“Tell me a bit of your story”.
I recalled telling my story to my cell group members in St. John St. Margaret’s church many years ago. The story of how I came to know and believe in Christ.
Oh yes, I was reading “The Case for Faith” by Lee Strobel. It was a book that I chanced upon at Xinyi’s bookshelf during her housewarming party. I looked at the back cover of the book. A book on emotional barriers to the Christian faith. Interesting. A look at the content page. “It is offensive to claim Jesus is the only way to God”. Cool. Way too cool. What I have been looking for (all these years). As in, I have always been bothered by the claim in the bible that Jesus is the only way to God. If that is the case, it would mean that muslims, hindus, etc in the world are damned (and destined to go to hell). I have not been able to reconcile myself to this notion, which became one of the few stumbling blocks to my faith.
Back to my story. I had low self-esteem and no friends. There was one day where I felt so lonely that I purchased a bible to be placed next to my pillow. I figured that the bible, if not God, would be company to me. I have always visualized the Christian God as someone who is up in the sky, listening to me, ever so attentive. I am not sure if I considered myself as a Christian at this point in time.
Two years down the road, Joyce from St. Andrew Junior College popped me the question: I would like you to visit my church. How about that? I put up a wall of lame excuses, non substantial and concrete. I gave in. I went to Hope of God, Singapore.
God works in wondrous ways. I had finished junior college and was serving my basic military service (“BMT”) at Pulau Tekong. Sunday. Day for church. Picture me at church, during worship. I was standing there, singing to the lyrics flashed on the screen. To raise hands or not to raise? No, no raise. These were the thoughts that flashed through my mind during the slow lyrical worship songs. The tempo changed to a quick praise song. Some people around me were dancing / oscillating to the music. Okay. Let me blend into the crowd by tiptoeing in rhythm to the music. Someone is waving at me. Oh. It’s Terence (name has been changed due to memory lapse), the commander/sergeant in charge of my bunk. He worships at this church too? Wow. Isn’t this too much of a coincidence? From then on, during my remaining days at BMT, I wasn’t tekan-ed as much as the others during the physical training sessions whenever Terence was around. God is good to me.
I stopped going to Hope of God because … (another memory lapse).
My economics tutor, Martha Chan called me. We had a short chat. She said that she had been to cinema earlier on before calling me. I was sincerely astonished and replied that I was amazed that teachers watch movies. She said something along the lines of “Of course, we teachers are human beings too”. She told me that her church, St. John St. Margaret (“SJSM”), was going to conduct the Alpha course, which is a series of 8 or 10 sessions to introduce participants to Christianity. I agreed to attend the first session, which is an alpha introductory dinner without hesitation. I was ready to experience and better understand this God that I was seeking.
SJSM. The church that is on the way whenever I travel on the bus to and fro from home to SAJC. A church that is a few bus stops away from home. I secretly desire to attend this church instead of Hope of God during my junior college days. Has God been eavesdropping on my desire to attend SJSM such that He got Martha Chan to contact me to attend the Alpha course?
Subsequent to the Alpha introductory dinner, the Alpha course continues by having sessions at homes of cell groups that have agreed to host the course. I went to Benny Chey’s cell group with Martha Chan the week after the dinner. The cell members were:
• Tek Mun and Yin Hwee
• Corrine and Carine (I paired them up as their names are similar)
• Helsa (and Daniel)
• Kun Qiang a.k.a. Peter
• (the persons that I have left out…sincere apologies)
I felt accepted in this cell. They listened to me as I talked. Incredible! God has been very kind to me – He had blessed me with such nice persons who listened to my speech which I perceived as boring. This was a great balm to my lowly self-esteem. As I am writing this blog, I felt touched on remembering my first contact with this wonderful cell group. My eyes are moist on this recollection. I say with certainty that I would not have been the same person as I am now if not for Benny’s cell. I am very honoured and blessed to be part of this God loving and supportive cell group.
I had been attending church regularly every Sunday since I joined Benny’s cell and completed the Alpha course. There was this urge and joy in me every Sunday morning that made me look forward to church service. Life seems rosier and I have something to look forward to on every Sunday and Friday (cell group meetings).
During a Sunday service, Pastor Rennis announced that baptism classes were starting again. Baptism candidates should register for the classes after service over the next two weeks. Benny popped the question to me “do you want to be baptized?” I told him “Yes, I think it is time.”
It was the day of the baptism retreat. I was in the queue for the buffet dinner. A man behind me tapped me on my shoulder and asked “Do you feel more confident nowadays?” Strange. How did he know about me being more confident nowadays? I asked him that and he replied “God told me so”. Amazing. God is good to me.
Fragmented recollection to be continued…………