These few days, after I posted out my fear to the prayer network of Heart4Japan, I started to receive mails and phone calls of faith and encouragement. Suddenly, I was like surrounded by a council of wisdom (like the king, King David perhaps). I am truly blessed to have you as my witness.
I had been keeping my walk with God in secret. I was very reluctant to share or to testify His personal goodness on me. That was between me and God, I thought. But then, there is a time of keeping secret, and there is a time to share. Nehemiah had kept a secret. Neh2:11-16 I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days I set out during the night with a few men. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on. By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. Then I moved on toward the Fountain Gate and the King's Pool, but there was not enough room for my mount to get through; so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and reentered through the Valley Gate. The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work.
For all these years in the journey, I had kept my mourning, fast and prayers before the God of heaven in secret. Fearing objection, fearing failure in life, etc. After all, it is a personal relationship with God that counts. My mom and my family thought I was crazy as I was suddenly having a whole new direction and hobbies in life, I became a "boring" person while immersed myself in bible study. My mom watched this in silence, and on and off, she would came to ask me, " Tell me the truth, what God had spoken to you? " or " So, is that true that you going to be a pastor?". I remained silence. The true fact was I simply didn't know. I was not ready. I was crying, but I was not ready. I was very much afraid. Afraid of God, afraid of my mom, afraid of myself.
As the prompting grew stronger and stronger, I knew I had no way to hide. So, I started to take a step at a time. I tried to obey His command. By stepping into each ministry that He opened a door for me/ I had an opportunity to serve, I would just examine myself again and again, taking the words of prophecy or encouragement in caution, grab hold of every chances that I could possibly learn and equip myself. Still, when I was asked about my future plans, I remained deep silence. It was very funny as you think about it, I am an outwardly cheerful and chatty person. But as it came to the question for future ministry, I would suddenly sank into a deep thought where the chatter would stop abruptly. I continued to be in that mysterious way, I knew it was not the time to reveal. And of course, what for to make a commitment in vain or a suggestion that I might not be able to fulfill? I was not ready for anything, I had nothing, I was broke as I came to Jesus, I was still in His nurse and cares, I was basically nobody. It would be too far away for me to talk about it or even, to dream. I was just happy of the way it was. No changes, if there is any, I wanted a secure one.
I cried out to God, feeling inferior. I wanted to respond to Him, to the prompting of the Spirit, but when I was asked to put my Isaac on the altar, I could not. My Isaac to me is my mom, my family. I was very very afraid. I had came to God because my father died in an accident. I walked on his path, to search his belief, to search his heart, to mend my wounds of guilt for not having proper relationship with him. In the search of my father, I searched my heavenly Father. He had called me. I suffered many lost of lives, my elder brother in my childhood, my dearest grandma who raised me, my grandpa, my uncle. I could not bear to loose any of my family members anymore. No, Lord. No.
You see, now I can laugh at it. But at that time in my life. I was serious. I could not let go my Isaac. I held my mom and my family closely to my chest, and I just refused to put them on the altar. So, I would cry and cry and cry whenever there was an altar call especially in the mission meetings. I had no idea who God was. My fear was worse, as I remembered each time as I responded to a call for service, or as I made a commitment, I would be caught with an accident. And each time, I knew God had preserved my life. I owed my life to God practically. I thought that was the devil's plot and God's mercy to see me through. I read about Job, I was scared; I read about the prophets, I was scared; I read about the disciples, I was scared. I just wanted to be an ordinary person, faithful and obedience. I told God that. But yet, God has a better plan! He is good. He is my Father. And He is not my Father for nothing. As I started to understand that, I began to take courage and asked.
"Lord, why me? Must I respond?"
He was silent.
"Lord, how about so and so? I believe that you had called them too. Why didn't they respond?"
He was silent.
"Lord, do you still love them although they don't respond?"
"Yes, I love them, still, regardless they respond or not."
"Lord, the would you love me still, if I don't go?"
"Yes, I love you, still."
My tears wet my eyes, and then I asked again,
"Lord, tell me, is it Japan that you are trying to tell me?"
Then, I heard His voice saying, "Who will go for me? Who will go for me?"
And I said, "I will go. Send me, I will go."
I responded, feeling a lift of the burdens on my shoulders. And I was weeping in joy, feeling relieved. I was not responding because of I was fear of His rage. I responded because I was touched by His love. As I was embraced in His love, I made that decision.
That evening, as I was eagerly to go home as I finished work earlier. I was suppose to share a message with the cell group, and that was my first time to share a message. My car crashed into a guardrail on a slippery road, on a speed of about 30-40km/hr. I felt blessed as my car had not overturned or fell over the guardrail and dropped on to another lane below. I was all alone, I drove the car carefully to the roadside, and as I reached to a safe spot, my car could not move another inch because of the mud that was stuck to the wheel. I called home to inform my mom that I would be back late, and told her about the situation so that she could pray for me. It was unusual, but both of us felt that peace that flow within us. Suddenly I realized I was not fear of death anymore. The fear of death that clutched on me had lost its grip. Even in that moment of waiting for help, I was able to rejoice and sang praise to God. Thanking Him for looking after me, and preserving my life. The devil could not use that against me anymore! I was pretty secured in knowing His love and His providence to my family would never lack! I had that joy and peace.
The next day, was the final class for Worldwide Perspective. As usual, Ps. Dorai gathered us together, and asked us to answer his 3 favorite questions. He always encouraged the student to take a step or at least a stand after attending each mission class. Swee Gim and Wye Choon were there, Cynthia, Adrian and Hock Cheng were there, and a few of us were students. I remembered Swee Gim approached me warmly, and asked about the people group in my mind. I gave her a weak smile, I was still not able to answer that question yet. As Adrian and SL were sharing their passion for China, and knowing that my ability in Mandarin, many suggested that God must had prepared me to China. I was not afraid of placing my Isaac on the altar anymore, but still I was shy to tell people about Japan. After all, I had not convinced myself why Japan. And looking at my skills and what I had, I was like going against the flow. How could I be so sure for Japan? Why not the Muslims, or Malaysia, or China? Or maybe Europe would be a good choice. In fact, while we discussed about the work among the M, I would always wonder and asked questions about the fallen Europe, what would happen to the nominal Christians when the day comes? I was really unsure about Japan. As I asked God about Japan, all He said was " Who shall go for me?" I held reservation on that.
A year ended and a year began. I started to yearn over Japan. I read more about Japan, did some research, went to look for scholarships, looked for courses, but nothing was really appealing. But I tried. Then, me and God had some private moments, and I booked a ticket to Japan. I wanted to know why Japan. What is His heart for Japan? God provided miraculously, I went. With a permission from my mom and Dorai, I went.
I called it a survey, as Joshua was sent to the land of Canaan. The affirmation came again and again, by prayers, by words. True enough, the verse that the Lord had spoke to Joshua had again and again encouraged me and sustained me in many decisions to make along the journey.
As I came back from Japan, I knew I need to have a team. I need to start to share. It is a time for sharing now. The Lord showed me clearly that works in Japan would need a lot of prayers behind to support. And I could sense an extravagance of temptations in Japan. The lukewarmness in the heart of the churches, the materialism in the cities, extra long hours of working and tiredness and loneliness. I felt lost in the heart of Japan, Tokyo. But yet, I heard His heartbeat for Japan. Japan, was made to worship Him, not the Shinto Gods, not others, not Money.
So, that's how Heart4Japan came about, how the urge of prayers came about. Although I stumbled and fell many times, but He had worked a way for the prayer network. He had never taken my mistakes into account. And I knew it very clearly, it was never because of me, I cannot take any credit for that. Our heavenly Father have a heart for Japan, and He is calling His children to revive and to pray and work in this place. He is the one who put the love in you when you started to pray for Japan. He is the one who pulled the string in your heart.
Neh2:17-18 Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace." I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me.