day 176

whew such a long day! woke up at 7 because we had to get ready and eat breakfast by 845 to catch the bus. so early… but i somehow managed to wake up :P. and i called dr. bob before getting breakfast to talk about retreat stuff, and it’s so fun to talk to him. he’s very down to earth and always willing to have a conversation with shaw. hopefully, his meeting with reslife will go well concerning shaw…

the breakfast line was SO long! i forgot that overnight, a FLOOD of people came, so by 8 there was already a line. luckily, my mom and sisters already had a table so i could just step into the buffet line :) went to the jubilee site, and i played a little basketball before the actual service started. the morning worship was led by vincent lim and the vancouver worship team! they were really good too, especially the guitars and bass :P though i didn’t know most of the songs they sang. but, they were easy enough to catch on. oh and they did a better job with putting lyrics on the slides… for some reason, the hendrickson family squeeze all the lyrics on one slide, making it impossible to see due to small font size for songs that have a lot of lyrics… and it looked like the vancouver team also had a specially designed background. and they had their own t-shirts… haha, man they’re so cool. oh and vincent is JACKED! i don’t remember that two or three years ago when i saw him lead worship, but now reminds me of jeremy camp with a mohawk :P

for the morning session, sean smith spoke, and i really liked it. he shared his testimony of how he grew up in the ghettos of oakland, and how his dad was unjustly killed by two police officers due to his skin color. while the law found those two officers guilty and paid reparations…, that really doesn’t make up for the fact that he grew up without a positive male role model. so that really broke my heart, just understanding how important male role models are needed for this generation. oh i guess since he has a common last name, it should be noted that he is african american. but gosh, the way he talks reminds me of obama! (and i’m not trying to be racist…he just speaks THAT eloquently). so he didn’t lead a healthy lifestyle until college when he had an encounter with God that radically changed his life! like, he basically passed out on his rug from partying, but prayed that if God revealed himself, he would give his entire life. and a couple hours later, he awoke to the light and glory of the King and immediately began telling others about jesus! so crazy. actually, he shared about how he’s never backslidden, not due to his own strength, but he understands that if he doesn’t constantly strive to seek God, he will backslide and he knows that what is there is unsatisfying and destructive. man, i was so impressed by his mindset of not compromising… i gotta work on that!

anyways, he shared his message from numbers 22-23 about the story of balak and balaam with the cursing/blessing of israel. and it’s so funny how even though balak summons a prophet to curse the israelites, it can’t happen because God doesn’t allow balaam to do so. i think sean talked about: deception, distraction and divination. yet, the israelites stumble when they allow the moabite women to enter into their tribes…and so, in a sense, the israelites cause their own downfall because they reject god. and so a plague breaks out. and the only way it’s stopped is when phineas drives a javelin into a man who is flaunting the sinful act during the plague. so sean talked about how we need people who are willing to be passionate for god (not kill people, lols!…that was more of OT context) but to be his burning ones. oh and i thought it was a good reminder how in the promised land, there are other tribes because the israelites need those resistances in order to grow. without trials, the israelites would just remain childish or stagnant in their growth, and in the same sense, we shouldn’t be avoiding pain because it’s in those times that we actually grow. yeah… i wish i made more sense here, but i think that’s because i never take notes during messages… perhaps i should… doh.

after the message, it was time for lunch and we had quiznos! my goodness, there’s just TONS of food, and it’s incredible how much preparation is needed to feed 600+ kids! well, after lunch, i decided to play basketball until the worship team with the hendricksons. it was good too, despite the small lyrics, because i knew most of the songs. after that, we broke up into regions… and basically it split up into norcal, socal, NW pacific (vancouver, washington, oregon), and east coast… which wasn’t really east coast because it included massachusetts, florida, georgia, texas, and north dakota. REALLY? North dakota?! haha, so that was interesting during our meeting. we only had 10 or so people, but it was good nonetheless, actually possibly better :P because it was easier to listen and understand how each church was doing. and in a sense, the east coast churches are a bit remote compared to the ones on west coast, but i think the sharing really encouraged me, and reminded me to be thankful for what God is doing at our church!

after that, we had regional games… and since the east coast came a bit late… we were presented in front of the crowd… and that was a bit awkward because i didn’t want to jump and shake my booty. errrrr. and to make matters worse, after that, they asked for representatives from each region and i was chosen since i was the oldest of the group… greaaaaaat. i decided to be awkward and slowly do my jump and shake. oh well. i got a free tshirt! but it’s too big :/

afterwards, we had group games, but i just watched because it was so chaotic. then it was time for dinner, and the pizza was very bland… at first, they were telling us to only take two slices, but soon, they were telling everyone to take more, but by then, i think everyone figured out the quality of the pizza :/ i think they decided to sell the leftovers at the snack shack. i was tired from the basketball i played in the morning, so i found a quiet spot for a nap.but then 20 or 30 minutes into my nap, i was awoken by rumblings… but i decided to ignore it and just listen to my ipod as i closed my eyes. but then someone decided to wake me up! the nerve… lol, i was obviously sleeping! but at least i didn’t act irritated, more just out of it. anyways, she just wanted to sell me stuff…and i didn’t feel like buying stuff from someone who woke me up especially since it was a notebook. i have tumblr! so i went back to sleep, but by then it was too loud, and i guess my sisters were around the area because when i awoke, they were telling me how people almost sat on me since they didn’t notice i was there. oh that and the fact that they decided to have a breakdancing contest in that area. no wonder it was so loud…

bought some cds, and gosh that girl who woke me up was so aggressive in selling, that i decided to buy a book and cd from her too… haha. i’m not good at saying no. her voice was very high too… bordering annoying. or child-like :P ok no judging. i’m just trying to state facts here..

for the rest of the break, i just watched people play basketball, and finally got a chance to play the last game. it was pretty fun despite the loss. and i hated how i sweat so much after the game… i felt so sticky and sweaty. ugh. then, it was time for service, and i met nate and dave sun as we entered the place. 

the place was packed! the urgency youth had come too, so the chairs were taken out, and everyone sat down. gosh, their youth group is so much more culturally diverse… white, black, asian (uhhh other than chinese i guess?), hispanic. hmm. im impressed by urgency’s cutting edge way of attracting youth… i mean, it’s more than the videogames and basketball court, but i think in a sense, it does make newcomers feel welcome without forcing them to sit in a pew or something. anyways, their worship team (i forget the name…) ROCKED the house! it was SO much louder with the bass blasting through the subs…heart numbing :P but musically, i was so impressed at how they covered the new hillsong songs! wow, i don’t think i’ve ever seen it done so well, and they had a lead singer, a bassist, drummer, and two electric guitarists, both with teles. it seems like all worship bands have teles now… haha. anyways, they opened with no reason to hide, freedom is here, take all of me, tear down the walls, and ended it with an IHOP matt gilman song: holy.  I really liked it, probably because i knew the songs, though i guess hillsong united’s newest album wasn’t as good… without the proper electric guitar sounds, they’re difficult to introduce, but urgency nailed them! and the lead singer was great! despite the fact that i couldn’t sing as high as her and had to change octaves, she led really well!

so, sean smith spoke again for the night session, and it was great! first, his son (brandon josiah smith) shared about taking a stand on purity, and this guy is a scholarship basketball player for cal berkeley, and they recently won the pac-10! i thought that was pretty cool, look him up! :P actually, it was more interesting how he stood up for the fact that he’s a virgin, and how he’s not ashamed of it… yeah i don’t understand why it should be shameful. society is messed. anyways, building off of that, his dad spoke about being a generation that brings a revolution. he talked about how revivals always begin with a small group of young people, and he focused on king josiah from 2 kings 22-23. i guess what i took away was the fact that in the bible, it states that there was no king before or after him who obeyed god like him. wow, not even king david?! and just as crazy, josiah’s acts were prophesied in 1kings 13, and this was fulfilled like 250 years after! that’s probably one of the reasons why josiah ripped his clothes after discovering the book of the law…wow. that’s conviction. and one another thing, looking on his past, growing up in an ungodly environment, because his dad Amon brought in all the idols and practices, it’s unbelievable how god can use people and bring about such change! and that says a lot about josiah’s character too! shoooot. i never realized this before. anyways, sean focused again on being the generation that will be relentless. to not compromise on ideals or character. and not to just live a coasting christian life. but to fight and to grow. i know this is SUCH a long post, but already, if i have to sum it up, my destiny and vision for my senior year is to make evident the life of christ in my life and to take the campus for jesus! (i know it’s a jesuit school, but honestly, it’s become more of a tradition than anything else…and everyone, myself included, wants a kingdom invasion!)

the bus ride back was fun too! i got to meet a new guy named ray, who is from LA, and we just talked about the conference and such. he’s 17, a junior in high school, moved from taiwan just 3 years ago but his english is pretty good!, and he was surprised to find that i was 20 because he said he looked older than me… haha. doh! :P oh and he’s going into culinary school… impressive :) a good day indeed :D

day 175

what the. i just posted this and it got erased! lame…this hotel internet thing needs to get authenticated everyday and it messed up the posting. doh!

anyways, i slept in today. i realized that it’s really hard to wake up without the sun shining through. i had to fight to wake up in pitch black because the shades were over the window…

got lunch with my grandma, my aunt, and my uncle. we ate at a chinese restaurant. and even though it was supposedly rated top 100 chinese restaurants in the world, i was not impressed…like the soup was so sour! more sour than sweet and sour soup or sour patch kids… ew. and everything else was decent. i still like boston’s china town better :)

went back to the hotel to take a nap. when i woke up, i got some work done: shaw retreat, emailing fr. leahy, dr. bob…then we headed to the church at 5:30 for the retreat. but when we got there, we were told that we missed the bus! it came at 4:00, but thankfully, there was someone at the church who could send us to the Jubilee retreat center, which was only 10 minutes away. 

when we got there, we were impressed! the place was HUGE! and inside, there was a basketball court, tons of videogames/TVs, and a nice sound system and stage. and the entire place was very modern, with low hanging light fixtures, weirdly shaped walls, and interesting colors. i can’t believe this is for the youth. well, the youth of the jubilee church. i think the name is called urgency. their logo is kinda boring… :/

well, we got tacos for dinner, and headed inside for the evening service. it began with a video that had clips talking about DESTINY, the main topic of the conference. my favorite had to be zoolander :) but braveheart and lord of the rings were nice too. worship was led by the hendrickson family, and that was pretty cool. the drums, piano, and vocals were rocking! oh and i think they help out with IHOP in kansas city, though i never heard of them previously… for the message, pastor mark hendrickson spoke, and he talked about the destiny of Joseph. it was good, but at times, i would get confused about where he was going with certain ideas… and he kind of ended it at the part where joseph gets jailed… errrr. haha oh well. anyways, after the service, i kinda felt fake because i was being “interviewed” about how i liked the message, and i was like GREAT! even though i really felt more like… oh i see. actually, i tried to sidestep the message by giving the excuse that i was shy, but my sister didn’t realize what i was trying to do, and she was like OH SURE, we’ll do it. ohhhhh boy. i don’t really want to see myself on the screen tomorrow. gg owned.

well tonight was fun. i got to see some friends i hadn’t seen for some time, like dave and nate sun. and i got to meet up with johnny and jennifer from the winter retreat! i wonder what tomorrow’s gonna be like…

day 174

got in and out again, but this time for lunch! and i brought my sisters with me too. then, we went to the movies and watched karate kid! SUCH a good movie. of course, not as good as toy story 3, but i really liked it. it got the adrenaline pumping, and the broken chinese was always funny. and the finishing move was sick! but for a PG movie, the violence seemed a bit strong. like, kids getting beat up, especially trying to break a kid’s leg… what’s up with that?! definitely a feel-good movie. :)

aside from that, i just played DS the entire day… and caught up on the updates about the US (thank goodness!) and the ridiculously long tennis match that has to continue tomorrow. but, i really didn’t do much else. i went to the church for dinner because there was boston market, and well, i’m just waiting for tomorrow because that’s when the actual conference starts :) i think it’ll be good.

oh right, i SHOULD be doing work… i brought plenty. but i haven’t really got much done… doh.

day 173

what a fun day today!  well, it started off kinda slow. slept in and spent the morning just checking blogs and such. eventually, we went to the river of life church for free lunch :P. met some familiar faces, who were PKs from other rofl churches, namely, isaac, sam, tim, and solomon. went back with my uncle to the hotel, and only returned for dinner, haha. oh, and i just played DS the entire time at the hotel…. instead of being productive =/.

i went to go see the church’s youth rec room, and it’s pretty nice! kinda funky colored, but it’s very modernish, and there’s games to play and chairs to sit and lounge. then, i decided to stay for worship session before heading back to the hotel with my sisters.

then, at 830, i get a call from hanyin saying that he and tiffany were outside! so, we went to the In and Out Burger that was 5 minutes from the hotel, and we met up with tiffany’s two friends: dana (i think) and daniel. we had some fun conversation, i got to eat an “in and out” burger with animal style fries, and i picked up some souveniers! haha, me and hanyin were such tourists, asking for hats and stickers and taking photos. but i LOVED it. then after in and out, we tried to go to jamba juice, but it was closed. so, we went to coldstones, which was another 10 minutes away, and tiffany decided against our wishes to pay for me and hanyin’s ice cream… haha, now i gotta figure out a way to repay that. at coldstone, it was warm enough to sit outside, and we just talked about our high schools, and taking day trips around the area (since hanyin’s interning in san jose), and the weather (as in, how much better cali is than mass). actually, hanyin has totally bought into cali weather, while i’m still reserved. i think the change of seasons allows you to appreciate the good weather….but, hey, 70-80 degree weather all year round isn’t too bad either ;). oh, and it was fun figuring out how everyone knew each other through tiffany. or i guess, to see and hear and understand what her high school was like and what her friends are like. it was pretty fun overall, and everything just seemed so relaxed. though i guess at some moments, we’d be talking about BC stuff, which kind of isolated dana and daniel, and at other times, it was cali stuff, which me and hanyin couldn’t really understand. haha. but i guess that does happen, and it was just interesting to figure out what was similar and different from my own experience. i guess one thing would have to be that they all went to all-girls or all-boys private jesuit high schools, while me and hanyin went to public schools. anyways, when we checked the time, it was already 11! so we headed back, and picked up some in and out again!!! just shakes though… and tiffany dropped me at the hotel.

i think the only bummer was the fact that ryan was too busy and couldn’t come today. plus the fact that he lived 1.5 hours (i thought moraga was close…), but hopefully we could meet up friday… today was full of pleasant surprises :)

day 164

church today was kinda special. we had combined service starting at 10! gosh that’s early. but it was in expectation that steve would need that time to speak, and he used it up well! sort of like how the celtics ran out the clock :P ahem. i mean, even though the message was much longer, it didn’t feel like it. probably because over these past few days, i’ve just really come to appreciate what he has to say. and today, he talked about the church’s identity, river of life. and explained how ezekiel 47 and revelations 22 worked together, and how as individuals, we must give up control, die to ourselves, so that we may truly live. and in turn, as a church, and really as the body of christ, united with other churches and organizations, god can change this entire area. to bring healing for the nations. to bring life to the places of death. but, it all begins with giving up. letting go. and being washed away in the river of life. :)

but i gotta admit, control is not something easily relinquished. in some aspects, i can easily give it up, but perhaps that’s because it’s not as much value to me now… but in other areas, wow, it’s never been harder. but i’ve got to get away from the selfish “i can do this, i can perform that” and move to “how can we bring love to this generation?” we don’t want a kobe. :D i jest. oh and aside from pastor steve’s brilliantly amazing british accent, watching him speak is hilarious! because he moves around so much. and acts out so much… that things become just so interesting! so i really enjoyed it. and i can’t wait to start looking at his dvds. 

after service, it was rose’s birthday, and she had a cake with the little mermaid on it! i told her it was seafood but she didn’t believe me :(. is she really 9?? unbelievable. we started taiwan missions by watching king george and the ducky by veggietales. to learn about selfishness. because we wanted to somehow implement that into our own skits. ummm. i’m surprised at how much i enjoyed that show. like the swede who went up the hill and came down with all the strawberries. or barbara manatee! wow. SO clever. and so, we just spent time assigning skit roles because only half the team was there…

went to the new church building after. found some weird cables that i have yet to discover its function. they don’t look like usual A/V cables… and this has me intrigued! though, i fear that they have to do with some data system that were left over from the research company that was there before us. and, i got to figure out how to stream video across a network….hmm. i like finding solutions for technology! ok, well i spent some time there just waiting for my dad to arrive because he wanted to get some work done there, and as i was talking to isaac (who’s 6), he thought that after college, i was supposed to get married… errrrrr. ummmm. i’m going to more school! well. my dad finally got here, and we started painting the kitchen. but then we realized it was the wrong shade of paint… so we kind of wasted an hour. but it was fun, i guess. though, i quickly discovered that i had to work kinda far away from my dad, because he likes to pass gas without telling anyone… and that mixed with the paint fumes makes a deadly combination! haha. so that was sort of productive… or perhaps counter-productive… but the walls needed to be painted anyways.

went back home. started ordering the toy story 3 tickets, but had a difficult time with the disneyticketstogether app on facebook, and finally realized that it no longer worked after 3 calls to the customer support line, and bought it at movietickets. and i watched the finals of course! i LOVED how the celtics did so well tonight. finally, i felt confident that the celtics could play incredibly well. though, they still turned it over a lot… and i gotta give props to kobe’s unbelievable shooting. too bad it’s a team game kobe!

so i need to get a LOT of work done this week. i’m going to try to be productive!