There is a peculiar air about Jaime Wong – speaking to her, it feels as if she does not have a care in the world, while still being deeply engaged with it.
The tennis coach is an accomplished woman, having won multiple awards in sports and school. Yet as she sits down with Thir.st to tell her story, it is clear that life hasn’t been an endless victory parade for her. She bares her scars not as trophies, but as testimonies, of God’s goodness and grace in her life.
“THE SINGAPOREAN DREAM”
Top student. Top athlete. Jaime Wong had it all. At 12, she was Singapore’s youngest national tennis champion; at 17 she received an athletic scholarship to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology.
“It almost appeared on the surface that I was living the Singaporean dream – top student, top athlete – but beneath the surface it was a very different story.”
Without her parents around to keep her in check, Jaime got addicted to pornography while in the United States, and began to embrace the notion of the freedom to love.
In 2003, upon graduation, she fell in love for the first time while on a short trip back to Singapore.
“Usually falling in love is not a bad thing. But this person was a woman, and she was a Christian. In other words, a recipe for disaster. And my mind told me: Don’t pursue this, walk on,” she said.
“But my heart was a bit more stubborn.”
In pursuit of love, Jaime gave up her life in the US – only to have her world crumble beneath her. Her friend told her: “I’m so sorry, I love you, but I love God. And I cannot walk down this path with you. I will love you as Ruth loved Naomi, as Jonathan loved David, but I just cannot be the person that you want me to be.”
This enraged Jaime.
“Just imagine the heartbreak that I felt. I gave up everything to get this in return. I could not believe this friend actually chose God over me,” she said. “I was not prepared to let go, so I thought the most logical thing for me to do was to prove to this friend of mine that there is no such thing as God, and that the Bible is nothing but a book of lies.”
HEART OVER HEAD
For two years, she was relentless in her pursuit, attempting to debunk God through the study of science, logic and history. But at the end of it, she came to believe that everything pointed to Jesus as the son of God and the Saviour of the world.
“I was prepared to accept any God except for the Christian God, but everything pointed to Jesus at the end of the day. So in 2006, I became a very unwilling Christian in 2006.”
This also meant that she could not continue pursuing the friend she fell for, the friend who shared the love of Christ with her. Jaime said she knew early on that she could not act on her same-sex attraction, but it took her seven years to completely embrace the truth.
“I hated God for suddenly becoming a high authority in my life. I was always on my own, living life without parental influence or much guidance, so I made a lot of decisions on my own. And here, suddenly, I have this book of rules telling me all these things,” she said.
Jaime made multiple attempts to stop viewing pornography, only to fall back into the habit a few days later – a vicious cycle that was eventually broken after an encounter with God.
“It was always this battle – trying to do what is right, but not being able to. And as a result of that, I fell deeper and deeper into pornography. I was angry with God, and I continued doing what I was not supposed to do,” she said.
“On the surface it looked as though I was doing the right things: Going to church, going to cell group, serving in church. But behind closed doors, everything was raging. Emotionally I was raging; physically I was not getting what I wanted. It was a really tough time.”
Her struggles drove her to contemplate suicide several times. One particularly poignant period stands out: Jaime had fasted for 40 days, thinking things would get better after that, only for her situation to continue to look despondent.
“One day, as I looked out into the ocean, I thought: ‘This is it’,” she said.
Yet before she could act on the suicidal impulse, she caught a glimpse of a message written in a book her friend had given her.
“Hang in there. One day your mess will become your message,” it read.
“I completely broke down because the timing of it was impeccable. I just said to God: ‘You know God, I give up. I don’t want this life. Take it, do what you want with it.’ And that prayer became my defining moment. It became the moment where everything just turned – the amazing transformation came.”
After that act of surrender, Jaime said she was miraculously healed of all her sicknesses. All mental illnesses, all physical ailments – including a diagnosis for Ulcerative Proctitis, which doctors said was incurable – were gone.
“God didn’t just stop at that. He did more for me. He set me free from this prison of sexual immorality. It’s been two and a half years now, or more, and I’ve been completely free from pornography. And I’ve turned away from same-sex desires,” she said.
“I realise that I have lost my sexual appetite for the unclean because my heart had just received that pure, perfect love of Jesus.”
That moment when God truly entered her heart turned her life around. Where she once feared public speaking, Jaime now wanted to tell the world about the transformation that could only come through God.
“I was suddenly filled with this new purpose, this new desire that God has put in my heart, and there was new ability that He gave to me to tell people about what Jesus has done for me.”
REAL LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL
While it was initially difficult to open up to others on the issue of same-sex attraction, Jaime has found herself slowly being drawn into the topic during different conversations with different people.
When asked about what she would say to someone facing similar struggles, she said the answer is always to go back to the Word of God.
“It’s not about what I say to the person about this issue, but what the Word says. And so my duty to God is to love the person the way Jesus has loved me and to give them a glimpse of His love, and to share the truth and love them. At the end of the day, it’s to let the Word speak – God will speak for Himself – and to let the Holy Spirit convict them.”
In fact, it was the friend she was initially attracted to who demonstrated this love to her.
“She became a friend to me in the way that I couldn’t understand. On one hand, I felt rejection but yet on the other hand, I sensed a love that I could not comprehend – love that stood by me and stuck with me. She didn’t walk out of that friendship; she stayed there even though I put her through hell,” Jaime recalled.
She admitted to stalking and verbally abusing her friend, who chose not to walk away and to love her like Jesus did.
“For all the things that I’ve done to her, I didn’t deserve any of it, yet she gave it freely and she loved me wholly and she loved me, and she gave me a glimpse of what God’s love is like – enduring and longsuffering and waiting with hope that one day I would turn around,” Jaime said.
While it was ironic that she sensed both rejection and love at the same time, Jaime said this was how real love revealed itself to her.
“I felt loved in a way that I could not explain and I believe that is the kind of love that I want to mirror. The love that Jesus had for me – I want to mirror that and to love those who are broken,” she said.