10/14/2012:

10/14/2012:

{S: 7:59pm}

If I should die in a combat zone
Box me up and ship me home.

Tell my mom (1) / church (2) I did my best
Bury me in the leaning rest.

That was the Army cadence I sang to give myself the courage to bike with my radical black Christian T-shirt to church today.  I really do feel the world I’m living in is a combat zone.  Standing up, telling others that I am a C is very dangerous in this time.  I am a C.. I am a C-H….

Claire commented to me during lunch that I am wearing that black Christian T-shirt again.

“People are going to beat you up,” she said, “Better learn karate.”

Well, I don’t know karate and I don’t know the Army combatives.  But it’s okay.  If they beat me up, my blood will be precious in God’s sight (Psalms 72:14).  The best self-defense is spiritual self-defense.  If I should die in a combat zone, box me up and ship me home.  {8:18pm}

 

1/25/2011: The Biblical Standard for Suffering

1/25/2011: The Biblical Standard for Suffering

S: 11:38pm

E: 1:56pm

Due to my lack of preparedness on January 23, I was unprepared for guard. I woke up with just barely enough time to eat beef sausage and bread, pack necessary items, do some hygiene, dress up, and leave. I planned to wake up with barely enough time because I slept late last night so I needed as much rest as I can get before I start my 24-hour guard duty.

I then found out that today, is the last day that 3-43 has guard and it has to be me! Someone else came to us believing he had guard but according to our roster, he didn’t. I considered offering to pay him for taking my shift but the soldiers around me convinced me not to. I’m on the roster and it’s our last guard shift.

It’s not just the physical side that is hard, but the emotional and spiritual side as well. Throughout the day I was tired and I tried to take bits of rest by closing my eyes. One of the soldiers, V, would always harass me by jumping to conclusions. After living with him for almost a year, I can see that he is prideful, arrogant, but also has a good heart and intentions.

He would say, “Wake up, Yeh!” when I wasn’t really sleeping. My eyes were half-closed. I don’t like how he jumps to conclusions without knowing everything. I don’t like how he judges people, not just me but everybody else, based on the limited knowledge he knows. God knows everything; let God be the Judge.

Throughout the day, he would accuse me by making assumptions without looking at the whole evidence. When they were talking questionable sexual things in the evening, V would say, “Earmuffs Yeh!” “I don’t want to damage your innocence!” He assumes I can’t handle what they are talking about but I can. I’ve listened and interacted to their racy conversations many times while also trusting in God. There are also other times, but I forgot. He would say things to provoke me (by making untrue assumptions) and force me to defend myself. After a whole, angered, I would say, “Let God be the Judge.” I told V that he doesn’t know everything, that his accusations are not true or lack other major elements. Once when he was walking outside while opening the gate, I told him privately, “V, you need to stop trusting in yourself and start trusting in God.” I can see from almost a year’s experience that he always trusts in himself and his own strength. I was a bit afraid to tell him that but I’m trying to help him and if me saying this can change him for the better in the future, it will be worth it. He looked at me surprised and replied, “Yeh, I cannot trust in God. I have to trust in myself. If I rely on God, he’s not going to help me all the time.” I think I told him that if he chose to follow Jesus, God will help him all the time.

All the judging and false accusations from my three battle buddies made me upset. When guarding the site (and the first time I actually have live weapons), I would not talk to them. I feel angry and upset and if I do try to defend myself, they will just twist my words and accuse me again. Wisdom came to me and I realized silence is the best answer. Every time they hurt me, I would angrily pray and ask God to judge them. I also asked Him to judge me too but reminding him that I want his mercy and love rather than his justice because “no one living is righteous before you” (Psalms 143:2).

Out of anguish, I would take my pocket Bible out and read the psalms and pray and sing regardless if other soldiers noticing me. I remember a quote from C.S. Lewis saying, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

That is so true. I find that I seek God the most when I’m in pain or when life is hard. I prayed and asked God that if that’s the case, then please make my life hard so I can be with You.

Eventually, my anger would subside and I would tactfully talk to them again, knowing that I need to be like Jesus.

A serious event happened later in the night. Since I was so tired, I slept, along with another soldier (who also didn’t sleep well last night). Midnight chow came and two of the soldiers, there were four of us total, went to eat chow, leaving just V and me. While looking for traffic, I accidently dosed off and a car came. V saw it and we quickly went outside to open the gate. When I came back in the guard shack, he was very upset at me. He told me that I should not be tired, that I have plenty of sleep (while he stayed up all night), and that if I’m tired I should take a walk or pour water on my face. He also made many accusations and judgments on me that are incomplete. When I tried to tell the “truth,” he accused me of making excuses. When I told him that I really can’t stay up, that I’m really tired, he told me he doesn’t want to argue with me anymore. If I were to close my eyes again, he would force me outside the shack. I said I too, agreed with him that I don’t want to argue or make excuses. I just want to put out the truth. The truth is, I can walk outside and stay up if I have to, but the limits of my endurance have been reached. I refuse to suffer anymore. I already suffered so much physically (doing guard), emotionally (their verbal attacks and judging), and spiritually (constantly praying and asking God for help and vindication). I also told him that I’m stressed out because I have two jobs: being a soldier and serving God. He told me I need to meet the SOP (standard operating procedures) which states that I cannot sleep. I told him that the Bible is above the SOP, but the Bible does state to submit to authorities (Titus 3:1). I tried to tell him the truth. I sat back down and then went outside for some water.

Then suddenly, it hit me. I have been saying I’m sick and tired of suffering. That I hate how my life is so hard. Then I remembered what the Bible says about how much suffering is enough.

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood (Hebrews 12:4  ).

I cried out to God and asked Him to forgive me. That is the Biblical standard for suffering. In my suffering, I haven’t even come close to shedding blood. I realized that I must be willing to endure and suffer so much more. I realized how weak I am. I must be willing to suffer for Jesus, not so I will lose my petty comfort, but to the point of losing blood. That is hard suffering and that is what the Bible teaches us to endure to.

I stayed outside and walked around, happy that I finally knew what the Biblical standards are. The humvee came back but I continue to stay outside. I washed my eyes with water because it was stinging me. Later, V told me to come back in but “stay awake.” I told him I prefer to be outside.

Oh, and for dinner, thanks to another soldier’s help, we got Chinese and Korean food! I got, along with my SOG (sergeant of the guard), kimchee and rice. The kimchee was very spicy, however, but I ate a lot of rice. Yummy!

After that awakening, that I need to adhere to the Biblical standard of suffering, the rest of the day improved. I did not try to find an easy way out, but I contributed and helped clean the guard area up. Today is the last day our battalion has guard duty. We have to make sure the area is presentable.

Everything went well until near the very end of our shift. That is my second serious incident. We (the guards) found out that 1-44, the battalion replacing us, were not informed of their guard duty. They were simply told they were shadowing us. That means there is a possibility that we have guard again, a 48-hour shift. All of us were upset. To make the long story short, the SOG for 1-44 decided to do the changeover (praise God) but we still had to wait for another sergeant from Echo company to be their shadow SOG. While we are waiting, I proposed many ideas. I said why not two of us take the bus and the other two take the humvee? I began to complain, internally. I thought about what to say to my relay sergeant. I need to prepare and know the approach and words so I might get tomorrow’s PT off. I really want free time. I wanted to scream, or just take off in the humvee because I was upset at our battalions lack of organization in this matter.

I also had a debate with P, another soldier and I did cry and show my tears because I wanted to change them for the better. But after much arguing, I realized what Watchman Nee wrote: “It is not a life changed but exchanged.” V and P were telling me that they believe I want everyone in this world to be like me. I told them, initially, sadly due to my defensive nature, that I didn’t. That everyone is created with an image of God and we need to “shine the light that God gave us.” I admitted, later, that I did act as if everyone should be like me and everyone else not like me is wrong, evil, etc. They accused of being a hypocrite and I did admit it. But, I told them that we all make mistakes, that we are all sinners, and that we all need Jesus.

I have been telling V throughout our guard shift that he needs to “change.” He needs to change his pride, arrogance, tenidency to judge, etc, but I realized all my efforts were in vain. Because they cannot change themselves. According to Watchman Nee, human beings cannot their evil human nature. In order to change a person, that person needs to be exchanged with Christ. I admitted my mistake to V and P and told them not to change, but to exchange your life with Jesus.

However, V told me if I am happy. After some thinking, I told them that I’m not happy (“not as happy as I should be” would be closer to the truth). Then V went on to say the reason why I’m not happy is because I’m too focused on God. That I need to put myself first (not God) and enjoy the pleasures of the world. Then, according to him, I will be happy.

Seeing these two soldiers having a serious discussion with me made me feel like I’m Christian in the Pilgrim’s Progress. I told V that I understand his viewpoint, but I feel the answer to happiness is not found there. The answer to happiness is found in letting Christ live instead of me.

Throughout the conversation, I kept mentioning Bible and they told me to stop mentioning it. Not everyone believes in the Bible, they told me. But I told them that the Bible is the bedrock of my life. P thinks the Bible is just a good teaching book, but it is more than that, it is a manual to life. That conversation eventually developed to me not using any spiritual arguments, that I can only make logical ones. That, I told them, is misleading. The human being is made up of the spirit, soul, and body. The spirit is above the soul, therefore, the spirit should be dominant. I told them there is an unseen world; a spiritual world, and that the Bible says the unseen is greater than the seen. V and P asked me again and again do I love God more or my mom? I told them that I love God more because I must love God much more than I love my mom or dad or brothers and sisters (Matthew 10:31). They told me who help me more, God or my mom. They obviously wanted me to say “my mom,” but I told them that, ultimately, God helps me much more.

Lastly, we argued that if God is omnipotent, then does God know what choices we choose beforehand? I told P no because if he does know completely beforehand, then God will not be a good god but an evil one. If God knew Eve is going to be deceived in the Garden of Eden and all mankind will suffer the penalty for sin, He would not have created us. God gave us free will to chose whether to follow Him or not. Yes, God knows us much more than anybody else, even ourselves, but he doesn’t know 100% what our next actions will be. This is where P and me disagreed and I tried to find scriptural proof, but was mostly unable to.

Psalms 139:1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Genesis 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

God knows our potential and what we could be if we follow God to be used by Him, but to say that he always knows every action that we will perform ahead of time is untrue. If that is true, then God may not be a good God because then he knew all the evil and suffering that will come as a result. I need to continue to grow more in God and perhaps ask for some help to find out more. That is about the extent of our discussion. I then used the latrine again and decided to sleep inside the humvee.

As I was sitting in the humvee thinking about the conversation, and how angry I am about the guard changeover and what to do about it, another thought came in, from heaven, and it told me to “give it all to God.” In my first serious incident, I learned that I need to be able to suffer and endure more, to the point of shedding blood. However, in this second event, I realized that God is in control of everything, that there is nothing I can do to change it. I must trust in God and let Him be in control. Whatever happens, I must “give it all to God.” So I began to repeat “give it all to God” over and over in my mind. Slowly, I began to feel peace. I began to feel happy and at ease. God is in control of everything. Why am I worrying? Give it all to God. I fell into a peaceful sleep.

When I woke up, I knew that I’m still in the humvee, but I’m not upset because I already gave all my angry and bitter feelings to God. I find that once I give my hurt and negative feelings to God, I feel free. I used the latrine again and decided to listen to a 睡夢鄉 (Land of Dreams) bedtime stories. I don’t know why, but I decided to listen to 好姊姊米利暗 (Good Miriam) because I felt Moses calling me. I closed my eyes and deeply listened to the children bedtime story. Listening to it made me so thankful of what God had given me. The narrator, Auntie Choi, began the story of Moses by saying the Israelites in Egypt were prosperous. Pharaoh was afraid that the Hebrew people might start an uprising so he subjected them to hard labor.

Exodus 1:10 Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”

11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.

12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites

13 and worked them ruthlessly.

14 They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.

However, the more the Hebrews suffered, the more prosperous they became. Hearing that gave me encouragement. It is like a God-given answer to suffering. It teaches me not to be afraid, that God is in control, and that God can use my suffering to benefit me even more. I got to the part where the counselors advised Pharaoh to kill every male child. I can hear the babies’ crying and the mother’s screaming. It felt so real and I felt so sad.

I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders. –Jewish Proverb

Then, I saw my SOG and P come and say it’s time to go. Happily, I put away my mp3 player and started to leave.

I learned so much about suffering today. One, that I need to suffer to the Biblical standard which is to the point of shedding blood, and two, to “give it all to God.”

睡夢鄉- 39 好姊姊米利暗

 

Sing and Smile and Pray by Sofia Tsatalbasidis

 

Sing the clouds away,

Night will turn to day.

If you sing and sing and sing you’ll sing the clouds away.

 

Smile the clouds away,

Night will turn to day.

If you smile and smile and smile you’ll smile the clouds away.

 

Pray the clouds away,

Pray and pray and pray.

Night will turn to day,

No matter what they say.

 

Sing and smile and pray,

That’s the only way.

If you sing and smile and pray you’ll drive the clouds away.

 

Pray the clouds away,

Sing and smile and pray.

Night will turn to day,

No matter what they say.

 

Sing and smile and pray,

Night will turn to day.

If you sing and smile and pray you’ll drive the clouds away.

 

Sing_and_Smile_Sofia_Tsatalbasidis

1/11/2011: Holy Spirit Rain Down

1/11/2011: Holy Spirit Rain Down

S: 8:51pm

E: 9:05pm

I was going to go to sleep because it’s past bedtime for me, but, I told myself that before I can go to sleep, I’m going to sing a 讚美之泉 song. I randomly chose to listen to “Holy Spirit Rain Down (聖靈降下恩雨).” It is when listening to this song that I felt compelled to write a discovery. Right now, I feel my body, soul, and spirit is in another civil war, this time, civil war to let Christ live instead of me. It’s going to take time. Slowly, as I give more of me to Christ, I can feel my desires to play games and the desires of my flesh decrease.

Today, I went to a MWR trip to Kuwait! It’s my first such trip and it’s.. wonderful. I visited the National Museum, a weaving museum, and the Kuwait towers. Lunch was expensive, but so delicious! When I got back in the afternoon, however, I was spent. I decided to play some computer games after uploading my December 2009 discoveries to my blog. Uploading has been a long process partly because I have so much journals and also because it’s emotionally touching to reread my past. I can feel myself, my feeling and thoughts, and see myself from my more closer-to-God perspective.

I played Hearts of Iron, this time, as Great Britain. However, although I felt I did pretty good, I felt I wasted so much time. Coming back from the MWR trip and being spent is no excuse to play games. I should seek my comfort and strength not in games but in God. Slowly, as I try to let Christ have more and more of me, I can eventually say that it is “no longer I, but Christ” who lives in me.

And also, the ring from God arrived yesterday!!! I’m going to record that special moment when I’m ready. Hopefully it will be soon.

聖靈降下恩雨

1. 聖靈降下恩雨    潔淨醫治我

我需要你    我需要你    你來充滿我

2. 聖靈因你的愛    我願意順服

我好愛你     我好愛你      愛你的同在

(副)

充滿我     充滿我      用那溫柔的愛光照我

充滿我     來充滿我      時刻都充滿我

 

Holy Spirit Rain Down

1/28/2010

1/28/2010

 

I recently started to pray for my military friends regularly and seriously. However, I just found when I was eating dinner at the DFAC that my intent for many of them was wrong. Some NCO’s and leaders in my platoon are hard-core. It seems they want to make our lives miserable by giving us useless things to do (e.g. sweep and mop the floor, sweep dirt off around the trucks, etc) when we just did these task a few days ago. They just don’t like a bunch of soldiers sitting and talking loudly in the office. I don’t talk much, I just stay quiet and read “21 reasons why Bad things happen to good people” or I study on my CLEP books. The LT was a former drill sergeant.

In response to this, I started to pray for the guys in my platoon so that they can get to know Christ. I know it’s going to take years, but God’s timing is perfect. When I pray, I usually focus on the NCO’s that gives us bullshit to do. It’s wrong. Part of the reason I pray for them is so they can be easier on us. I shouldn’t pray for a lighter burden but for broader shoulders. Now, I’m still going to pray for them, but it will be so they can know God.

10-28-09

10-28-09

S: 8:47pm
E: 8:57pm

Yes, I am weak. Today, I brought a multi-vitamin bottle because my seargent thinks I may have iron defincency. I agree with him too: I’m always tired, I have nose bleeds, and my stool cycle. My weaknesses covers over my strength. It’s okay as long as I trust in God first. I know that I am here on Earth to serve God and to serve others. Everything I have on this world is not mine, but the Lord’s. Once I get to heaven, He will give me responsibilities that will maximze my potential because he knows me more than I can ever know about myself. My Father knows it all.

Me as an NCO? I can’t. And even if I could, I would rather lead people to Christ than to just lead people in their jobs. I will exhibit the qualities of Jesus, reguardless if they will work in this world or not. I trust in God, I know they will work because this is my Father’s world.

I really want a companion in this life. A girl, a soulmate who can walk with me in this life. It would be so wonderful. I would have a lot more support, maybe support from Zion. But I know, I need to follow God’s will. If I can’t cleave with a girl in this life, than it’s okay. God’s way is higher than my way. I will still continue to trust and follow God.