Rosetta Ann Park, Apex Church, Scotland & Cornerstone Community Church, Philippines
If rejection had a name, it would have been mine. I was saturated with that spirit from my earliest memory. Rejection dogged and trailed my every thought and action, and was the fuel that lit the fires of rage in me, making me feel worthless and unloved continuously.
Growing up in a dysfunctional family, as so many of us have, I began searching for love at an early age, desperate for any kind of acceptance and affection. That search ended with me finding and marrying an extremely abusive and violent man. He would batter me senseless at times, thus continuing to feed that insatiable demon of rejection within me.
Doubled under the weight of physical and mental agony, I began numbing my pain through drugs and alcohol, and very soon I was hooked. But one day, after a brutal beating, and incarceration in my apartment, from which I could not escape to get any help, I finally couldn’t take it anymore and I applied for a divorce. I walked out of my marriage with two young kids in tow, with no job, no education and hardly any sanity left. I was a complete and utter mess.
That’s when the trauma of all that I had endured took over, and I turned into a complete and utter alcoholic. I would be depressed for days on end, then pass out in a drunken state and be completely unaware of my responsibilities or my surroundings. I was also completely incapable of being a nurturing or caring mother. Even now, when I think of all that my precious children had to suffer at my hands, my heart mourns in regret and sorrow. Suicidal thoughts would regularly attack me and I would succumb to them and attempt to take my own life, but God, in His mercy, preserved me from death. Of course, I didn’t know that and I would silently scream in anger and despair, “Where are you, God? Why aren’t you helping me?”
But God was neither deaf nor distant. He was right there just waiting for me to get a hold of myself and turn back to Him wholeheartedly. In His sovereign wisdom, He placed a burden on the heart of a very special couple, Susan and George Forman, who somehow saw something of redemptive value in me, and who began to pray for me regularly and earnestly. They didn’t just pray, they took me under their wing and began to nurture me, first by giving me a job, then by taking me to church.
Was I grateful to them? Yes, definitely, when I was sober – but then half the time I wasn’t. I would attend church only because I felt obliged to Susan, but the moment it was over, I would be back in the pub. The chains of rejection and addiction were still too tight around me. Many times Susan would come searching for me to pull me out of the gutter and bring me home. I didn’t make it easy on them, yet they never gave up on me even when I kept backsliding. For 18 years they continued to persevere in hope and faith, and loved me and stood with me and encouraged me to stay close to God. I owe my life to this special couple.
And then on 28 May 2012, God sent one more messenger all the way from Singapore to finally draw me back to Him completely. I was not interested in hearing what this woman from halfway around the world had come to say, and I sat at the back of the church grumpily and reluctantly. But when Pastor Hazeil came towards me and put me in a headlock (both physically as well as spiritually), and whispered God’s message into my ear, I literally felt my heart stop beating for a few seconds and then burst alive again – this time beating with the very rhythm of God Himself. I was finally and truly born again! In His mercy, God delivered me and set me free of all my addictions and angst. I was a new creation in Christ, and God’s favour began to flow almost immediately into my life.
One day I clearly heard Him call me specifically to serve Him in the Philippines. He even told me the exact date that I should leave. However, at that stage I was in debt for an enormous amount of money, to the tune of S$56,000, so I took on 2 jobs and began tithing regularly in church. Within 12 months, I was completely debt free! How faithful is our God!
Obedient to His timing, on 29 August 2013 I flew to Marikina, in the Philippines, and have been serving in the mission field ever since. Has it always been easy? No. God continues to humble me by keeping me dependent on Him in every way – physically, emotionally and materially. I get homesick and miss my children and grandchildren very often, but my heart is at rest and peace, knowing that I am in the will of God. I love Him too much and am too grateful for His salvation to ever dream of disobeying Him.
My scope of ministry in Marikina extends to the abandoned old people, the Girls and the Boys homes, the orphanage, the homeless under the bridges, the women’s prison, and just recently, God opened a door so that I could go in and lead a bible study for gangsters.
Who would ever have thought that God would turn around the life of a rascal like me so utterly? But then, that’s what He specialises in, doesn’t He? He had already chosen me and set my destiny before me. But I had to go through everything I did, and be brought low, so that my only hope of deliverance would be to cry out to Him alone.
The apostle Paul reminds us that this is how He reveals His kindness and love. By saving us, not because of the righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy. He washes away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
I am so grateful that He proved that Word true in my life. I am a living testimony of the life-changing power of the gospel. Hallelujah!