Birthday: November 25
Hometown: Markham, ON
Favorite Bible Passage: Philippians 4:6-7
Influential Music: Tori Kelly
Favorite Movie: Pokemon
Favorite Book: Facebook
Hobbies: Bowling, computer games, video games, board games, you kind of get the idea…
Kenny used to work as a full-time auditor and says that unfortunately, that is the most interesting fact about him. He also enjoys sleeping.
Kenny’s Blog Posts
What’s up guys.
We totally just finished our last concert before heading back to Willmar! We still have a couple of bookings and concerts before the summer program starts up, but we will pretty much be stationed here until our commitment with CTI ends. To that I say, unofficially, our spring tour is about to come to a close.
As well, since this may be my last personal blog post of the year, I think it’s quite fitting for me to reminisce and take a look back at this year as a whole to figure out the biggest thing I’ve had to overcome.
And the answer that I find to that question initially seems to be excruciatingly frustrating. Because the fact is, the biggest thing I’ve had to overcome is this entire year itself.
If you know me, you also know that I don’t sugarcoat things at all. But before you start getting any wrong ideas, if you asked me to go back in time back to the start of the year, I would have made the same decision to come on this full-time team with this bunch of great individuals. There’s just something about this experience that undoubtedly makes it unforgettable, memorable, and maybe even a little life-changing. And I would tell you time and time again that I truly enjoyed my experience throughout this entire year. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Here’s the problem.
I’ve often been called a piece of tofu growing up.
If you’ve ever tried to pick up a piece of tofu with a pair of chopsticks, you’d understand. It’s extremely difficult. Most of the time, it’ll just break apart when you try to pick it up.
I’m exactly the same. My immune system is easy to break, and difficult to mend back together. For some reason common colds take longer than average to go away. For some reason shingles start to form on my body as a result of a poor immune system when I’m still only in university. For some reason every little thing that happens to me triggers my asthma during the only year where I have to rely on an out-of-country health insurance policy that I don’t have quite the competency in fully understanding. Heck, I could probably count the number of weeks on one hand throughout this entire year where I wasn’t begging God in the middle of singing a song for Him to somehow get me out of the concert without viciously coughing into the microphone.
Excruciatingly frustrating to not be able to sing like you know you can for most of the year. Excruciatingly frustrating to know that half of the repertoire is instantly gone when Kenny is bedridden. Kenny, you were so foolish to sign up for a musical role that you’d suffer the most in. Kenny, you were so foolish to sign up for a musical role that you’d make your team suffer the most in.
And maybe I was foolish. But it brings me to my next point. All the way back in October, our infamous Hong Kong YFC director told us something that really began to start resonating halfway during this tour.
It is a blessing for us to suffer for the sake of the gospel.
It’s something that seems so simple, and yet rings so true, especially in this circumstance. It is a blessing to suffer for the sake of the gospel. It is when trials, stress, and suffering occurs that we can only rely on God because we don’t have the strength ourselves to overcome our circumstances. It is when trials, stress, and suffering occurs that God displays His glory and His strength through you. Suffering is a regular part of the Christian life. It was never designed to be easy. If ministries like these were so easy, I wonder if every proclaiming Christian would jump headfirst into them. If Christianity was easy, I wonder if every person on this earth would jump headfirst into it.
We always have a choice in how we address our suffering – to either see it as a blessing, or to groan and complain about how difficult our lives are. I’ve complained about my health. We’ve all complained about our sufferings before. I challenge you to see it as a blessing – it’s through our suffering that God’s glory and His strength is displayed.
And I believe this is completely 100% true for me this year. Because it could have been extremely likely that due to my health, I wouldn’t have been able to continue spring tour. It could have been extremely likely that I wouldn’t have been able to continue winter tour. Heck, I might not have even been able to continue fall tour. But here I am writing to you my final personal blog post of my full-time year. And to tell you the truth, I could not be more proud to tell you all that I was able to finish my very first tour singing on stage, and I was able to finish my very last tour singing on stage. And there is no way that this could have been possible through my own strength. Writing this blog post to you in Willmar, after five full tours, is enough evidence of that. It’s not about how I barely made it through each concert still standing on stage. It’s about how I would have NEVER made it through any concert if God’s strength was not displayed through me each time.
Now, I’m NOT saying that you should go and purposely hurt yourself. I think that’s even more foolish. Don’t do that. I believe we should be good stewards of our health and our bodies. What I AM saying though, is to think to ourselves when we are in times of suffering, whether we truly see it as a blessing if it’s for the sake of the gospel.
My friends, it is a blessing for us to suffer for the sake of the gospel. It is when suffering occurs that God displays His glory and His strength through our weakness. And that allows us to remind ourselves that it’s not about us, but it’s all about Him.
What is your home to you?
Last night I got to finally do what everyone else on my team got to do – go back to my hometown. And I think it was a more interesting experience for me specifically. Unlike everyone else, I didn’t go back to my hometown during our Christmas break. Unlike everyone else, I didn’t go back to my hometown during our Easter break either.
I liked to joke around with my teammates that I didn’t really have a home. Sure, my house is in Toronto, but I actually don’t have keys to my house because our family only has one set of house keys. We have a garage door opener at the front as well, but the sensor doesn’t work. If my mom didn’t fly back from Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago to get ready for our team to come by and stay for the night, I wouldn’t have been able to get into my own home. So if you want to try to break into my house, you’ll have to find a creative way ;).
Some people like going home after a long time away. They get to finally connect with their friends and family and just take a break from all the action. Home is the place where they truly feel like themselves and that’s where they truly belong. Home is where people go to get the rest that they need to continue on with their lives.
What is your home to you? Is it a place where you go for rest? Is it a place where you go to relax? Is it a place where you get to finally be yourself?
Is your home a physical place? Perhaps it might be an environment – like being around your closest friends and family.
I identify with a bit of everything above. It’s great being amongst my friends and family as well as being able to unwind and relax. But I wonder why I had been so excited about going home. There’s obviously nothing wrong with that, but it just made me think – am I only excited about going home for the aforementioned reasons? Am I able to look for those same things in Christ, who resides in me and lives in me wherever I am and in every aspect of my life? And if I am, am I constantly chasing after Him for the things that He promises me? A promise to give me rest, to give me an identity, to give me worth, to give me comfort, and to give me peace?
What is your home to you?
We are in our last stretch of winter tour! So of course, what better way to reflect on this particular experience by re-visiting all of my foodie adventures? These are some pictures I’ve taken at restaurants, cafes, and random street food stalls. Enjoy!
Hope you guys enjoyed looking at these photos as much as I enjoyed eating it! Just kidding. You guys definitely missed out.
Yesterday I had stayed up past midnight to watch what must have been and what will probably be the most exciting hockey game of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. Argue with me all you want, but the fact that the NHL isn’t participating this year leads me to believe that what I saw last night will be the most competitive hockey game played this Olympics.
So before I get laughed at for losing to the Americans by the rest of my non-Canadian teammates, I’ll finish up this blog post and share with you a nice quote that I found from a news article talking about the Canadians’ loss last night.
You don’t win the silver medal, you lose the gold medal.
Decades of rivalry came down to, once again, another gold medal final game at the Olympics. For both countries, they were expected to win. The Canadians expected Canada to win. The Americans expected their team to win. Anything other than a win would have been a disappointment. And the end result left the Canadian team severely disappointed. They had every Canadian’s hopes and expectations on their backs and fell short – and you saw the heartbreak that resulted when they got onto the podium receiving that bittersweet silver medal.
My mind flashes to examples of when I have expectations of myself, when other people put their expectations onto my back, and when we relish in victory together in succeeding in what we had set out to accomplish. Examples of when I have expectations of others, and again, relish in victory together in succeeding in what we had set out to accomplish.
But of course, life is never always roses and dandelions.
Yes, just like every other part of life, I have had a lot of “roses and dandelions” experiences on this team. And yes, I have also had a lot of thorns that have struck my side on this team. When I look into things a little deeper, I see a lot of expectations of things and people getting thrown around – expectations about how things are done, what things are said, how people are acting, etc. And when I look at these moments where either I fail at the expectations given to me or someone else fails my expectations, I react in the same way the Canadians did last night – with emotion, disappointment, and frustration.
Expectations are everywhere. We can’t escape them. We naturally develop them as humans. It’s the bar that we set for ourselves and others to meet and exceed. The problem isn’t when these expectations are met. The problem arises when these expectations are not met. And it’s how us as humans react to these expectations that determine whether we are truly following Christ in that moment or following our sinful nature.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:29-32 (NIV)
And yes, just as Christ gave us grace, we extend that grace not only to others, but ourselves. And so when I fail the expectations given to me, I need to remember that grace and encouragement will always be extended to me. And so when others fail the expectations I put on them, I need to remember that I need to extend grace and encouragement to them.
And so, Team Canada, I extend that to you, and congratulate you for a well-deserved silver medal.
I hope for gold in 2022 in Beijing. 😉
Any of you know what that is?
This is what Wikipedia says:
Eczema is a group of diseases that results in inflammation of the skin. The diseases are characterized by itchiness, red skin and a rash.
Yeah I have that. Sometimes it gets so itchy that even though I know that I’ll bleed if I scratch any harder, I still scratch it. I have all of these scars and bumps over parts of my legs from scratching them all the time. It feels like a knife’s getting stabbed into me if I don’t scratch. Sometimes it’s actually quite awful. Even though I know that scratching is really just going to cause more problems in the future, I still do it anyways.
Ready for the metaphor?
It’s interesting how that scenario is quite similar to my spiritual life. There are a lot of things that I know are sinful, yet I continue to do anyways. Things like harboring bitterness, being slow to listen and quick to anger, and being proud of my accomplishments without admitting that every blessing that’s been given to me ultimately comes from God.
I wonder if anybody else can relate to this. That even though we know that certain things are sinful, we choose to continue to do those things and sometimes even try to justify why it’s okay. It really just speaks to our sinful nature and unfortunately how easy it is for humans to sin.
And that’s exactly why we need Jesus in our lives. The verse that I’m going to share below is something that I need to remember. Always.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.