I became a born-again Christian in December 2005 and it wasn’t long before I was baptized and confirmed as a member of Church of the True Light. Being a new believer, I was very enthusiastic, going to all the church camps and even dragging my non-believing family to the church’s family camp. While all this excitement went on, God answered a prayer of mine and opened the doors for me to live and work in Japan. So after spending a short eight months with my church, I was on my way to a new and exciting-looking life in the Land of the Rising Sun.
The first few years being a new believer in Japan was like walking in dry desert. I attended a small church at an Anglican mission center for the seafarers. There wasn’t anyone my age whom I could fellowship with. And because I was so good at playing a good Christian, nobody knew how immature I actually was, nor were they aware of how much pastoring I truly needed. I continued to lead a life chasing after worldly things – mainly, indulging in my favorite Japanese idol boy bands. Finally, through painful lessons, God brought me to a non-denominational international church where I finally was pastored and had the fellowship I had been missing.
In all my years living and working in Japan, coming home had never once been on my agenda. I was so contented with my lifestyle and the freedom I had, and I loved my church and friends too much to part with them. On many occasions, the Lord brought to mind my mother and brother who had not yet known Jesus. But at all those times, I pleaded with the Lord not to send me and prayed that He would bring others to tell them about Jesus. It wasn’t until December 2013, when I was encouraged to attend a 5-day conference on pastoral care in Los Angeles that I experienced being filled with the Holy Spirit and started to walk in obedience, embracing the destiny God has for me.
My parents divorced when I was very young and I had vague memories of my father. However, I clearly remembered my father breaking his promise of coming to visit me when I was six. I never saw him after that and I grew up resenting my father for hurting my mother and being absent in my life. I had no desire to go and seek reconciliation with him. However, at one of the healing sessions at the pastoral care conference, God spoke very clearly to me, calling me to look for my father and verbally forgive him for the hurt he has caused me all those years. In February 2014, while I was back in Singapore for a vacation, I did what God told me to do and by His wisdom and revelation, I found and reconciled with my father! After that incident, God spoke again and called me to come home to be a missionary to my family. I finally found peace in God and was able to put down all that I had achieved in Japan and came home.
A huge identity crisis came with being home again after eight years of living overseas. Even though I had planned to take a few months break to refresh and re-adjust, I soon found myself in a frantic job search due to my insecurity at being jobless. At the same time, the reality of living with my family began to set in as I often found myself caught in between the constant disagreements of my mother and teenage brother. I started to lose my focus in Jesus and even started doubting if I had made the right decision to come home.
However, God has been faithful in His promise in Psalm 128:1-2 which says, “Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.”
And the fruit of my obedience was to see my father coming to know Jesus Christ and to accept Him as his personal Savior and Lord! At the same time, I heard about TLBS from a few church friends who were alumni. Thus, I decided to stop my unfruitful job search and commit three months at TLBS to seek God and to realign myself to His plan.
Second to the decision of moving home, coming to TLBS was truly the next best decision I have made. One of my greatest struggles in being a believer is studying the Word of God and memorizing Scriptures. Through the modules at TLBS, I learned that God’s words are a powerful weapon against the enemy in spiritual warfare, as well as promises we can proclaim when we pray and intercede for ourselves and for others. I am truly inspired to work on these struggles knowing that this will equip me with wisdom to guide my father, who is a new believer, and also to pray and intercede for my non-believing family.
God has been refining my character and my heart these three months, so that I can be of better equipped for what He has called me to do. I think this refining process will continue even after TLBS, not just for me but all my brothers and sisters who endured God’s refining fire with me. I believe God will continue to bring into memory the lessons I have learned in TLBS, to equip me with tools to carry on His works among my family.