Monday, 11 July 2011

Journey to Home

I went to church with my girl friend (Bridget) about 6 years ago. At the beginning, I just accompanied her (catholic family but she not yet baptize), nothing much to think about. We didn’t not really follow God full-heartedly at that time & stopped going to church since 4 years ago.

Only until end of year 2009, I was facing a lot of problems (career & family) at the same time. I decided to go back to Him (God) & invited Bridget along. I sought for God mercy & asked God to show me the right way. One day, we went to a shopping complex and coincidently passed by a book shop. This book shop only sells Christian related items, so we went in & looked around. Bridget told me that she wanted to buy an easy reading bible, at last she found a comic bible. She knew that I don’t like to read book that full of words like dictionary, perhaps this comic bible is a good start for me. During the 1st reading of this bible, I felt nothing. It was just like reading a comic but it gave me an introduction about God.

We had a chance to go back to the same book shop again after few weeks and I bought a book titled "The Eagle Wings". I had no idea why I buy this book that time, as I mentioned previously I don’t like book with full of words. But when I looked at the book, I had a strong feeling that I need to buy this book and my action surprised Bridget.
When I read this book, it involved a lot of emotion & thought. I still remember a sentence: “Everyone will face the God at the end of day, have you done anything good to present upon Him?” This line is the turning point of my life. I started to recall my past. Have I done anything good that is good enough and proud to present to god? The answer was NO. At that point, I decided to do something, so that I will not regret when my time comes.

I told my feeling to Bridget & I told her that I found an old folks’ home in our area that I want to give a hand to them. Surprisingly, she knew this place & she told me that it is not an ordinary old folks’ home. It is a home that run by nuns (little sister of the poor), they take care homeless elderly. So I followed my heart to give them a hand. They felt so happy that we were there to help out (mostly doing cleaning). Their smile made me feel so happy & calm. I knew that this is the feeling I have been looking for. (Thanks to God)

After helping them for a few weeks, I had the feeling that I want to read the comic bible again. The second experience of reading the bible was GREAT. I managed to discover a lot of meaningful lines that I missed in my first reading. It made me wanted to get closer to Him and to know Him more.
There was an opportunity that allows me to discover more about God in year 2010. St John church was having a new session of RCIA class (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) for people like me. I invited Bridget to attend the class with me.
The night before RCIA class started, something special happened in my room. Bridget and I were in the room, I smelt light rose fragrance. Then I asked Bridget whether she smelt the fragrance and she said no. The smell was so nice that I can smell it every corner of my room. I started wondering how come she couldn’t smell anything. The next day, Bridget’s mother (baptised catholic) told us that maybe it was Mother Mary paid us a visit before we start our Christian journey. I was ensured that was the smell of Mother Mary – “The Rose Fragrance”.
The RCIA class enlightened us a lot & it answered mostly all the questions we sought for. I felt so happy to attend the class & looked forward for the next.
Our RCIA class started on 13th June 2010. After a few months of classes, we touched on topic like “Who is God”, “In search of meaning in life”, “Promise of Salvation”, “Gospel”, “Church History”, “Mother Mary & the Saints” and etc... Then it came to our 1st rite – Rite of Becoming Catechumen.

The journey continue...
Christmas 25.12.2010. The celebration of The Birth of Christ, our Saviour. Contemplate with joy and gratitude the Saviour born at midnight in a stable, under conditions of great poverty. The angels announce the good news to poor and simple shepherds who come at once to worship Him.

St John Cathedral Church – Christmas Eve Mass

Celebrated with RCIA members; Augustine, Vanessa & Bridget.

After Ash Wednesday, we entered into Lent season, 40 days before Easter Day. This period is the time where our Lord Jesus was tempted by Satan and suffered. This same situation will happen to some of us especially who are about to baptize. This is because the devils do not want us to get closer to God. They will do their very best to tempt us and hurt us so that we will give up. During this time, some of us will start questioning the existence of God in our life. Why is He not answering our prayer? Why is He not there for me whenever I need help? Why I keep on failing no matter how many times I have tried? Our faith will be tested, a lot of bad things will happen on us. Be strong! In your faith and heart. God will always be with us, He is always at your left and right, front and back, journey with us. I still can remember very clearly that during the lent, I started to have nightmare once a month until a stage that it happened 3 times a week, it happened  more frequently. This is the worst nightmare I have ever dreamt of, it was the same evil spirit that kept coming into my dream and tried to posses my body. I couldn’t see his face, it was only a black spirit. I awarded that in the dream I kept asking God for help but was no answer from Him. No matter how badly I cried and shouted for God mercy to save me, I just could not cast away the evil spirit. Until one day I totally broke down, I went to see a priest and told him my story. He told me that this is normal, this is the time that my faith was being tested. The more difficult the test, the stronger the faith will grown. After a long hour conversation with the priest, I felt peaceful in my heart. I was advised to do more prayer, in order to strengthen our faith.
Two weeks before baptism, I had a funny thought that came across my mind. Have you ever thought about what will happen after you die? I know to some people may think it sounds crazy and some other may think that I’m very emotional. But sorry to say that thanks to this question and the answer I found has given me the best antidote I ever get. These few years, a lot of people mention about the end of the day – “Dooms Day”, like the “2012” movie and prophesise the world will end on 21.12.2012. These brought me to seek for the answer, and my facilitator told me that “how do people able to know when the end of the day is , when Lord Jesus himself also does not know about when it will happen?”  I made a prayer to God for answer and God had given me the answer through the Gospel reading – God's promise to bring us back to the land of Israel, to open up our graves, to rise us up from our graves and to put His Spirit within us, with God, by the power of His Spirit, we will prevail by resurrecting from the dead.”

On 16 April 2011 started our 2D/1N retreat (camp) at Madonna Heights. The best camp ever!

Hall and chapel

We reached Madonna Height about 8.30am and checked in to our room.

The hall where we do our activities.
9:30 am - Our session started with Rosary prayer. We asked to stay contemplated during every session. Open our heart and listen to our inner voice, we may be able to feel the presence of Holy Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit guide us throughout the retreat. After the prayer, the facilitator showed us some PowerPoint slides. The minute the music played, I was being touched, and the slides went on. When I saw the 1st slide where the world starts with nothing (the dark slide with some wordings), it reminded me my sharing during RCIA about what if I dies from illness, accident or any other ways. Will I stay in a dark room? Or how the place will look like? Am I be able to see what I’m seeing now? Will you come to me, God?  Then the next slide – “God said: Let it be light”. Once I saw the light from the slide, I knew that God will definitely come to me and give me the light when I’m no longer in this world. This light is given me a chance to see the world again but maybe in a different way or direction. God has answered me twice.

As the slides continued, I saw one beautiful scene. Melvin and his daughters were sitting at in front of me, the daughters were at his both sides. I saw Abigail talking to Melvin about something, then Melvin hugged her and replied her with a kiss on her head. I felt so warm and touch. This is what we called love, love that we are always looking for.  Aren’t we just like Abigail seeking for our Heavenly Father for love and cares. The gentle love shown by Melvin to Abigail is the same things that we ask Heavenly Father to love us the same way without any reserve. But do we respond to our Father the same way too? The answer I just leave it to you.

The best line I heard during the session: “God created us perfectly so that we are born to be beautiful. Don’t judge people because judging makes people separated from beautiful.”
11:00am – We are given a stone with our names on it and ask us to station ourselves alone, be with God. At the end of the session, we are placing the stone together with our Lord Jesus and make a prayer.

Part of our RCIA family members: Melvin, Connie, Abigail, Anne, Lourdine, Bridget, Vanessa & Melissa.
The highlight of this retreat is at night. We are entering to the chapel one by one. The minute the door open in front of me, I saw crucifix, Jesus died for our sin, and the song “Power of Your love” played.

When we all enter the chapel, we sing songs and praise the Lord. I hear there are some members cry out to God. After awhile everyone remains silent, we are given a piece of paper and asked to write down our feeling to God. Well, I write a letter to Heavenly Father, but the story I would like to keep to my own. One by one we are going out to place the message in front of the crucifix. I am the first one that go out, I kneel down before Jesus and give my letter to Him. Out of my control, I cry out but this is tears of joy. I feel grace and peaceful in my heart that I have never felt before. Thank you God for bringing me back to home. After that night, I feel something different in me. I am no longer feeling Jesus beside me, but inside me. I can feel Him in my heart.
“You are a letter...written not with pen and ink but with the Spirit of the living God.” 2 Corinthians 3:3

23rd April 2011 – Easter Vigil, the day all the RCIA members will be baptised in the name of Jesus. This is a very important day for us because our Saviour Lord Jesus has died for us on Good Friday and will be raised from dead on Easter Day and return to Heavenly Father. It is also a very special night for us, as our sins will be washed away, and granted with a new life so that we will follow Jesus to His kingdom.  All the lights were turned off when the mass started.

Father Christopher lights the Pascal candle

The light will be passing on to every member of the church. This light indicates Christ is giving us the light for our life.

After the reading, all the RCIA members are invited to the altar, standing before the Lord.

Blessing to the Holy Water

The Baptism process, our sins washed away.

We are given white garment & Pascal candle.

Welcoming as the member of the church

Our 1st Holy Communion

Members and sponsors

After a yearlong waited, finally Bridget and I are baptised.

Our lovely family members

Our RCIA members & facilitator

Even though we have completed our baptism, we still have few more classes to attend before we get our certificate. I felt something special happen to me after the baptism. One night, the same evil spirit came into my dream again. I felt calm when I encounter it and I was stronger to ask God for help and cast it away. After this incident, I have never encounter it anymore.
12th June 2011 – our last rite (Rite of Mystagogy – commissioning), which is also last day of our RCIA

Receiving my certificate from Father James

The end of our RCIA Journey and the beginning journey of our Christian Faith.
During that night, I lit up the Pascal candle and made a prayer in my room. I asked God for the next mission since I have completed the RCIA courses. The prayers continued and suddenly something came across my mind that I need to write this blog about the journey of my Christianity Life, before and after. I have no idea what this mission about is to do with me, yet I believe: “Heavenly Father, your plans are always good. Lord, I believe you have a plan & a purpose in this, help me to discover this plan. I know you about to do something wonderful, something so wonderful that we can’t possibly imagine. In Jesus name I pray, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”