Fighting “it”

Hello everyone!

Diana here. First, I wanted to thank you all for your prayers during my “migraine season”. It was a bit crazy to have a migraine for so long (3.5 weeks!) but it ended up being a really great time to spend alone with God. For the first 2 weeks, I was trying to soldier on and keep a bold face and not get discouraged. The migraine led me to the doctor where I was able to find out important information regarding my health that would be REALLY helpful to know before getting married and leaving for Singapore. I was relieved and thankful for my migraine at that point and I ended up emailing some people for prayer and praising God about it.

In that email I wrote, “On the upside, I haven’t been depressed/discouraged by the past two weeks the way I normally would be.  I’ve been able to pray through my migraines and not wallow in the pain.”

Then the next day, I wallowed. As my head continued to hurt, I broke down in tears. WHY WAS MY HEAD STILL HURTING? I had thought I finally understood the reason for my migraine…so shouldn’t the pain be gone??

I was so upset, so confused, so scared. Hours earlier I was saying that God was good and sovereign…but could I still believe it?

That next week ended up being some of the most intimate times I spent with God. No longer trying to make sense of everything or promote my “get rid of my migraine” campaign, I just tried to be with God. Once I gave Him my full attention, God had me revisit old wounds and lies from my past.

I’ve never shared this so publicly before, but growing up, I was called “it”. I was given that “name” because I was told I was nothing, not worthy of a name or an identity. It haunted me to the core and I swore I would never tell anyone that shame and embarrassment.  The first time I ever confessed this to anyone was to my missions team in 2011 (5 years after graduating college) and the following years have been times of healing from that identity (or lack thereof). I thought I had made significant strides from those younger days, but God was showing me how much more “it” was still deeply rooted in me.

Then one night in the third migraine week, I felt like God made me confront and fight “it”. I had to fight against this lie. I didn’t, however, fight “it” with the truth that my name was Diana. Instead, I fought with the truth that my identity was as a daughter of God – my identity that is rooted in royalty because of the blood poured on me by Christ – my savior, my co heir, my God.

It was funny, all this time I’ve been trying to fight this “it” identity with being the best “Diana” I could be. But God showed me how much I’ve been trying to overcompensate with lots of “Diana”. In efforts to deny “it”, it was as though I confirmed “it” even more by building this “Diana” kingdom to prove “it” wrong.

 Matthew 16:25 says, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

 How ironic that the best way to know my REAL name, my REAL worth, my REAL identity was to find it in God and NOT myself.

I’ve never written this out before, but I wanted to share it. My migraine left soon after and I was thankful for my time with God. I had a good solid week of no migraine, but Saturday my migraine returned.

I have no idea how long this migraine will be with me, but what I do know is that God doesn’t let anything, not even a migraine, thwart His plan. If there’s a way that even this can bring Him glory, I’m really hoping I can learn to live in a way where that can happen. I’m not the most graceful at struggling through it, but please pray that I can keep learning and pointing everything back to God.

I’m thankful for our community of friends/family/church who are supporting us in this journey to Singapore. And as you pray for us and our tangible needs, please pray for our deeper needs of continual freedom and healing from our past too.

I’m really hoping/praying to see this kind of freedom in our churches in the States and in Asia too.


How I Got My Job

Hey folks!

This is Pastor Joe. Today’s blog will be from my friend and roommate, Varoot. I wanted to update y’all because I previously asked for your prayers that Varoot would find a job in Singapore so he could live and work here.

Guess what? Prayers answered: Varoot got a job and just completed his first full work week. BOOM! God is our faithful Provider.

Varoot is originally from Thailand and we met at our church in Ann Arbor back in 2010. Since then, we’ve had the privilege of partnering together in the ministry and witnessing God do awesome things through HMCC. He had to leave the US in 2014 after his visa expired and prayed through coming to Singapore to help serve the church and city. We’re currently living together and anticipating what God has in store for us and our church. I’ve been so grateful for Varoot’s friendship, commitment and making decisions based on faith during this transitional year. He’s the real deal!

In his own words…

Hello, Prayer For Singapore readers!

This is Varoot writing as a guest blogger. Thank you guys for praying for my job searching. I have got a job and just finished my first week. Everything happened so quickly and I’d like to share with you guys some of the things I’ve learned during the process.

I moved to Singapore roughly the same time Pastor Joe did. I have to admit I was quite nervous about my job search because I had been applying for jobs online since October but did not have any response so far. I became insecure and wasn’t sure if my experience or my skills was enough for me to get a job here.

Soon as I got to Singapore, I got contacted via LinkedIn and got an interview. I was very excited, but after the interview, the company didn’t get back to me. I had some other interviews here and there, and I noticed that I would get excited whenever there was a progress on my job search, but when things seemed quiet, I would get very frustrated. There was even one point that I wanted to apply for jobs in other cities, just to prove that I was wanted—that I was worth something.

I realized that I had put my security and worth in my career, so when One Desire Fast came, I knew I needed to surrender my career to God.

I spent two weeks of One Desire Fast in Thailand because I could only stay for 30 days without a working visa in Singapore. On Tuesday of the second week of the fast, I found myself very frustrated again, worrying about what I would do if I spent another 30 days in Singapore and still haven’t found a job. If that’s the case, then I would run out of money. I would have to leave Singapore and have no means to come back. Even if I get a job by the end of February, how would I support myself in March when I already used up all my savings, etc.

Soon realized that I was frustrated again because I hadn’t heard back from any companies or recruiters for 5 days. So I told myself, “You know what? there’s no need to be frustrated, I’m sure God is preparing something for me tomorrow. I just need to trust in Him.”

Wednesday morning, I got a call from a recruiter telling me this start-up called Smartkarma wanted to schedule an interview with me. I told him I was coming back to Singapore on Saturday, so we scheduled Monday for the interview. On Monday, I went to their office, which is in Changi Business Park (very near the airport but very far from where I live right now), and the interview went really well. I found out one of the co-founders is a Christian (despite the name of the company) and I really liked what they do. The next day I had the second round with their adviser via Skype, and Wednesday I got a job offer from them! I accepted it right away, and the next Monday (this past Monday), I started my first day of job.

Working is great. Singaporeans really work hard. God really knows what I need. He knows what He is doing and we can trust that. My working visa has been approved now and I will get my first paycheck by the end of the month. Again, thank you everyone for praying for me. Now that I’m working, I’m understanding more about the stress and the tiredness that other people in the church probably feel. Please continue to pray for Singapore and for the people. Thank you.

profile-600^ That’s Varoot! (picture was taken at his current office)

2 updates:

Diana wasn’t feeling well since mid-January. She’s had chronic migraines. We were praying for Diana and she made a full recovery this past week!We are steadily finding different avenues and connections in our search for a consistent meeting location for our church gatherings. This weekend, we’ll be meeting at a unique part of Singapore called Geylang. It has a lively but controversial reputation – great food, small businesses, home to the national Sports Coliseum, and also home to the nation’s red light district.

Please pray for:

Direction and discernment. There are a lot of potential opportunities to serve the community here in Singapore through our church. Our meeting location will be very important to both the health of our church as well as how we live out our vision and mission to see more lost people transformed into Christ’s disciples. We want our meeting locations to be accessible to our church members, but just as important, we want to be purposeful about where we meet. We want to be an integral part of the surrounding community and to the students on campus.

Please pray for wisdom and discernment as we try to be find our focus, make strategic decisions, and be sensitive to how God is leading our church.

Thanks for praying y’all!

Started Together. Finish Together.

We started together – we’re going to finish together.

Since our last update, both our churches in Ann Arbor and in Singapore were engaged in a church-wide, 2 week-long fast. It was from January 18-31 and we concluded it this past weekend.

During that time, we started a whole new season of our church. And you know what? It’s not too difficult to start something. But in order to finish well, it takes real, hard commitment.

Here’s what we started:
We introduced our church theme for the year, “Multiply Relationships”. We want to see more lives transformed by the love of Christ – and we’re going to deepen our relationship with God and build strong relationships within the church as we love the community around us.

We also kicked off our new sermon/Bible study series, called, “Breakthrough”. We will study and preach through the entire book of Acts in the Bible from now until August. We hope to see breakthroughs in our faith and in our lives as we learn to depend on the Holy Spirit.

We had our very first leadership retreat for our 8 church leaders who have been serving in our church. As we were sharing bits and pieces of our lives – particularly those “kairos” (opportune) moments where we feel like God is speaking to us, I realize that we are just scratching the surface.

Whether we want to see breakthroughs or multiplied relationships – that takes real guts, determination, dependence on God, and dedication. I want to develop in my “no matter what” attitude to love on people!
A glimpse of the past few weeks:

Bonding with the Bros – some of the fellas from the church on a bicycle outing @ Pulau Ubin. Relationships and trust take time to build. And muscles. You need muscles…

ur first Sunday Celebration of 2015 (18 January)! We kicked off our church theme and new sermon series. We’re striving to become a faith-filled community and live out the Gospel together!

icking off the One Desire Fast with a salad lunch!

During our very first leadership retreat, we started digging deeper into our lives to see genuine transformation in the Gospel! A few of our leaders modeling our church t-shirts. Because. Fabulous.

We finished One Desire Fast 2015! Breaking Fast – so much hunger. so much food. Mostly fried chicken.

It takes commitment to see breakthroughs. It takes commitment to multiply relationships. We’re in this for the long haul.

Pray for us:
1. “In sickness or in health” – Diana’s been sick for the past 2 weeks. Please pray for a full recovery.

2. Job search – Let’s believe that God will provide Diana a job!

3. Location –  We’re still on the hunt for a consistent location to meet regularly on Sunday mornings. We’re exploring some options and we need discernment and your prayers!

We started this together. We’re going to finish together.