Friday, September 7, 2012

The man who walks with a limp

I met Nagarajan as he was holding on to the walking chair about to cross the road with cars speeding by. It was a hot afternoon and nobody took notice of this insignificant, unemployed Indian young man who lives at the edge of society. I called out his name: “Hi, Nagarajan.”   He turned his head when he heard his name. He gave me a broad smile.  I told him that I would like to give him some food items. For several months I have been taking the food from the church CareBank to give to the poor, a person like him. Nagarajan met an accident few years ago and his one leg was badly crippled. I discovered that a freak accident affected his mobility severely and reduced him to poverty because he could no longer work. He told me that a stranger rented a room for him just opposite the church building. I first noticed him last year when I saw him often sitting at the corridor of a walk way alone. He wasn't begging for money. He wasn't seeking for sympathy. 

After receiving the food items, he pulled me aside and told me that he would like to come to the church. I told him the he might not be able to understand the sermon in English (we converse in BM). He looked at me puzzled and asked me “you mean Jesus cannot understand my Tamil if I pray to him. I want to come to your church to sembayang.” Then it dawned on me that he wants to come to church to worship Jesus. He wants to just sembayang (worship). I stood there speechless. Nagarajan wanted to come to church not so much to listen to the sermon, he just wanted to meet Jesus to thank Him.

Tears well up in my throat, I knew that the Holy Spirit has moved him through the ‘hesed’ (loving kindness, grace, mercy) that God has shown him through me over the months. It dawns on him that the Jesus Christians follow and preach about must be real. Why would anyone bother to talk to a person like him let alone share food items with him repeatedly? Why would anyone show him respect and treat him as a person of worth and dignity? Nagarajan knew that the Jesus I preach in my sermon on most Sundays is the God who cares for the poor. The church that I serve is located above the five foot ways (pedestrian walkways) that Nagarajan sits there every day alone. Hundreds of people would have walked past him every day. 

One day as I was walking on the way out of the office complex to find a place for my lunch, I heard a loud voice calling out may name: “Pastor.” I turned around and saw Nagarajan beaming with a broad smile walking with a limp while holding on to his walking chair toward me. He was happy to see me. He didn't ask me for food or money. He was just happy to see me.  I broke out with a grin as wide as the five foot ways. I am proud to be a friend of Nagarajan.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Homeless Poor

On the night of Feb 27 2012 after bidding farewell to Yong Yi and Sharon who were flying off to Beijing for their new posting by Shell, Sarah, Sam and I walked to the car park machine to pay the coin. I discovered that the coin chip kept falling off from the slot. Both Eu Joe and Beng Kiat had earlier paid their money and used the machine and there was no problem. Beng Kiat told me to press the “Batal” button. I pressed the cancel button sign and suddenly I saw $5 dollars note kept coming out from the machine and dropping into the trough. I took out a stack of $5 notes from the machine and Sam counted that there were altogether $75. I told Sarah and Sam that there were not for us and we need to return to the owner. At that hour, already past 12 o clock midnight, the airline authorities’ personnel was nowhere to be seen. We waited for a while and no one came back to claim the money. The rest of the party who came to say goodbye to Yong YI were slowing moving away to their cars. As we walked to car park, we discovered that we came to the wrong block. Earlier I parked my car at Block “C” and we came to block “A” to pay for the car park. I have been to KLIA countless time, and there is no way I could have make such mistake. Beside Sam was with me and Sam is noted as someone who possesses a better sense of direction than the best of GPS. Sam was also bemused. Beside, Bernard, Olivia Chiam and Julia whom we met earlier at Block “C” when we first arrived at KLIA carpark went back to Block “C” and they saw us moved to Block “B” and none of them said anything or told us that we had gone to the wrong place. I believed there is only one explanation. The Holy Spirit directed us for a purpose. Someone else had been careless and he might be in a hurry to go off, being rich he just could not border about the change and he left the money in the machine slot. This is my speculation. Sarah and Sam and I decided that we will give the money away to someone needy and we were thinking about the homeless people.

The next day when I was in the church office, I received a call from a missionary friend from Finland who said that he is bringing along a friend to come and visit me. In the afternoon at 3pm, "V" came with 2 persons, a man about 50 years old and a woman in her early twenties. When they walked in, there was a strong Talcum powder smell mixed with some odor which I could not quite figure out what it was. "V" introduced his two friends to me and I found out from their stories that they are homeless poor who sleep in the shop walkways in Kota Raya, Kuala Lumpur. I asked how they get money to live. They both answered that they scavenged for tin cans, cardboard and metal things to be sold and each day they can get about RM 20. With that they buy food. I asked where they take their bath. “Satu ringgit bayaran unto mandi di public toilet.” In Kota Raya alone there are 300 homeless poor living there eking out their existence each day with very little.

I told them my story how I got RM 75. I proceeded to give the man RM 40 and the woman RM 35 and told them that its God who gave them the money and not me. They were both very touched. The missionary was also very moved because God has called him to reach out to these homeless poor. He felt its God’s affirmation of his calling. These two homeless poor were in a daze that God could do such a thing like this that he loves them enough to look into their needs for that day.

When they left, I knew I was standing on holy ground in my office. The presence of God was real though the office was filled with a mixed sense of odor very much like the one when the Son of God was born in the manger.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Turning 21 marks the beginning of a new chapter in life. It seems not too long ago when I pushed Samuel then aged 3 into a 20 feet long concrete tunnel for him to walk through on his own without me at his side. He already showed sign of bravery at that age. But it also revealed that he trusted his dad. When Samuel was 5, I took him tho the park and cajoled him to climb to the top of the fishnet-like structure that was about 18 feet high. Without second thought, Sam climbed up nimbly like a monkey. To this day, rock climbing is his favorite sport. His friend commented when they saw him climbed the wall: "You mean this is the first time he is doing the climbing? He is like a pro already." Sam always thinks that he was born with the natural ability for parkour and climbing. My view is that nurture takes 80%.

Sam has a unique gift of assembling things. When we brought back wooden shelves be it bed or book shelves from IKEA, before I could finished reading the instruction manual, Sam usually finished assembled the whole structures. He is DIY person. Most of the handy works stuff in the home were fixed up by him. His adeptness and love for assembling things also originates from the earlier years of training. I gave him complex gazettes and toys to assemble, difficult puzzles (Complicated pattern and design) to solve. Sarah normally could reach level 4 whereas nothing to stop Sam from attaining the highest level that even adults sometimes found them difficult. His brain works in a spatial concept. Take him into any new city, he can remember exact location and place and finds his way back. Sam is our sure bet whenever we have difficulty locating our car in a huge car park even without any clear sign. Sam thinks that he was born with that natural instinct. But my view is that nurture accounts for 80%.

When comes to cooking, baking, Sam excels. He approached these activities like a scientist doing his experiments in the lab. Because he is daring, adventurous, creative, he is not afraid to try new things and new ways of doing things. Not many of his friends know that Sam is an Origamist. The origami that Sam did are usually intricate and exquisite. If grade 8 is the highest that one can go in Origami, I would rate him as level 7. I told him he could make a living out of this trade.

Sam learns most things on his own through observation, reading books, asking good questions (soliloquy). When I found him day dreaming, he was actually spending time thinking aloud of projects that he wanted to embark on. He aspires to be a polymath. That itself is a worthy pursuit. Constance and I pulled him out from school when he was in form 1. Since then he has been pursuing knowledge through reading books, learning through Google and You-Tube and having interesting conversation with people who are knowledgeable. Sam is so knowledgeable that sometimes I thought he was bluffing his way through! But when I checked the subjects that we discussed, I discovered that he knew far more than me. His education came mainly from non formal and informal learning. Ask him why he is so good in photography and cinematogrpahy. His answer might surprise you. Sam is full of surprises. There is never a dull moment with him. The only problem is that you will wonder how come Sam knows so much given that fact that he did not even go to University.

He is a bundle of joy and the live wire in the family. If I were to be marooned in a deserted Island, I would love to have him with me. So I can be entertained by him, I don't have to cook, I don't have to worry how to build a wooden house. We can just talk all day and all night and drink coconut juice from a straw made from the leaves. Sam would make all kinds of Origami and build obstacles for sports. He might even make a wooden golf stick for me to tee off a wooden golf ball. Sam showed me the other day how to light a fire using two sharp objects that he bought from on-line. 10 times out of 10 when he struck the objects against each other, spark of fire flew before my face. "How does this work?" I asked him. He gave me a 5 minutes scientific discourse that impressed me.

I did not choose him to be in my family. God did not give me a menu to choose what I want for a boy. In His wisdom and graciousness, God gifted Sam to be my son. A loving brother to Sarah, Sam and his sister often sings duet beautifully. I would normally sit in a corner, savor every moment, thanking God for these two wonderful gifts.

I would not trade Sam for any boy in the world.