Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Final Ministers' Retreat?

Ministers' (and Pastor's Kids') Retreat
Date: 16th - 19th March 09 (Monday - Thursday)
Venue: Pulai Springs Resort, Johor
Theme: LeadChangeGrow

Time has come again for Ministers' Retreat, yes, this time it would be way down at the southern most state of Malaysia. My parents flew back from the Philippines to attend this retreat. Although I have already begun my ministry in FGC, USJ, I had earlier registered and paid in full, so I guess I will take this as a good chance to just relax. Just make the most out of what would likely be my final Ministers' Retreat. After this I will be part of a different family, although the AG will always be a part of me. Who knows maybe one day, if God calls, I might be back in the AG. But till then...

It was roughly a 4 hour drive from our home to the venue. We decided that we would stop over at Melaka for our lunch. I was always going to have a shot at the durian cendol if we were to stop in Melaka. Durian cendol totally rocks! I'll have it anytime!

We arrived at Melaka at about 2:30pm, we decided to call Ian out for lunch. Ian who is working with The Star newspapers was there helping out with The Star's Brats English camp. He was available so we picked him up from the Straits Hotel. From there we headed straight for Jonker Street.

After lunch we had some time to do some shoppping, which is always good as well. Mikayla got a new toy from her grandfather, but almost as soon as it was paid for, she lost interest in it.

Here Mikayla is signing "scared", she's afraid of the statue. We dropped Ian back at the camp and headed off once again southward.

We arrived at Pulai Springs late, about 6pm, which was dinner time. We got lost trying to find Pulai Springs. The GPS made that same mistake again, you know, the one where the GPS tells us to "turn right here" when we were under a bridge, there was no junctions. We were supposed to get on that bridge over our heads. The auto reroute informed us that the next U-turn was about 5KMs away. When we got to the alleged U-turn, we found out that the road was renovated and there was no U-turn. We passed it and again the auto reroute brought us another 5KMs before we finally could U-turn. That was quite a detour.

We quickly checked in, freshen up, and headed out for dinner which started at 6PM. We wolfed down dinner and quickly headed to the first session. This year the food was not as good as previous years' food. Previously the food has been nothing short of fantastic, Pulai Springs' food is really quite mediocre. During the first session Rev. Ong Sek Leang, our General Superintendant of the Assemblies of God Malaysia, gave the keynote address to the whole fellowship. One of the things he mentioned was served to affirm my decision to move to FGC, USJ. He said "the age of denominationalism has passed". He did not say denominations are history, denominations still exists, I think there will always be different denominations to serve different needs, but the gap between the denominations is no longer as they were previously. Denominations are now coming together and working together to be more effective in reaching the world.

Ministers' Retreat (MR) was often the time to meet up and reconnect with colleagues. This time it was special for me as I have just completed my studies in BCM, and I have been missing some of my classmates. I realized that, like the last edition, BCM students were invited to be the worship band. So I got to catch up with them over mamak during the final night.

The Pastors' Kids' Retreat (PKR) also runs consecutively with the MR. I was looking forward to catching up with some pastor's kids (PKs) however many who were from my batch did not make it this time. I guess I'm growing too old for this now. YAM did a great thing by subsidizing all the PKs that attended the PK sessions. At the end of the camp, when they have attended all the sessions they would be given a RM100 refund. I did not qualify for this as I was married. I understand that they are trying to help make it more accessible to the PKs, but I insist that no matter what, I am still a "K" of a "P"... I'm still a PK, I maintain my identity! Thank you YAM for subsidizing for my fellow PKs.

Lunches were not provided and they were a good time to go out and catch up. My parents who severely missed Mikayla were glad to be able to bring their precious granddaughter out for some of the lunches. Melanie and I tagged along a few times. We had some catching up of our own to do.

The resort boasts two seperate swimming areas (just like my condominium), if you didn't know, we enjoy quite a lifestyle... two swimming areas (not two swimming pools, swimming area, each area consisting of a few pools). Grandfather and granddaughter enjoyed the sun and swim. Mikayla is always trying to have a taste of everything, always sticking her tongue out to taste anything and everything in her world.

There was the usual football sessions in the afternoon, however since dinner was at 6PM, we didn't have much time to really do anything meaningful. It was way too hot to really go at it and so I continue to find it hard to motivate myself to exercise and keep in shape. Perhaps I really need to seriously take up paintball as my exercise. Last MR Reuben was recovering from a ligament surgery, but this year he was playing and boy he's good. He had the physique, great balance, skill, composure. I guess that's what training does to someone. It was fun playing with, as well as against him.

We sat at the back as we did not want Mikayla to be too much of a distraction to the other people, she doesn't understand why we need to be quiet in a service yet. While at the back, Mikayla had the opportunity to make new friends. She had so much space to run around with her new friends. It is the first time that she was allowed to run about in such a big open space. She could only walk about, but she was trying to run to keep up with the other kids. Very soon she will be running about, then we'll have to keep up.

On the final day my father told me to be ready to take some pictures for him, he did not mention why and I did not ask. He had also earlier asked me to help him buy a nice shirt as he was going on the stage. Later I realized that the fellowship was going to pray for him, for the position that he is about to take out. Come April 2nd he will be steppign in as the president of Asia Pacific Theological Seminary's very first Asian president. Everyone was proud of him. So are his children and grandchild. They made the announcement and invited him to the stage. I sprang into action with the very good camera that I got from them for Christmas and got some good shots. I'm sure you'll be seeing them in his site as well. The executive bethren were also invited to the stage to pray and charge my parents.

It was a great retreat. Of course the preaching and sessions was good, but the best part for me has to be when I was able to meet old friends and catch up. The physical side of being being waited upon at the hotel was great as well.

After the MR, my parents returned to the Philippines on Saturday. Mikayla went with them. Melanie and I are now enjoying and suffering the first time away from Mikayla since she was born, which was 15 months ago. We (Melanie, Elroi, Anne, Ian, Jackie, and me) will be flying over to celebrate my father's installation on April 1st. We will be coming back that same week on April 5th. We will bring Mikayla back then.

I have so much on my plate at the moment. I just got back from Thailand, but that's a whole other post. I have barely been at my home these last few weeks. But I thank God that I am once again on the move and liking it very much.

Will try to post pictures and thoughts from my Thai trip soon. But for now I need to wrap things up and get ready for my Phil trip.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

The world is changing. 1st Black President of America, 1st Asian President of APTS