1. Skip to Menu
  2. Skip to Content
  3. Skip to Footer>

Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2011

Testimony Of My Call To Full-Time Christian Service

PrintE-mail

Missions is not for me!” was what I used to say in my earlier days of salvation. Full-time service barely crossed my mind. I was saved in a charismatic church in New York City, during the aftermath of September 11. My early days of serving God were based on much zeal but a faint knowledge of Christ. My salvation was built on the love of Christ, of which I soberly experienced, when I was nearly disfigured by a car accident, followed by an unhealthy and destructive relationship that left me exasperatedly grasping for acceptance. I thank God that, in my ignorance of His existence, He elected me. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; …” (Isaiah 59:1)

It has been seven years since I first encountered the Lord. In January 2009, I returned to Singapore for good, after nine years of working and studying in the United States. After having gone through a severe trial in my job, where I was asked to file for a corporate bankruptcy during the worldwide 2008 Financial Crisis, I left almost 30 workers jobless, and short of one month of salary owed to all of them. Things were so bad that one of my workers tried to rob me. My headquarters in Singapore had withdrawn all capital, and they would only be responsible for me, being the Managing Director. After selling every asset in the company, I was fully convicted to gather funds to pay back my workers. I was also ready to negotiate with my superiors the outstanding salaries, half of which I was willing to fork out of my own pocket. It happened around Christmas. Then, I fully understood the reason behind Christ’s birth – to save and redeem man from the sins and suffering of this world. It was also then when God first started to stir my heart about living the rest of my life in service to Him.

My view of full-time service gathered from my charismatic background was defined as any spiritual full-time work for God, and that included parachurches. I started attending Zion BPC through the recommendation of a neighbour at that time. A missionary friend at Zion invited me to attend a Missions retreat organized by Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) to explore the first inklings I thought I had felt that Christmas before. At the retreat, I was reminded of an American-based Christian organization called International Justice Mission (IJM) that supports a group of lawyers fighting justice in third-world countries. I thought that becoming a third-world Christian lawyer would be a ‘good way to serve’ God. So, I applied for a prestigious postgraduate law programme at the Singapore Management University, of which I was accepted into after rounds of interviews. I thought that was God’s providence and a ‘confirmation’ of what I discerned to be His will.

During the law programme and the legal internships that I did, I started to sense that law was leading me into dark places where people crave for power and fame. Although I was actively serving in church and attending Bible study groups, I could feel the gradual hardening of my heart as I started to become familiar with legal concepts. Additionally, I tried to apply for an internship with IJM twice but on both occasions it closed on me. I also started to feel very jaded and weary of the world. I could feel the world starting to eat me up. It was around this juncture when God sovereignly brought another missionary friend into my life. He rebuked me for my worldly ways and made me realize that I was actually steering away from God’s will for me. He reiterated that if I had truly felt His stirrings in my heart, as I had claimed, it would never be one that chases after power or fame.

One morning, instead of preparing for my law exam that day, I found myself having an unusual and extended quiet time with the Lord as His Word tightly gripped my heart through the story of Abraham. Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac kept tugging at my heart. It was as if the Word would not allow me to study and prepare for my exam that day. I felt God impressing on my heart to give up all that I hold dear – third-world lawyer dream, family and success, just as Abraham gave up the one beloved son promised to him, unto God. I could only half imagine the stab of pain that Abraham must have felt when Isaac asked him, ‘Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ (Genesis 22:7). It deeply convicted me. A few days after, the commission of Isaiah also moved me. In his words, he said unto the Lord, “Here am I, send me!” (Isaiah 6:8) I was meditating on that verse, when I heard it again on the Bible Witness Web Radio through Rev Jeffrey Khoo’s preaching. It was also then when I realize the first inklings or stirrings that I had felt before have evolved into His call for me. I gradually become more aware of the sovereignty of God’s call, and that I cannot escape from it. It is also something that is not according to my own desires but God’s. I pondered in my heart and started to pray for God’s guidance.

I went through my law exams as scheduled, as well as two very dry legal internships at Singapore’s top law firms. During this period of two months, the same missionary friend of mine also told me about the night classes at FEBC, of which I started attending concurrently. Rev Jeffrey Khoo taught the book of Second Corinthians; God impressed upon my heart, Paul’s apostleship and his passion for Christ, along with his ministry work. With a new and deeper hunger for God’s Word, as well as a new conviction of His call for me, I plucked up the courage to quit law school, one year before graduation.

My parents thought that I had gone insane. However, they could not stop me. They felt that their daughter, who has always been good from young and has now become very highly educated, could have gone mad. This is because she heard the voice of an invisible God! They also suggested that I go and see a doctor at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH). They threatened to disown me. Facing severe persecution, my heart really hurt. I could only pray unceasingly for strength to stay fixed on God, but yet, my call was increasingly affirmed each time I faced persecution. God works in mysterious ways!

At the same time, I was serving and worshipping at a church (Zion BPC) where I started to feel stunted in my spiritual walk. It is a church that disapproves my verbal plenary preservation (VPP) stand and my desire to study at FEBC. By God’s providence, I was already exposed to the errors and faults of other Bible versions and the accuracy of the King James Bible in the States right before I returned to Singapore. As Zion BPC does not take a strong stand against other Bible versions, and opposes my decision to study at FEBC, I decided to leave the church. In this process of leaving, I witnessed how God led me all the way when I met with my three leaders about studying at FEBC. I must testify how He blessed our conversations throughout. In spite of the clash in my position against my church’s stand, I was able to leave church peaceably. The elder, whom I met with, could not refute that I must have heard the will of God!

In December 2010, I attended Gethsemane B-P Church Camp, of which the camp theme turned out to be ‘Be strong and of a good courage’ (Joshua 1:9). I was deeply encouraged to continue in this journey of seeking God’s will for my service to Him, of which my parents still persecute me for and who go as far as thinking that I am being made used of by my church. Many close Christian friends also questioned my decision to quit law school and went as far as ridiculing my hearing of God’s will.

Currently, I worship at Gethsemane BPC and serve at Gethsemane’s Bible Witness Media Ministry during the week. In my service thus far, God has deeply affirmed His call through the amount of unprecedented joy I enjoy daily, along with an unexplainable effectiveness in my work. By God’s providence, He has completely redirected my path. And I thank God that, amidst persecution and tribulations, there is a quiet and still voice that assures and strengthens my heart daily, it says, “…I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Joshua 1:5)

 

My Call To The Ministry
Andrew Koh Wee Yap


 

I was a secondary school teacher who taught Physics and Mathematics. Before I received my call, I never thought of serving God in the full-time ministry. It was during the night class on the course of Daniel taught by Rev Quek that I felt the stirring of my heart to serve Him. The desire to serve came and left. It was on and off until it held on unto me that I had to surrender.

Before the course, my intention in life was to make a lot of money and be successful by being in the tuition centre business, which I even ventured into. I was also very much interested in Physics and Mathematics, and often read books on them. At that time, I regarded them as the highest of disciplines and spent a lot of time reading up on them. I even thought of devoting myself to these disciplines in the future. Nonetheless, the course on the book of Daniel changed all these.

During the course, I studied how the prophecies given by God were all fulfilled according to history. The order of kingdom succession tallied exactly as history unfolded. Even the minutest details in Daniel Chapter 11 are in pinpoint accuracy according to history. I was in awe and it won me over in such a way that the disciplines of anything else would pale in comparison to the Bible. The book of Daniel also foretells the desolation of the end times and only the Bible can save. Acts 20:32 says that "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” I do not want to waste any more time chasing and studying anything that will not count in terms of eternity but to be busy in the Lord's work.

In my former secondary schools where I have taught, whenever I was teaching scientific concepts that demonstrate God’s handiwork, I could only ask the class,” Don’t you think that this is the work of a Creator?” This was the most I could venture. I was not allowed to share the Gospel with my students because it was against the Ministry of Education’s policy. I felt limited in my capacity to share the Gospel.

Some time in October 2010, I received news from Malaysia that my cousin who was 39 years old died suddenly of heart attack. He was a very dear cousin to me. He showed no signs of ill health before he had the attack and it shocked everybody. There was absolutely no warning. I never shared the gospel with him and he was likely unsaved. I regretted not sharing the gospel with him. On the other hand, I also thought that the person taken up swiftly could have been me, and I would have lived my life in vain if I had not committed myself fully to the business of telling others what God can do - to save. My brother who attended my cousin's wake with me had asked poignantly, "Brother, what is the one thing you will regret if you were to die tomorrow?" It then hit me strongly that it would have been not serving God full-time. My cousin's death strengthened my resolve to give the rest of my life to serve the Almighty God.

Soon after I returned to Singapore (after the wake), I spoke to my mother about studying in FEBC and serving God full-time and she, although reluctantly, consented. I was then moved to resign from my job as a teacher. I spoke to my Head of Department about my pending departure from teaching to enter Bible College full-time. It has not been an easy ride and decision, having to face the disappointment on the faces of my students whom I have grown attached to. But it appeared to me, that the one thing that I had set out to do, if I were to die tomorrow, would be to forsake these students to serve our God. The school accepted my resignation and gave me six more months to teach before I leave.

I am not able to serve God on my own. I am not eloquent and am weak in many aspects of my life. I pray that I will be strong and courageous in the Lord and that He will use me to serve Him in whatever ways for His glory. Amen.

Pastoral Exhortation