6/13/2011: I’m Sorry / Blessed Am I | Part I
There is something that I must write but have been resisting to write. Now what I write may be reedited for better clarity, but I want to write about my failures and God’s strength.
Last Friday, I had a great youth fellowship. We planned a surprise birthday party for one of our church members. I played “天父的花園 / Father’s Garden” on my guitar. I brought my laptop and got the “Blessed am I” song our church sang on Mother’s Day. I loved the song and pleaded with Uncle George(?) for the recording. That afternoon, before the fellowship, I also brought various items for the graduation seniors. I want to help them grow spiritually and I see their departure as an opportunity to buy spiritual gifts to them. I brought gift bags, books, coins, and I also prepared a package just for the birthday girl. I want to use her birthday as an opportunity to give her spiritual presents. While I was lying on my bed considering about buying these presents, my mind thought about the cost, the unlikelihood of them using the gift, etc, but I told myself that if there is a 1% chance that one of them will use my spiritual gift and grow closer to God, then it is worth it! It is infinitely worth it because while our lives here may last 100 years, our next life will last for eternality.
So I brought the birthday present but when I came to church, it was like I just entered into FPCON 5. Everything was secret. Her brother was telling how everything was a “secret operation” and he would like look left and right before running. I was carrying, due to the occasion, a lot of stuff. I brought my guitar, laptop, ACU backpack, a green PX bag with sushi inside, and her birthday present. I laughed at the silliness of it all.
After her brother put the sushi in the fridge, I went to the main sanctuary, where our fellowship is being held. I set my guitar down and started to pass out the song for today. I asked if any of them knew the song, but they all shook their heads. I offered to sing but one of the girls told me to sing with my guitar instead. So I did, but they were still fuzzy about the song. I told them, since I brought my laptop and extension speakers, that I can play it from my computer to them. I was a little embarrassed that it is a children’s song, but I told them beforehand to ease my fears. When the child’s voice came, the girls thought it was so cute. After hearing the song, they could sing it now, so I played and sung on my guitar.
I told them it was a little miracle that I could play this song. When I decided to try to play it on my guitar, I got the chords right (key of G) on my first time! Rarely does that happen. For me to transcribe a song to chords, it takes writing the lyrics on Windows Notepad and getting the chords right by trial-and-error. I then shared how this song is so significant to me. When I first heard this song in Kuwait, I would sing and listen to it anywhere. It reminds me that I am like a little flower in His garden. After I played the song, two of the guys came in. One is wearing green and the other is wearing a black shirt. I pointed that them and said, “You are a green flower, and you are a black flower” and I giggled because a “black flower” lol.
Then came the devotions but I don’t remember it anymore :( After Uncle Simon said his teachings, we were told to go to the cafeteria. It’s almost time! I went behind the door and hid with all the guys to surprise the birthday girl when she comes in. For dinner, (since I knew the secret a day earlier, I did not eat dinner) we had pizza, fried chicken, sushi, chips, and watermelon. I haven’t gave her the present yet and I figured towards the end would be the best time. The dinner was great, I talked to a lot of people, including her parents. The two parents and me started to talk about our Army experiences. Uncle Simon shared how when he was in the Taiwanese Army, he didn’t have adequate time to learn to shoot his rifle. The day when their unit was to shoot their rifles (M1 Garand?), he was sick. Then, the second time his unit was to train, he had no idea how to shoot! So when the soldiers were at the range, he would just shoot based on feeling and not by sight picture. His sergeants asked, “Where are you shooting? Are you trying to shoot a plane?” Haha. The other parent told me how his son wanted to join the Army when he grows up. He even showed me pictures of him posing in the ACU uniform that I gave him. Wow. I told him that the Army is not easy, that without God, I would not have survived. I told him about suffering and pain. But, I also added, that if he joins the Army and suffers hardship and pain with God, he would grow in his relationship with Him. I learned so much about God while in the Army, more than my entire life, because I need Him in the Army and He helped me in so many ways. The Army is my wilderness. Hopefully, once I’m done with the Army, I can enter the Promised Land. No wait, even better. Being with my dad, I felt enslaved, I felt controlled, I was afraid to be myself out of fear. I was afraid to do anything, even worship God in my house back then because of the embarrassment of my dad hearing me and his pressure on me to study. I lived in fear, in bondage, so my pre-Army life (high school + college) was in Egypt. Parting the Red Sea was basic training, and the rest of the Army is the wilderness. I can’t wait to enter the Promised Land!.. if I can survive the rest of the wilderness and in order to do so, I must trust and follow God more and more.
Throughout the entire night at church, I used wisdom to act. I left happy knowing that she accepted the gift and happy about the day’s events.
The next day, Saturday, was supposed to be my volunteer training at Community Solutions. They use volunteers to help mentor kids whose parents are incarcerated. When I heard this opportunity at the volunteer orientation, I just knew this is it. I love to help those who are weak and needy and this is it! I received an e-mail notifying me about the training and got a call from a representative there. I did not really know the address but assumed that the address on its website is accurate. I did my research. I googled the address, plugged the address on my GPS (saved me so many times), and went off. It wasn’t far. However, when I got there, I couldn’t find the place. The address was at a big plaza, so I kept circling the place trying to find the building. Knowing that something is wrong, I went to the gas station to ask for help. Praise God that the lady there is very nice and helpful. She gave me some suggestions and I followed her advice, but, I still couldn’t find the place. Then, I remembered she called me when I was at the range, so I searched my cell for her number and called her. She told me that the address on the website is out-of-date and that they moved their office into Central El Paso. Ahh, how they tell me! But, since I’m already late, I told her I would go to the next training which would be next month. I drove back to my room, happy that I have the rest of the day free.
“Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12
Later during the day, I went to the PX and commissary to buy tape so I can post more Bible verse decals on my wall. Being the resourceful person that I am, I also used an Arby’s coupon to eat there for dinner, and I went to the park to spend time with God. I find that sometimes I need to “break the grind” of staying in my room because there is so many temptations and to go somewhere so I can worship God more freely.
When I came back to my room, it is evening. Up until now, I had a great weekend. The more time I spend with God, His people, and people in general, the better a weekend I will have. The rest of my weekend went downhill. It’s embarrassing and frustrating to write but I have to write this. Um, please don’t read this if you are not prepared.
Oh, and before I share my forbidden parts, I want to share about what I did with the “Blessed am I.” I loved that song. Sometimes I would listen to it in my mind and I would sing it. When I got the video from Uncle George, he asked if I have any software to edit it. I told him yes. Throughout my years of making music and storybook videos, I have some experience and software to edit video and music files. He told me the quality might be lacking. When I came back from my missed volunteer training, I went straight to work trying to edit the video and sound to make it good. I got the sound, in mp3 format, from the video and decided to work on that first. I use a free audio editor, full with sound tools, to change the song. But, to make a long story short, I cannot make what is poor originally, good. I tried to add bass, played with different EQ settings, read articles about the best setting for recorded sound, etc, and decided to just adjust it a bit. I just dimished all the very high frequencies (the high pitch sounds), since they are mostly “junk” noise, and increased the “bass” sound since the music was lacking it. Here is this version. Enjoy! I also have the video but I don’t want anyone to be embarrassed so let me know if you want it.
Actually, since it is late for me, I will continue writing this tomorrow. I must and will finish this discovery. The most important part is next.