In this season of the return to Church Without Walls, members of City Harvest Church have been sharing powerful testimonies on how the initiative has helped them. In this testimony which the church heard on 28-29 August, Jeffrey Ho shares how he went from a life of gang fights and prison to dedicating his life to Jesus.
“From the time I was young, I was a very angry and violent person. Maybe this was because my relationship with my father wasn’t very good. I was often beaten by him for poor results in my studies or for misbehaving.
“In school, I was also not well-liked. I was bullied and laughed at for being fat. My teachers also did things like hitting my head with a pencil or slapping me up to 10 times. Even when I did well in maths, I was accused of copying.
“So, to protect myself, I joined a gang. I started smoking and drinking excessively. I tried to scare people by being fierce. But deep in my heart, I wanted others to like me.”
MY LIFE DID NOT CHANGE AFTER COMING TO CHURCH
“Because of drugs and house-breaking, I went in and out of prison. One day, I came to know (CHC member) Jia Le and he invited me to Emerge at City Harvest Church. Jia Le and his cell group members were very faithful in reaching out to me. They checked up on me often by phone and came to my house to wake me up to go to church.
“But as a gangster, I still got into fight after fight. Many of these were violent, involving breaking windows and property. But after each fight, my pastoral supervisor Lin Ming Jing would ask me to repent and pray to Jesus, which I did. Yet, somehow, I kept getting into trouble.
“I couldn’t keep a steady job. So I worked as a bookie and a runner for loan sharks. I made good money but I was taking drugs daily for almost three years. Even though I was high, deep inside was I very depressed.
“Soon, I ran away to Taiwan and joined an illegal gang. I was always on drugs and I was a very angry man. My ambition was to come home to Singapore one day and kill the two people I hated because I blamed them for all the problems in my life.”
FINDING GOD AGAIN
“Once, I was locked up in the Taiwan Detention Center. In the prison there, you have to pay for your own food. One officer pitied me and gave me 300 Taiwan dollars. He told me in Chinese ― “我只可以帮你那么多,你自己保重.” (‘I can only help you so much, you have to look after yourself.’) I spent 10 Taiwan dollars to buy white rice. Then suddenly, I was reminded of the Hokkien saying: lim peh choon xi mai jia bi, meaning I would rather die than eat rice. But here I was eating white rice. That night, I broke down and cried because I felt so useless. I felt like a total failure.
“When I opened up my Bible, I saw Job 6:6, ‘Can flavourless food be eaten without salt? Or is there any taste in the white of an egg?’ When I read this, and I thought of the tasteless white rice that I ate, I cried even more. I couldn’t control my tears. The pain was so great, and I knew that I deserved all this because I was unfaithful to God.
“Feeling hopeless and suicidal, I waited for everyone to sleep. I wanted to use a towel to snap my neck. Just then, my hands became totally jelly-like. I felt the presence of God and I cried even more.
“In the Taiwan Detention Centre, I didn’t know when I would be released. One afternoon, an officer called my name and said, ‘Today, you are going home to Singapore.’ When I reached Singapore, I felt an unexpected peace. It was like what the Bible says: a peace that surpasses all understanding.
REDEDICATING MY LIFE TO GOD
“Two days later, Spenser from Ming Jing’s zone invited me to the Easter Service at CHC. God’s love was overflowing in the place. I cried during the drama. It was about a mother-son relationship, and I had a very bad relationship with my mum. The sermon that day was on hope and at the end of the service, I rededicated my life to Jesus.
“This time, as I gave my life fully to God, the Holy Spirit helped me to cut away all the vices. I learnt to depend on the Lord, and it wasn’t easy. But God’s grace was sufficient for me. Two years later, I went to Bible school, and I grew and enjoyed myself so much in the Word and the Spirit. Today, I have a stable job. I am so thankful that Jesus gave me another chance to live.
“I am now serving in the JAMs Church, helping people in need. When I look back at my life, I really want to give God glory. If God can change someone like me, God can change anybody.”