Pastoral 2012

Impressed To Be Equipped In His Word!

Sunday, 05 February 2012

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Testimony by Bro Kenneth Wong


My salvation

I started attending church at the tender age of 10, when I was in Primary 3. My elder sister who is a Christian brought me to church. My family was Taoist and ancestral worshippers. My father did not allow us to attend church.

My father passed away in 1985 when I was 13. Elder Ng, Sis Dorothy and a few brethren from Sharon B-P Church came to my house to visit and comfort my mother. They took time to share the Gospel with me again. That was the same year I prayed with them to receive Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour.

I started attending church regularly in Sharon B-P Church since. But before my polytechnic studies, I had backslidden a couple of times. I praise the Lord that He never left me alone but brought me back to church when I started my polytechnic studies. My Sunday school teacher was Pastor, who was then known as Bro Das Koshy, and he was like an elder brother to me. He was called to serve in Gethsemane B-P Church in 1991. Soon after, I transferred my membership to Gethsemane too.

My vow

My mother had single-handedly brought up her 3 children with much help from my elder sister. In 1999, my mother was diagnosed with stage 2 cervical cancer. When I was told of the news, I was devastated. I made a vow to God that if He healed my mother of cancer, I would serve Him.

She went through the operation to have her cervix removed and also underwent chemotherapy. She was cured of the cancer. I was overjoyed. But I had forgotten what I had vowed. I was an insurance agent then. I simply brushed aside my vow by giving many excuses for not fulfilling it. But I actively participated in the church activities, and also went on mission trips.

Despite my unfaithfulness, the Lord again healed my mother a second time when she was afflicted with breast cancer. Even greater blessing was given to me, when the Lord opened her heart to receive the Gospel and be saved. She was baptised together with my brother in a Cantonese-speaking church. Truly how great is our God.

In May 2003, I got married. Soon after that I felt God’s leading to serve in the ministry. I shared with Pastor then and I joined as a full-time staff in the Bible Witness Media Ministry (BWMM) of Gethsemane B-P Church on 1st April 2004. I helped in the magazine layout. I had a little experience in layout from my previous church but Bible Witness required more. From magazine to video recordings, from software to hardware, I learned from scratch, with much encouragement from Pastor who is ever so patient. I also received great help from friends and the Internet.

I have served in BWMM for a total of 7 years and 9 months. My responsibilities included the church's Sunday bulletins, audio recordings of prayer meetings and video recordings of Sunday messages as well as church camps and Bible Witness Retreats. On a bimonthly basis, I helped in the layout of the Bible Witness magazine. I also helped in the layout of special event brochures, tracts and books. I would say that my responsibilities in the church resource centre were rather varied.

The burden to be equipped in the Word of God

In May 2010, the Lord placed in my heart the burden to be equipped in the Word of God. I felt a great need to study and learn the deep truths of God’s Word even though I attended FEBC night classes occasionally. I prayed for God’s direction in this matter. Over the months as I listened to the messages preached, the burden became stronger. I plucked up the courage to speak to Pastor five months later about my burden to study in FEBC. I was like a spiritual son seeking the approval from his spiritual father, yearning very much for his approval. During the conversation, Pastor asked if I was very sure that the Lord was calling me to go and study, I could not give him an affirmative answer. I went away sad and discouraged, yet I understood that the godly counsel given was good for me. There was a need to re-examine my life, my service in the Lord and God’s will in my life.

In the following months, I prayerfully sought the Lord more specifically as to His will in my life. More questions arose as I pondered over the matter. “Am I not serving the Lord in Bible Witness? Why am I still feeling the burden to study the Word of God? Why now, when commitment and burdens are many? If having a stable salaried position suffices, why choose an arduous and uncertain path? Am I seeking personal glory, wealth or honour? Is that more important than the welfare of loved ones and children?”

In June 2010, our church held a staff retreat for both staff and their families. The theme was “Me and My House” taken from Joshua 24:15. Every message was thought-provoking, soul-searching, and more so reproving, exhorting us to live an exemplary life for His glory. Pastor led us all, including our spouses, to re-dedicate our lives to Him once again on the last day of the retreat. It was personally the most renewing and reaffirming moment! This retreat had deepened my desire once again to be equipped in the Word.

After the staff retreat, I went to Pastor once again, thinking this time I was more assured and confident to answer the questions he had asked previously. Again I was wrong. He asked me even more difficult questions. “Who is going to take over my position should I leave?” I suggested doing part-time studies but it was dismissed by Pastor, as this would mean, both studies and work would not have my 100% attention and both would suffer eventually. I was more compelled by my sense of responsibility that I should stay put. This time I felt dejected. I restrained my emotions and continued with daily routine work.

In December 2011, the 3rd Missionary Conference was scheduled to be held in Ethiopia. When Pastor asked the staff to indicate their interest to participate in the conference, I expressed my desire to attend but I did not commit myself because of the lack of funds. When I was asked again about my desire, Pastor readily offered to support me so that I could attend the conference. I went with a ready heart to serve, expecting both spiritual blessing and sweet fellowship.

From the first day to the last day of the missionary conference, I was going through an emotional and spiritual roller coaster ride. I was also anxious about my children’s HFMD but I thanked God that my wife was cheerful in the Lord when I left for the conference. At the conference, I was drawn to God daily through the songs that were sung, the messages that were preached and the mission reports that were presented by the various missionaries. Not a day ended without me breaking down before the Lord. Thank God I was doing the recordings at the back of the hall, so I could excuse myself to the washroom to calm down. I wanted to knock on Pastor’s door in the night to confide in him my thoughts, but refrained from doing so as he had messages to preach daily.

Pastor's spiritual song Gospel Light was sung during the conference. Whenever it was sung, I was moved to tears. While meditating on the lyrics, I seemed to have caught the vision of the Great Commission as well as the global Bible institute movement that Pastor had envisioned in the song. The words of this song became so significant to me.

After Pastor’s message during the inauguration of the college on the last day of the conference, I seized the opportunity to thank him for the messages preached, especially the inauguration message. He preached on Psalm 22:27, “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.” Pastor said, “Rise up, O men of God and preached the Gospel to the end of the world!” and I answered in my heart, “Lord, here am I, send me!”

Many uncertainties, questions and burdens are still left unanswered but these are not important. One thing I am sure. The Lord has impressed upon my heart to be equipped and trained in the Word so as to be used for the Lord. The first stanza of the hymn Wherever He leads I’ll Go sums up my assurance - "Take up thy cross and follow Me," I heard my Master say; "I gave My life to ransom thee, Surrender your all today."

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:14 & 15).