Home and Away

my faith, my life, in a faraway land Livin', inspirin & lovin' it

Friday, June 18, 2004

Code Red: Territory Violated

I was at work when I received an SMS from Eunice: "Hi, church set on fire last night..."

"Oh, another successful church event," I thought as I quickly switched off my mobile and put on my head set before my boss finds out that I had bent the rules.

"MOBILE PHONES TO BE SWITCHED OFF AT ALL TIMES", reads the sign on the door to the operators' room.

Oh well.

So it was another day of learning experience. I walked out of the office, feeling satisfied with my performance at work.

My hand naturally reached out for my mobile phone in my bag as I strolled towards the train station and I recalled the message Eunice sent me earlier.

"What function was that?" I thought. I could not remember being told of any exciting events that was scheduled last night. Anyhow, I went straight to my message inbox to re-read the text...

"...suspected arson. 100k loss estimated. Pray especially for place for sunday service..."

WHAT??? Someone set the church on fire??? I was shocked at the discovery of my blunder in comprehending the message earlier on.

I was lost for words. In fact, there was no one I could talk to. I paced around the narrow pavement at the train station, not knowing how to react for some moments. Eventually, I decided to cross the bridge to the opposite platform and head to church to see if there was anything I could do to help.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I started to imagine the worst on the train. Charred buildings, revealing only stilts, ashes floating in mid-air and people surrounding the building in rude shock. It was some sort of a 'ground zero' in my ever-creative mind.

But things were barely that bad.

I walked along the familiar Barry Avenue and the first sight of the red brick building I had been worshipping in didn't seem to be any different. A closer look did reveal a number of broken windows at the second storey with soot splashed across the top. Part of the back entrance was cordoned off and the area looked like a construction site. However, all and all.. the building still looked sturdy.

The surrounding was quiet with only a couple of people walking around. I hiked up the part of the road leading from the carpark to the entrance. Michael and George were already there.

"Hey guys, how's everything going?" I asked.

"Bad. Everything's pretty messed up in there." Michael said.

"May I take a look in there?" I said.

"Yeah, probably but you've gotta be careful that you do not touch any of the things. They said the roof may come down so you have to be careful." Michael said as he guided me through the broken glass door.

*Cough* It was the smell of paint, nail varnish, and petroleum combined.. plus a tinge of exhaust fumes from a 1980 Mitsubishi pick-up. I pinched my nose and took careful steps up the stairs. The doors to the main auditorium was locked.

It was a bird's eye view from the balcony. I could see a greater contrast now. The church had a fresh gothic look. The roof had been brushed with black soot and so were the windows. Jade-green benches were added with a tinge of grey and the stage was made an absolute mystery with a new splash of black paint and little light coming in. The carpets, soaked with water from the firemen's hose were 'squashy' and dirty.

I obviously didn't like the new interior. I covered my mouth and scanned the place in disbelief as Michael urged me to stop advancing further. I said a little prayer and turn around. Stepping on the broken glasses, my heart sunk a little.

To be continued...


At 2:23 PM, Blogger "SPG" said...

My gosh! I'm so shocked! I bet it's probably someone up to mischief! Siao ah......that person, or group of "persons"...

God bless your church! I pray that things will turn out fine...



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