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Postcards from St Andrew’s Church, Abu Dhabi

At St Andrew’s Church in Abu Dhabi, I met and entertained many children. I feel that “the sky lovingly smiles on the earth and her children,” quoting Sir Henry Morton Stanley.

Christmas Postcards St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi UAE servicefromheart Jesus cross

The present St Andrew’s Church was built in 1984 on a land generously donated by the Late H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of the Al Nahyan ruling family. The area is known as the Churches area in Abu Dhabi.

Christmas Postcards St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi UAE servicefromheart

The website of the St Andrew’s Church mentioned that “somebody once described St Andrew’s church as Evangelical in the pulpit, Catholic at the altar and Charismatic in the pews”, to highlight their diversity.

It is likely that baby Ren will be interested in the St Andrew’s Playgroup (Monday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings, between 9.30am and 11.30am) with the entry fee of AED 15  per parent/carer, for children regardless of nationality or religion.

Christmas Postcards St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi UAE servicefromheart

In the autumn 2014, I started to study the Bible daily and have crafted prayers or made simple take-home messages. Once I complete studying the Bible, I plan to study Al Quran, as envisioned in our lifelong curriculum.

Christmas Postcards St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi UAE servicefromheart

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In the summer 2003, I almost became an angel as a mascot for inter-school games. Siew Hwey had kindly made the feathery-like cotton wings and the angel halo headband, but in the end those items were not used.

Patience is a virtue. Never lose hope. The universe will choose the right time and the right place to answer your desire. You kind, loving, inspiring desire is your prayer.

This afternoon, I became an angel – without wings, who told a Christmas story to children. I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve children – our hope for the future, and to share messages of love and hope. Yes, a messenger of everything lifeward and positive. The English word “angel” comes from the Greek angelos, which means ‘messenger’.

Christmas Postcards St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi UAE servicefromheart audience

Christmas Postcards St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi UAE servicefromheart hi angel
The little girl was excited to see an angel. 

Thanks to Dewi for firstly inviting me to contribute in the early Merry Christmas celebration, Laura for the help with the costume, the storytelling equipment (torchlight and colorful pictures) and the gifts for the courageous and lucky children who did well in the post-story Q&A session.

Christmas Postcards St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi UAE servicefromheart angel

According to Jerry A. Coyne PhD, 77% of Americans believe in angels. Do you believe in angels and miracles?

Upon seeing me in the angel costume, Alice (a little girl who just went to Moyenne Island, Seychelles) remarked, “she is not an angle, she is a girl.” It stroke me. Later, Alice told me that she loves the story told by the angel – me.

Perhaps, real people in angle costumes only work for toddlers. A young toddler whose name is Atara, curiously tried to touch me. She loves the pendants of my necklace too, as I realized when I carried her.

Christmas Postcards St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi UAE servicefromheart angels

Christmas Postcards St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi UAE servicefromheart angels dance

From the pamphlet, I also learned about a mnemonic of LIGHT.
L = Love (kasih)
I = Integrity (integritas)
G = Generosity (kemurahan)
H = Humility (kerendahan hati)
T = Truth (kebenaran)

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Here is a recap of Christmas service for the children.

Christmas Postcards St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi UAE servicefromheart  christmas tree

Christmas Postcards St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi UAE servicefromheart candles

The first song was Jingle Bells.

Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way
Bells on bob tails ring
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to laugh and sing
A sleighing song tonight

Reff:
Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

A day or two ago
I thought I’d take a ride
And soon Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
We got into a drifted bank
And then we got upsot

Reff

I always love the classic Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconcile.
Joyful all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic host proclaim
‘Christ is born in Bethlehem’
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King.

Christ by highest heaven adored
Christ the everlasting Lord
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail, the incarnate deity,
Pleased as Man with Man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel!
Hark! the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King.

Hail, the heaven-born Prince of peace!
Hail the Son of righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing sung by a children’s choir:

A way in a manger

You can listen to a story entitled “Let Your Light Shine” narrated by Jing@servicefromheart.

Happy birthday Jesus (with a link from Laura)

Happy birthday, Jesus
I’m so glad it’s Christmas
All the tinsel and lights
And the presents are nice
But the real gift is You
Happy birthday, Jesus
I’m so glad it’s Christmas
All the carols and bells
Make the holiday swell
And it’s all about You
Happy birthday, Jesus
Jesus I love You

Christmas Postcards St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi UAE servicefromheart cake

Silent Night

Silent Night by a children’s choir

Silent night! holy night!
All is calm all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace!
Sleep in heavenly peace
Silent night! holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia
Christ the Saviour is born
Christ the Saviour is born!

♥ ♥ ♥

Christmas Postcards St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi UAE servicefromheart children smiles innocent

Christmas Postcards St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi UAE servicefromheart

Christmas Postcards St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi UAE servicefromheart

“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.” ~ Denis Waitley

Christmas Postcards St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi UAE servicefromheart

While I greatly love to take photographs of people, they are also among the most challenging ones, especially children. There are a number of shots of mine that captured the joyful or amazed expressions of our little friends, but the photos turned out to be out of focus.

This morning, a girlfriend flying to Abu Dhabi today inquired me what things that I want her to get for me from Kuala Lumpur. At that time, I want nothing, but her safe flight.

However, after going through some of the photographs that I took at the St Andrew’s Church, how I wish I could have a light-field / plenoptic camera manufactured by Lytro, founded by Yi Ren Ng PhD. I hope that its price of US$399 will decrease so that more people can afford it. This is going to be my Christmas gift wish list!

By the way, I enjoyed Ng’s Stanford thesis and summarized it in a wordcloud.

Christmas Postcards St Andrew's Church Abu Dhabi UAE servicefromheart Ren Ng light field camera thesis Lytro

With love,
ServicefromHeart
20141206

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J for jiaozi for #AtoZChallenge: jiaozi 饺子 / Chinese dumplings recipe

If the Italians have ravioli, the Chinese have jiaozi dumplings. The versatile jiaozi (饺子) – often wrapped in cornu shapes, are eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Preparing and eating jiaozi are also a tradition to welcome Chinese / Lunar New Year / Spring Festival and other joyful occasions.

For the wedding of my sister in JinTan (金坛), Jiangsu (江苏), China, her in-law family had prepared countless beautifully & uniformly wrapped jiaozi – a symbol of fortune & prosperity.
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Before we arrived at Xian – my first visit to Xian, an ancient capital of Chinese kingdoms, Mac Ching told us how she looked forward to having a banquet of jiaozi! She succeeded to set our expectation high.

Chinese dumplings jiaozi recipe by ServicefromHeart

Steamer baskets of jiaozi incessantly arrived at our table in charming presentations of multiple colors, shapes and flavors.

Chinese dumplings jiaozi recipe by ServicefromHeart

While a meal could be very delicious to the extent that we feel beyond blessed, it was the companionships of dearest friends (hailed from worldwide, thanks to China Synergy Program 2010*) – savoring the jiaozi together that made a dinner unforgettable, imprinted permanently in our hearts and memories.

* It is a great privilege to be a participant of China Synergy Programme; with great privilege comes great responsibility.

To those whom much is given, much is expected.” ~ John F. Kennedy

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The Japanese version of dumplings is called gyoza (ギョーザ, ギョウザ). When, I was busy and working hard in California, I once bought some frozen gyoza and packed it with my lunch box. At Urey Hall, La Jolla, I would then heat my lunch box with a microwave*. The gyoza made my relatively meatless lunch box complete!

* Now, I try to minimize using microwave, if possible.

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For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 11 Fri, I lovingly present a jiaozi recipe.

Chinese dumplings jiaozi recipe by ServicefromHeart

Servings: 40 pieces

Preparation time: ~ half day (I am a beginner, please pardon me!)

Cooking time: 5 minutes or until dumplings are cooked

Ingredients:

♥ dumpling wrappers (饺子皮)

♥ water to wet dumpling wrappers

for the filling:

♥ 350g meat (), grounded

♥ 250g shrimp (), grounded

flour* (面粉), e.g. sweet potato flour, corn starch, lotus root powder

♥ 2 eggs (鸡蛋), beaten

♥ 1 firm bean curd / tofu (豆腐)

♥ 2 tbsp sesame oil (麻油)

♥ 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (香醋)

♥ 1 tbsp honey (蜜糖)

♥ 6 cloves garlic (大蒜), minced

♥ 1 tsp ginger ()

grounded white pepper (白胡椒), to taste

salt () / light soy sauce (kecap asin), to taste

♥ 3 stalks scallion (大葱), finely chopped

parsley (香菜), finely chopped (optional)

chives (韭菜), finely chopped (optional)

leek (韭葱), finely chopped (optional)

bamboo shoots (竹笋), finely chopped (optional)

lotus roots (莲藕), finely chopped (optional)

black fungus / wood ear (黑木耳), minced (optional)

* adjust the amount until the filling mixture sticks

Directions:

1. A faster way to finely chopped vegetables is to use food processor (Pulse mode) in few seconds. Unless you want to have pesto, pulse briefly only and not too many times.

2. Mix all ingredients for filling in a large bowl. Stir thoroughly.

3. Drop a tsp of filling into a wrapper. Fold.

4. (optional) Place dumplings individually on plastic-covered plates. Do not let them stick to each other.

5. (optional) Freeze together on plates. Once frozen, store dumplings in a box separated with plastic so that it will be easy to take them for cooking.

6. In boiled water, add dumplings to cook until they float for 5 minutes.

7. Besides (1) vinegar and sliced ginger sauce, you may also like (2) peanut dip sauce (3) hot chilli oil to accompany jiaozi dumplings.

Frozen jiaozi dumplings are generous companions for fast-to-prepare noodles, please check our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,
ServicefromHeart
20140411