This Father’s Day (Jun 21, 2020), three City Harvest Church members share the most powerful lessons they learned from their dads.
“MY DAD TAUGHT ME HOW TO TRUST GOD”
Chervelle Chua, 30, Regional Assistant Marketing Manager
To be honest, in my childhood years, I wasn’t really that close to my father, Eric Chua. I grew up under the care of my aunt as my parents had to work, because our family was struggling financially. Dad was always busy with work so my interactions with him were limited to the weekends. What I remember is that he was a happy-go-lucky person, and he always gave in to me and my sisters.
In 2005, my sisters and I started attending City Harvest. At that time, my parents were staunch Buddhists and they violently objected to us attending church. Some nights, the three of us would secretly pray in the room against the parental objection, and believe for their salvation.
As the years passed, my parents began to accept the reality that nothing was going to stop us from becoming Christians. They also began to notice that going to church made us better people. As they became more open to Christianity, we started to invite them for Big Day services like Christmas and Easter. They would attend service occasionally just to see what we were up to in church, but they were still resistant to the Gospel.
The turning point came in 2013, when my Dad was diagnosed with stage three oral cancer. We invited our parents to join us for Easter service and to our huge surprise, they responded to the altar call. Eight years of sowing and praying for our entire family’s salvation and that day finally came. When my Dad became ill, God miraculously caused his heart to become so open to Him, that our vision of our whole family getting saved came to pass.
That very week after Easter service, my Dad went for major, complicated surgery to remove tumors from his tongue and gums. The surgery lasted 13 hours. The post-op recovery process was extremely painful and challenging for him. Even though he had only received Christ a few days before his surgery, and he knew almost nothing about Jesus, we encouraged him with Bible verses, Christian songs, and we taught him to call upon the name of Jesus whenever he was in pain. He felt a supernatural peace and found the strength to persevere through.
He also experienced the love of Jesus through our cell group friends, leaders, and pastors who came to pray for him. He was extremely touched that all these people showed him so much concern even though he had never met them before. Some of them have now become close family friends.
After his surgery, my Dad was unable to speak for about a week and could only communicate with us through writing. We knew he had encountered the Person of Jesus when he wrote: “Your God is real. I will come to church with you after I recover.” And true enough, when he was discharged, he began attending City Harvest’s Chinese service and he has been on fire for the Lord ever since then.
My Dad has been such a fighter, battling with cancer these last seven years. He has gone through so many complicated surgeries and procedures that we have lost count. Many of them put him in extreme pain that few can bear. He shared with us that sometimes the pain was so excruciating, the thought crossed his mind that it might be better to die.
In 2017, my Dad graduated from the School of Theology. But right after that, he found out he had a relapse again. He had to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and the side effects were so bad that he lost so much weight, he was almost unrecognizable.
His faith has been tested time and again, but yet he has powered on so bravely. Each time we see him after a surgery, he would have tubes all over his body, but he will always show us a thumbs up and smile as best as he can, to let us know that he is all right.
Watching my Dad go through all these struggles these last few years, I have learned so much about courage and not giving up in the face of trials. I know that it has not been easy for him, but he never gives up no matter what life throws at him. Whenever I go through any difficulty or pain now, I think about my Dad and remind myself that he has gone through so much more than all what I’m facing, and if he can overcome his mountains, there’s nothing that I need to be afraid of.
Last year, Dad had another major surgery to remove his voice box, which meant a permanent loss of his ability to speak. It must have been such a difficult decision for him to make, but he still fought on with so much courage and to this day, remains joyful and positive.
I was deeply touched to know that, despite not having a voice box, he still continued to serve in Chinese Service Choir to praise and worship God on stage every weekend. He just wanted to be there to build the atmosphere with his joyful countenance. He has taught me that even if our prayers don’t get answered the way we desire, God is still good and worthy of our praise, and that worship is more than our voices—it’s about our attitude and our heart.
It’s amazing to see my Dad’s transformation from strongly objecting us going to church, to becoming such a pillar of faith in our family today. He’s always encouraging us to pray and to trust God, and he prays for us and our children. Ever since our parents got saved, our family has also grown closer than before. From time to time, we have family prayer meetings together, and we have even gone on mission trips together.
Looking back, God has also been so faithful through it all. Dad has undergone risky and complex surgeries, and it can be really worrying. But we cover him in prayer every single time, and God has protected his life and kept him safe every single time. To me, every birthday we get to celebrate for Dad is a testimony of God’s goodness, and every year we spend together is a year gained.
One of the things that my Dad says to us most often is, “Don’t worry, just pray and trust God.” Now that I’m a mother, like my Dad, I will also remind my child that we can surrender all our fears to God and trust that He will take care of us, no matter what we face.
Even though my son will never have a chance to hear his grandfather speak, and he might wonder why, I will share my Dad’s story with him and remind him of Gong Gong’s fighting spirit and courage. Gong Gong is a fighter and he has gone through so much. Because of that, we can also face our difficulties positively and bravely.
“MY DAD TAUGHT ME TO SERVE GOD”
Lee Yi Lun, 37, City Harvest Church Pastor
I have had a very close relationship with my father, Lee Kiam Hiong, since I was little. All his life, he worked very hard to manage our family business, and later answered God’s call to be an educator.
For as long as I can remember, he would always take the time and effort to come back home to have family dinner with us every night. Over dinner, he would talk to our grandparents and my mom, and through these sessions, my two brothers and I would hear updates about his day, the challenges he faced in business, and the things he needed to do the following day. It is from such conversations that we subconsciously learned how to develop wisdom in relating to others, the importance of clear communication, diligence, integrity, among other life lessons.
My mother would tell me how much my Dad doted on me, their only daughter and oldest child. When I was a toddler, my Dad would drive home during his short one hour lunch break just to check in on me and spend time playing with or carry me.
My Dad was someone who knew who Christ was, but didn’t use to attend church regularly. But everything changed after he attended City Harvest Church in 1998 and rededicated his life to Jesus. His steadfast love and commitment to Jesus has inspired me to do so much more for God.
Prior to, and after my Dad’s retirement, for 16 years, he served as a cell group leader, leading three cell groups and serving as a Board Member on our church’s Board of Directors. He would lead cell group meetings from Wednesday to Friday nights, attend leaders’ meetings on Tuesday night, teach Bible study classes, visit his elderly cell group members to pray for them—all achieved with great support from other cell group members, and his co-leader, my mom.
In order to go deeper in the Word, my Dad enrolled himself in Bible study classes on Monday nights, and he is still doing that today. To my great surprise, I found that in recent years, he was also involved in fellowship meetings held on Saturdays at 6.30am, where members of this Bible study group would gather to pray! At that hour, I’m still happily in bed!
I’m a full-time church worker, but I am humbled by the passion my Dad has for the Lord. The amazing thing is that in the midst of serving the Lord as a leader, seven years ago, my dad underwent an operation to put in two stents in his heart. Praise the Lord, the operation was a great success, and within days, my father went back to serving in ministry again! To God be the glory!
My father is getting on in years, and as a retiree, besides focusing on family, his utmost desire is to serve the Lord and His people. I will never forget the sacrifice and countless meetings he had to attend when he chose to answer the call to be a Board member nine years ago. He said it was a privilege to witness at close range how God guided and blessed our church through some of her most challenging years.
Besides serving the Lord, my father loves his children, our spouses, and six grandchildren very much. He would take time off to stand in the gap—spiritually, emotionally and physically. He would shuttle his grandchildren to and from school and enrichment classes when the need arises. He would bring them for haircuts or doctor’s appointments when we are busy at work. He and my Mom also take time to teach our children principles from the Bible and to help them in their school work.
A few years ago, when I shared with my Dad that my oldest daughter was struggling with mathematics, my Dad immediately took time out to give weekly tuition to her. She is now scoring A in this subject and is looking to get into a good Secondary school next year.
For my husband Eugene and I, who are also parents of three kids, we are learning from my Dad to become parents who are self-sacrificing, family-oriented, and fervent lovers of Jesus!
“MY DAD TAUGHT ME HOW TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS”
Ryan Chaw, 18, Student
I’ve always had a good relationship with my father, Bobby Chaw. We always have fun and laugh together. When I was younger, my father went on overseas missions a lot, but we still had a good relationship. Not much has changed as I grew up. We still joke with each other and talk to each other. He is very supportive of me and I support him as well. As I grow up, I have become more independent but that doesn’t mean that I have distanced myself from him.
My Dad is always very caring and supportive. He will always ask if there’s anything that he can do to help me and I feel touched by that. He’s a great Dad.
He has taught me many lessons and some of them are from the Bible as well—my parents always emphasize my relationship with God. My father likes to teach me things using stories. Be it values or spiritual things, he tells me stories.
My father always tells me that he is proud of me no matter how well I do for my exams. He always tells me to just do my best.
I’m thankful for all the love that he has given me and the precious time that we have spent together. I look forward to spending much more time with him.