Years after years of celebrating Christmas in almost a uniform patern did not even bore me a little bit. This year however has been a very different ball game all together. Previously, Christmas was celebrated with peers of my age and older. A twist in the event, as I would call it. Christmas all along was always accompanied by the monsoon season but it is exceptionally wet this year. Rather different was how I was interacting with more younger brothers and sisters in Christ from church and those from a far. Suddenly, people younger look up to me. Not that this has never happened but I guess when one gets older the younger ones pay respect and at the same time tease you and "bully" you more. For example, "Tell me story" & "You owe me 2 stories". This is a post dedicated to those who want to hear a story or two and also dedicated to the youths of Wesley in general. The story of A Wet Christmas....
In a blink of an eye I was brought back to my child hood days remembering caroling in knee-high waters until dawn breaks. I should be in my pre-school years. My dad was the chairman of the church then. Following him as if I was his shadow was a rather common thing to do when I was younger, much younger. Caroling has been fun, church was absolutely fun and the people, though rough and crude at times were nice. I mix more with older youths of the church, people a decade older. There have been so much changes to the way we live today that the fun of the past generation is no longer experienced. Caroling used to an event, a highlighted event, that last a whole night through until dawn breaks. Hence, the eyes bags. It was and would still be very tiring but nontheless it is filled with lots of fun. I still remember I could not stay awake for the final few houses. Very vividly I recall the time was then 5 o'clock in the morning and the waters were rising in some areas. I have to give credit and applause to these die hard, rugged and "all out" youths of their days for enduring the flood waters to bring the Good News to the people. Maybe it is only something the chinese church youth possess. True passion or is it just sheer fun they are after? Every other year from then on was not that wet. No floods. Occasionally it rained. Until this year where it is exceptionally wet! I hate it when it rain at odd hours of the day like say when I am still awake.
God has been very faithful. Very is still an understatement but nevertheless a strong enough word in my vocabulary of 10 words. I remember the transition from primary to secondary school was a total culture shock. From a good, mummy's boy to a rascal in school. Swearing replaced 'Hi' and 'bye' in my everyday conversation with friends. As foul as the backside of a chicken can be so was my mouth. I still remember the time when I challenged a group of more than 20 youths who also happen to be gangsters. What a silly thing to do. Of course I got into trouble. They demanded me to appear to them and you know what they would do. Thankfully I have friends who are so very helpful to negotiate with them to lesson the 'punishment'. In the end all I have to say is a simple "sorry". This reminds me about the compasionate Father. Many a times we challenge God with our rebellion, disbelief, disrespect and many other uninviting & unrully behaviours. As powerful as He is, He is also very loving, caring, concern and forgiving. The punishment I should have gotten for all my wrong doings should have been death but He sent His one and only Son, Jesus to die a cruel death on the cross to redeem us. Redemption did not come free but it was given free. Salvation was not created freely but it is given away freely. A sorry says it all...humility, respect, honour and submission.
Then again, life has never been a bed of roses or a box of chocolate. Maybe it is. Not all roses bloom to see the rising sun everyday. Not all chocolates are pleasing to the taste buds. The sight of them blooming even for a day can satisfy the naked eye. The sweetness of the chocolate soothes the bitterness of the soul. An overstatement. It came a time when all seems down hill. Problems of self-esteem was too great to deal with. Church was a place where it manifested the greatest. I understand how some are encountering it now and some never even got over it. It is a pity to see one perpetually depressed and intimidated by low self-esteem and lack of confidence. I thank God today for the few who showed their concern. They saw beyond what was on the outside. They saw my need, my potential and my passion. I love them very much although they are not very close friends and relatives. Maureen, Xin Yi and Vincent Hong, especially Maureen were all there to support me. Maureen even came to my house to personally ask to go to church and ask me how I was. It made a difference. The "Never say die" attitude she has impress me till today. I was back in church after a long vacation, too long. We discovered I could sing. It was history from then on.
Sweet 16 some may utter boastfully. Sweet? It was a bitter pill to me. Having to endure the worst of relationships is tormenting. As if hell is where I stay. Tears accompany me too often. If only they can wash away the bitterness off my cheek. The saltiness of tears remind me of Matthew 5 where Jesus gave us the directive to become salt and light. I certainly did not heed that calling back then. I was not even aware of the significance of it. I did the very opposite. Out of desperation I joined and became a gangster. The purpose and how I become one is not that important now and it was very silly. People say with knowledge comes power. Definately! but it also comes with responsibility. I can still testify to that right now. The second time I fear being beaten was when the gang I joined was in the process of being taken over by another more superior one. We, the few remaining ones held a meeting in a secluded place to decide. The leaders then had fallen. We switch and paid our fees. The leader of the new gang summoned us to a meeting. I declined him once. Thank God he did not send anyone to beat me. The second time he called, my friend said I had to go to avoid him from being angry and so I went. As we arrive at the coffee shop everyone evacuated. Soon I realised there were about 20 high ranking gangsters seated in a row in front of me. I was trembling. The leader ask if I wanted a drink and also ask for my name and a little bit about who I was.
Soon after they left for a gang fight. I did not join. I was a diplomatic one. I did not join any gang fights during my time with them. But I found favour in the leader's eyes. He appointed me as the person in charged of my ex-school, then ACS. I was given the authority to collect protection fees and to control all the members in the school. I declined citing the possible departure to KL to further my studies. He insisted that I succeed my predecessor. I kept quiet. Now I see that God is actually working to stop me from being further drawn into the mess. In a MYF Camp at the end of the year, I cried for help and Rev.Dr. Herbert helped me in prayer and urge me to continue praying. I did what he ask out of desperation, but a different type of desperation. A desperation to escape the mess I was in. News of gang members being slain by a rebellion within the gang was very frightening. Every nite at the stroke of midnght I would hear a loud sound from a motorbike as how gangsters and others would do with their bikes. Fear was certainly a factor. I prayed without fail for the next 7 months. Breakthrough!!! I got out without complication. Praise God!
God is the centre of our lives and should be. My pass, no matter how wrotten has a future. Today I stand to testify of His greatness. My life, the mere fact that I live to type this post speaks of the faithfullness of God. As children of God we are a member of the ROYAL PRIESTHOOD. Membership is eternal. We speak with more authority than angels and demons. The war is already won. Vitory is ours without us fighting. Live a victorious life. Speak and it shall be done. God is great!