Faith

Havoc and wild, I was backsliding until I took a leap of faith

From inhisimage.sg

Ronda Tan // July 27, 2020, 10:01 am

INHISIMAGE RONDA

All photos courtesy of inhisimage.sg.

There wasn’t much about God or Christianity when I was growing up. 

My mum believed in another religion and my dad was a Christian who had backslid. At the time, I wasn’t very close to my family and home was just a place to rest.

My sister and I actually first came to know of God during our time in school. I went through the religious classes because they seemed more fun compared to the other option of moral education back then.

I didn’t want the faith for myself anymore… I just went havoc and wild.

Then in 2008, I started going to church with my best friend but I still didn’t fully recognise who God is. It was during TRACKERS, a three-month youth discipleship programme, that I actually opened up the Bible for the first time to read it.

I also served in church, but it wasn’t coming out of love and joy. I was asked to be a leader, but somehow I just felt so unworthy.

Then came my backsliding years where I didn’t want the faith for myself anymore. There were people in my life who tried to bring me back to God, but there were also others that were pulling me away from Him.

I just went havoc and wild.

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My turning point only came during the season of my journey to Discipleship Training School (DTS). It was only then that I decided to fully believe and commit to Christ.

Around that time in 2016, I was going through a rough season in my life and a friend prayed for me.

She had a vision. She saw me on a train waving goodbye to the station. As the train started moving, Jesus was right next to me. He was also the one driving the train.

She said that the next station would be a season of wholeness.

The next day, I had a dream that I was in the Philippines. I was playing with children, rolling in the mud and somehow speaking fluent Tagalog. I also dreamt of a scene where I knew Australian Sign Language even though I’ve never learned it.

God gave me other signs along the way… I felt that He really placed something on my heart.

Furthermore, while on a holiday with my friend in Bangkok, she kept mispronouncing the train station from “BTS” to “DTS”. I was like, “God what are you trying to tell me?”

God also gave me other signs along the way. During the Burning Hearts Conference in 2016, the speaker was speaking on Isaiah and the passage on “Here I am, send me”.

The bottom of the slide read: “Eyes will be shut, ears will be closed and not everyone will be ready to respond to the gospel”.

When I closed my eyes, I saw myself in an alley. I was holding a Bible, ready to spread the gospel, but the entire stretch of houses were just closing their doors.

I felt that God really placed something on my heart and said that it was time for me to go. It took my family a very long time to say yes and let me go, but eventually they did.

I was accepted into DTS Perth and that was when I heard that they were going to focus on the Philippines for outreach as part of the course.

I was blown away. That was the exact dream that God gave me.

I’ve always had it in my heart to reach out to the minorities, and now I had the opportunity to do so.

During one of the times that we went out to evangelise in the Philippines, my friend and I felt called to go to the police station.

We already had a close relationship with the people in the town and the police officers, so we were able to walk into the area with the holding cells pretty easily. The warden also helped us with translation.

As I entered, I was looking at a cell of 17 men. I decided to tell them the story of Jesus and the gospel. Most of them wanted to receive Christ, so I was like, let’s read the Word together! So I went back to the house and got Bibles for them during lunch.

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While I was back at the house, I felt God telling me to conduct Holy Communion. I was like: “Huh, but I don’t know how to.”

But we just gathered some bread and some juice and headed back to the station.

I remember one guy who was so hungry for God. He was the first in line to listen to the gospel, to receive Holy Communion and to be prayed for.

He held my hand and said, “Pray for me, pray for me.” I replied, “What do you want me to pray for?” He wanted a renewed life. The warden told me that this guy had always been coming in and out of the station and that he was hopeless.

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But I knew that there was so much hope for him with Jesus.

I told him that while others may think there’s nothing left for you, Jesus can see your true potential. Only He will be able to set you free from the bondage of your sin.

He broke down, and said that he wanted to tell his family about Jesus. Seeing how hungry these men were for God despite their past involvement with gangs or drugs, it was really so heartening.

Looking back, I’m amazed by how real God has been in my journey.

When I first told my parents I wanted to go to DTS, they flipped. They didn’t know what it was about and thought that I was going to be a nun! But when they came to Perth to visit me, they actually accepted Christ!

My mum has been going to church and has now completed an Alpha course (mega crash course!). She has grown closer to God now and I’m sure will continue to experience Him personally.

Ronda’s story first appeared on inhisimage.sg and is republished with permission.

THINK + TALK

  1. Recall a time when God clearly spoke to you about doing something.
  2. Did you obey Him? What happened after that?
  3. What is one area in your life God might be looking for obedience in today?