Steps of Faith

The phone call came unexpectedly. My wife saw the number and recognised that it was from the church office. She answered it and that changed the course of our life.

The call was an invitation for us to take over and lead a Chinese church in Country B. Although many details were shared, there were also many questions that were left unanswered.

After hanging up the phone, my wife called me straightaway, “Hey, I got a call from the church … and I believe it is also a call from God.” That was in August 2018.

The first reaction I had was that I was grossly unqualified. “Why me, Lord? There are so many people, more qualified than me .” I asked the Lord, “Why don’t You call them?”

And He said, “I did.”

We were not the first to be approached. And I know, if I pass this chance, the Lord will look for another. Yet, during that time, the intense gaze of the Lord was upon me. I must not take it lightly and He was looking intently to see the decision that I would make.

That evening, my wife left work early for home. After the kids slept, we dove into a lengthy discussion, pulled out our past prophecies, and texted close friends to request for prayers and counsels. We listed the questions we had and pondered over the impact it would have on us and our 3 children, ages 9, 7 and 3 then.

Shortly after, we decided to make a trip to Country B and were warmly welcomed by the Pastor. We toured the land, tasted the food and touched base with the local people.

Upon our return home, we remained hesitant to make a final decision until a cell member reminded us of another sister who had a dream of us a few years back. We contacted that sister, and she recalled the dream vividly. In her dream, she saw someone invite me over to Country B, to be a Chinese pastor.

We were speechless. The timing was impeccable and that became the confirmation we needed. The very next day we called the church and said ,“Yes”.

In a matter of months, we moved to Country B. We said our goodbyes, to our families, to our close friends, as well as our 2 foster children. The hardest part was saying goodbye to my father, who passed away just 2 months before we moved.

Those who knew us, had diverse reactions. At our home country, the responses we received ranged from, “You guys are amazing! What a leap of faith!” to, “You guys are crazy! You are jeopardizing your children’s future!”

The reactions in Country B were somewhat different, “You gave up so much in Singapore to come here!” and “What, this Pastor so young ah?” Beyond the ‘whats’ and the ‘whys’, the question that boggled people the most was the ‘how’. How did we do it?

We were your typical average person. My wife and I had jobs, and our children went to a neighbourhood school. On Fridays, we led a cell group and on Sundays we attended the morning service, followed by lunch with friends.

It was a normal-blessed-Christian-life. Yet, there were days when I could not help but wonder, “Is that all there is to my life?” Perhaps I was missing out on something.

Hence, I attended a Bible School to be refreshed and to seek the face of God. Then, I was working full-time in the Chinese ministry and had no plans to go anywhere else.

Yet, throughout the entire semester in the Bible School, the Lord kept impressing on me to go on a sabbatical. There was no timeline nor reason given, making it difficult to explain to my beloved church leaders why I had to resign. I loved serving in my church and could not bear to leave.

For the next 4 years, we survived on a single income. After the first year, we sold our car. To save money, we took public transport. My wife even rode a motorcycle to work every day so she could spend more time with the kids.

I became a stay-home-dad. To be honest, I struggled tremendously and was flooded with doubts. I doubted what I heard from God. I doubted my identity as the head-of-the-household. I doubted my identity as a father, as a husband, as a son.

For many nights, I could not pray. I would sit before God and could only cry. I only had one question, “Why?” My family and friends could not understand. Neither could I.

Everything was stripped away, and I had to face the reality of who I really am. It was as if God held up a mirror to show me who I am apart from Him, and it was unsightly.

I had nothing left to hold onto. Except God. It took 4 years for God to strip everything away and to rebuild my identity as a son, of Father God. We also fostered 2 children and that taught me how to father children not my own.

He had to bend me, before He could send me. On hindsight, now I know why. God wanted to send a son, someone who knows whom he belongs to.

Shortly after that encounter, my wife received the phone call from church and the rest is history.

Life is a journey, and every step requires faith. Marrying takes faith. Having children takes faith. Leaving my job takes faith. Surviving on a single income takes faith. Staying at home takes faith. Being open to God takes faith and moving to City X takes faith.

My wife once asked God, “God, I am turning 40 years old. I do not want to grow old like that. I want to stay sharp for You. But where do I go from here?” She later had to leave her career with a possible promotion at hand, and join me in the next phase of our adventure to Country B. This takes faith.

We began our journey by saying “Yes” to God twenty years ago and learnt of missions in East Asia. We began learning the ropes of a shepherd by saying “Yes” to God, to lead a cell. We began to walk in the ways of trust and reliance by saying “Yes” to God; to a simple life. What seems like a leap of faith for others, was simply another step of faith for us. It was not our first step, neither will it be the last.

Life is an adventure. Now is the time to live it.

What is your next step of faith?

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