Yesterday, on Easter Sunday of 2010, my best friend got baptized.
She has been my best friend for 12 years.
I have been praying for her for 12 years.
And yesterday, half the world across, I rejoiced with her for her baptism: the celebration of entering the Kingdom of God.
Her name is Jing Wen, and we’ve been best friend ever since I met her in primary school in Singapore. I can’t tell you how overjoyed I am that she has been baptized, especially because it wasn’t easy leading her to the Lord. But as always, God has been faithful. As always, He proved to me how intricately, beautifully, and miraculously He will seek out those whom He loves.
A while ago, Jing Wen wrote a special post on her blog dedicated to me. As I read it, tears filled my eyes. I was touched not just by her gratefulness and appreciation for me, but also because I was absolutely humbled and awed by God’s grace. I knew, deep in my heart, that it was not my doing that led her to Christ. I was merely a messenger God used to convey His love for her.
I led her to accept Christ when we were about 12 years old. But even at that time, I myself weren’t entirely clear about what having a relationship with God meant. When I moved to America, we lost touch. Thus Jing Wen promptly forgot about God.
But God still kept sending random people to Jing Wen, gently coaxing her towards Him. He allowed hardships in her life, so that she will thirst and hunger for Him. Every step of the way, God was present and so very persistent in His wooing. All I did, was recognize God’s love for Jing Wen, and start earnestly praying for her, and reminding her of God.
When I went back to Singapore last winter, I was deathly ill. My trip to Singapore turned out to be a huge turning point in my ED recovery…but it also turned out to be a huge turning point in Jing Wen’s spiritual life as well. When I met her, she was extremely depressed and wandering in life. Well, so was I. What a pair we were! I was physically malnourished, she was spiritually malnourished, and we were both dealing with crushing insecurities and unhappiness.
But God’s work is so incredibly amazing and beautiful. He somehow used both of us to benefit one another. Jing Wen restored my ability to laugh and enjoy simple things in life like friendship. This played a big role in my recovery, because simply being in a better mood improved my motivation to recover. Meanwhile, I harnessed the power of my entire church to pray for her. Every week, I would ask my church to keep her in their prayers. And though they have never met her, they prayed for her fervently.
And ultimately, God answered our prayers. Jing Wen not only restored fellowship in church, but she started to actually enjoy it. She fell in love with the brothers and sisters in church, and has found a great source of support and comfort in them. Whenever she’s dealing with an issue, she knows who to turn to.
The more I think about it, the more overwhelmed I am by the power and grace of God. I am utterly grateful to Him, and shaken to tears by the way He ties and weaves these relationships together so that we affect each other in such poignant ways. Our God is truly wonderful!
This summer, Jing Wen and I have plans to tour Seoul together for 9 days. And by touring, I mean eating and shopping till we gain 15 lbs of weight and lose 15 lbs of $$…so it all evens out, right? Right.
That said, I need to start training myself to be able to survive food-wise in Korea. I have to admit, I’m not a fan of Korean food…which is why when you do see Korean food on my blog, they’ve been westernized. The last time I was in Korea, I had a majorly tough time adjusting to all the rice and tofu they served me. You see, I’m a traitor to Asians: I hate rice and tofu (Please do not report me to the AZN PRIDE Police).
But it’s time to adjust my taste buds so that I can still at least tolerate them. So I made the following dish with that in mind, by incorporating both tofu and rice.
Lime-Dill Tofu Steaks with Strawberry-Dill Salsa
- 1/2 block tofu
- 1/3 cup Kikkoman ponzu soy sauce (or equal parts soy sauce and rice vinegar)
- 1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
- juice of 1 small lime, fresh-squeezed
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
- 1/4 red onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
- juice of 1 small lime, fresh-squeezed
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1-2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, mined
- 1/3 cup button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup cooked rice
- handful feta cheese, crumbled
For the tofu, slice it into one inch thick slabs, and press the liquid out of it with clean towels. Next combine all ingredients except the tofu in a bowl and whisk. Add the tofu slabs in, marinate for about half an hour.
For the salsa, just mix everything together in a bowl and toss to coat. Set aside.
Then in a skillet, cook the garlic and mushrooms. Pour in the marinade from the tofu, and let the mushrooms absorb the flavors. Next, add the tofu and cook on both sides until done:
Arrange the tofu and mushrooms on top of cooked rice. Top with strawberry salsa, and sprinkle with feta cheese.
Now, why can’t all Korean food be as pretty? I’m a Korean so I can say this—Korean food aren’t exactly known for its exquisite and artistic presentation. It’s known more for it’s ability to satisfy and warm you up with its red spicy paste and hot steaming stews. If you get a bird’s eye view of a Korean dining table, you’ll notice that 80% of the food is red, with splotches of white for the rice.
This dish may also have a lot of redness, but it’s a fresh, popping kind of redness from the in-season strawberries. So pretty!
So I’m a total snob. I eat with my eyes first. But the taste was pretty good, too. I have to admit, I’m still not the biggest fan of rice and tofu…but this was very much edible. Rather tasty, in fact.
I loved the burst of lime in every mouthful, which balanced so well with the sweetness of the strawberries. The fresh seasonal dill also infused the dish with its distinctive fragrance.
Such an aromatic dish!
I’ll say one fact about tofu is that it is absolutely flavorless. That’s why you need to marinate the heck out of it, and this lime-dill marinade was awesome.
The rice was still blah. Well, rice will be..rice. Maybe I should have stir-fried it, but I didn’t want to overwhelm the dish with too many flavors. I guess I just really do not like rice. But if someone places it before me, I guess I will eat it.
Oh well, I still really enjoyed it! I’m a sucker for beautiful food and sweet and savory combinations.
I hope you all had an Easter as happy and joyful as mine, everybody! And rush to the markets…strawberry season is here! I got 3 cartons of strawberries for 88 cents each! I’m so happy to see these new seasonal fruits and produce emerging…and is it just me, or are the birds chirping more merrily than ever? Maybe it’s mating season? Well, I don’t have a mate, but I seem to be hum-humming along. I’m in such a joyous mood!
Question of the week: Do you have a close friend, with whom you keep close in touch, despite the distance? And for you Christians…do you have a testimony in which your prayer for a loved one’s salvation was answered? And…favorite way to enjoy strawberries?