Dearly beloved,

Today is the 10th anniversary of the disaster of the World Trade Centre in New York City. Many people are still unable to forget the shocking scenes and the official death toll of the victims of over 3000 at that time. Millions watched in horror on the actual site as well as on television. These horrific images are still available today for download on the internet.

I remembered that we were at home rooted to our chairs and glued to the TV beaming in live pictures of it at least two hours. One tower collapsed to the ground and moments later the other tower was hit by another plane and went down as well.

Tammy was born on the 11th of September and I never forgot her birthday because the next day she would remind me was how good my memory, to say the least. I am thankful to the Lord for my daughter’s birthday and wish her many happy returns of this day. But for the relatives and friends of the victims who perished in the World Trade Centre, this day can only bring back painful and unpleasant memories. You may remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you first heard the news. But where was God on the 11th of September 2001 and why did He allow such a thing to happen are questions that many will ask. The “why” question is often asked because the world faces tragedies after tragedies. And people are anxious for answers and for comfort to go to any spiritual guide of any sort.

Where do we find true comfort in the most difficult circumstance of our life? We are to remind ourselves that tragedy can come to anyone regardless of whatever background his or her religious belief may be. We live in a pluralistic society and every religion’s claim is the ability to deal with sufferings. But as Christians, we know that our faith in Christ is the greatest source of comfort that is available to us. We may not fully comprehend with our finite minds why God allowed trials for His people. But by looking on the cross we know that God knows exactly what it means to lose a loved one when He spared not His own Son to die for us. We may not know the full reason why God allows suffering to continue but we know that the reason is not that He doesn’t care or love us. For God so loved us and the overwhelming evidence of His love to us-ward is the cross. And if we can grasp this evidence and believe it, it can give us comfort in times of trials. Ten years on, what can never be established or ascertained, is how many amongst the 3000 perished ever had a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. How many are now spending eternity in hell because they procrastinated, thinking that they could receive Christ on the morrow but the 12th of September never came to them? You might say, “I am not worried at all because I am a believer” But what about things that you know you should do but are putting them off to another day and for another season?

Below is an extract form D.L. Moody :

“A minister who was getting ready to preach a sermon on the urgency of receiving Christ without delay. As he was studying his sermon notes he fell asleep in his chair and had a strange dream. In the dream he overheard a conversation between several demons who were huddled together, trying to work out a scheme for leading the people on earth to hell. One of the demons said, “Let’s tell them that the Bible is not the Word of God and that it can’t be trusted”. The others shook their heads and said, “That’s not enough”. Then another said, “Let’s tell them that God doesn’t exist, that Jesus was only a good man, and that there is really no such thing as heaven or hell”. The others thought for a while and then they unanimously agreed that there had to be a better way to deceive people. Then one demon, renowned for his cunning, spoke up: “Let’s tell people that there is a God, a Saviour, and a heaven, and a hell, and that everyone will eventually end up in one place or the other. But let’s tell them that they have all the time in the world to be saved, and encourage them to put off the decision.” All the demons jumped up and shouted with glee “That’s it! Let’s go to work!”

Elder Douglas Ho

‘Hey! I just bring your lost sheep back!’

‘Hey, you will get to eat lots of phở when you are in Vietnam!’, my friend exclaimed. ‘Oh, crossing the road in Vietnam is the best bonding activity on earth, ever,’ my colleague declared.

Known as one of the emerging tigers of ASEAN, Vietnam is well known for the war that, for a period of time, tore the country into two and for the countless never-stop-horning motorbikes.

I thank God for the opportunity to set foot in Vietnam recently. It was not just a leisure trip but also to serve Him in the vacation bible school.

The village church, Phu Ly Park’s church where we conducted bible lessons for the children was a good three hours drive from Ho Chin Minh City. I personally was not sure what to expect and is thankful for God’s grace in teaching the pri–primary children His Word through the help of Angie, my interpreter.

There were many lessons to be taught each time and I was worried that it would be information overload for the children. But the Lord is good. Some of the children could provide the correct answers to the questions asked. I had some younger ones who climbed on the window railings and others wandering around (which I termed them as the lost sheep) as I teach. But they never did cry nor scream when they were carried back to their seats. Instead many would flash me their sheepish smile and charmed me over.

One of the lessons I taught was the parable of the lost sheep and who would have known that the Lord allow me to have a taste of how it was to be a Shepherd to this flock. This 4-year-old boy from my class whom I have affectionately named him ‘my lost sheep’ was literally, always lost. More often than not, he would be found wondering around when he was supposed to be at another activity. People would be bringing him back to the correct place and tell me, ‘Hey! I just bring your lost sheep back!’

Imagine the trouble our dear Lord goes through every time we wander away. Our head knowledge tells us our heavenly Father knows what’s best for us and yet, we would lose focus, ending up going the way we thought is the best for ourselves. At the end of the day, we discover that our stubborn ways caused more harm and pain to us. Like the lost sheep, we then wait for the Lord to bring us back to the flock.

Thank God for the new Vietnamese friends who have been a great help to all of us. Our interpreters, Angie, Peter and Tim, who took time off from their school holidays to serve with us and Phúc, Kim Hoa’s Vietnamese church pastor’s daughter whose endless supply of energy kept the children occupied by teaching them Vietnamese Christian songs.

We may be there to give but in actual fact there is more to learn from these affectionate Vietnamese brothers and sisters in Christ. May the Lord preserve them and their love for Him. God willing, it is our prayer to go back to the same church next year.

If the Lord opens the door for you to join the mission team, won’t you say yes and say, ‘Lord, send me!’ and witness what He has done in another land?

Sister Lingqin