Newsletter August, 2003

AUGUST, 2003

I Am What I Am

During my early years in Hong Kong, I attended all Catholic schools. The students were required to memorize the Lord's prayer, and to attend mass on special occasions. Since I knew nothing about the Lord or the Bible, the prayer was just like another essay in the textbooks. The mass was just another school activity in the curriculum. The school demanded all students to pass the Bible examination in order to qualify for the post-secondary education program. I therefore spent two years to read through the Gospel of Matthew and the Book of Acts. However, I failed other subjects and never did qualify for the program. After all that I quickly forgot what I had read in the Bible.

I found a clerk job with the Hong Kong government and worked there for eleven years. Life was stable and I was content in staying with my parents. In the family, my older brother and younger sister became Christians first. They asked me to go to church, but I thought that I did well socially and financially, having no need of God. I believed that there was a God, but did not want to be restricted by this God in any way. Occasionally, after other people asked and invited again and again, I would go with them to a crusade or a Sunday service. But I never paid any attention to the spiritual things, until I had a girlfriend. It was hard to refuse her when she wanted to attend church meetings. For the sake of not wasting my time, I began to listen to the sermon in the church, even joined the beginner's class. But I had so many questions regarding this faith. When we reached the point of considering marriage, I deliberately further delayed my decision for Christ. I did not want others to think that I became a Christian just for marrying her. About three months after our wedding, we were planning to celebrate my birthday by going out that night. Strangely we were asked to attend a gospel meeting for the evening. I really did not want to give up my celebration, but somehow we ended up in the crusade. The message was so boring, not as challenging as in the past. At that moment, I began to reason with myself about the strange things of the whole evening: Didn't I believe that there was a God? Why did all this happen on my birthday? What was I waiting for? What excuses did I have to continue refusing Him? Actually, many of my questions had already been cleared through the Bible study. In the end, I felt that I had no choice except to go forward and accept Christ that night.

The Lord not only gave me the new life, but also took away my past by giving me a new opportunity to begin anew in Him. He led my wife and myself to the U.S. for college. That breakthrough forced us to depend on Him more. With some new friends we began to attend church regularly. We also bought a used car, but crashed it in an accident ten days later, with an injury that required seven stitches on me. Strangely enough, the Lord gave us the peace that passes all understanding. We truly experienced how real the Lord was in our lives. So, two months later we were both baptized.

God led me to finish my college degree, gave me a steady job and even allowed me to serve Him in the church family. It has been twelve years, and His grace abound. The more I experience Him, the more I feel inadequate to serve. Only God can strengthen me with His Word, the sword of the Spirit, to resist the attack of the enemy. May the Lord further fill me with His Word to glorify His Name. (Owen)

Lord, I Am Willing

My father was disappointed at my birth as another girl joined the family, since he considered that only boys could continue the family tree. My mother was not his only wife. Shortly after my birth, she brought my sister and myself to live in a Buddhist temple established by one of my grand aunts. In that environment, I grew up to become familiar with the term "God". But what I observed among the Buddhist believers did not impress me. In fact, the image they projected seemed to match that of my father.

Later as I began to work in the hospital, I further discovered how fragile life was and how cruel people could be. It appeared that man was controlling his life. The reality was that we could not be sure of anything. As a nurse, I attended one gospel meeting in the hospital. The speaker talked about the God of creation and His love for mankind, which I never heard before. So I made my decision for Christ. But for a few years I was a backslider, who was not willing to offer herself to God. One Sunday morning, I remained in bed after 11AM, way past the meeting time. But I did not feel any regret or remorse in my heart. Picking up the Bible casually, I turned to the page, reading there "How long will you lie down there, o sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?" I was shocked to wonder if the Lord was rebuking me, as a father chastises his child. I was also filled with fear and joy, knowing that my God was real.

God's presence has always been real indeed during these years. Since we came to the States, He has supplied all our needs. One night while I was worrying about our finances, God showed me in Matthew 6, "Do not be worried about your life, as to what to eat or to drink or to put on, …..your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things…."O Father, I thank thee!

When our Friday Bible study began the discussion on the book "To grow in Christ", I was excited, but also with shame. The excitement was due to my familiarity with the book, which I had studied a little. Shameful was I for I had taken my copy from the church library in Hong Kong. Realizing that God would supply beyond our means, I soon returned the book, paid the restitution and asked for forgiveness. Since then, that book became a blessing to many people through my prayer and sharing. Almost everyone who came in contact with this study became a Christian. It was truly His grace and power.

During the past decade the Lord taught me the lesson of Mt. Moriah. We initially thought that we would have children, just like all other couples. But after passed my age of safe pregnancy, I began to feel uneasy. Then I noticed that the wives of all three patriarchs in Genesis did not conceive at the beginning. So we decided not to try our own way, but only looked to the Lord for His promise of blessing those who seek Him. One day a sister came to share her sorrow and tears regarding her barrenness. I prayed to the Lord for a word of comfort, and He led me to my Mt. Moriah to offer the child I had been wanting for so long!

Many younger brothers and sisters are around me. I dare not to consider them as my own children, but I know that the Lord wants me to love them as my own. God is the great "I Am", the only One to satisfy man's need. Knowing that, I can only pray, "O Lord, if Thou art willing, equip me", so God may further possess us as His own. (Eva)