them.  The best example and model is of course, Jesus.  He not only emptied himself, he poured it all out in the most gruesome, condemned way. His death as a criminal actually negated his entire reputation as a great teacher and deliverer who worked fabulous miracles.  All the limelight, oohs and aahs and reviews, all the accolades and applause of men suddenly got flushed down the toilet bowl and into the sewers of human history. Had God not resurrected Him, we would not be here exchanging posts on joy-fer.com.  If it were not for the joy of pleasing His Father alone (Heb 12:2), I don’t think he could have gone down that route.  The grief alone would be unbearable. 

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Phil 2:5-8 (NLT)

It’s no secret that you struggle most in being a nobody.  Whenever you say “I’m a nobody,” I can almost sense a tinge of resolution mixed with resignation.  I know you are training yourself in righteousness and God is ever nearby egging you on in this path that He is leading you to.  At the same time, we ask for divine enablement because at the end of the day, God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. (Phil 2:13)

Thank God for giving us that desire to please him.  Wait till He gives us the POWER to do what pleases him, too – woohoo!  Ask and you shall receive.

The day you can truly say you are a nobody with perfect rest and acceptance, perhaps like Emmet in the Lego Movie, you could be the next nobody who ends up saving everybody. So when are we going to watch this?

See you when I’m back from Tacloban.

As ever,


P.S. The fridge is a needful thing.  Thank God for providing it through you.

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by xi_le on 02/9/2014

Dear Janice,

I am utterly amazed at God stringing events, people and conversations for me to understand this.

“Please me.” He said

It all started with this question on Wednesday.

“Are you ready to be poured out as an offering?”

My immediate response;

“Yes, but I want to be a superhero.”

“Doormat.” So it said on utmost.org

“Doormat then but I want people to affirm how great a doormat I am.”

This is exactly my attitude during my stint in Israel. I serve in return for affirmation. I thought this is what it means to be last yet be first.


I continued to ponder over this at the back of my head.

He spoke through His words and His people.

1st slap on the head:
This is the first time I meditate on the parable of the vineyard workers (Matt 20:1-16). I confessed I was part of the 1st batch of workers. I agreed to what was promised yet I become unhappy in comparison to those who came later.
Since the release of Lotta, most credit was given to my boss and fellow colleague. They stood in the limelight, presentation after presentation. Then came all the planning, negotiations and road maps which I am practically in the unknown. Even though shared later after the conversation with Sharon on wed, damage was permanent.

I psyched myself to be an employee only in this God’s company, only to cause more grief to myself.

God chooses who and what He please to use and do since it’s His universe, people and things. Who am I to say, “not fair, God!”

2nd slap on the head:
Coming to God is not to please myself but so that He can be pleased. Ps George Ee hit a note in my heart. My willingness to be poured out as an offering was to satisfy my flesh so that my name may be glorified. Hosea’s willingness to be poured out as an offering was to please God (my belief). Not that God is a tyrant, I do expect Him wanting to be pleased with my every actions and thoughts.

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 NLT)

3rd slap on the head:
I search my heart for the motive of buying a fridge for the office, as I reflect on Ps George Ee’s msg especially since he shared about His iPad. I did not know and choose not to answer Lena’s question today.

Do I have the savior’s mentality?

I don’t deny the possibility since I have the SHS (superhero syndrome). I reasoned with God that I did ask You to provide if You do not want me to buy. I told God I just want to do my part for His company, yet I am afraid of people’s judgement, same like the email to my boss.

“Does it matter if people have this perception I am trying to be a savior?” I ask myself now.

It still matters, as of now but I guess it doesn’t stop me from giving. Like what you mentioned, I need to know how to receive too.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalms 139:23, 24 NLT)


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2013 Recap_r

by jha on 01/21/2014

Dear Joy,

You were in the attic with a guitar just now, so I guess you must have had a private moment with God. Any gems to share?

Back to your 2013 Recap.

Yes and Amen to your consecrative prayer and passage from Luke 8.

More than a cherry on the cake, I reckon my 2-month time with you IS the entire cake for me in 2013…plus all the tooth-decaying, high-calorie, die-young nasty sweet stuff that comes along with it.  It is the ultimate personal best.  As it stands, it wins my lifetime award for enjoyable memories. I can sum up the entire experience with this toon –

peanuts its-not-where-you-go-its-who-you-travel-with

Thank you for putting up with me, especially for things you intensely dislike, such as logistics and trip planning just to name a few.  Believe me, I’m looking forward to the next opportunity, whenever it may be, God willing.

I’ll be praying with you as you continue to learn how to accept your vulnerabilities and lot in life and to not let them stand in the way of transformation.  We all need to.  May God continue to be magnified in all areas of our lives this year.

I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.

1 Cor 10:33 (NLT)

Hope I don’t have to wait till you’re about to leave for TLV to get the next post.

As ever,


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A 2013 recap

by xi_le on 01/1/2014

Dear Janice,
As I looked back in 2013 for things to thank God for, there wasn’t much yet it was everything too. The opportunity to live in Israel, the protection over my family and friends, the excitement in work and the people He placed in my path, all these are to be grateful for. Not to mention, your 2 months in Israel was that cherry on the cake.

The call to consecrate ourselves, family and work tonight was exceptionally close to heart. God revealed the condition of my heart as I prayed. Setting these 3 apart for God is a frequent prayer that I never quite get it right.

Myself – God said let go of the false front I yearn for others to think of me and come to terms who I really am. The struggles in 2013 is a vivid reminder of this.

Family / work – His presence is still not established. My family and colleagues still have not seen Jesus through me. The desire to prove myself useful and relevant took precedence in 2013.

And so God did another heart surgery tonight. I haven’t felt that comfortable in ages. The comfort of who I really am and the amount of vulnerabilities I have, I will learn to accept them in 2014. The glory of God has to be magnified in my family and workplace.

“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. (Luke 8:16, 17 NIV)

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#94-95r & DS Manual

by jha on 09/4/2013

Dear Joy,

Since I finally found a seat in a relatively quiet spot at Istanbul airport with 4 hours to burn, with no wifi or lounge privilege, I think it’s best to write this as promised and then upload it when I reach your place.

Thank you for posting 94 & 95 and for offering gems for my own application as well, such as God making the first move to say He loves you before inviting you to do likewise for people.  He doesn’t ask us to do something He hasn’t already done to and for us.  Yes, it is a daily challenge and a constant fight over our fleshly tendencies but it’s something we cant do without.  Yet when we do obey Him in commitment, we still run the risk of things getting horribly out of hand and being unappreciated. Perhaps this is why we feel that our journey with God is arduous and torturous.  Because we realise we’re stuck at Duty in the Desire-Discipline-Duty-Delight loop. When will Duty become Delight?  Will it ever?  And then when things don’t work out even when we fulfill our so-called duty, we wonder why we bother to do it in the first place. SLLTT is that tool that keeps us from wandering off the straight path – so what are your answers to your own questions you posted in 95 and what is God saying to you?

And now on my end, after 15 months in the making, I’m finally here.  I still remember it feeling like it’s never going to happen any time soon but it did.  And now on hindsight, it actually is rather short and quick.  In fact, the cruel thing about Life is that Time is going to fly by even more quickly now and before you know it, my time with you here will be over and we’ll be back at our stations. Ground rule #1: don’t put off to tomorrow what we can do today (cos if we like it, we can always do it again tomorrow)

There’ll always be some level of apprehension in me when going on trips apart from mission trips with people because if my recent non-mission trip experiences were anything to go by, they have the potential to make or break relationships.  So it’ll help to look out for and be attentive to miscommunication, misplaced expectations, second guessing and unaddressed emotions.  Tension will surely happen and its’ okay as long as it isn’t allowed to fester overnight into frustration. Thank God, nothing irreversible happened previously and I certainly hope it doesn’t happen again here.  But even if it does occur, do anything but sweep it under the carpet. Ground rule #2: don’t let the sun go down on anger or unhappiness.

This is also the start of my official grieving process.  So thank you for having me even though I may not be in the best of shape.  I wish I could have come in happier times, but I think God wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Had it not been for my parents’ double promotion, I don’t think I could have gotten 3-months paid leave to come here either.  Ground rule #3: If you see me emo all of a sudden for no apparent reason, it’s okay to not feel the need to “switch channel.” I could be having one of those grief waves, which comes and then goes off.  I hope the waves will stop coming when it’s time for me to return to Singapore.

  • Time-out: a lady sitting across me came up to me to ask me how to use her android tablet to type the symbol “@”  Good thing I managed to help her on her  English/Hebrew keyboard.  -.-“  She asked me for my name and then told me she’s Martha! Okay, just met my very first Jewish aquaintance.

Of course not everything about my stay is going to be centered around making full use of time, communication and grief.  I wish I can also say that I’ve always wanted to come see the holyland so this trip kills many birds with one stone.  Actually I’m only looking forward to “killing” 2 birds – (1) spending unhurried, undistracted time with you without much agenda and (2) getting reacquainted with God through this grieving period. Finally getting to be on the other side of the Facetime screen and watching your daily routine TLV life as it unfolds is a novelty for me.  Glad to be your added company in an otherwise alone environment.  We should have regular pow-wows too, something we haven’t done in ages.  God reveals Himself to us in the everyday human-to-human-to-nature interaction and it is from here I reckon my reacquaintance with Him will happen.

Battery dying and time to go sit at the boarding gate.  So much for now.  See you soon.  Real soon.


As ever,


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by xi_le on 08/11/2013

Dear Janice,

I can’t sleep so here I am writing #95. You knew the 2nd half of my day and I haven’t shared the 1st.

Today, Brian preached about 1 John 4:1-6, which is about discerning the spirit, and this is what I gathered inspite of feeling sick. It’s pretty interesting too, as it gelled with my conversation with Chloe.

I titled it “what exactly is following after God?”

There are always 2 perspectives: the world and God.

#1 To say we follow God is to acknowledge that God came in flesh and died on the cross to atone for our sins. We accept Jesus Christ as the savior of our lives, and there is no salvation except through Jesus Christ.

The world will say otherwise and coincidentally, I was looking through the review of a book, “Zealot”. It’s one of the best selling book. Content? The autobiography of “Jesus of Nazareth”. I almost wanted to buy this book, but decided against it. It prompted me to think how sure am I of Jesus Christ? After today, I am sure. He answered my doubts without me probing further.

#2 There are things we do not indulge in, as much as the world says otherwise. Someone mentioned Grace is free but not cheap. It cost Jesus His life, and it surely will cost us something. We need to discern the voices speaking to us. The world may say its ok to fulfill the desires of our flesh. But truly, following God is not about the pleasures of the body and neither is it easy.

Like what Chloe mentioned, it takes so much control to focus on God but just 1 second to lose it.

#3 as mentioned in #2, there is no easy way. No wonder, Jesus said take up the cross and follow Him. He did not paint a rosy picture for us. He was totally honest it’s not a walk in the park. As we take up this cross, there will be times our body will start aching and we might want to give up.

Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT)

Every morning, we lift up that cross again and continue the journey. The promises and the end goal keeps us focus on carrying the cross. Slowly, lifting the cross becomes easier because we know who we trust and follow.

#4 Truth may not be pleasing to others’ ears sometimes, but we still need to speak it, with love. If His words says left, we do not say its right because its modern society or times have changed. The bible is the truth & the guide to follow Him.

Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.” (John 8:47 NLT)

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17 NLT)

The questions that I brought home are these:
“Have I gotten easy & comfortable with the world?”
“Am I going along with the world and is less resistance towards its views, ie going downstream?”
“Am I getting lukewarm?”

I wonder if God is speaking to me after the vegan talk and hearing about “rebirthing”, getting in touch with nature and seeing sexual healing leaflets.

Brian ended with this:

As lukewarm Christians, satan will not come. To follow God, let’s be ready with perseverance and be overcomers in trials. (Mov)

After reading what I’ve written, I wonder if I’ve made life with God sounds like a arduous & torturous journey.


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by xi_le on 08/1/2013

Dear Janice,

Today, I decided to stop struggling, and said yes to God. I know without a nod, I will not have peace going back. Saying yes doesn’t mean I know what to do and not fear. Quite the opposite. P

I am writing this down for reference next time, like how I read thru the entries since going to TLV. The call is still the same since a year ago, love His people.

On the first day here @ Kamari, He said Joy, I love you. Taken aback by His profession out of nowhere, I said God, I have done nothing to warrant this love. So prideful, indeed. I read Acts 13, and the verse that stood out was

You are my Son. Today I have become your Father. v33

Though it was meant for Jesus, I thought God is trying to drive into something. Like what I said I did nothing to gain this, not like Jesus who died on the cross to save us.

Then He said:”look back and remember how much I’ve done and love you.” I surely hope that wasn’t my own voice. Hence, it was a day of reflection and then came next was “love My people”. God, you kidding right? I am already incapable of loving 1, and now the masses? Apologies, I love myself more than others. How should I put it? I love so that I can have something in return. I prey more than I love.

Unconditional love is beyond me. Commitment out of loving is frightening. This led to the topic of visa. I love the arrangement now because I belong to nowhere. I have the perfect excuse to get out of TLV or SG. Contradictory to the perfect situation, I lamented a few months ago of not being rooted.

So I continued with Acts 14. Paul and Barnabas stayed at each place a long time. Sigh, that was my confirmation. As much as I tried to reason within and out, He said love His people and therefore commit. You said too.

Truth be told, if I am not given maximum time this time in TLV, visa application has to start. If I am given the maximum, then I am stuck there for another 3 months. Given or not, it seems like He has His way.

“Checkmate” – God


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#93r & the Kiddo Turns 4!

by jha on 07/15/2013

Dear Joy,

Lousy track record aside, I had a hunch there would be a post today. For once, I got it right!  Thrilled to know you’re finally connecting and enjoy connecting with friends in church. I may not have met them, but I feel like I already know them. Thank you for sharing.

You’re right about satan wanting to break team unity by casting doubt and rousing insecurities within us to shake our trust in God and in one another.  We’re not fighting against people, but evil forces and mindsets at work.  So your lunchtime prayer and fasting for the team is a very timely move.  Am sure Ah Pa is pleased to take your requests.

Okay, let’s get down to celebrating this day with a super hearty:


Today is really my most favourite day of the year. I love to revisit and recount this memorable day in the opit when you made that decision to leave the trashcan.  I can remember the office layout too.  Marnee Manikam was still sitting upstairs at that time.

Actually, 15 July 2009 by itself wouldn’t have carried so much significance had you not followed through and kept up with the journey inspite of the pain and discomfort.  You are the reason why that day continues to hold so much meaning and magic for me.

Year 4 is basically a year of change.  Top on the list is your move to TLV.  Being away from home, living alone and adapting to a new culture, new language, new work role, new friends, etc. surely isn’t easy.  They say the first 2-3 years is usually the toughest, but once you brave through this rough patch and find your equilibrium, things will definitely get easier.  Another big change is fewer reflection papers.  Although I do miss reading them and getting a fairly comprehensive picture of what you’re facing and thinking, I feel it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Some level of autonomy is needed to stretch one’s muscles and develop skills.  You have what it takes to make it and are grounded enough to fly solo by now.  As for the level of accountability and its regularity, I’ll let you set the pace and I’ll keep the line open.

Thank you for the tremendous journey these past 4 years, Joy.  It’s been 48 months of tears and thrills, screams and spills!  We’ve had our fair share of heartwarming moments, nasty silent anger and a few mulberry dances along the way. Wouldn’t exchange it for anything else. You’re the only one I’ve ever spent this much time and effort on and you’re by far the best learner I’ve had the privilege to walk with.  Of all the precious lessons I’ve picked up from you, thank you for teaching me what it means to love.  I don’t know what we’ll face in Year 5, but it really doesn’t matter as long as we all keep SLLTT-ing.


As ever,


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by xi_le on 07/15/2013

Dear Janice,

I guess you don’t expect #93, anyway here it is. I told you I went to work with grappling fear. I do not know what to expect. Everyone wants to move on, but Vstitcher seems to keep holding back all of us.

Fear aside, I was assured God will take care of it all. When will Vs be released? I have no clue. I thought today is DA day, well apparently not. I finally started to head to the conference rm for while to pray during lunch. I am fasting lunch but no one understands why. Everyone is concerned I am not eating, but it’s for a greater cause, no? I don’t know how to explain.

What do I want to say? Hmmm…

Today, insecurities crept in. When I heard Joy & everything else in Hebrews, I reckon someone out there is taking negative about me. My first reaction was to find out the content or defend myself. This is so not healthy, and obviously a lie. Thank God He sent the Holy Spirit to snap me out of this quickly.

I sensed the devil really trying to break the unity among all of us. Maybe we are going through the adapting period after the honeymoon. Maybe I am over sensitive. I don’t know. I wish someone more in tune with God is here, not me.

On the other hand, I am starting to enjoy the fellowship with people from Calvary Chapel. Takako, Gerd, Robin, Priscilla, Bros, and even the 2 kids, I thank God He sent them here. Amazingly, I look forward to the Sat now. I wish you were here to know them.


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Superhero #92r

by jha on 07/8/2013

My dear mulberry dancer,

Thank God you aren’t a superhero and there’s no corresponding vacancy in the Trinity. The world has more than enough megalomaniacs making a mess today.

I discovered this morning that there was a post and a corresponding “r” exactly one year ago.  Went to read them and then realized that my dad was also baptised exactly a year ago. I already know today’s been 2 months since mom’s promotion, so all these things converging and adding up is giving me goosebumps and making me a tad melancholic. -.-“

Okay, I know you may not be expecting an “r” but I’m still going ahead with one because every post deserves a response, if I can help it. You said a year ago that

  1. I am afraid of…
  2. I am overly concerned about…
  3. I am too uptight over…

One year later and you’re still afraid, overly concerned and too uptight over things.  Not surprising and it’s not just because you’re a good mulberry dancer. Life, like you so rightly pointed out, is like a cycle. Yes, it looks like dejavue today and it can be tiring and trying. We all need constant reminders with multiple chances and you’re no different.  Whenever you feel like quitting, I’d like to quote what you said in your 7 August 2012 post:

I want to “…assure you that the regime does work. Maybe not at the speed and way you like it to be, it does work because God is not letting me go.”

Thank you for not quitting, kiddo.


As ever,


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