|Mount Calvary Baptist Church (Singapore)
|Mount Calvary Baptist Church (Singapore)
by Hazel Tan
Early April, I left Singapore for Los Angeles, California for a six month internship stint with an American company for academic credit. Prior to leaving Singapore, I was experiencing a lot of issues with my visa documents. They were severely delayed by three weeks, and initially I thought, “Maybe God doesn’t think this is good for me,” and if so, so be it. But somehow the Lord opened the door to LA, and honestly I did not have any idea what He had in stored for me. But through it all, I was aware that He was with me every step of the way as Psalm 121 says:
1I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
2My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
3He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
4Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
6The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
7The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
8The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
I went to church the following week. It was a church that Samuel Chng and I both searched on the internet for before I left: Bible Baptist Church (Santa Monica). It was a quaint, little church in the suburbs, a 30 minutes bus ride away from where I was living.
I did not have a lot of friends as most of the people in my workplace were very much older than me, but I did have a great roommate, which I am sure was yet another plan by God.
I had arrived three days before my parents were due to go back to Singapore, and they only had one day to tell me where the bus stop to work was, which bus I had to go on, and which stop I had to get off. I remember the first day I waited for the bus home, I sat at the bus stop for almost an hour, shivering in the cold before it finally came. I was in tears when I finally got onto the bus. Living by myself in such a huge place wasn’t an easy task, and I know that I couldn’t have done it without God’s protection and grace. Needless to say, I was clueless about taking a bus to church at first. Maria, my roommate from Portugal, offered to take me to church and even waited for the service to end so that she could take me home after that. She was not a devout Christian, as most people in Portugal are of catholic background or declare themselves to be catholic but have no idea what it means. Maria and I would then go out on weekends and keep each other company…and that meant a lot to me. She was a great blessing to me.
I met Pastor Russ Boone and his wife Tammy. As Los Angeles is considered the entertainment capital of the world, it was hard to find conservative, fundamental Christians, or Christians at all. Bible Baptist Church was a blessing and I knew that God had planned for me to be there. I was really surprised and encouraged that morning when I saw that the service had 8 to 10-year-old kids taking turns to play each hymn. How little it takes for us to serve God sometimes and yet we do not realise it or shun away from serving him just because of our mere selfish pride. The church did not have many young adults and youth like ours did, but every single kid was rendering themselves useful to God. What a joy it must be to be of service to the Lord!
The church and God was my sole support while living overseas by myself. I attended church almost every Sunday, but the one message that really spoke to me was about Pride. Sometimes pride can have such a subtle effect on us that we don’t even realise it. Pride could come in the form of “false modesty” as Uncle Cedric has preached before in one of his messages to us – we think that we are being modest and pretend to be because we think that it is humility, but that is not sincere humility. To get rid of pride in me, I always ask myself this: “Who am I to say that I don’t want to forgive someone when I deserve hell anyway?”, or “Who am I to say that I don’t want to do something for God when I deserve hell anyway?” As Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.
When I realise that I have what I have because of God’s Grace and Mercy, I know not to take anything for granted. Sometimes we think that serving God takes too much of our time, takes too much energy out of us but really…it’s just pride putting these thoughts in our head. Don’t let pride stand in your way of serving our Almighty God!
(Edelweiss Issue 4: October 2011)