Taking my medication

Since my liver transplant in 1991, I’ve been taking one drug to keep me alive.   The drug is called cyclosporine.  It is an immunosuppressant drug.  For thsoe who are not medically incline, cyclosporine lowers my immune system.  Since my body treats the liver as a foriegn host and will try to attack it, cyclosporine lowers my immune system and body thus able to accept the liver.   It is quite amazing when we think about it.  This drug is created from a fungus.  How did the scientist figured that out, I had no idea.  With three little pills, the size of M&Ms (but definitely not taste like M&Ms!), twice a day, it keeps me alive.

When I tell people about my medication, those who are in the medical profession will often be amazed that as a transplant recipient, I am taking only one drug.  Transplant recipients often have a cocktail of medications to boost their immune system to keep them healthy.  The first year after my transplant, I would take a whole bunch of pills and liquids.   Yet, sometimes, someone will ask me what are the side affects of taking cyclopsorine.  I would tell them in the most serious tune, ‘yes, there are some major side affects. I am alive.  It is not easy to ‘live’ with this but I finally get use to it.’

With all joking aside, not taking cyclosporine, my body will attack my liver and Cliff will see Jesus very soon.  Thus, this is important for me to take it every 12 hours to make sure there is a good cyclosporine level in my blood.

Ever since Wai Jia and I were married (one and a half years ago), I often wondered why she never made the effort to remind me to take my cyclosporine.  After all, she’s a medical doctor, she should know all the 101 side affects of NOT taking cyclosporine.  Doesn’t she care?   It never really bothered me but sometimes I just wonder.

Then a few days ago, I had a revelation.  Wai Jia is also taking some medication as well (not cyclosporine, thankfully.  This drug is already expensive for one person!).  As I reflected upon this, I realized I rarely made an effort to remind her to take her medication.

So the whole thing turned around.  I realized that by asking how come she doesn’t care, I am actually looking at a mirror and asking myself, do I really care her?

Over the weekend, we went to the church’s Marriage Preparation Course (MPC) to give a testimony as to how the course helped us as a couple (which for all those who are about to get married, definitely consider taking a MPC. It helped Wai Jia and my marriage.)  I am once reminded something a trainer said in my MPC.  He said that we are actually very selfish people.  In our own mind, we have a perception of who that person should be to us when we are married.  We will consciously (and unconsciously) force that person to fit that mould in our head.

As Christians, we often talk about agape.  Agape is a Greek word that means sacrificial love.  That’s the word we use to describe Jesus dying on the cross for us.  It is a love that costs one person something for the sake of another person.  With marriage, we often use the same word to describe how we treat our spouse. In fact for Wai Jia’s engagement ring, I etched agape on it.

Reminding me to take medication in the whole scheme of things is very small. I’ve been doing this for twenty years.  It is like breathing to me.   However, it reminded me how self-centre I still am and there’s still a way for me to learn to love sacrifically.

Last night, I shared my relevation with Wai Jia.  She said that she purposely chose not to remind me because she doesn’t want to nag me (like my mom. I will be honest. I don’t like my mom nagging me but I know she does it out of good intention!).   So for her, by loving me, choose not to remind me to take my medication.





God’s Ocean of Grace

The past few weeks have been a mix of filling out forms, emails, testing systems and a million and one to dos.

Just to give a brief update…

We came back from a recce trip two weeks ago.  Wai Jia wrote a great post on her blog.   I am serving with OMF until mid April.  Afterwards, we will fly back to Canada to thank my supporters, follow up on my medical needs and visit friends and family.  Then come back to Singapore to pack and then to head to Uganda.  We plan to stay in Uganda for one year.

Many of the nights, both Wai Jia and I are exhausted by night. It feels like this never ends. There’s always one more form to fill (or re-fill) and one more thing to pack. We try to encourage each other that soon, this will be over.

Seeing that I am getting stressed, Wai Jia deliberately schedule off time for us.  This is where we don’t talk about ministry or work or moving.  Just rest.  I am learning to rest as well.

More importantly, I am learning to depend our Father.  It seems that this season of my life is to learn to depend on the Father.  There are a number of things I have no control.  For example, who is to take care of my medical needs while we are in Uganda?  What about getting medication?  I don’t have all the answers. I just focus on following Him.

Internally, I realize I am going through transitional stress.  The thought of going to Canada to say godo bye and then making farewells in Singapore makes me feel un-settled.

Over the weekend, my friend Whatsapp me and asked how I have been doing. To which I replied:

We are just riding along the currents of God’s ocean of grace.

And that’s where we are at right now.  We are just riding along.

There are probably more things to say and more to blog. What are we doing there?  What we hope to accomplish?  What are our concerns?

Hmm…good questions.   :)  Will catch up on those on a later time.

For the Love of Money

The issue with addiction with money is very hard to detect. Not many people is willing to have such examination of one’s heart as the author. We often praise those who make lots of wealth. This probably fuels the addiction. Perhaps we should all examine our own heart once in a while.

“I generally think that if one is rich and believes they have “enough,” they are not a wealth addict. On Wall Street, in my experience, that sense of “enough” is rare. The money guy doing a job he complains about for yet another year so he can add $2 million to his $20 million bank account seems like an addict.”

Article: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/opinion/sunday/for-the-love-of-money.html?_r=0&referrer

Marriage Quote from Bonhoeffer

Marriage is more than your love for each other. It has a higher dignity and power, for it is God’s holy ordinance, through which he wills to perpetuate the human race till the end of time. In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in marriage you are a link in the chain of the generations, which God causes to come and to pass away to his glory, and calls into his kingdom. In your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal – it is a status, an office. Just as it is the crown, and not merely the will to rule, that makes the king, so it is marriage, and not merely your love for each other, that joins you together in the sight of God and man.Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Jackie Pullinger’s sharing in GO2013

I found this video earlier this week and Wai Jia and I watched it together. We were both moved and learnt a lot regarding missions.

A few key I learnt from the video:

  1. We can learn how to pray for healing and cast out demons.
  2. We need to be very intentional about missions. Are we doing for the people or are we doing it for our own experience?
  3. We need to see mission more than just a two weeks trip.  Transformation takes time.  The people we are reaching are not dumb.  They know we just come and go.  In order to share the Love of Christ they need to know we love them.
  4. Facebook and smart phones can be a distraction to doing the Lord’s work.
  5. It ain’t about just going but willing to STAY!