GS Desk February 2018

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ

While celebrating Lunar New Year (LNY) last week, I came to a startling realization that my 79-year old mom’s memory is fading away. She could not recall where we went and what we ate during our LNY family lunch when someone asked her about it later at night on the same day. While we initially responded to this reality light-heartedly as a natural process of aging, I am afraid that her gradual loss of memory might become more difficult to swallow.

This led me to read a book: The End of Memory: A Natural History of Aging and Alzheimer’s, by Jay Ingram where he explains how the understanding of Alzheimer and other similar ones that attack the brains of patients, develops throughout the history of medicine. In the book, he writes a pretty sombre introduction:

[Alzheimer] is a wicked disease that robs its victims of their memories, their ability to think clearly, and ultimately their lives. For centuries, those afflicted by Alzheimer's disease have suffered its debilitating effects while family members sit by, watching their loved ones disappear a little more each day until the person they used to know is gone forever.

This book has helped me not only to anticipate the possible misery this disease can bring, but also to appreciate what a beautiful divine gift the human memory is.

Luis Bunuel, a secular film-maker, in his autobiography My Last Sigh, aptly but depressingly argues:

You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all, just as intelligence without the possibility of expression is not really an intelligence. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, or even our action. Without it, we are nothing.

On the contrary, in more positive ways, Scripture exhorts us on the fundamental importance of remembering, especially of the deeds of the Lord (Ps. 77:11), of His laws (Mal. 4:4), and of Himself (Eccl. 12:1), from generation to generation (Ex. 3:15). At the same time, we also ask God to remember His covenant (Ps. 105:8) and His mercy (Ps. 25:6).

Hence, we can concur that biblically, memory is not essential just for our life’s sake, as per Bunuel’s quote, but more importantly, it is an aspect of our response and relationship to God Himself. Our memory does not exist on its own for its own sake, but stands in relation to God, our Creator. 

Consequently, memory is also an important part of what keeps human relationships thriving. Back to my mom’s narrative, I now feel grateful that each time I call her, she still remembers me as her son despite her failing memory. I am also thankful that I can catch many glimpses of God’s love in my fond memories of her taking care of me when I was sick, or even scolding me when I was wrong. 

I hope that similarly, our relation and interaction is filled with memories beyond merely providing ministry updates or giving financial support. We want to remember that most of you were once students fervently serving together with fellow students and FES staffworkers then. We want to keep in our minds the many stories of newly-found faith and changed lives experienced by students in the past. We do not want to forget that God has done great deeds in sustaining the FES ministry through your courageous and self-sacrificial acts.

Correspondingly, I would like to end by requesting you to keep in your mind what God has done in your life through the student ministry. Also, please remember us, FES staff and ministries, in your prayer, that God’s grace and presence will always be reflected in all that we do to create God-glorifying memories in our student’s lives.

In His grace,

Lisman Komaladi
General Secretary


Recent Happenings



Recommended Reading

Monographs and Books

Engaging The Campus (Second Edition)

The Mission of God and the Task of the Church

Your Kingdom Come

Why Study? Exploring the Face of God in the Academy

Journey of Grace and Growth

Flux and Beyond

From the Library

New in the Library (Jan 2018)