The Passenger is Taking a Break

Journal

Dear Friend,

I’m taking a semi-hiatus from writing, but my memoir letters will continue. Although I don’t know how long this break will last, I’ll definitely return!

Čau!


Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train



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Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.

Truth4TCKs 2021 Online Conference

Special Events

Guess what? I’m excited to share with you about the special event, Truth4TCKs 2021, for Christian third culture kids! But first, who are third culture kids or TCKs?

A TCK is a person who has lived within two or more cultures during their developmental years. They’ve moved multiple times, and interacting with different cultures is a normal part of their lives. Do you relate to this? If so, you may be interested in Truth4TCKs!

Truth4TCKs 2021

Truth4TCKs 2021 is an online conference for teenage and young adult Christian TCKs, whether they be Missionary Kids, Military Kids, Expat Kids, Business Kids, Diplomat Kids, etc. The conference mission strives to bring biblical truth and encouragement regarding the cross-cultural and highly mobile life to TCKs – especially those that may not have easy access to uplifting care.

You may be wondering, “What makes this event special?”

Truth4TCKs is for followers of Jesus Christ that are also TCKs. The conference’s administrative team is made up of teenagers and young adults serving teenagers and young adults. It is not an organization; rather, an organic movement.

Theme of Truth4TCKs 2021

Many TCKs don’t have a sense of belonging to any country. Wherever they go, they feel that they don’t completely fit into the community nor does the place truly feel like home. Sounds familiar? Tackling those issues, the theme for this year’s conference is finding what it means to be a global citizen of Heaven.

As Christian TCKs, they are given an unchanging identity in Christ and a home in Heaven. Once they are grounded in Jesus, they can live their lives as global citizens while using their TCK gifts to the glory of God and the good of others.

You can find out more on what it means to be a global citizen of Heaven by attending Truth4TCKs 2021.

Dates for Truth4TCKs 2021

The conference takes place on May 22nd and 23rd.

Speakers in Truth4TCKs 2021

The amazing speakers have hearts for God and to serve TCKs like you. They come from diverse backgrounds such as diplomatic, military, business, ministry and more.

The speakers are Breanne Eckman, C.B., Melinda Clark, William Moore, Megan C. Norton, Chris O’Shaughnessy, and Kate Forbes (MSP).

Costs of Truth4TCKs 2021

Cheap and conveniently accessible from any country online, Truth4TCKs 2021 costs only US$10 per ticket and $17 for all access ticket, which includes benefits of standard ticket and access to recordings.

Registration for Truth4TCKs 2021

Interested? Register for the online conference here.



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Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Read more posts from her.

7 Days of Hope Tour: Day One

Special Events

Hope.

What is the meaning of the word hope? If you look in your dictionary, it most likely stated that hope is an expectation for an object or event to occur. And if you look in your Bible, Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (KJV, Emphasis added).

We can place our hope in many things such as our career stability, possessions, family, friends, and ourselves. This hope, however, is fruitless because all of what is on earth is temporary and fallible. But as saved people, we have Someone whom we have hope in:

Jesus Christ.

We have hope in Him even though we can’t see Him. He is our true hope. The whole world will perish but not Him. People will fail us but not Him because He is infallible.

And as we live in the world, we have tribulations, illnesses, and death because of sin. However, for those who love God, He turns difficulties into something good (Roman 8:28). And as we Christians trudge through our valleys, we find that darkness shrouds our paths and threatens to extinguish our hope.

Famous godly men and women from the past are susceptible to that too. One example is Charles H. Spurgeon. He had multiple depression periods throughout his life due to a traumatic event and other circumstances. Because of his sufferings, having hope in Jesus was precious to him. He said,


When the night gets darker, the light shines brighter. When our trials worsened, our hope in Jesus glows much more.

But what if the valley never seems to end? And what if our path seemed to be getting smoother only for it to drop into a pit? That is when our Shepherd wants us to wait. Waiting is hard. I understand how difficult it can be because I’ve been going through it. Waiting means that we have to persevere, continue to stay close by His side, and accept the situation and outcome we’re in.

From the book Found Faithful, Elizabeth Skoglund knew a lady who suffered with depression for years yet she still kept her hope in God even though He hasn’t healed her yet. He told her wait. Thus, she waits and continues to be close to Him. And, quoting from the book, “[f]ar from sinning, she has chosen to find meaning in her depression and to allow it to draw her closer to God.”


During our periods of waiting, the Bible will spur us on. When it seems that nobody can encourage us with their words, His Word will be the one that lifts us.

Furthermore, waiting is the best time to keep praising our Shepherd from our hearts. A Czech friend once told me that the best place to be when we’re down is to worship Him. I admit, it is an unnatural action for us to do when we’re going through hard times. But when we worship our Shepherd, we’re fulfilling our purpose on earth – to glorify Him. Because despite our circumstances, He is still God.

I know another Czech friend, who sings special presentations at my church in the Czech Republic. God had brought her through breast cancer before. She appeared to be out of the danger zone until a health check-up revealed that cancer was in her brain. Treatment got rid of that particular tumour; however, another check-up showed that she had more tumours inside.

And do you know what she did? She continued to sing specials at church until she physically could not. Her hope in Jesus did not die, God was glorified through her, and people around her could see Jesus in her.


Months after the aforementioned Czech friend passed on to heaven, I listened to her songs occasionally. Initially, they sounded sad because I was sad, then … over time, I realised that they were overflowing with hope.

Thinking back, I wonder how she could still sing when she was suffering so much physically? The answer lies in her Shepherd. He is her God of hope, just as how He is my God of hope and your God of hope.

If we continue to stay by our Shepherd’s side, we’ll have blessings in our valleys. For examples, being moulded and refined, growing closer to Him, and claiming His promises. Most importantly, the greatest blessing of all is having Him as our God.

He is our Shepherd who’ll never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He had prepared a place for us to be forever with Him (John 14:3), a place of everlasting joy (Isaiah 41:11), a place where “… God shall wipe away all tears from [our] eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4, KJV). How comforting that is!

My mentioning of the Shepherd and valleys probably reminds you of Psalm 23. I know that it’s a passage that most of us have memorised but go to your Bible and read it now. After you finished reading it, return to this post.

Welcome back! Did you find that the passage emanated hope? Now read it again, and listen to this song while you do so:


Friend, no matter how steep the path in front of you gets and how dark the valley can be, please don’t give up your hope in Jesus Christ. Because in Him, you can live victoriously through your challenges and claim His promises and blessings. And in Him, you will one day live without valleys for eternity.

May His grace, mercy, strength, joy, and hope be with you.

Amen.


Reference

Skoglund, Elizabeth R., Found Faithful: The Timeless Stories of Charles Spurgeon, Amy Carmichael, C. S. Lewis, Ruth Bell Graham and Others, 2004, Discovery House Publishers.

Hold on, the Seven Days of Hope Tour is not over yet!

The blog tour has two giveaways!
You can find out more here.

The tour continues in other blogs:


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Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.

When We Compare

Journal, TCK's Articles, Writer's Articles

Dear Friend,

Comparing myself to others is so easy. It’s a struggle I’ve faced many times. I know I shouldn’t do that when the Bible clearly says, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12, KJV). What the Bible tells me to be wary of, is for my good.

So, why is it not wise to compare myself with others? Well, when I see that the other person’s path or what they have is “better” than mine, I want to have what they have or want to be on the path they’re on. And that shows I’m discontented and ungrateful.

On the other hand, when I see that what I have and/or what I’ve accomplished is “better” than what others have, I will elevate myself, thinking I’m “better” than them. And that shows I’m prideful.

Does the above sound familiar?

All of us have fallen into these traps one way or another. In both, we focused on ourselves and what others are doing.


How do we get out of it?   

Shift our focus to Jesus. We must be thankful, content, and praise God for where He has placed us and the blessings He has given us.


“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

1 Timothy 6:6-7, KJV



And quoting from Anneliese Louise, “When God blesses another, do not internalize it as though it were an attack on you. Rather, thank Him out loud for being such an overwhelmingly generous God.” Did a friend achieve something good? Praise God that He brought them there.  

As for pride, we need to humble ourselves. Acknowledge that all that we accomplished and have is because of Him. He is the One who blessed us and He is the One who brought us to where we are.


“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

Romans 12:3, KJV



It’s Not A Competition

The truth is, our paths are different, just like my journey in God’s will is different from yours in His. “It’s a personal race, not a competition,” a close friend once told me.

About a year ago, I told my mom I’m reaching my mid-twenties and started writing seriously not too long before that and additionally, I’m an unemployed graduate who needs a salary, how could I catch up? She said, “So? Your dad started “late” in his career and look where God brought Him now … Anyone can learn a skill no matter where they are in life.” What’s important is where God places me right now, no matter “where” I am in life as compared to other writers.

Currently, I’m 24. I am not published and am still looking for a job amid the pandemic. When I compare myself with others, it feels like I’m lagging. However, in God’s eyes, if I follow according to his plans and timing, I’m not falling behind. And being where God wants me to be, close by His side, is more than good enough. After all, He is the one writing my story. Who am I to say that I know it best? 

Thus, every time, I compare myself with other people, I try to remind myself this: 

Focus on Jesus, not on others nor myself. 


“Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.”

Psalm 105:4, KJV



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train

P.S. I’ll be participating in the 7 Days of Hope Blog Tour! Hosted by Sawyer Marie and Abby Elissa. To follow the tour, go to either blogsite, Sundrop Girls or Abby Elissa from April 5 – 11.



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Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.

A CIDP Poem: She laughs.

Poetry

Dear Friend,

My dad has a rare chronic illness called CIDP.

What is CIDP?


It’s a chronic auto-immune disease: the body’s immune system attacks the nerves which deteriorates the muscles.

There is no cure.


To maintain his muscles, my dad has been receiving a treatment called IVIG, a transfusion of antibodies to suppress his immunity. To have this treatment, he has been going to the hospital once every month for more than a decade. On top of that, he takes medications including steroids to boost his muscles. If you know about Guillain-Barre syndrome, CIDP is the chronic version of it. You can read more about CIDP here.

Actually, my main character from Book B has this disease too. She suffers from not only CIDP, but also depression and grief. Last year, God led me to set the project aside as it was not the right time to work on its third draft. And guess what? That time may be coming soon.

As you may noticed in my Projects page, I’ve used the image of a sea turtle for Book B. A sea turtle actually represents people with CIDP. The disease slows down their limbs which liken one as a sea turtle swimming and pressing on.


So, getting to the purpose of the title of this post. Recently, I saw a writing prompt from this website and crafted this poem, using my main character with CIDP:


She laughs.

She laughs with her lips and pain in her limbs.
She laughs with her throat and pain in her gums.
She laughs with her chest and pain in her face.
She laughs with sorrow and pain in her heart.

She lost health.
She lost passion.
She lost friends.
She lost herself.

Why does she laugh?

She laughs because in her pain, she found healing.
She laughs because in her grief, she found joy.
She laughs because in darkness, she found hope.
She laughs because in her emptiness,
she found Christ overflowing.



Copyright © Clarissa Choo, 2021.



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train



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Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.