I had a very rough childhood. When I was 2 years old, my father left because he had an affair with another woman. In order to provide for me and my sister, my mother went overseas to work and left us with our grandmother, uncles and aunties.
In that household, things got even worse. My uncles were all gangsters who were very strict with us. They would punish us for little things such as dropping rice on the floor, beating us very harshly. I remember getting slapped by my uncle so hard that it caused me to fall to the ground. These beatings happened very often. I hated to stay at home.
When I was 12, I became very rebellious. I ran away from home and mixed with the wrong crowd. I started to steal, smoke and joined gangs. Once I joined the gang, my life became a mess. At 14, I dropped out of school and worked in an illegal snookerium, getting into fights often and beginning to take drugs. Eventually, I was caught, charged in juvenile court and sent to Gracehaven home. I absconded from the place but was eventually sent back there. At 16, I began to peddle drugs. I was sent to prison 3 times and even caned. However, prison and caning did nothing to change me.
In 1998, when I was 21, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. However, due to my drug addiction, I was unable to care for her. I tried to accompany her to the hospital for her checkups but most of the time, I was unable to because I would only sleep at 6 am in the morning. I really wanted to take care of her, but only gave her disappointment.
In 2005, due to depression, fear of cancer relapse and sorrow about me, my mother committed suicide. She was miserable and she hung herself in her room. At that point in time, I was working in England as a cook so that I would not be tempted by drugs in Singapore. When I heard what had happened, I was completely crushed. I spent the night drinking and flew back home to Singapore for her funeral the next day.
At the funeral, I got into an argument with my uncle which broke into a fight. During the fight, my uncle smashed a glass cup into my face which caused deep cuts into my head and neck. I nearly died due to the loss of blood that night. However, I was rushed to the hospital and was saved. That fight left me with 50 stitches and a cut that hit my nerve. Since that day, I cannot move the left side of my face, an injury that lasts till today. When I wanted to sleep, I had to place a sticker over my eyelid so that it would close.
At my mother’s funeral, I met Pastor Alice. During my stay in the hospital, she came to talk to me, comfort me and shared the gospel with me. She brought me to church and cell group, prayed for me and even found jobs for me. I was touched by her concern for me and tried to get away from my old lifestyle of drugs. However, I failed over and over again. Sometimes when I was high on drugs, I would lie on my bed and see my mother hanging there. The pain was unbearable.
I remember one night, after taking some drugs, I was standing by the window smoking. I was very depressed at the point in time and wanted to end my life. I was really tired of living a life like this so I climbed up the window, with the intention of jumping down. However, I looked down and lost the courage to jump, so I got off the window. I felt helpless and so, I climbed up again. At that point, I heard a voice saying, “Gerald, if you want to jump down and die like that, why don’t you give your life to me?” When I heard that, I broke down and started to pray, and said, “I cannot make it already, please help me”. Soon after, I dozed off.
Days later, I was browsing and listening to songs on Youtube when the song “Amazing Love” popped up. I clicked on the song and began to listen to it and look at the pictures in the video. I was very touched by it and began to cry. I went and took out my Bible and saw this verse, “repent and be baptised”. At that point, I felt that God really wanted me to truly, earnestly repent, so I began to pray for forgiveness.
From that day, things began to brighten up. I went to church and a pastor came up to talk to me. I discovered that he was also an ex-offender and I began to open up to him about all my struggles. He began to help me and put me in a cell group whose members continually encouraged me, met with me for meals, and for devotion. He also brought counsellors to help me with my addiction to drugs.
He started to mentor me and shared his story with me. He explained to me how God walked him through life. Through his story, I saw that there was hope.
In 2012, my mentor brought me to Breakthrough Mission, a Gospel-based drug rehabilitation halfway house, to undergo an 18-month program. I really thank God for leading me to Breakthrough Mission. While I was there, I learned how to draw near to Him and to rely on His grace and mercy every day. While I still struggle with sin, I know that God will never forsake me, and will teach me, correct me, train me and comfort me through His word.
One night, I was praying for direction in my life when God impressed upon my heart to study. I told my church pastor about it and he recommended TLBS to me. I thank God for opening many doors so that I may be here today.
God is truly faithful. In my 2-year stay at Breakthrough Mission, God restored my relationship with my sister, restored my health and most importantly, restored my relationship with Him. God helped me to understand the importance of having the right relationship with Him.
I still have a lot of baggage, emotional hurt and trauma to deal with in my life but I believe that God is faithful and will certainly see me through. I am thankful for the amazing people God has put in my life.
In John 15:5-6, it is written, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”
I want to encourage everyone to cast their burdens to Him. If God did not forsake a sinner like me, He will not forsake all of you. Indeed only Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour has the power to set us free.
“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice.” Isaiah 42:3
All glory be to God!