A Love Letter from God to a Single Singaporean Christian Girl

It’s been a while. My future husband must be lost, and he must be too stubborn to ask for directions.

The more I love God, the more my perspective of romance and relationships change. I wouldn’t date some of the guys I used to date, and I definitely don’t look for the same qualities that I looked for 5 years ago. Morals and maturity are more important than money, men with holy hearts suddenly appear on the attractiveness scale more than handsome ones, BMWs and bottle-popping have a much lower importance than biblical values… Please don’t faint, I don’t think anyone ever expected a Singaporean girl to talk like that!

#gonearethestereotypes

Will other real Jesus girls please stand up so I don’t feel so alien and strange?

Keeping my first love for God is hard, but most days I couldn’t be happier at the emotional space and time I have to spend with family, helping out friends, playing with other people’s kids, traveling, sorting out my business projects, trying to be a blessing and all-round making myself a better person. Sometimes I’m sharing so much on Facebook that it looks like my social media is on steroids. I have gone a bit crazy on Instagram (@estellekiora)!

A few of the days though, it feels unfair and lonely. The world is cold and cruel without someone to cuddle you. You flick through your Facebook feed and it looks like your friends have got a nicer car or cooler boyfriend. You wish you had more money and shiny things. You watch some stupid movie’s ridiculous love story and you feel vulnerable and inedequate.

“What do they deserve that I don’t? When is it my turn?”

“Matthew 6:19-21 – Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
It’s only human of us to compare, envy, and look at others when we should just really be looking at God. Don’t look down on yourself – look UP.

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In need of some encouragement, I spent some time with God and wrote a letter to myself. If God sent snail mails/emails/Tweets/Facebook messages, this would be it. This is what I imagine God would say to me – and to you – if you’re a single Jesus girl like me.

—–

Dear child,

It is so great to hear from you. I’ve missed you so much. I love you and I am saddened to see that you feel alone. It breaks my heart that you miss having someone hold, or even to stroke your hair. I understand that while I am with you always, but you may not feel my presence. I assure you that I am with you always – I was with you while you were rushing around Raffles Place yesterday, while you grabbed that coffee at Starbucks, and even when you were sleeping on that plane to Hong Kong. When you quiet the things around you, you will hear my voice. Talk to me often, for I always want to hear from you.

It makes me glad that you are spending your time in worthy and wise ways, in your quest to become stronger, sweeter, smarter, and everything else that I have laid out in Proverbs 31. I have a wonderful man that I am preparing for you, the same way you are preparing yourself for him. He will be attracted to you not for your body, but because you are beautiful inside out. “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD will be praised. Proverbs 31:30.” He will pursue you with a passion, as I loved the church. Chivalry is not dead and he will be a gentleman, romancing you the way you desire in your heart. He will challenge you, travel with you, grow with you and he will most certainly make you laugh.

“Proverbs 4:23 – Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the wellsprings of life. ”
Your heart is the wellbeing of your life. How you treat your heart, will translate into everything in your life. So keep guarding your heart, so that someone would have to come to me for it. I created you and I want the best for you, please don’t throw your purity and values away. You are far too precious to waste it, and such fleeting situations will not give you the happiness and satisfaction that you seek – only I can. I know you crave physical intimacy, and fear that you will not find something emotionally deeper. Come to me first to fill you up with love, because I am the only one who will never run dry or disappoint you. You feel something or someone missing in your heart, but it’s not what – or whom – you think.

It has taken you and your future husband time to learn these things.

He is not ready for you yet, but he will be. He will be the best man he can, but are you ready to compromise some things to be the ideal partner for him, too?

My princess, you may not presently understand my plan for you, but trust me for it. I have died and rose again for you. I sit with my angels in the heavens and watch you. Your heart is so precious to me, and only a man who treasures it will be worthy of it. I know you are in a haste, but I do not work within the constraint of time, so you are still young and you still have plenty. Don’t forget to enjoy your freedom now, I want you to have fun and fill your life with fulfilling things. Singleness is a desirable gift (1 Corinthians 7), so enjoy and embrace it. Remember Ruth, and I will give to you as I have given her Boaz.

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Don’t give up on me yet. I’m here and I love you.

LOVE,
GOD

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Singlehood doesn’t have to suck – let’s all try to enjoy the Jesus journey we are on.

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Haiyan disaster relief volunteer trip in Philippines, DAY 2

MORNING OF DAY 2, SATURDAY 16/11; 6AM

The alarms are going off. It’s an early start today and I’m surprised that all the foreigners from Singapore are downstairs for breakfast on time, but the locals aren’t. “I heard them still talking at 3am, they can’t possibly have had much sleep?” I mused at the breakfast table.


“I think they got a call pretty late last night and they found out that 5 of their relatives in Ormoc were found dead. They were very upset,” Gil shared.

The impact of the situation is hitting harder and harder everyday. How devastating must it be for the organizers, to pour their heart and resources into feeding what’s left of the survivors when their own family isn’t around to feed?

PLAN FOR DAY 2

We are going to Medellin and Daanbantayan (those are barangays in Northern Cebu) today – 98% of their properties and crops are gone. We are coordinating with their mayors, so we know which areas have not received or received very little relief. After, we will also go to Ormoc, Leyte, coordinating with the mayor there. Very little relief has arrived, and one of the towns later tell us that we were the first to reach them. I wonder who else hasn’t had aid, as they wonder in turn if any help is ever coming?


It is absolutely crazy here – I’m surprised I still have been able to write stories of our experiences, edit pictures, manage social media updates, coordinate donations and blog about this Haiyan relief operation while on the road.

There is not a lack of things to do here and gone are the days of plenty of rest. There are days where the team gets back at 130am and leave by 330am – some sleep a few hours each night if even at all. Most of our lunch or dinners are a mix of meat and rice at anywhere from 3pm or 10pm, eaten in a local’s house or the back of the van with fast fingers. We are thankful to just have food – I heard that the US army are currently living on meals of protein bars so anything meat is a luxury.

I’m so grateful that God has given me plenty, but maybe it’s time to simplify my life. The people here have so much less than most people I know back home, but most still seem bucketfuls happier than white collar friends in Singapore who are miserable working. Travelling always helps me out things back into perspective – time to stop complaining!

People from Tacloban – the city that was majorly hit – are fast arriving in Cebu. We will distribute hygiene kits there next week and toys for the kids who are traumatized.

This Sunday, our mission is to visit 3 vicinity in Leyte and distribute relief goods among their smaller areas. So far, thanks to some of you reading this and with the donations we have received, we’ve managed to pack 4000 food and water relief packs, 500 hygiene kits and 500 packs for kids with infant formulas and basic toys. We hope we can distribute more as we need to reach more people.


In case you’re new to this update, there are millions left displaced and homeless from the wrath of Yolanda, otherwise known as Typhoon Haiyan – Asia’s biggest disaster since the 2005 Tsunami.

Please help us to help Philippines and any amount of donations are appreciated. Thanks to you, we can buy supplies and continue to feed and help the victims. PayPal link: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/588169/emal/5357393

My instagram appeal – Devastated, Deprived and Disabled after Haiyan wrecks Letye, Tacloban and Ormoc


I met a local Filipino man yesterday and his story triumphs all others. After being stranded overnight in Ormoc on Letye island, we were hanging around waiting for our boat back to Cebu in the morning, when this man limped past us in crutches. There was something about his feet that weren’t quite right – they flopped around lifelessly as he dragged his feet around absolutely painfully. He heaved most of his body weight onto his armpits and pleaded to us for food – Kinny, Meaghan, Yennie and I jumped up to help. We asked him if he was from this area, and we’re shocked to find out how far he had come. Despite being a cripple, he hitched his way here from his hometown in Isabela Letye, almost an hour and a half of travel from where we presently are!

No one had come yet to help his devastated area, and in desperation, he left his family and baby behind to seek food and supplies in the nearest big city. His disability, the destruction from the typhoon and lack of time all were huge odds against him but he still pressed on. We filled his bag with as much food and water as we had, sleeping mats and some money but somehow, it still feels like it’s not enough.

This man was blessed to have stumbled across a group of international volunteers, but others may not find such aid.

My name is Estelle and this is my Instagram appeal. (We are a small private group of civilians from Singapore, Australia, Indonesia and beyond, helping a small team in Philippines #styleyoursoul and #bangonormoc to provide relief aid across as many small areas as we can.) To date, we have bought, packed and distributed 8,000 food and water relief goods, 800 hygiene kits, 400 bags for children, and 300 sleeping mats/blankets/mosquito nets in Letye, Ormoc and Northern Cebu. Some clearly need more help than others, and so many more need help.

>> For enquiries, please email loveyouwrongtime@gmail.com
>> Any amount of donations are appreciated. PayPal link: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/588169/emal/5357393
>> Visit my blog for more information and updates of our mission in Philippines for Haiyan’s disaster relief:
https://loveyouwrongtime.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/singaporeans-go-to-typhoon-haiyan-affected-areas-help-us-to-help-philippines/

No matter how you contribute or help to spread this message, it will go a long way in helping us help Philippines through the biggest disaster in Asia since 2005’s tsunami. Thank you and God bless!

DAY 1 OF TYPHOON HAIYAN DISASTER RELIEF TRIP TO PHILIPPINES CEBU – Live updates from Singapore volunteers

DAY 1 OF TYPHOON HAIYAN DISASTER RELIEF TRIP TO PHILIPPINES CEBU – FRIDAY, 15 NOV 6AM

***I will update with more pictures from my camera when I get back to civilization! Please share this post with as many people as you know and WE HOPE YOU WILL HELP US TO HELP PHILIPPINES. Full details at the bottom.***


The first batch of warrior friends – getting onto our Cebu flight now after exchanging some donations. Keep me and the team I’m with in your prayers please? This whole thing is hitting is pretty hard now. Our schedule may include sanitizing people and helping to clear dead bodies, along with any other work needed at the evacuation centre around Philippines. People are desperately messaging me to help find their husbands, sons, loved ones who are all missing. It’s quite overwhelming really. Don’t know how ready we are.


Team Singapore has landed in Cebu, and with our total group check in of 190kg + 110kg (there was a lot is squeezing, begging and bag bursting!), it’s time to send off some of the relief goods that we have flown over. Toothpaste, vitamins and more are immediately dispatched with one of our local contacts – thanks Aaron! You the man!


Next stop off is checking into the place we’re staying in, and it’s bumper to bumper traffic all the way into Cebu suburbs.

I was prepared for the worst – sleeping on floors with no air con and hopefully no cockroaches – but the group’s organizer had set up an awesome host family for us to stay with.

“This is not a holiday,” I have to keep reminding myself, but this was a lovely start to what I otherwise expected. A delicious local Filipino spread fills us up every morning and night – Tita’s cooking is a fine example of Cebuano hospitality. Salamat Tita!

After lunch, we headed to another local’s house, and the labour begins. Trucks filled with relief goods are already pulling out of the porch, and we swap out with sweaty Filipino boys who are tired out from days of helping out with Typhoon Haiyan related aid.


Everyone warmly greets us and welcomes us, and I’m quickly instructed that each relief bag needs 3 and a half cups of rice and a 1litre bottle of water. Along with tinned goods, this properly feeds a family for only about 2 days, but it’ll have to do.


We quickly form a factory line of splitting and sacking rice, bagging, and packing. Groups of locals come and go, some are friends of the family and some are just fresh-faced volunteers like me. The younger ones are 100% efficient and 200% dedicated – they worked so much faster than our white collar fingers!


“Imagine Singaporean kids doing this,” one of our group members posed to me. “No f**king way.” It’s true. I’m disappointed that Singapore didn’t give much – a $200,000 calamity donation from a country that spends millions on fireworks each year is questionable. I discovered that I’m the only Singaporean in the relief team from Singapore, but there are plenty of small communities in Singapore and big-hearted individuals I know who have helped in other ways.


Some of the other members of our crew came in on the evening flight, and we continued to work late into the night. They invited along a Wall Street journalist who was on their flight to join us – to join amusingly enough, she actually did! She was lovely and it was so interesting exchanging opinions with her on our current mission and what we thought of the situation.

One of the Titas received a call and after 15 minutes of listening to her emoting in Filipino, she starts to cry. “My brother called,” she explained to me. “He and some other people have travelled for a long time to send thousands of packs of relief goods yesterday, but it wasn’t enough. So many people were left without any food or water, and they cried. He was crying watching them cry. We are so tired doing so many things, but there are just so many people who have starved for seven days and still don’t have nothing.”


Across 12 hours, almost 4 fresh deliveries of rice arrived – so much rice to sack and unpack but it’s still not enough. We pack in sweaty heat until 2am and wait for others to arrive. A last operation meeting is done and we’re back home in Cebu at 230am.

Tomorrow is a new day, with new purpose.

———-

>>> We are a small private group from Singapore (with leaders Lotte Edwards, Kinny Johnston and me Estelle Kiora as the only Singaporean) who are now in Cebu Philippines, and furiously working with some organizations to help smaller affected areas of Typhoon Haiyan that are not getting much help. Please email loveyouwrongtime@gmail.com if you would like to help or visit my blog for more information and schedule updates of our mission:
https://loveyouwrongtime.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/singaporeans-go-to-typhoon-haiyan-affected-areas-help-us-to-help-philippines/

@philippinestar #styleyoursoul
#typhoon #haiyan #yolandaph #travel #purpose #philippines #charity #volunteer #mission #girlfriends #cebu #thoughts #ontheroad #disaster #instahub #pictureoftheday #bestoftheday #sgig #bloggers #helpphilippines
#reliefPH #sg #banganormoc #bangantacloban #banganvisayas #ormoc #letye #tacloban #gugmasaguiuan

Singaporeans go to Typhoon Haiyan affected areas – help us to help Philippines!

My friends packing food and water supplies this week for urgent dispatch to the organizations they are working with. It's a start but not enough.

My friends packing food and water supplies this week for urgent dispatch to the organizations they are working with. It’s a start but not enough.

Hello friends, family, Facebookers and searchers, a small private group and I are going to disaster sites in the Philippines TOMORROW onwards to help for 1 week.

SITES WE ARE GOING TO:
ORMOC, LETYE, and there are other smaller areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) that are NOT receiving help from bigger organizations and official charities. Ask any of your friends in Philippines – a lot of people are dying from hunger and every bit you can do counts.

A few of my awesome friends have organized a small group and we are going to CEBU TOMORROW MORNING and doing day trips out by boat, van and bus to the lesser known but heavily affected areas that desperately need help. We have a huge schedule planned with transport, cleaning people, sanitizing, and urgently packing food and water – 700 packs have been sent out yesterday but we still need help to raise money so they can arrange more packs over the next weeks.

We are in coordination with 3 organizations in 3 different cities that were greatly affected by Yolanda – Bangor Ormoc, Gugma sa Guiuan which is handled by the Mayor’s chief of staff, Bangon Bohol.

***If there are any of you who would like to help or contribute to our mission, please let me know and anything at all is much appreciated. We need all your help possible.***

MY EMAIL FOR ENQUIRIES ON THIS PRIVATE MISSION: LOVEYOUWRONGTIME@GMAIL.COM
If I don’t respond to enquiries before I leave, I will respond when I am back – Philippines will need help for a long time more.

MORE INFO:
Since this is an emergency and my friends felt the need to help and share the blessing asap, we are not connected with any official charity.

THINGS THAT THE DISASTER SITES NEED THAT WE ARE BUYING:
Rice, water, canned goods in easy open can, candles and matches (no electricity there), sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, baby formulas for the infants in the evacuation centers, hygiene kits which will include soap and toothbrushes.

***

This is the plan – please share the news, keep us in your prayers, contribute where possible and anything you can do is much appreciated. I will update more frequently on my instagram @estellekiora wherever I can, mostly to let my Mom know that I am alive…

One Night with Xavier

The other week, I spent one night with Xavier, and this is what I learnt.

All a baby does is cry, eat, burp, poo, cry again, fidget, and then do it all over again.

Feeding my brand new 1-month old nephew at 3am was a one hour affair. He would wake everyone up when he’s hungry, but fall asleep when I’m feeding him. I have to wake him up to make him eat! The milk would have gotten cold by then, so we would make him more and it would start all over again.

It kind of reminds me of my friend Haresh’s Subaru car challenge… He was one of the Top 5 contestants who had put their hand on a Subaru (the last person standing wins the car).

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He didn’t win, but lived to tell the tale of the mental torture and hallucinations that you go through during this contest. I imagine having a baby is something like that.

One night was an adventure in itself, imagine running on fumes like that every night?! Being a Mom must be hard! Kudos to all the Moms out there. Go give your Mom a BIG HUG right now.

Spending one night with Xavier made me adore him more. It opened up a new part of my heart, and taught me so much about love and patience that I can’t explain.

The baby experiment was sort of like start-up weekend boot camp. If I can take care of a baby, I’m sure I could take care of a business?

BLOOD does not make us a family – LOVE does.

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I just got back from an all-rounded adventure in Cebu, Phillippines yesterday (which I will definitely be blogging about soon), spent the previous weekend in Batam with 10 of my girlfriends for a SUPERhero themed party (pictures coming up this week!), and worked every single day and hour in between (as usual!).

Besides scattered messages & phone calls to my family among my various activities, I realized I hadn’t spent much of my birthday properly with the most important people in my life.:( And so, we dolled up in our shorts, t-shirt and flip flops… to celebrate my birthday in style!……

…We had a simple ‘Zi char’ dinner at a hawker centre, and I couldn’t be happier.

Who needs a fancy restaurant when you have the best company around?

Just like how the money we spend does not equate to the good time to be had, I realized that blood is not what makes us a family – but love does.

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Thank you to everyone who has given me your love, time, and birthday greetings! Each and everyone of you make me feel like a part of a happy family.:-)