I grew up in a non-Christian family and I remember my earliest knowledge that there is a God began when my parents sent me to Bethesda kindergarten (it was located just below where I lived). All throughout my teens, I grew up knowing that there is a God. But to me, He existed as an abstract, a somewhat vague reference when people spoke about Christianity or about religion in general. When I was slightly old enough to contemplate about life in a deeper way, I even started to wonder whether there were other relative truths, experienced and internalised differently by people in different environments or circumstances.
When I was in Secondary One, my best friend brought me to the church she was attending. What started out as a ‘social occasions’ where I got to hang out with friends to pass the time turned into Sunday mornings that I actually looked forward to because of the service. I didn’t particularly remember the sermons but I enjoyed the worship sessions tremendously and it was also during the worship sessions that I felt very close to God. In that same period, I also attended the 3-day youth church camp. We spent a lot of time singing worship songs, playing games, praying and simply having fun. On the last day of the church camp, there was an altar call for people to come forth to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior. Although I had already attended church for quite sometime, I have never felt the desire or need to step forward to publicly ‘announce’ my intention to receive Jesus Christ as Savior. But during that particular altar call during the camp, I felt a very strong desire to respond to God’s invitation to receive Christ. I was surprised at first because the feeling was so overwhelming that it seemed only natural that I went up to receive the altar call. It was when the Pastor prayed for me that I felt I had begun a very real relationship with God. It was as if God has answered an invisible prayer – that of making Him real to me. And I did not even had to do anything, I just followed a desire, a calling perhaps.
Even though I had began to develop a relationship with Christ following that, I stopped attending church regularly since then. In 2009, I embarked on what could possibly be the most challenging and life-changing trip to climb Mt Everest. Mid-way of the climb, I suffered chest pains – a condition known as costochondritis. The condition was severe enough to thwart my chances of having a shot at the summit. Even though I was very disappointed and discouraged, and having gone through some of the most painful moments in the expedition, I could feel God’s presence very close to me and that was the reason that kept me going. God put the verse ‘but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength…’ - Isaiah 40:31 in my mind whenever I pray. I thank God my chest condition did not deteriorate and that I recovered fully. From the expedition, I also learnt to genuinely accept that God has a timing and a purpose for everything and everyone, and to accept that conventional measurements of success does not equate to God’s measurements of success. This experience has since changed my whole perspective of my life and the world around me. Knowing that the Lord has a larger purpose and plan for me truly fills me with much meaning and joy.
I thank God for my cell group - It was through the encounter weekend which I attended in June last year that I was introduced to my cell group leader, Corina. The past 8 months together with my cell group has deepened my understanding and strengthened my spiritual growth (still growing!) in my walk with God. Being in a cell, sharing close fellowship with fellow Christ-loving cell mates provides a conducive and intimate environment to experiencing Christ together as a group… It is really a blessing and a humbling experience to be able to witness God’s love and grace impacting one another in a cell group.