Aug 23, 2011

My Journey of a 1000 miles

God will make a Way, sung by Don Moen

I am driven to tears as I am starting to write this. Of the journeys I have made in life, I find this particular one, the most endearing one I had to go through. Because I felt His presence all the time when I was making decisions and planning for this to happen.

As you have read(if you have been following my blog), that I was uncontestly pick to host all my culinary classes at Robinsons Departmental store last October 2010. That chapter in my life was meant to be..meant to happen and must happen. It was 6 months to be exact.

Read this for reference :

As a Christian, we believed that everything that happens to us, happens for a reason. Some reasons are easier to figure out on your own. Others seem too complicated to think about. But at the end of each day, you learn to walk on it, move on and start a new day with more confidence.

I want to write about this 2nd journey of mine. After my episode at Robinsons, I felt as if a burden was lifted from my shoulders. A part of me wanted to quit, another part of me wanted to carry on. I was totally confused. And I brought this all to God. Asking for His favour and asking that He teach me what to do. And how to react. And most important of all, to move on from there.

It must have been God's plans that I was to go through this with everyone who had dealings in this project. Everyone..including my best friends, the suppliers, and of course with my girls, and with Benny.

The lease for my retail shop was to end in September 2011. By April 2011, I finished my last class at Robinsons, and closed that chapter in my life. And back at square one, I returned home and taught again. I prayed to God,

'Teach me, bend me, shape me..but whatever it is, I thank you Lord. For showing me the way. For letting me know there is always hope when there is You(*God)."

And every project I do for myself or for others, I do it with alot of passion. I gave my all that is within me. So when I leave, a part of me dies. Sadness devoured me. I took time to re-charge. I took time to think of what I could have better or worse. Constantly battling little demons here and there.

But our Heavenly Father does not like to see us in pain, in agony. It is always in my desire to have my own baking studio, a place I call my own. I teach what I like, when I like. I will put stuff in there like I would with my house. An extension from my home.

The shop next to my retail shop was tenanted by someone who sells baby apparel. I vaguely remembered that they open for business sometime last year around Christmas and for over 3 months, things seemed cheerful for them.

After the festivities(Christmas, and Chinese New Year), business was really bad for them. Many came to browse around, but people leave soon after. After some months of struggling, they closed the shop. For months the shop's doors remained closed. They tried to sublet the shop out to others just to cover the rent. But no one took the offer.

I was on the other hand, eying on this shop. It was ideal to host this as a baking studio. Why? its literally next door to my shop. So when I teach, people can go back to the shop to buy stuff to go home and practice what they learnt.

So together with Benny, we put this matter with God. We told Him what we wanted and how we wanted. And we left it up to God to help us. If it was meant to be, all obstacles will be erased.

When the landlord came to ask if we wanted to renew our lease for the retail shop, I ask them about the unit next door. They said the previous tenant have already paid up and technically, its free now for anyone to take up the unit. But the property agent also told me this :

"Gina, the previous tenant made a big loss. They closed and never made money from it. So when they left, they didn't remove all the fixtures, furnishings, etc as part of the lease contract was to remove all fixtures when you leave. Are you sure you want this?"

And I said, "Let's see what they left behind"

He open up the place and when I step into it, the first thing that came to me was "AMEN! Thank You Lord!"

The flooring was marbled. The walls were painted white. The lights and fixtures are done. The airconditioning was fitted too. And used only for 4 to 5 mths. And all the power points were already fixed. The glass door(slidling) was intact. The light box outside the shop for the signboard was also done.

This alone can save me a good S$15,000 just to fix up.

Verbally, I told the agent..YES. In the meantime I told Benny about it. I didn't wait for him to give me the green light to go ahead.

Next came the finances to fix up kitchen cabinets and appliances(cake mixers, ovens, etc). My sister, Winnie came to the rescue and invested an undisclosed sum to help us kick start the studio's renovations.

And it was just timely that she found a job like 6 mths ago..if not, she wouldn't have the funds to help us with this.

Together we went to God again. Just Benny and myself. This time we said in unison:

"God, thank you for this. We know its from you. Why? and How? Because only You can move mountains, clear the seas to form small rivers and roads. It is only You can make miracles. Things that seem impossible are made possible. We give our Thanks to you. This baking studio will not just teach culinary courses. But it will be a place for us to glorify You. A place where you first showed us that People Learn from one another, just as Iron sharpens iron, Proverbs 27 verse 17. AMEN!

One of the most important thing I wanted to do with this studio was to open the doors to the less privileged folks, the poorly educated people out there. To offer them reduced rates to learn a new skill. And in time hired someone to help me to run it. And that someone has to be one of these people who needed help. So that they can be self sufficient. In small ways, one step at a time.

Because this is what Kitchen Capers is all about. That was how it was started...

Extracted from my KC Website:
About Us

How Kitchen Capers was formed

The Kitchen Capers online forum was initially created in July 2004 and dedicated to the late Tan Boon Teik, a young gentleman I never knew or loved. He was Kim San and Seok Buay's only child. He passed away suddenly Kim San and Seok Buay are friends I knew from the church I was attending here in Singapore. As it is with all good friends we should help each other when we can. This is my way of helping Kim San and Seok Buay.

The dream of writing and publishing a cookbook was Boon's idea which he shared with his mom. After his death, Seok Buay could never find the strength nor the courage to carry out his dream. Thus, this website was created. And Buay's vision for the future was to teach cooking and Basic English to poor women around the world. So that they do not have to live a life of poverty and living out their days begging in the streets.

Sister Seok Buay was trained to be an English teacher and she is also a gourmet cook. She taught me many secrets in cooking and baking. Things I would have never known even if I had read a lot of cookbooks.

With that in mind, I started the website and a forum message board to share recipes on cooking and baking. Buay taught me the spirit of giving, of charity. She never holds back anything she knew about cooking or baking. Sister Seok Buay taught me many skills, of which I find the most endearing one was Charity. To share openly and without prejuidice and never to hold back anything you learn from others or by yourself. It is only that when you share, you gain. In friendship and in kind. I am deeply encourage and inspired by Sister Seok Buay.

In the year 2008, I started KC online and started selling bake ware products and cake decorations tools via the website. A year later, I opened my first retail store in Singapore at Kallang Bahru.

And I hope that you share this vision with us too. Enjoy your time here with us at Kitchen Capers.

Gina Choong
Owner and Board Admin for Kitchen Capers

I will share more photos later on when the agent give me the keys.

This post serves to remind myself that God is always HERE for me, for us, for you. That everything in life we go through, God plays an important part. I have always prayed for good times and give thanks for bad times. And in all, He never fails to lift up my spirits, to give me more reasons that despite all the unhappiness, all the sadness in the world, there is HOPE, there is Light at the end of tunnel...and there is LOVE from GOD!

May you be you go thru life's tribulations and trials. At every step you take, God takes 2 for you. Why 2? 1 for you, the other He takes in advance. Leading the way ahead. Paving your way.