Starting the Year with Thanks…

Thank You!

Thank You God, for being the wonderful God that You are, for being the healer-God, for being the God who reassures, for being the God who loves us so much.

i want to not only thank God but i also want to express my most heartfelt thanks to all my family and friends who have been with us over the last few months. You all cared, you all prayed, you all showed your love and made such efforts to reach out and help.

THANK YOU!

Some of you might not know – my father had been in the hospital since mid-September last year and finally, after more than 4 months of various complications, he is home now! Praise the Lord!

It has been most amazing to watch how my family (aunts, uncles, cousins), my friends (you know who you are) and my churches (both in SG and CH) gathered forces and surrounded us with love and prayers as we navigated this difficult time with so many ups and downs.

It was very difficult for me to not be there for my dad and my mum, and my brother. But God is good! He provided for others to care for my parents and brother. It truly showed me the love of God which flows through His people.

i did get to go visit a couple of weeks ago. It was good to have been there to get more details from the doctors as well as be there for the sudden down and up again of my dad’s condition. i was so glad that the day i had to leave he was well enough to sit up without the oxygen. And of course, now he’s home and able to celebrate the Chinese New Year at home.

Once again, Thank You!

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i leave you with this lovely image that greeted me as i flew from Singapore back to Switzerland. The Lord is the one who makes the sun rise every morning and He is the one who holds my future, our future. And i know that the future is secure in His Hands.

syc

Looking Back at 2018… Forward at 2019…

It’s 5 days into 2019! Wow! It’s not too late to look back at 2018 and share some thoughts and memories, right?

Here’s our annual Christmas letter from 2018:

HiHi

How are you? Hope this finds you and your family well and enjoying the festive season together, remembering that the reason for Christmas is CHRIST.

2018 has been a fairly emotionally intense year for us. We said a number of sad farewells to family and friends who are now with our Lord in Heaven.

At the end of March, on Good Friday, we received news that Walter’s mother passed away in the early hours of the morning. While we knew that she had been ill, in and out of hospital and this was not unexpected, it was the suddenness of the news which shook us. Walter was up in the air, in a plane, on the way back from a work trip when Sandra got the call in the middle of the night. We made hasty arrangements; got permission from Tobias’ school and, thank God, managed to get flights for the next day. It was a sad time but also a good time of closure and seeing the family pull together. We thank everyone who send their condolences and gave their support. It meant a lot.

In July, we said farewell to a church friend who suffered a second stroke. We were unable to say goodbye in person. Another friend, with whom we had lost touch, also passed away from cancer. We were grateful to have been able to visit with her and be there for her a little bit before she went to be with the Lord in August.

Our final farewell was to our beloved gerbil, Jules, who lived to a ripe old age of 3 years and 3 months; she joined her sisters in gerbil heaven in November.

But the year has not been all sad, there have been happy and great times too.

We welcomed a new family member in September, our little (now not so little) Schnauzer puppy, Lexi! It has been a time of adjustment, having a puppy is a whole new ballgame for all of us. Sandra has had dogs before but never a puppy; a puppy calls for patience which, at times, we didn’t think we had. Then she had a really bad ear infection and then an eye infection. But she is now well and settled in and we are learning to enjoy each other.

Tobias loves having Lexi and works to manage his time between his school work, his gaming time and time for Lexi. He is now in 8th class (Secondary 2 in Singapore) and is very self-motivated to do well at school. He cut back on his outside activities to be able to have time for dog school so he has dropped HipHop and now only plays the violin in an ensemble and he plays squash. He continues to enjoy being part of the teen class at church.

Walter had so many work trips to South Africa this year we have lost count. He traveled almost every week from the end of February to the end of November. It was hard work and difficult to have him away so much. But we managed and are very grateful that he has some respite now. Walter continues to serve on the worship team and as an elder in church.

Sandra scaled back her activities this year; she no longer teaches Chinese class and does not have an English Playgroup this school year. While the latter was not planned, it has been good to have that extra time to adjust to life with a puppy. She continues to teach Sunday School and serves as missions coordinator at church. She has also been working on her writing and hopes to find an agent to represent her in the new year.

In a bid to get more and better writing done, Sandra went to a weekend Spring Retreat organised by the SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) in April in the lovely Interlaken region. It was very inspiring and productive.

In May, we also enjoyed a wonderful time with our church family, when for the first time in many years, the church organised a church-wide retreat. It was great to get to know more people in an informal and beautiful setting (the Swiss mountains are always amazing to behold). We got to celebrate Tobias’ birthday while at the retreat.

Of course, we enjoyed our annual trip to Singapore in July/August. It is always great to catch up with family and friends and eat all the yummy foods we missed.

So all in all, it has been a pretty full year, once again. And it has been a year which we would not have gotten through without our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ and our beloved family and friends who have been so supportive and wonderful. Thank you all.

Wishing you a most blessed Christmas and a fulfilling 2019!

Do stay in touch and let us know what has been happening for you.

With love,

walter, sandra and tobias, and lexi

And here’s our little Christmas/New Year Greeting (i had meant to post this at Christmas but never got round to it):

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Wishing everyone a blessed and fulfilling 2019! Let’s go out there and make the world (or at least our little part of it) a better place!

syc

Not Made to Last…

Be warned… this is a rant.

Modern technology… it makes our lives so easy; helps us to do things faster and better, helps us to take nicer pictures with just one click, helps us to stay informed with the latest news, helps to us to stay connected always…

BUT…

…it is not made to last!

Whether it be your latest TV or kitchen gadget or mobile phone, they do not seem to last beyond a few years. One dent, one drop and they are done for… something just won’t work right anymore.

My rant today is specifically about mobile phones!

i have had my mobile phone for only 3 plus years and now i am having issues with the battery. For months now, every week there will be a day when it refuses to charge to 100%. And for the last 3 days, consecutively, it simply won’t charge to 100%. And get this, i did NOT drop it at all.

My dad is also having battery issues with his mobile phone. He is usually careful with his phone.

notmadetolast20180302My boy had accidentally thrown his previous phone (which had a clear plastic cover) onto his bed (a soft surface) and it rebounded against the wall, and that made it stop working. Recently, he dropped his current phone on the street and now that is not working. In this case, i understand, it was quite a forceful drop (the edge of the glass cracked) and it was without a cover. But the previous cases???

When i took it back to the shop to see if i could get it repaired, the customer service person informed me that it was not worth the repair costs. He also told me that i should always buy insurance on mobile phones because such repairs are costly and with insurance, i get a replacement phone almost immediately after filing a report.

i never had to insure a gadget before. We have a couple of antique phones at home, and i know if we plug those in, they will still work. My pestle and mortar most definitely still works compared to the modern kitchen aid which i have had to replace.

OK… maybe those are not a fair comparison but this is a rant… so i claim “rant license”.

All that said and done, my brother did point out that it does seem that these new mobile phones are made to fail in some small but annoying way so that you “need” to get a new one every few years… is this the manufacturers’ way of making money? i don’t know. But if it is, that’s not playing fair to the consumers, is it?

syc