On the occasion of Singapore’s National Day (August 9) let me put on record my thanks to the Singapore church, and I will name names. I am a Malaysian in full-time church ministry. In this part of the world, a divorce is the kiss of death for public ministry. I did my time. I underwent church discipline for two years, a time when I didn’t have any public ministry. The church, the then Damansara Utama Baptist Church, Petaling Jaya, recommissioned me for public ministry after that time but still many churches and church groups kept their distance.
Then the Lord blessed me big time when he brought Bernice into my life and we married. (That is another debt I have to Singapore, the privilege of marrying one of her outstanding daughters.) I received fresh rejection from groups that believed that divorced folks should never remarry under any circumstances. Then God initiated His recovery programme.
- Peter Chao and the Eagles invited me to do a workshop at an early leadership conference though they got flak for doing so.
- Dr Quek Swee Hua conducted our wedding. He eventually opened the door for me to teach in the Biblical Graduate School of Theology. I now teach adjunct with them and sit on their council.
- Pastor Edmund Chan told me to stop apologising for my past and to move on in my life and ministry. He then opened the doors for ministry with Covenant Evangelical Free Church, a relationship that has strengthened through the years.
- Dr Mark Chan invited me to serve with him in Evangel Christian Church. This was the first time I served in any pastoral position since my troubles. Although I have moved on from that ministry, I will never forget my friend Mark going to bat for me in defending my right to minister.
- Simon Wan, who was then pastor of Bethesda Pasir Ris Mission Church, invited me to minister there. He, together with Jimmy Tan of Bethesda (Frankel Estate) Church and others, got me ministering in the Brethren churches here.
- Rev David Wong reached out to me with pastoral concern and has become a dear friend and supporter.
- Dr Goh Wei Leong is not only my personal physician, he opened doors for me to serve in the Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship and that led to my involvement with the Dental Prayer fellowship.
- Daniel Soh, an old friend, got me involved with Queenstown Baptist Church and continues to work towards my acceptance in the Baptist community here.
- Timothy Liu invited me to participate in the Graduates Christian Fellowship community.
- Rev Ivan Tan, an old friend, introduced me to the Methodist community and I have been ministering with many of their churches since. This also led to teaching opportunities with Trinity Theological College.
The above is but a select list. I could go on.
As I look back on the years that have passed since I moved down to Singapore in 2007, it is very clear that I have experienced substantial healing in my life and ministry. A large part of that is due to the love of my beloved Bernice. But the church in Singapore has also been instrumental in helping me to reboot my life and ministry. I am long overdue in thanking them. Thank you my friends, those I have mentioned, and many, many, many more. You may or may not know how your love and trust has been used by the Lord to heal me. I may not know the price you paid for doing so. But the Lord knows. May He bless you for your kindness.