33 Years Later, National Service All Over Again.

33 years ago, I enlisted for National Service, a requirement for all Singapore boys. 33 years later, I was bound for Pulau Tekong once more. This time, to accompany my eldest son, David, for his enlistment.

No commando jetty. No RPL. No bumboats. Instead, it was a shuttle from Pasir Ris Bus Interchange to the SAF Changi Ferry Terminal where we boarded a ferry together with other enlistees and their loved ones.

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Everything looked and felt different but it didn’t stop the memories from flooding back.

What to me was Infantry Training Depot (ITD) is today Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC). Next to a little old wooden jetty is today a well laid out ferry terminal. Hearing so much of how BMT is much easier these days, it did feel as if we arrived at Club Med Tekong – haha!

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Upon arrival, the boys went off for their briefing and the rest of us were taken for our “PR” orientation and tour. We were shown a typical company line, section bunks, and assured that our sons would be very well taken care of.

At times, my mind would wander off to how it was for me as a recruit in Tekong; and later, as a platoon commander when I was posted back to ITD. Looking at the officers and section commanders, I couldn’t help thinking, “They look so young!” That must have been how I looked then too! And we moved and talked as if we knew so much about combat and warfare.

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Remembering my army days did cause me to wonder how my son would fare in this new environment. As a homeschooler, this would be David’s very first exposure to different people of different backgrounds, culture, faiths, values and language. Other than youth or children’s camps, he has never been away from home for such a long stretch of time. I began to miss him already.

Later, we assembled in the auditorium for the Commanding Officer’s address – more assurance that our sons would be well looked after. I think the most important slide for all was the one that showed the Book Out Date after confinement, and the Graduation Ceremony.

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What followed was the sampling of a cookhouse meal. Gone are the days of metal trays, half-cooked rice, rubber-band bee hoon and a measly piece of meat or fish. Our plates were stacked with a generous helping of rice, a huge piece of chicken leg/thigh, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, soup with mango jelly for dessert.

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All too soon, the announcement came for the boys to “fall-in” at the parade square. We said our goodbyes as David joined his new-found company mates. Soon after, they marched, er, walked off, to be transported to their company line.

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I know that it is usually the mothers who cry when they see their baby boys enlist for National Service. Well, I must admit that there were times I felt rather emotional that afternoon, realising how time had just flown by. One day, David was born. And in a flash – 18 years – we were releasing him into the next phase of his life. Then again, it also seemed like just yesterday when I was charging up Botak Hill, running down 300m range, digging a trench through the night, and singing silly songs on our runs.

33 years ago, in my Temasek Green No. 4. Can’t wait to see David when he books out, for the first time after confinement, in his pixelated camouflage uniform.

Serene’s Point-of-View: When NS Comes A-Calling: Our Family’s Experience

 

The Joy Of Having My Children Serve Alongside Me

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Over the weekend, I had the joy of having Aaron and Esther (our 3rd & 4th) serve alongside me at Archippus Awakening‘s very own Awakening Event, AWE2016. Whilst many think this is only natural for a pastor’s or a minister’s children, I do not take this for granted at all. No, not for one moment.

To be clear, my children have, on many occasions, accompanied me on my various ministry engagements at camps, retreats, meetings and church services. Each and every time, I am very thankful to have them with me, but I do not expect that to be so, as if it is a mandatory requirement for the Lim Tribe. Of course, there are times when Serene and I make a collective decision for the entire family to be present. Then again, there are also times where we ask the children if they’d like to be involved.

And that was the case for AWE2016. David and Sarah (our 1st & 2nd) were unable to join us, and Aaron and Esther said “yes”. Aaron was promptly assigned to man the sound board and Esther would look after the projection needs. It was really wonderful to see them readily assume their responsibilities without fuss or complaint.

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The moment we reached the hotel, they took to their stations to set up whatever needed to be set up. Throughout the event, they did what was required, and gamely took on whatever else came about, whether planned or unplanned. Whatever they were unsure about, they simply learnt it along the way, on the job!

Being a part of the technical team also meant having to be present earlier than others, which also meant eating faster and having to wake up earlier in the mornings for the Kingdom Prayer Initiatives. Aaron also took on the additional role of photographer, which saw him shuttling from the sound board to moving about the room to capture the best shots.

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I watched and observed them with much pride and joy. Young as they are (14 & 13), they understood what it meant to serve with and alongside their dad, contributing to a greater purpose of God’s kingdom. And I dare say they gave and did their very best.

This episode also gave me a deeper appreciation of what it must mean to our heavenly Father when we give of ourselves to align with His plans and purposes. Consider this: If I can experience the joy of having my children support me in my assignment, imagine the joy in God’s heart when we readily, obediently, and gladly do the Father’s Will!

 

The Lim Tribe: Serving the Lord Together

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This June, I spoke at three church camps (Shekinah AG Church, Bartley Christian Church and Hakka Methodist Church).

And for two of these, Serene and the children came along at the invitation of the camp committees. It was truly a joy for me to have them all serve alongside me in various capacities. Needless to say, I was very proud of each of them as they took to their tasks, desiring to do their very best.

Through their support and contribution, I had a beautiful revelation of the joy we bring to our Heavenly Father when we too serve Him, not out of duty, obligation or coercion, but with love, joy and gladness.

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

Proud of My Boys

I was surprised when David (my eldest) asked if he could participate in the SAFRA-STTA Table Tennis Championships 2015.

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Our two boys, David and Aaron, were first introduced to the game in October 2013 when we first vacationed at Club Med Bintan. Since then, they expressed interest in the sport; and for Aaron’s birthday present in Jan 2014, he asked for table tennis bats. The boys continued to play at Bishan Sports Hall every now and then. Then came the request to play in a competition!

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On Sunday night (15 Mar), Aaron went first, losing both his games to obviously more experienced and trained players, very possibly school team players, in his age category. On Thursday afternoon (19 Mar), it was David’s turn. He lost the first game. However, for his second game, his opponent didn’t turn up and he ‘won’ by a walk over, getting him into the next round. The next day (20 Mar), he was drawn against the No.3 seed, from the Singapore Sports School!

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Without any formal training, David and Aaron did their best against their opponents. Although they lost in straight sets, I am still so very proud of them. It really is not about winning at all. For me, it was enough just to see my boys hold their own, managing emotions and anxieties (if any) as they played against much better players.

Well done, David and Aaron!

No Worries, My Dad’s Got My Back!

Father and Son on KeyboardsEver since David, my eldest, had a chance to jam and play with the worship team at the tender age of nine, he has always done well and held his own. Gifted with a musical talent, today at 16 years old, he writes songs, arranges music, and plays the guitar, keyboards, bass and drums.

I can’t remember when this photo was taken … perhaps 2006 or 2007? But when I saw this photo again just the other day, it brought a smile to my face. Yet, more than the cute little boy grinning at the keyboards, it was the message in the picture that really warmed my heart and greatly encouraged me … that of a father supporting his son from behind.

I believe it is also like that with our Heavenly Father. He is always giving us the opportunity and exposure to excel that we might bring Him joy and pleasure. He allows us to think that we are doing really well on our own, but in truth, He is always there looking on and looking out for us. For sure, He never leaves nor forsakes us. Should we miss a note or a beat, we can be certain that our Abba Father will more than make up for our shortfalls and mistakes.

This is the grace we enjoy and the assurance we carry in our hearts as we serve Him in the assignments He has given to us. We just do our best and leave the rest to Him. No worries, my Dad’s got my back!

 

A Lovely Note of Encouragement by Ruth

I am presently on a 10-day Consecration Fast, full fast with just water, in preparation of the next phase of Archippus Awakening; and today is Day #6. Naturally, in the first few days, the body is physically weak and I move about rather slowly. It’s much better now, having adjusted, but I still get breathless at times.

This evening, I decided to go for prayer walk, allowing me to get some exercise and sun whilst I lift up items to the Lord. As I prepared to step out, I found a little heart-shaped note written by my 9yo daughter Ruth.

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I was overwhelmed as I read what she wrote:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid nor discouraged for the Lord will be with you wherever you go. Keep fasting. Keep praying. Don’t overwork yourself. God bless you.”

This is the verse that the Lord used to encourage me when He first gave me instructions to step down from my pastoral position and to go as He would lead. What Ruth added on her own accord was so beautiful, spurring me on towards the end of the fast yet reminding me that prayer is very much a part of the process, but not without cautioning me to go at a pace that is manageable (it’s been a very heavy ministry schedule so far).

Often, as a parent, you don’t really know if you are teaching your children right or if they are receiving all you hope for them to receive. I thank God for these little moments that makes the parenting journey worth it, watching them grow in the Lord and being sensitive and a blessing to others around them.

How to Raise a Pagan Kid in a Christian Home – Restore Ministries

Source: Resource Ministries' Website http://restore-ministries.org
Source: Resource Ministries’ Website http://restore-ministries.org

How to Raise a Pagan Kid in a Christian Home – Restore Ministries.

This is a short, easy-to-read article but it contains some very pertinent points for parents to be aware of. Don’t gloss over it too quickly or you will altogether miss what the author, Barrett Johnson, is trying to share.

The scary thing is that you can behave like a Christian and yet not be one at all. Hmmm …. food for thought? Are you raising your children this way?

God bless you and your family!