How one woman was led by God to leave behind an empty existence of parties and drinking and start a new life of worship.
Most people occupy themselves with their smartphones or iPods when they are commuting, but not Vivienne Leaw.
“I take the MRT and public buses all the time, and I stay all the way in Pasir Ris (the far Eastern end of Singapore), so I’d always be waiting for a feeder bus home after work everyday. Sometimes I’d say to God, ‘Since the bus is taking so long, why don’t You walk me home from the bus stop?’”
And thus, the 30something financial planner would walk home with God every night. One particular night as she was walking home, a thought came to her—how nice if each time God walked her home, she could sing Him a song.
It was during a women’s meeting at City Harvest Church later on that she felt the presence of God so strongly that she reached home shaking from the encounter. As she sat down with her harp, the lyrics and melody of a song came to her.
That was how Walk Me Home, Leaw’s debut album, came to be. Comprising four worship tracks with the harp, it was produced through WOWmic, a subset of the women’s ministry led by Susan Dunn, wife of CHC USA founder Derek Dunn.
The initial idea was to upload a raw recording onto YouTube, but her friends in the women’s ministry suggested an album instead. They helped to designing the artwork and produce the album, and it was released late last December.
Party Girl Turns to Christ
In 1996, after successfully applying to be an air stewardess with Singapore Airlines, Leaw moved to Singapore from Malaysia at age 18. Born in Kuala Lumpur and raised in Klang, Leaw came from a big family of six children. It was the feeling of being cramped into a house with so many people that developed in her a wanderlust to escape and see the world.
“Becoming an air stewardess was a dream for many girls and I was just like them. I wanted to be associated with that lifestyle,” Leaw recalls.
Her introduction to God came in 1998. Jetlagged and unable to sleep in Sydney, a bored. Leaw tried to kill time by opening all the drawers in the hotel room, chancing upon a copy of a Gideon’s Bible. Curiosity got the better of her and she flipped through the pages, only to chuck it aside after failing to find pictures in it. She was also not able to understand the Elizabethan English text.
The next day was nothing short of coincidence when she overheard two colleagues talking. One of them was asking the exact same question on her mind: how does one read the Bible? The other person replied that one must pray and God will reveal His Word.
This came to her mind on her next Sydney trip when she could not sleep again. This time, she tried praying before attempting to read the Bible, yet to no avail. She chucked the Bible aside, disappointed again. When she was clearing the cabin another day, she found an item left behind by a passenger—it was none other than the Bible.
It struck her at that moment that the God of the Bible was unlike the idols she had prayed to while growing up; this was a God who seemed to talk back. Nonetheless, she pinned it down to coincidence, put the Bible into her cabin bag and pushed the episode out of her mind.
Time passed. After eight years of flying Leaw started to feel empty on the inside, growing increasingly depressed. Every other day she would do drinking and partying. Along with the feelings of emptiness came a longing for music; as a child, she had learned to play the piano, and something within compelled her to start making music again.
Yet she felt helpless, not knowing how to leave the lifestyle she was in.
During one flight, a first class passenger randomly gave her a book, A Way Of Escape by Rony Tan. Thinking it was a man’s book, she gave it no thought before chucking it into her cabin bag, alongside the Bible, unread. It was only in Auckland, New Zealand, when she was feeling particularly depressed, that she decided to clear her cabin bag. The moment she laid eyes on the two books, she decided to start reading.
From the first to the last page of A Way Of Escape, Leaw found herself crying unstoppably, the words on the pages resonating with her own downward spiral into emptiness. And then she opened the Bible, and realised that it was not as obscure as she previously thought.
Soon after, she texted a friend, Tee Wai Wai, telling her that she wanted to accept Christ. The year was 2008, when she finally answered the knocking of God on the door of heart.
Tee, who eventually became her current cell group leader at City Harvest Church, had been acquainted with Leaw when both joined the airline at the same time. However, they never really connected with each other until after Tee quit flying.
“She was like the Moses in my life. I wanted to quit the airline so desperately, just like she had managed to. I asked her how, and she said ‘God led me out’. Wai Wai led me out of my Egypt. And when I got out of Eygpt, that’s when I met Susan [Dunn], my Joshua who led me into my promised land.”
Dunn, a successful financial planner with her own agency, introduced Leaw to a new career in financial planning, and thus began a new chapter in her life. Her new job also gave her the flexibility to make music a part of her life again.
This time though, it wasn’t the piano. In one of her encounters with God, she received an impression to pick up the harp. “I had no idea where or how to get a harp or a harp teacher. And why, of all instruments, a harp?” After doing some research on Google, she managed to contact a famous harpist who introduced her to her current teacher.
“Through all of my experiences with Him, I learned to have an intimate walk with God, and I hope my music can minister to all the women out there and spur them on develop that same intimacy. That’s what I really hope to achieve,” says Leaw.
Walk Me Home is available at The Ink Room for $10.