The Journey Continues….

The lane outside the Benedictine convent in Karen
where I made my annual retreat this year

July 29, 2009

It’s been a while since I last posted an entry and there’s so much to share so be prepared for a rather long but hopefully interesting read.

Sunny Singapore
As most of you may know I spent the last week of May and most of June in Singapore and the five weeks of home leave simply zoomed by so much so that when I left, I knew there were many people I did not get to meet or even call, and I also had to regretfully decline several kind invitations for “makan” (meals) due to other engagements and my apologies for that. Next time I have to stay longer! But for those with whom I did meet up, many thanks for the great conversations, laughter, fun-filled moments, MAKAN, and simply your friendship! The saying that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” certainly holds true for me because I have grown to truly appreciate all my friends in a more profound way during this trip and at the risk of sounding trite, you guys ROCK!
Here are just some of the highlights captured in images during my recent home leave:

The snaps include some of the following -

  • A Reunion of sorts - thanks to Facebook, I reconnected with an old friend, Sabrina Lim whom I hadn’t seen in 26 years! Well it was such a delight to discover that Sabrina is now Dr. Sabrina and it was as amazing for me to discover that she has 3 kids, was widowed and has just remarried as it was for her to discover that I became a nun!
  • Play at the Park – a wonderful experience of Much Ado About Nothing at the Fort Canning Park with even more wonderful company.

  • Guitar Hero and Wii Evening with the Fun Sophisticated Princesses - (next time we'll do the real thing ok? WW on drums, me on guitar, NY on bass, JT on keyboard, SN on lead vocals!)
  • Broadcast Asia Conference and Exhibit (thanks to Fr JF) - taking the opportunity to keep up with the latest media technology.

  • Spending some fun vacation moments with the family; pics show us hanging out at Chachuchak market and I was especially amused with the row of doggie shops including doggie boutiques! Yes those clothes are for dogs!

Well, apart from meeting up with friends and family, the primary purpose of my trip back home was to spend time with my Mum who thanks be to God is adjusting well to life without my Dad. As you can tell from one of the pics, she’s even found a new partner!

While I was back I also took the opportunity to do some apostolic activities and in the process also raised some funds for our mission and community in Kenya. A big THANK YOU to the parishioners of Holy Trinity (as well as friends and relatives) who so generously contributed to the donation appeal and the kind support of the parish priests, namely Fr Johnson, Fr Albert, Fr Timothy and Fr Paul.

Suzanne Vega turns 50!

In the midst of her European tour, Suzanne opens for one of her own heroes, Leonard Cohen, as his special guest in London on her 50th birthday – July 11, 2009

It’s not often that we get to meet our heroes in our lifetime, let alone be privileged to have their care and concern and even correspond with them. Well this month, one such beloved hero of mine, Suzanne Vega, celebrated her 50th birthday! Here’s my little tribute in words and music to honour this very gracious lady and amazing singer-songwriter : July 11 (acoustic) or July 11 (mixed) (you probably have to use headphones to hear the sax and bass I added here with the help of Garage Band!)
And here's Suzanne herself at a press conference in Tel Aviv, a week after her golden birthday.

Annual Retreat
Speaking of heroes, my ultimate hero is of course Jesus, the Jewish carpenter who “though he was in the form of God did not deem equality with God something to be grasped but rather emptied himself and took the form of a slave, humbling himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2). Okie, so this going to lead into my recent retreat.

Thank you to those of you who prayed for me! I could really feel your prayers enveloping me as it was another grace filled period to bask in God’s love and be recharged for another year of ministry. The retreat was held at the Benedictine Missionary Sisters’ grounds in Karen (the same area previously owned by Karen Blixen and where I had my retreat last year). I spent my quiet time for prayer, reflection and just being in the presence of God mainly out doors under the shade of trees, sometimes just lying on the grass and listening to the polyphony of sounds coming from a great variety of birds as well as the variety of animals the Sisters reared including chicken, cows, sheep etc. It was close to paradise! Here are some snaps I managed to take:

This year I participated in a group retreat with a preacher who happens to be our very own Sr Bernie Dianzon, FSP from the Philippines. Her talks over 8 days were on several Pauline themes including our Corporate Solidarity with one another in Sin and Redemption, with Christ as the Corporate Body, and in whom we are invited to Renew and Sanctify our Minds (the metanoia or conversion asked of us), and to live a Cruciform Existence (the kenosis or self surrender) with the Cross as the Victory of Selfless LOVE.

Sr Bernie helped deepen as well as articulate some concepts that I have always deeply felt intuitively but somehow was unable to fully express them. Part of the reason is due to seemingly contrary biblical images of God and the lack of a more profound study of sacred scriptures which require a knowledge of both Hebrew and Greek and which fortunately Sr Bernie has done (she obtained her Licentiate in Sacred Scriptures from the Pontifical Biblical Institute and her Doctorate in Sacred Theology at the Loyola School of Theology). Here are just some examples of words and phrases in Paul’s letters which, due to translations over the centuries, have lost their original meaning and which modern scholars are trying to rectify:

  • “Justification” (in Romans) – in English the word connotes judgment or righteousness; the more appropriate translation of the original Greek would be the “faithfulness of God”

  • “Faith in Christ” (Rom 3:21-22)– St Paul never saw faith as a personal trait. Rather, faith for him is a participation of Christ’s faith (just like the image in Exodus of being carried on an eagle’s wings). Hence the preferred translation here would be “faith of Christ” instead of “faith in Christ.”

  • “wrath of God” (Rom 1:18ff)– rather than anger, the original phrase is derived from a Hebrew phrase used at the time of Paul among Jews to signify the inevitable consequence of anyone who in their free will turns away from love and commits evil, and hence the “wrath of God” is of their own doing. God, who is an ever loving God, NEVER punishes! But, some of you may say, what about the many Old Testament accounts of how God “punishes” those who “disobey” him. Well we have to realize that the writers of the OT although inspired, wrote from their limited “sitz in leben” or situation in life and projected their own image of God in their writings. In the New Testament, Jesus has the definitive or final say about God (Heb 1:1-2) and he always portrays God as a loving God. Just think of the parable of the Prodigal Son (more of that later).

We also touched on Quantum Physics and Spirituality (a topic which was first introduced to me by Richard Rohr, a favourite author). Well, how does Paul come into this? Scholars have described his leadership as Chaordic Leadership – a combination of chaos and order. Paul understood the necessity of both. Rather than giving the early Christians extensive sets of rules, he adopted just three :
1) love one another, 2) serve one another, 3) listen to the Spirit.
His principle was “put others first.” Paul, whether he was aware of it or not, allowed chaos in community so that indigenous order might arise.

As the work in Quantum physics show and which some of you may already know, there is an ordered pattern amidst chaos! Further, a subatomic particle is not a “thing” but a set of relationships. Everything that exists thrives on relationships and everything is affected by everything else. The Butterfly Effect (which I’ve shared with some of you before) states that “given the web of physical relationships that make up our world, it is possible for the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Tokyo to turn the course of a tornado in Texas.”!! From the minutest quark to our entire planet, we are an interconnected web of relationships where we find a natural balance between chaos and order. “Amidst the chaotic situation – crisis and conflict – there is a hand, a hidden power that holds us together. At the quantum level of experience, this mystery unravels itself in amazing patterns.” Check out these natural fractal patterns with increasing zoom ins. These patterns were caused from seemingly chaotic patterns like the movement of waves or even free art (paint being splattered across the canvas):

So next time you find yourself in what seems like “chaos,” remember there is a beautiful design taking place at the same time, and surely, in faith, we know that God is guiding and forming our “chaos” into beauty!

(The above are just a few highlights of Sr Bernie’s inputs. If anyone’s interested to read the full texts, just email me your request.)

I usually take along my guitar and ipod with me when I go for my retreats and these two all time favourite songs especially accompanied me in my prayer during the retreat:
Michael Card’s “That’s What Faith Must Be”

and Steven Curtis Chapman’s “I Will be Here” (simply an awesome song which can also be applied to God’s love for each of us)
Apostolic Projects

And while we’re on the topic of God’s love, I mentioned the parable of the Prodigal Son earlier. Well, our first scripture music video on that parable is out. Here’s the snippet I promised in my previous post (sorry for the low res – it takes ages to upload a higher res clip this side of the globe!):

And here’s also a sound clip of the Audio Bible (the Gospels) we’ve also recently produced:

Our ongoing projects include making our entire Audiovisuals catalogue available for online purchasing. Unfortunately the company whose services we were planning to engage in, ClickandPledge, just informed me that they are no longer opening new accounts in Kenya. If you happen to know other similar web services that facilitate online purchases, do let me know. We are also completing the series of Scripture Music Videos based on the Parables of Jesus. Having written and performed the first and desiring a variety of sounds and styles, I’ve commissioned several singer-songwriters for this series but I will probably continue to produce and direct the series. Your prayers are much appreciated for these projects!

Before I park my pen, or rather, hit “POST”, some of you have written to ask for updates about my friend Hilda and her companion who were kidnapped last July 3 in Darfur. Unfortunately they have yet to be released although negotiations are ongoing and both ladies are okay. The last news report mentioned that a ransom of US$2 million was demanded, which the authorities are not willing to pay as that would of course encourage more kidnapping sprees. I would like to remain hopeful and see a happy end to this ordeal for Sharon and Hilda (who was at school with me in Dover College and who had asked me to be her “godmother”/sponsor for her Confirmation way back in 1984 when we were both 17!) Let’s continue to pray for them, their anxious loved ones, and even the kidnappers themselves.

Do stay safe and well yourself! Thanks for reading up to the end! I look forward to your comments below. Till next time then.



  1. Wonderful sharing, Wendy. Thanks. I can see you are definitely re-charged after all the physical, mental and spiritual oasis during your month's time away. Keep them coming. The videos are awesome! congrats! You're really in the right place!


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  3. Thanks for sharing again with us Wendy. Really great to listen to the songs you recommended. Very uplifting. God Bless You.
    Take care,