Singapore, Day 1

The Pasir Panjang Church of Christ—in Singapore—has asked me to spend a couple of weeks with them. This is an interesting church, one of the strongest and largest Church of Christs in Asia, with a history of health and outreach. You might want to check out their web site to familiarize yourself with this congregation: church website

They have recently added new elders and want me to lead a retreat for the shepherd group. My plan is for us to talk about three “layers” of an elder’s life: personal spiritual health (the need to protect and develop the inner life), personal shepherding skills (the sort of people skills and leadership attitudes that make an elder effective), and group shepherding skills (attitudes and habits that are necessary for elders to work well together).

This church supports and oversees a number of mission points in surrounding nations. They are bringing their missionaries home during my visit and want me to provide some training and teaching. I’m going to work through the Beatitudes with them.

Also during this time, the Pasir Panjang Church is hosting its annual “Family Camp” and has asked me to provide the teaching for that. I’ll be focusing on the Holy Spirit.

All in all, I anticipate a busy couple of weeks—although (hopefully) I’ll be able to squeeze in a little sightseeing and some visits with friends who live here.

Singapore is an amazing place. A once-British-colony. Grew into a bustling and wealthy trading outpost. Center (now) for banking, finance, trade and transport. The city has some incredible public spaces, stunning architecture, and a new botanical garden built on land reclaimed from the sea. For information and photos of Singapore highlights, go to the following website: Official Singapore Tourism site

While I’m thankful I don’t live a hundred years ago (when getting to Singapore would have meant travel by train, ship, and carriage, and required many months), even now it is a slog to get half way around the world. Especially this time.

I’d made plans and travel arrangements for this trip six months ago. In the meantime, I have agreed to work with the Vancouver Church (in Washington state) in an interim capacity. I’m flying out there three out of four weekends through the end of the year. Unfortunately, in order to get the cheapest air fare, I usually catch a red-eye back to Nashville on Sunday nights. Tough on the body, but I can rest up for a day or two.

I forgot about my Singapore arrangements, however, when I booked last weekend’s flights to Vancouver, leaving me with a truly tortuous travel schedule in order to accommodate both destinations: I flew into PDX on Saturday afternoon, had meetings Saturday night and all day Sunday, and then a flight back overnight on Sunday/Monday. Arrived in Nashville Monday morning at 8:00. Julie met me at the airport and took me home to shower and repack. Then it was back to the airport to catch my Singapore flight at noon!

[When I realized what I’d done with my schedule (about a week ago), I called Delta to see if they could have mercy on me and just let me fly to Singapore from the West Coast. They informed me that both the domestic and international tickets would have to be reissued—with change fees and current pricing on tickets, I’d be required to pay an extra $3000! Needless to say, I decided to keep the arrangements I already had.]

So, I left Nashville again, exhausted and already jet-lagged. Nashville to Minneapolis (2 hours). Minneapolis to Japan (12 hours). Japan to Singapore (7 hours). Once you figure in time zones and the International Date Line, it means that—having left on Monday at noon—I’m arriving in Singapore about 1:00 in the morning on Wednesday.

Ugghhhh! I’m too old for this.

There was one nice surprise in all this, however. Although Delta couldn’t change my ticket, they did bump me into Business Class for the Minneapolis/Japan leg. I got to stretch out, lie flat, and sleep much of the way. Hallelujah!

© 2012 by Tim Woodroof. Reproduction of this material requires permission from the author.