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I was looking for love in all the wrong places – until love found me

by | 22 November 2016, 11:01 AM

There is a peculiar air about Jaime Wong – speaking to her, it feels as if she does not have a care in the world, while still being deeply engaged with it.

The tennis coach is an accomplished woman, having won multiple awards in sports and school. Yet as she sits down with to tell her story, it is clear that life hasn’t been an endless victory parade for her. She bares her scars not as trophies, but as testimonies, of God’s goodness and grace in her life.


Top student. Top athlete. Jaime Wong had it all. At 12, she was Singapore’s youngest national tennis champion; at 17 she received an athletic scholarship to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“It almost appeared on the surface that I was living the Singaporean dream – top student, top athlete – but beneath the surface it was a very different story.”

Without her parents around to keep her in check, Jaime got addicted to pornography while in the United States, and began to embrace the notion of the freedom to love.

In 2003, upon graduation, she fell in love for the first time while on a short trip back to Singapore.

“Usually falling in love is not a bad thing. But this person was a woman, and she was a Christian. In other words, a recipe for disaster. And my mind told me: Don’t pursue this, walk on,” she said.

“But my heart was a bit more stubborn.”

In pursuit of love, Jaime gave up her life in the US – only to have her world crumble beneath her. Her friend told her: “I’m so sorry, I love you, but I love God. And I cannot walk down this path with you. I will love you as Ruth loved Naomi, as Jonathan loved David, but I just cannot be the person that you want me to be.”

This enraged Jaime.

“Just imagine the heartbreak that I felt. I gave up everything to get this in return. I could not believe this friend actually chose God over me,” she said. “I was not prepared to let go, so I thought the most logical thing for me to do was to prove to this friend of mine that there is no such thing as God, and that the Bible is nothing but a book of lies.”


For two years, she was relentless in her pursuit, attempting to debunk God through the study of science, logic and history. But at the end of it, she came to believe that everything pointed to Jesus as the son of God and the Saviour of the world.

“I was prepared to accept any God except for the Christian God, but everything pointed to Jesus at the end of the day. So in 2006, I became a very unwilling Christian in 2006.”

This also meant that she could not continue pursuing the friend she fell for, the friend who shared the love of Christ with her. Jaime said she knew early on that she could not act on her same-sex attraction, but it took her seven years to completely embrace the truth.

“I hated God for suddenly becoming a high authority in my life. I was always on my own, living life without parental influence or much guidance, so I made a lot of decisions on my own. And here, suddenly, I have this book of rules telling me all these things,” she said.

Jaime made multiple attempts to stop viewing pornography, only to fall back into the habit a few days later – a vicious cycle that was eventually broken after an encounter with God.

“It was always this battle – trying to do what is right, but not being able to. And as a result of that, I fell deeper and deeper into pornography. I was angry with God, and I continued doing what I was not supposed to do,” she said.

“On the surface it looked as though I was doing the right things: Going to church, going to cell group, serving in church. But behind closed doors, everything was raging. Emotionally I was raging; physically I was not getting what I wanted. It was a really tough time.”

Her struggles drove her to contemplate suicide several times. One particularly poignant period stands out: Jaime had fasted for 40 days, thinking things would get better after that, only for her situation to continue to look despondent.

“One day, as I looked out into the ocean, I thought: ‘This is it’,” she said.

Yet before she could act on the suicidal impulse, she caught a glimpse of a message written in a book her friend had given her.

“Hang in there. One day your mess will become your message,” it read.

“I completely broke down because the timing of it was impeccable. I just said to God: ‘You know God, I give up. I don’t want this life. Take it, do what you want with it.’ And that prayer became my defining moment. It became the moment where everything just turned – the amazing transformation came.”


After that act of surrender, Jaime said she was miraculously healed of all her sicknesses. All mental illnesses, all physical ailments – including a diagnosis for Ulcerative Proctitis, which doctors said was incurable – were gone.

“God didn’t just stop at that. He did more for me. He set me free from this prison of sexual immorality. It’s been two and a half years now, or more, and I’ve been completely free from pornography. And I’ve turned away from same-sex desires,” she said.

“I realise that I have lost my sexual appetite for the unclean because my heart had just received that pure, perfect love of Jesus.”

That moment when God truly entered her heart turned her life around. Where she once feared public speaking, Jaime now wanted to tell the world about the transformation that could only come through God.

“I was suddenly filled with this new purpose, this new desire that God has put in my heart, and there was new ability that He gave to me to tell people about what Jesus has done for me.”



While it was initially difficult to open up to others on the issue of same-sex attraction, Jaime has found herself slowly being drawn into the topic during different conversations with different people.

When asked about what she would say to someone facing similar struggles, she said the answer is always to go back to the Word of God.

“It’s not about what I say to the person about this issue, but what the Word says. And so my duty to God is to love the person the way Jesus has loved me and to give them a glimpse of His love, and to share the truth and love them. At the end of the day, it’s to let the Word speak – God will speak for Himself – and to let the Holy Spirit convict them.”

In fact, it was the friend she was initially attracted to who demonstrated this love to her.

“She became a friend to me in the way that I couldn’t understand. On one hand, I felt rejection but yet on the other hand, I sensed a love that I could not comprehend – love that stood by me and stuck with me. She didn’t walk out of that friendship; she stayed there even though I put her through hell,” Jaime recalled.

She admitted to stalking and verbally abusing her friend, who chose not to walk away and to love her like Jesus did.

“For all the things that I’ve done to her, I didn’t deserve any of it, yet she gave it freely and she loved me wholly and she loved me, and she gave me a glimpse of what God’s love is like – enduring and longsuffering and waiting with hope that one day I would turn around,” Jaime said.

While it was ironic that she sensed both rejection and love at the same time, Jaime said this was how real love revealed itself to her.

“I felt loved in a way that I could not explain and I believe that is the kind of love that I want to mirror. The love that Jesus had for me – I want to mirror that and to love those who are broken,” she said.



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Life lessons from Wonder Woman

by Esther "Slidingtackles" | 28 June 2017, 5:50 PM


Wonder Woman (2017) introduces us to strong fierce Amazonian women who were created by Zeus to restore peace and stability to a war torn world. Set in the context of World War 1, the movie brings two worlds together to understand one truth: Love does bring redemption.

Captain Steve Trevor crashes his plane into the waters of Themyscira while escaping from German authorities and is rescued by Diana, a young budding Amazonian. She begs him to bring her to this war front as she cannot bear to hear of women and children slaughtered. She fights, inspired others who do not have her physical superpowers and works in a team of 5 to defeat the enemy. She matures to understand the depth of humankind, the relationship between gods and man.

The two protagonists are beautifully complementary, as both try to save what they cherish in ways unique to themselves.

The idea of redeeming a race that chooses the path of wrongdoing strikes me as quintessentially Christian.

With elements of Greek mythology – the gods’ relation to humankind, coupled with really badass fight scenes and fantastic graphics – this film successfully fuses the wonder of fantasy and myth to the nearness of reality.

As a Christian and 21st century university student, I can’t help but observe how Wonder Woman possesses religious as well as feminist undertones. Most refreshingly, I love how the two seem perfectly compatible.

Allow me to share some takeaways.

1. The need to intentionally broaden our perspectives

It’s very important to seek understanding about what we aren’t used to – because that’s the path to maturity and growth.

Steve and Diana both needed to understand things that were out of their comfort zone, and getting there can be the most uncomfortable, ridiculous thing. For Steve, this “magical place” called Themyscira was an absurd, silly entity. Furthermore, given Diana’s extreme innocent ideals about war, he was often left in disbelief. While it would’ve been a shock to his mind, he never directly dismissed her claims.

No trumping. No interjecting. No mansplaining.

Diana’s mother had a very protective approach to raising her child. She didn’t want to tell Diana the truth for fear of the consequences of living a violent life. But the thing is such helicopter mothering policy reinforced Diana’s ignorance about the outside world, revealed by her interaction with Steve.

Thankfully, I really appreciate how she eventually relented (albeit with some emotional blackmail). Diana’s mom just let her daughter go out and experience the world for herself. As Diana’s aunt said – the best way the girl can defend herself is if she learnt to protect herself. For Diana, it was a journey of testing all her pre-existing foundations of truths while remaining true to her values. Her renewed understanding of humankind in all its imperfections adds richness and depth to her character.

Moving on to religious ideas/allusions …

2. The world neither desires nor deserves redemption

The idea of redeeming a race that chooses the path of wrongdoing strikes me as quintessentially Christian. It is interesting that Hippolyta tells Diana that the world doesn’t deserve her.

Diana’s raw, passionate love, desire to save humanity from killing themselves and empathy sets her apart as a hero whose superpower seems to be that. I don’t deny she’s powerful (deflecting bullets, summoning lightning or her truth rope). But her compassionate and courageous heart seems to be the source of her exploits.

Sacrificing himself to save the front from being exposed to the mustard gas, Steve’s last words to Diana were, “I save today so you can save the earth tomorrow” is reminiscent of Jesus saving mankind so they could share that salvation with others.

What a powerful allegory of the Father’s love for us.

3. Evil is not a simple clash of two sides

In contrast to a simple love versus hate battle, Steve laments to Diana on the boat to London that war is a complicated affair. It’s not always clear who’s in the right or wrong when everyone’s caught up with survival and their rights. In our depravity, we wonder if human beings really bring about their suffering themselves. Ares tells Diana he didn’t start wars; he merely whispered thoughts into human ears to fan the flames of what already lay hidden.

Original sin? You bet.

Nevertheless, justice isn’t a one off thing, because after World War 1, World War 2 came. and yet for a brief moment, the world had respite thanks to the courage of a saviour who stepped up when no one else dared to. We see this in Wonder Woman and in Jesus. We ought to step up in our own spheres of influence too (Micah 6:8). In His Kingdom, God empowers us to champion righteousness, justice and love as He does.

You must fight the good fight. Whoever you may be – male, female, whatever – you already have what it takes to make a difference wherever you are. As Steve encouraged Diana, it is what you believe that defines you.

4. Women can be empowered alongside men, not always at the expense of men

What a compelling message about the power of women.

My breath was stolen every time the Amazonians threw themselves into a fight scene on horseback and with bows and arrows. Such feminine strength and confidence is rarely presented on-screen without coming across as satirical or erotic.

My heart raced when Diana ran across No Man’s land, aptly named because no “male” could cross it for years. I adored the way director Patty Jenkins flung gender stereotypes out the window without spiting the other side.

She provoked an uncomfortable empathy, when a man kneeled afraid at the mercy of powerful females, but most of all, she also allowed both genders to shine in their own light. Yes, the superhero was a woman this time, but the male lead was equally iconic, valiant and honourable. Men and woman alike have the power, the desire, and the ability to make a change, lead, or save the world.

To understand others.

To love.

To feel, and be free to express those feelings without fear of judgement.

An inspiring and moving call for justice, equality, honesty and courage, Wonder Woman brilliantly sheds much needed light on how Good tackles the complex, convoluted problem of evil, and our special little place in the whole thing.

And I’m definitely excited to see how that will unfold in our real world.


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Where are you going?

by | 28 June 2017, 5:37 PM

Kayaking is fun. I especially love the feeling of being pushed around by the waves. You’re in control, but not fully. You’re safe, but not totally.

I took a kayaking course recently, and the most important skill I learnt was how to rudder. Ruddering is a technique of changing one’s direction without stopping the boat completely.

Basically, you stick your paddle into the waters near the rear of your kayak; change the direction of the paddle, and you change the direction you’re heading.

Only with constant corrections will we get to our destination.

Ruddering helps you to steer the boat in the right direction as you continue moving forward. It’s an easier and more effective way to change directions, compared to other strokes.

The key is focus. When you don’t pay attention, the boat veers off course. Every single time, primarily due to the current and the waves. So if you don’t do anything, your kayak will move away from its original position.

Only with constant corrections will we get to our destination.

It’s pretty common to hear people testifying about their victory in overcoming a certain sin in their life. These testimonies bring great comfort and encouragement to those who hear them. It’s good to tell, and hear, of God’s goodness and power.

But they’re all so nicely packaged.

It almost feels like once you have emerged victorious from a single struggle, that will be the last you see of that sin. It seems the message is that others can instantly see sin kicked out of their lives, and so can you! All you need to do is overcome it once and you will be invincible thereafter!

But … that wasn’t what I experienced.

My Christian journey has been littered with so many struggles and painful encounters. Some were a little easier to handle, others took more time and energy.

Some struggles have made themselves pretty comfortable in my life. They come back to visit me from time to time.

How long will I have to deal with them? Psalm 119:112 tells me: Maybe longer than I’d like.

I am determined to keep your principles, even forever, to the very end. (Psalm 119:112, NIV)
I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end. (Psalm 119:112, KJV)

The Psalmist uses the word “determined” to describe the posture needed to uphold Godly principles in his life. Pursuing a life that is blameless before God is not going to be effortless.

Likewise, the King James Version describes this act as the inclination of one’s heart. This illustrates how the natural position of one’s heart is not towards God or His laws. It is unnatural for one to be yielded to God. In fact, it takes a deliberate effort to do so.

The world has its currents and its waves, threatening to push us wherever its agendas lie. What we learn in this world, we often need to unlearn when we enter the Kingdom of God. What we are taught in the Bible always seems to go against what is taught in this world.

The world tells us we are here to accumulate and enjoy the material things. God tells us nothing else matters that with all we have, we are to love God and His people (Mark 22:36-39).

The world tells us you have the right to live however you choose. God tells us that those who surrender our lives to Him will gain much more (Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, Matthew 16:25).

My big misconception: That surrendering, laying down my life, would be a once-in-a-while thing.

Then there are the grey areas – the brackish water, the intertidal zones where the currents collide and things aren’t quite so clear. For example, we know that it is good to pursue excellence at work, but that becomes dangerous when this pursuit comes at the expense of your relationship with God. Just one of many dilemmas we face trying to do things God’s way.

So many undercurrents, all trying to push us away from our goal of leading a Christ-like life. And just like on my kayak, I realised if you don’t do anything, you’ll get swept away. It requires constant effort.

I remember a day when I was frustrated with God – questioning Him why I was still struggling with the same sins I was two, three years ago. I thought the struggle with this sin wouldn’t haunt me after I surrendered it to Him. Even if it does, shouldn’t it become easier to pull through? Why do I have to constantly struggle and realign my life?

My big misconception: That surrendering, laying down my life, would be a once-in-a-while thing. That I could just point my kayak at the start and sail straight on forever, or at worst only have to readjust my boat every now and then – say at my annual church conference and camp, or perhaps at some really awesome Sunday service.

Electronic devices: Some (I’m looking at you, iPhone) need to be recharged daily. Others, like a decent bluetooth mouse, can go months without seeing a wall plug.

I thought I fell in the latter group. I never thought of it as an ongoing, constant affair. I was so wrong.

We have to realign our lives with God’s on a regular basis – daily, if need be – because if we get too casual with our walk, when we allow other things to come into our hearts, we drift. And a slight deviation can sometimes bring you to a whole other place. Once we stop moving towards God, we begin to move away. There is no such thing as being stationary – it’s not a Christian walk if you’re not moving.

There is no truly still sea. Your kayak is moving – the question is whether you’re in control or not. We are either moving away or towards God.

Which way are you going?


Jolene is inquisitive about things big and small. She loves discovering new things and giving them a shot. Her greatest love: Stuffed animals.


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Where are our manners?

by | 27 June 2017, 10:59 AM

The other day in the church lobby I saw someone I knew in conversation with the parents of our mutual friend. I was out of earshot, but the body language was plain to see: The young man’s eyes were obviously glazed over, although the older couple were trying to engage him.

Would it have been so hard to be respectful enough to just pay attention for a couple of minutes?

I’m no innocent party, either. Sometimes I see it in the way I snap back at my parents. Or when I catch myself laughing at an older person’s struggles to connect with the younger generation. It feels pretty harmless in the moment – we don’t mean any real malice – but that’s probably where the problem lies.

It seems like we have become desensitised to this thing called honour.


Everyone holds respect and honour to varying degrees of importance. Some people never fall asleep without first bidding their parents goodnight. Others don’t see an issue with not greeting their parents when they return home.

But honour is not a mere social construct, varying from person to person, but a divine command. We are commanded to honour our parents. The same should also apply to spiritual parents and those in authority over us.

In 1 Timothy 5:17-18 it says “the worker deserves his wages” – even more so those in leadership over us. So we should repay our parents – biological, professional and spiritual – for their work in our lives by giving them double the honour and respect they deserve.

But honour is not a mere social construct, varying from person to person, but a divine command.

We show respect out of our reverent fear of God – “Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God,” it says in Leviticus 19:32. That starts with the posture of humility, we learn in Proverbs 15:33.

The wages of disrespect are curses (Deuteronomy 27:16), death (Matthew 15:4), and, of course, having your eyeballs eaten by vultures (Proverbs 30:17).

Clearly, God doesn’t take dishonour lightly. And we shouldn’t either.


Why does it have to be about us versus them?

There are good things we stand to gain when we look up to those older than us. We have much to learn from them – they have more wisdom and understanding than we do (Job 12:12).

They have walked on this earth longer than we have. They’ve overcome obstacles that we might go through ourselves later on in life.

Advice from those older than us are rarely bred from ill intentions. Reject wise counsel and you’re merely feeding your pride, the sentiment of I know better.

Like us, they are imperfect; they too stumble and fall. The difference is they’ve done so many more times than we have over the years, so not only do they offer the lessons drawn from success, but also the important ones that are drawn from failure.

Sometimes we feel caged by their traditions and get frustrated when they don’t share our views. But we must learn to submit, or respectfully agree to disagree, without compromising on giving honour where it is due.

We may have the energy and tech-savviness, but they have the wisdom and experience. No one is better than the other, and each is equally crucial in the church.

There should be no us and them in the church. Ephesians 4:5 – We’re one church, remember?


Sara is inquisitive and a self-professed conversationalist. She hopes to learn something new with every interaction and also happens to enjoy writing about them.


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When my mentee came out to me

by Olivia Lee | 26 June 2017, 11:22 AM

“I have something to tell you. I’m attracted to the same gender.”

Someone I was mentoring in church had suddenly asked to meet me. She looked extremely jittery and it was clear something was up.

“I … like girls. And there’s this girl …”

Her voice was shaking, her eyes fixed on the table. It was a side of her I had never seen in our years of friendship. She sat before me, completely vulnerable, her life peeling apart like layers of an onion.

She told me that she’d been in a secret relationship with a girl from our church for some time, but she wasn’t proud of it.

In that moment, what I saw wasn’t her coming out to me. It wasn’t her relationship with a girl. Instead, what I saw was her vulnerability.

“I know it’s not natural. We both know it. I want this to stop. But I just can’t.”

In that moment, what I saw wasn’t her coming out to me. It wasn’t her relationship with a girl. Instead, what I saw was her vulnerability. I saw her trust – her trust in me that allowed her to bare her darkest secrets. Her fears. Her hurts.

“Aren’t you going to get angry?” Her eyes were welling up with tears.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people around me speaking about same-sex attraction in hurtful ways. Ever said “that’s so gay” as a joke or to describe something you don’t like? These things are insensitive. They hurt.

The church needs to be ready and equipped to walk this journey alongside brothers and sisters. Through my own experience of journeying with Christian friends who came out to me, I’ve learnt that we really should rethink some things we often hear.


1. “Love the sinner, hate the sin”
This overused line has become the top offending statement for many. To say “love the sinner” often sounds as though we view others as “the sinner” and that we are holier than them, which isn’t the case.

2. “Struggling with homosexuality/SSA”
This is only appropriate when referring to someone who admits to be in conflict over their sexuality and is resisting the tendency. People who accept and live with their same-sex attraction are not struggling with it.

3. “The gay lifestyle”
This implies that everyone who experiences same-sex attraction has the same lifestyle, which is untrue. Many may frequent gay bars and clubs, but there also many who live very sedate and conservative lives.

I thanked my mentee for trusting in me enough to share with me whatever she was going through. For a Christian to come out about her sexuality to someone in the Church was definitely something that required more than just a bit of courage.

We need to learn to walk alongside them rather than just telling them what to do from the bleachers.

So if you are someone who is struggling with same-sex attraction, I know that you didn’t ask for this. It’s not just a phase. I won’t tell you that it’s a passing thing that will be over soon. Because we both know that it won’t. You didn’t create this. It’s not your fault. There is nothing inherently wrong with you.

But here’s the catch: You are not to blame for your feelings and inclinations, but you are responsible for managing them wisely and properly.

And you are never alone in this journey of managing your feelings.

Paul wrote in Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”

We all deal with various kinds of temptations and inclinations that yield to the flesh — just that some are more common than the others. Most people don’t toy with the idea of cutting themselves every time they are sad or angry, but some do. Many people aren’t tempted to indulge in pornography to destress or to feel better, but many are.

This is the reality of the struggle between the flesh and the spirit. You are not meant to give in, helplessly, every time you have an urge. The need for self-control is part of the reality of Christian living.

Not only should we try to make it easier for someone to talk about their sexual struggles, we must avoid making the mistake of always talking about it. By only talking about this aspect of their life all the time, it reinforces the wrong idea that this is all there is to them and that this is their identity.

I made that mistake we made. I briefly shared about the situation with my leader just to keep myself and my mentee accountable and in check. But unfortunately, it blew out of proportion. Leaders kept asking me, “How is (insert mentee’s name here) and her struggle with that?”.

No how have you been or have you eaten, but it was always how is the SSA situation going?

Here’s the catch: You are not to blame for your feelings and inclinations, but you are responsible for managing them wisely and properly.

I would like to think that they came from a place bearing good intentions at heart. But the constant questions about just that particular issue in my mentee’s life made it feel as though it was all there is to her as a person.

There were also other battles going on her life. Her financial worries, her parents’ disapproval about her faith, the stress she’s facing in school …

Our identity isn’t built on our sexuality. Or our achievements. Or what school we go to. Or where we work. Or our relationship status.

Our identity is fundamentally found in the person of Jesus. We are defined by God and God alone. He identifies each and every one of us as His own (2 Corinthians 1:22).

We still have a long way to go in terms of learning about how to walk alongside each other, for better or for worse. But what I have learnt in my years with my mentee is that only the revelation of Jesus in our lives – the awe from finding our identity in Christ – can spark the beginning of any transformational work in our lives.


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Church camp is over. Now what?

by | 25 June 2017, 1:47 AM

A church camp is always amazing. It’s a time of refreshing, recharging and refocusing. It’s where you get to bask in the warm glow of our mountaintop moments.

You look forward to it for months, eager to seek respite in God’s presence, away from the dreary happenings in our home country. Fast forward to the last day and you’re all tired but happy from the rousing sermons and late night #HTHT – heart-to-heart talks.

You’ve heard God’s voice commissioning us to do His work. You’re pumped up and ready to preach the Gospel, transform society, feed the orphans.

So you’re on your way back across the Causeway when yet another driver jam-brakes in front of you.

Do you curse? Do you mumble under your breath about how drivers nowadays know nothing about driving?

So much for the mountaintop.

Why is it so easy to forget what God tells us?

We chase after fleeting highs. Like a drug, we’re addicted to the ecstasy of feeling like we’re up in the clouds with Jesus. We’re content with that experience being a short and succinct one – usually 4D/3N in Malacca, KL or JB.

But there’s no reason mountaintop moments should just be restricted to church camps. There’s no reason they have to be short-lived.

Get excited, inspired, refilled, topped up, blown away by your mountaintop moments. Then let them carry you through the valleys.

The problem is that daily life has a tendency to give us every excuse we need to step off that mountain. It all comes crashing down when we get the first cantankerous customer back at work, or the first impossible school deadline.

Thanks for the memories, God. See you at next year’s camp.

How do we bring the mountain to daily life?

Everything we do is our worship unto God. It could be your morning coffee run, or your routine admin job. We worship Him with our hearts when we set out to do His work anywhere and everywhere.

That takeaway God had for you at church camp – it wasn’t only valid at the camp; it isn’t only limited to Malaysian soil. That’s why it’s a takeaway; you bring it back home with you.

There is work to be done. Get excited, inspired, refilled, topped up, blown away by your mountaintop moments. Then let them carry you through the valleys.


Sara is inquisitive and a self-professed conversationalist. She hopes to learn something new with every interaction and also happens to enjoy writing about them.


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Article list

I was looking for love in all the wrong places – until love found me

Life lessons from Wonder Woman

Where are you going?

Where are our manners?

When my mentee came out to me

Church camp is over. Now what?