Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Day in the Life of a Toddler

First we must take a walk. Walking is so good for you and lots of fun when you haven't done it much yet.

And of course we cannot forget to peruse the sales in our paper.

Snack time will always be the best time of the day. Especially now that my hands are bigger and can hold so much more food!!

Getting Used to Grass

The grass in our play area is quite long. It is hard for tiny feet to step over. But we manage as you can see.

Aaron's first ride in a swing. He liked that very much.

He liked looking up as the swing came forward. It is a new point of view.

Just taking it easy. Hang on to that ball!

Singapore History 101 - Part 4

Today we will take a short trip to Labrador Park. This park used to be called Labrador Battery, built in 1878 by the British. Labrador is located at the southern tip of Singapore, at the mouth of the Keppel Harbour. The British built here to defend the harbour. Command posts, observation positions, machine-gun posts, and ammunition storage bunkers were well concealed under thick, jungle vegetation.

In 1942, guns at Labrador Battery fired on advancing Japanese forces coming from north of the park. England assumed that Japan would attempt an invasion of Singapore from the south via the sea. However, Japanese soldiers came across bridges from Malaysia (north of Singapore) on bicycles. The British had no defense against this unexpected entry point. The guns at Labrador were not very effective pointed north due their flat trajectory. The Japanese did occupy Singapore during World War II.

Many relics from the battery remain at the park. Singapore keeps them to remember that wrong military strategy can lead to ruin. Winston Churchill called the fall of Singapore "the greatest disaster to British arms which our history records."

Here you see our group at the end of the park. The island in the background is Sentosa Island. It also has a fort, Fort Siloso, that was used to defend the harbour at one time.

Here is the group outside the tunnels used to house ammunition and troops when the park was an operational battery.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

End of Year Push

The year is quickly coming to an end, only six more days of school!

Please continue to pray for the students and staff that are leaving at the end of the year, or that have many friends leaving, pray for peace in the midst of the turmoil of transition.

Pray for continued blessing in the finances at ICS as we are working to get renovation complete to prepare for more growth next year.

Pray for our Bible teach Les, he went into the doctor on Friday and they found a growth. It was removed today and scans of his whole body didn't find any more, but this tumor was cancerous so he will be going through some mild radiation therapy. Les is married with two little girls (about 2 and 4 years old).

Pray also for the father of one of our second grade children. He had a massive stroke over the weekend. Apparently he is doing reasonably well now, but still has a lot of work before full recovery.

One more request is for one of the other NICS schools. They just found out that some of their payroll taxes were not paid to the government as required. The government is charging them fines (which they understand and know they need to pay). The government is also imposing a penalty of revoking the visas of the 7 teachers hired this past year. It will be a big work for the school to find the replacement teachers in time for next year as this is a sensitive country. Pray that God will change the hearts of the government and/or that He will provide the many teachers necessary to fill the holes!

Thank you so much for all your support and prayers! Aaron is doing wonderfully, finally has another tooth on the bottom (he has 4 back molars, 4 top-front and 3 bottom-front teeth now) and another is close behind.

Enjoy the pictures and the history lesson.

Our little boy

Aaron helping Mommy with watering the plants.
Story please!
Now I'll make my own words.
Bedtime, I like my sports pajamas!

Singapore History 101 - Part 3

Arab Street

This first picture is of the Sultan Gate, the seat of Malay royalty in Singapore. Sultan Hussein Shah was given this land by Sir Stamford Raffles to be passed down to the Sultan's descendants. Sultan Ali, the son of Shah, build the palace and gate (photographed). Shah's descendants still receive $70,000 annually from the Singapore Government, even though the Court of Singapore ruled in 1897 that the land belonged to the Colony of Singapore. The palace has been refurbished and is the home of the Malay Heritage Centre.

The next two pictures are of the Sultan Mosque. The first picture is a sign giving information about the mosque. For example, this is the principle mosque on the island. The original building was constructed around 1824. The current building was completed in 1928 and designated a national monument in 1975. The second picture shows the mosque in the background.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Singapore History 101 - Part 2

The Waterfront Area

We are standing around the memorial stone of Agnes Joaquim located in the Armenian Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator -Memorial Garden. This woman is famous for discovering the hybrid orchid called Vanda Miss Joaquim, Singapore's national flower. This Armenian Church was built in 1835 and was the first permanent place of worship in Singapore.

The statue below is that of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore. It is believed that this statue marks his landing site in 1819. Raffles came to Singapore because he wanted to establish a British port that would be a stopping point for traders traveling between India and China. It would seem that he succeeded. Singapore now has one of the largest shipping ports in the world.

The fountain you see behind us is called the Merlion. It has the head of a lion with a fish body. The lion head represents a lion seen when a Malay prince rediscovered Singapore in 11 AD. He named the island "Singapura", meaning lion city. The fish tail represents Temasek, the ancient name of Singapore, which means "Sea". This commemorates Singapore's humble beginnings as a little fishing village. The Singapore Tourism Board designed the Merlion as a symbol for Singapore in 1964. This statue was installed at Marina Bay in 1972.

God With Us

The International Baptist Church (IBC) put on a concert called "God With Us" on May 5th and 6th. Betsy was blessed to play her oboe with the orchestra and 60+ voice choir. Two church members gave their testimonies between songs and narration. God worked greatly through the musicians and speakers. Join with us in thanking Him for the lives He touched. Betsy is the last orchestra member on the right side of the photographs below.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Singapore History 101

Fort Canning Park

There were three stops in Fort Canning Park during the Car Rally. The first picture shows a sign about the Battle Box, underground corridors and rooms that the British built in Fort Canning in 1936. This was an important site because the decision to surrender to the Japanese during World War II was made here in 1942.

The most impressive site was Fort Gate. Fort Canning was used as a military base by the British (who built it), the Japanese (during World War II), and Singapore’s armed forces (once it became a country). The government of Singapore demolished the fort in the 1970’s to make room for a reservoir. This gate and the adjoining wall are all that remain.

In the 14th century, Singapore was part of Malaysia and ruled by Malay kings. The third picture you see is information about the last of these kings, Iskandar Shah. When Sir Stamford Raffles came to Singapore from England in 1819, the Malays indicated that the hill that Fort Canning was later built on was called the “Forbidden Hill”. When the hill was cleared of jungle, ruins were found. It seems this was the place where the old kings had their palaces. A “keramat”, or tomb of a holy person, was also found. The tradition is that this tomb is for Iskandar Shah, who died around 1420.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Birds and Grass

On Friday afternoon Daddy took Aaron to explore the playground equipment at our condo. He wasn't very sure about the grass, or the riding birds.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

True Wisdom

It says in Proverbs that the fear of God is wisdom. I'm not sure we really understand what this fear is. It also says in Proverbs that to fear God is to hate evil, pride and arrogance. Even this is harder to live out than to read and put into our heads. I've (Betsy) been reading the major prophets on my journey through the Bible. Ezekiel tells the Israelites that their captivity and extreme losses are all due to their abominations and idol worship. He tells them that God brought these evil things so that they will know that He is God. He says this phrase over 60 times in his book. And you know what? All those horrible things cured Israel. Ever after, they worshiped God alone. They still acknowledge that there is only one God, Jehovah!

What will it take to cure me of my pride? My prayer is that God will only need slight nudges, not extreme measures to kill that side of me. He is an amazing and merciful God, after all. I can never thank Him enough for His death that brought me life.

On that note, it has been an exciting year teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) at the International Baptist Church (IBC). God gave me an opportunity to tell my students about His plan to reconcile the world to Himself. One of my students was very moved and this week accepted God's death as payment for her wrongdoings. She has become a child of the King of Kings! What a great God we serve!!

Danny is in the final stretch of this school year. The last day of school is May 30. The staff and students are pushing to finish everything. Please be praying for wisdom and diligence as they prepare and study the materials. Next school year will bring many, many changes. About half of the current Junior class will be moving away over the summer holidays. This changes the entire dynamic of next year's Seniors. Though students will be moving on, the school is growing very quickly. The administration has already hired about 12 new teachers. Please pray for them and their families as they prepare to move overseas. Pray also for the students and current staff. It is always hard to say goodbye!

Betsy is looking forward to the coming weekend. She will be playing her oboe in a concert held at IBC. It is called "God With Us" and will have singing and narration. She invited many people, Christians and non-Christians to come. Pray that God will be glorified and exalted at every performance.

Be watching our blog in the coming weeks. We will be posting pictures of famous sites all over Singapore. Our church put on "The Amazing Singapore Car Rally" (like "The Amazing Race" TV show). Danny, Betsy, Aaron, Sam, Noelle (teachers at ICS), and Jerry (fellow Church member), teamed up to tour 20 places all over the country. We were given a list of places to visit and questions that could only be answered at the locations. Envelopes with Bible verses could be opened after visiting and photographing our group at the site. We will take you on an historic tour of Singapore in the coming posts! Are you ready??? It begins soon!

More Aaron Antics

Daddy, do I really have to go milk the cows now????????
My favorite pastime---digging for basketballs!
Help, this beach ball is stuck and it won't come off!!!!

Cute! Need I say more?

Traffic Safety Day

This was the scene outside our giant mall, Vivo City, a couple of weeks ago. The traffic police designed a road course for pedal carts . Anyone who wanted to try the course could sign up and drive at designated times. It was great to see all the kids mistiming the stop lights and piling up behind each other. They also had a tendency to follow each other everywhere. There were many different routes, yet it seemed that there was only one line of traffic most of the time. The police volunteers were mostly youths involved in a Singaporean version of Boy and Girl Scouts. They had a difficult time stressing the traffic signals. Some of the drivers blew right through red lights just because the driver ahead did.