My unexpected new journey
My unexpected new journey
9 December, 2019 — by Christine Chong
Hi everyone, my name is Christine. If you are from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (my hometown), you will know me as ‘Siew Ting’ 😛! Welcome to my first blogpost!
First off, let’s start with some background about where I came from. When I was a kid, my mother always taught me to fear God, but I only better understood what Christianity is all about by being part of the Girls’ Brigade (GB) back in Sabah, and when I started going to Shern En Methodist Church regularly with my cousins and friends when I was 15. I had the privilege to be the Youth and Vice President of the Girls’ Brigade and I found it meaningful to commit to church and serve with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. After SPM, I participated in a three months’ Short Term Mission programme at Sabah Theological Seminary (STS) after Rev. Dr. Hii challenged me multiple times to join it. Here are some photos of my church mates and I during my fondly remembered GB moments, back when I was in Sabah! (I miss you all!)
I found a pearl in life!
5 years ago, I came to KL to further my studies and I got to know about Christ Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC) through a friend! Coming from Chinese-speaking background, CERC was not in my list when I was looking for a church to settle down at. However, since I joined the Growth Group (GG) led by Pr Daniel Lu at the time, I found every GG session mind-blowing, and I’ve really learned a lot about God and the Bible! And ‘walaowehh’ they usually spend about 3-4 hours diving into what the Bible says and really apply it to our lives together. I was really surprised by how seriously they take God and His Word. During GG, the GG leader even asked questions that I’ve never thought of, taught us to exegete the Bible, and I thought, “WOW reading the Bible isn’t boring at all, it’s soooo real.” Tears often filled my eyes when I was confronted by the reality of God’s Word. The idea of predestination crushed me the most — I was in doubt in the beginning, but after reading the Bible and praying to God to illumine my mind (it took me a while), God finally opened my eyes to see that salvation is really His work alone, and there is nothing in us that enables us to choose or seek God as we are totally depraved. I realised that I was in need of Jesus as my Saviour. I was humbled by the understanding of God’s sovereignty and am thankful to God for His amazing grace! After seeing how this church is faithful to God and His Word and living up to their claim of being ‘Christ-centered, God glorifying’, I decided to be a part of them and support their ministries.
What’s the purpose of life?
Ever since I better understood the Bible, I started thinking to myself,
“What is life all about?”
Should I be a successful career woman, climbing the corporate ladder all my life?
Or start my own business and chase after worldly success like everyone else?
Or get married and start my own family?
Or work smarter and harder to become a rich woman who doesn’t need to worry about money?
Every time I study the Bible, it makes me rethink what life is about. Mark 8:36-38 says, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me (Jesus) and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
“I realised that life is about worshipping and serving the Creator who gave us life.”
Everything that I have and will achieve in this world are just temporary; they will eventually come to an end when I die. Genesis 3:19 says, “For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” So what’s the point?
Without my new journey in life
It never crossed my mind to pursue full-time paid ministry. However, after two years of careful consideration, I made the decision to join CERC’s Church Ministers’ Apprenticeship (CMA) programme. What is CMA, you may ask? It’s a two-year full-time pastor’s apprenticeship programme that allows me to be involved in various church ministries so that I can be tested whether I am suitable to be a pastor in the long run.
“I was convicted by the gospel that the biggest blessing in life is to be able to serve God and His church full-time.”
Say goodbye to what I enjoy doing
Working at Great Eastern Headquarters in a department called Agency Recruitment was an enjoyable experience. I started as a management trainee and eventually settled down in this department after 1.5 years. When I first started, I was struggling like most fresh graduates, barely coping with corporate reality. As time went by, I started to pick things up quicker and honestly speaking, I really liked my job and my colleagues! I was not only enjoying what I was doing, in fact, I also had a very good team. We enjoyed working together and we had a close-to-perfect dynamic together. We could joke around yet be serious and hardworking when it comes to work. I made good money, had a stable job, had colleagues that were great, a boss that was kind — everything was good.
After working there for about three years, I decided to quit my job.
A lot of people asked me why I was willing to let go of such a good life, but life is about God and His plan. We have been created for His purpose from the very beginning, and that was why I decided to pursue CMA to test myself and to see if I’m suitable to be a pastor in the long run, preaching the truth, sharing the gospel, leading people to God.
So what’s next in my life?
I officially started my CMA Programme on 1 December 2019. I am going to spend the next two years or more focusing on various church ministries: reading the Bible with people, leading Growth Groups, preaching the Bible, organising Christian conferences and many more exciting challenges. In addition, I will focus more on Chinese ministry as I grew up in a Chinese background (home, church and school) so I would like to put to good use the circumstances, gifts and talents that God has given me. 当然，我还有很多学习的地方，请多多指教！(Of course, I still have a lot to learn!)😄
I’m excited yet nervous for this new endeavour in life and I am thankful for those who have been supporting me — my family, friends, colleagues as well as my brothers and sisters-in-Christ. If you would like to support me financially, please feel free to contact me at 010-7961599 to find out more, or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. 😃
YOU’RE INVITED! YES, YOU!
I will be commissioned (a ceremony to formally announce the start of my CMA Programme) in the first week of 2020 — 5th Jan 2020 (Sunday) to be precise, at Christ Evangelical Reformed Church. I hope that you would be able to witness this important event and get to know more about this programme that I’m about to devote 2 years to. I’d be really happy to see you there! If you’re able to come, please drop me a text so that I can say “Hi” to you on that day!
Thank you so much for reading, please do keep me in your prayers and I’ll be writing more soon!
Posted on 9th December 2019