Friday, January 30, 2004

Your kingdom come, your will be done...
First of a series from Urbana 2003

Urbana was a conference held in the city of Urbana-Champaign, outside of Chicago, from December 27 to January 1. It is a conference about global missions, challenging all Christians to follow God's will to "go and make disciples of all nations".

This was actually my second time. I went back in 2000 (they only hold it every 3/4 years) although at that time, I can't say I got very much out of it for a number of reasons... but this time, my heart became in the right place (well, better than before, and not right off the bat either), and I was able to take the messages and challenges to heart.

So for the past few weeks, apart from the long first two weeks of January, CNY celebrations, the chaos caused by the snowstorms... I'm still trying to process what happened in those four days in my head... although the long drives to/from work as a result of the snow were somewhat instrumental in allowing me to think. =)

Some initial impressions of Urbana: Worship is always up there on this list. It is a result of the sheer volume of people in one place at one time... but another part of the volume that makes it amazing is the diversity. To see so many people of different backgrounds come together and worship together is just awesome.

Speaking of diversity, it was really refreshing to have a small group with people from different backgrounds. [We are assigned small groups by the room arrangements in the dorms for evening sharing and morning Bible studies. ] My small group was generally from the American Midwest, a bunch of them were home-schooled, from very small towns, and they are studying a number of different subjects at university. At my first Urbana experience, my small group was generally, Asian (female) from Toronto.

It was cool to see people who did *not* look to complete their education as a first and foremost thing in life. "What? You took two years off to go on a missions before finishing your undergrad?" It was inspiring to hear people's stories and see their faith lived out in their lives.

It was also cool to see people who did *not* take a technical approach to reading Scripture (they were all Artsies =p), and to see how they immediately look to applying Scripture to their lives.

Another thing, it was very, very nice to share with people who opened up immediately... unafraid of being vulnerable upfront. That is rare in my experiences with sharing time, but I know that it is difficult for me to do. Somehow I think it has to do with Asian face... and definitely my facade...

The last initial impression that stood out to me was unity. The conference is huge, but it seemed like all the speakers and seminar leaders had some scripts to reinforce each other's messages. I remember this being significant to me the first time around too... and the effect to me is just incredible, to show that IVCF is in full force training and encouraging people to follow God's will as their sole objective... it's no wonder that they can put on such a conference. Amazing.

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Kung hei fat choi / Gong xi fa cai!

Too bad Chinese New Year (CNY -- too lazy to type it out!) crept up on me this year... I would have loved to go to First Markham with people on the weekend and join in with the crowds, but I didn't realize last weekend was the only weekend before CNY... the joy of working a lot... [sigh]... oh well, I'll have my mahjongg fix tomorrow night, haha.

I totally miss CNY in Hong Kong... especially having experienced it while working. For the people who go to work on CNY, no one does any work! All the staff basically scope out the partners and managers who are handing out red pockets, and everyone lines up! No shame! And then onto the next one! It doesn't even matter that as auditors, we don't know the managers at the client's! Really funny, but really fun!

I also remember going with my aunts to the mountain cemetary by public transportation... so when we got onto the bus, here comes a person bringing an entire cooked roast pig onto the bus, complete with cherry eyes and everything! Incredible Chinese people! But the [yeet lau]-ness is the best! Haha...

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Praise God for his rest... It's been crazy... and this is just the start of busy season...

Check out this link. Normally, I would consider this a bastardization of classical music, but the DDR-side of me must give this guy "props", haha... it's hilarious... =)

Urbana stuff coming...!

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

I'm back! *Only* after about an estimated 4 hour delay... anyway, just wanted to praise God for taking care of my friends and me in the past week at the Urbana conference, in Chicago, and on the way back home... will have much to share later, but need to sleep first. =)

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.