Testimony of Roland Chan Boon Kiong.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” - Ephesians 2:8
In Childhood I was taught.
I was born to my Buddhist family and grew up to observe the religious practices of Buddhism. I followed my mother and my uncle to worship Buddha and many gods housed in Chinese and Thai temples. Buddhism teaches its followers to accumulate “karma” in their present life. The process involves doing more good deeds than bad to avoid suffering in the next reincarnated life. I rationalized that in life one is bound to have wrongdoings; so, to offset I had to perform good deeds too. So, I tried to be helpful and kind to others and even do some charity and social work now and then. I comforted myself that my life would end up well should there actually be life after death.
In Adulthood I did it my way.
I worked hard to care for my family and enjoy life. I seemed to be in full control of my life. Indeed, I hardly prayed to Buddha for any guidance except to seek His general blessings.
Then, suddenly, the unexpected happened to me in August 2003. I was then 55 years old. It started with me having a bout of persistent coughing. At the medical check-up I was diagnosed to have lymphoma, a type of cancer in the lymph nodes. My Oncologist told me and my family that my cancer was very aggressive so much so that I had to be hospitalized immediately to start to receive many cycles of in-hospital intravenous chemo treatment.
As the strong chemo drugs killed off my good cells, along with the cancer cells, my immune system was extremely low and caused me to be unable to ward off any virus, bacteria or fungus attacks during the course of my treatment. No visitor was allowed into my room when my immunity was nearly zero. Soon after, in November of the same year my lung was infected by fungus which required me to undergo a daily injection of strong antibiotic for 3 months before I came out of danger.
And, in solitude, I recall.
My world suddenly fell on me like a ton of bricks. No more was I in full control of my life. I was completely helpless. It was then that I recounted the many attempts
made by my closest friends who, with good intentions tried to persuade me to acknowledge and accept Jesus Christ as my Saviour. One of them even left a Bible and a devotional book in my house which I never read until after my conversion. My friends, lovingly and patiently explained to me with reference to passages and verses in the Bible, which is the Word of God how God the Father offered His Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem sinful man for eternal life in Heaven with His crucifixion and death on the cross at Calvary. Sinners who acknowledge Jesus as their Saviour will have their sins forgiven by God and not be condemned to hell when they face the final judgement by God. And as Jesus had conquered death by His resurrection from death after 3 days, those who believe in Him would also receive the gift of eternal life even after their physical death. I remember arguing with my friends that it just could not be so easy to gain entry to heaven without doing good and making all the sacrifices and efforts by ourselves in this life.
My friends started talking about salvation to me as early as in the 1990s. My closest friend who migrated to US, who had converted from Buddhism to Christianity used to talk to me through the night, on the few occasions when I visited him in New York and California during the period 1990-2013.
Frankly, I was not stirred by any biblical doctrines or verses quoted by my friends whenever they talked to me about Christianity as I was blinded to the severity of sin and any need for a saviour in my comfortable life.
I receive the wake up call from above.
One afternoon, in August, I was lying helplessly in the hospital bed, watching the TV which featured a car rally programme. The drivers were racing at very high
speed along the muddy roads around a mountain ridge somewhere in Europe. The commentator described how a split-second mistake made by any driver would result in his car spinning down the deep valley. It struck me how vulnerable life was. In a split second, one could be gone for good. It then suddenly dawned on me that I would be leaving this world for good any moment if my treatment should fail. At that thoughtful moment, I came to realise that my life was so vulnerable and was not within my own control. How then can I finish my life well by my own effort? I then realised I needed the help of divine power to get me through to a good finish in my life for all my wrongdoings. I was led to recall what my good friends had been talking to me, in the past, about Jesus the Saviour made sense to me. My heart somehow was stirred to acknowledge and accept Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour. I surrendered my life to Him as my Lord. Strangely, a close Christian friend rang my mobile at that very moment as if he was asked by God to check on me. I asked him to come to the hospital that evening to lead me to Christ. That evening, I wept in the hospital as I heard for the first time my friend's praying for God to forgive me of all my sins and for Jesus to fill my heart with His peace and grace. For the first time in my life, I experienced incomprehensible peace in my heart.
Despite my cynicism about the grace of God in my early life, He remained faithful to me and was in full control of my healing process all through the 5 – 6 months I was hospitalized and successfully treated. God was merciful and gracious to me. Then, in January 2004, He decided that it was time for me to be home with my family. After reading the result of my PET Scan, my Oncologist told me that the state of my lymphoma was under total remission. Although my cancer was under total remission, my Oncologist had warned me that I still faced a high chance of relapse during the initial period of 5 -10 years.
As I reflect. I humbly share with you.
Reflecting on my near-death experience, I often told my friends that I was walking towards the gate of hell when my Lord Jesus Christ stretched out His right hand to grab me away and gave me a new life. My renewed life has given me and my family much joy as one after another of my family members also came to accept Jesus as their Saviour and Lord.
“Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you” -1Peter 5:7
However, having been in Christ, I learnt to cast all my anxieties to God as I claim upon His promises. 1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. As such, I went on to live my new lease of life to the full. Having come to peace with God our Creator is so wonderful. I felt at peace always even when my health was pretty unstable during the initial period of my recovery. Every part of my body was weakened by the very high dosage of chemo I had gone through. But I am not fearful of death anymore. I later came to know from the Bible that death has no more sting to a Christian as Jesus has already conquered death by His resurrection. Those who accept Jesus as their personal Saviour are destined to live eternally in heaven after their term on earth.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:7
Though 17 years have passed since my recovery from cancer, the unspeakable peace that I have in my heart is still there regardless of any situation I encounter in my life. This is what the Bible says. Phil. 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. This peace comes from the security I have in trusting Jesus the Son of the Almighty God who is in full control of everything in the universe. I know that my life is in the hands of Jesus who loves me so much that He even gave His own life to die on the cross to save me from eternal condemnation.
“For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.” - 2 Corinthians 13:9
From the day I was discharged from the hospital, I resolved to live life to the full with my renewed life given by my God. I prayed for God to strengthen my spiritual and physical body and He gave me life abundant. I experienced God's restoration of my strength and His wonderful grace so much so that I was eager to serve Him and to bring glory to Him. 2 Cor. 13:9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.
I leave with you
I believe many people think that life is very much under their control. You can always work for and achieve what you want in life yourself. And you don’t do wicked things in your life and do charity work at times. You may ask: Why then do I need God to come into my life? This was very much how I felt too before I became a Christian. But is this what life is all about?
So, I hope my testimony will prompt you to think about the need to acknowledge Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord. And when you decide to do so, I can assure you that you too will enjoy the inexplicable peace in your heart like I do. The peace that is based on the assurance that your sins have been forgiven because Jesus Christ has already paid for your sins by dying on the Cross for you. The peace of knowing that Jesus is your Lord who is in control of all things around you and you are destined to eternal heavenly life with Him after your journey on earth.
The blessed privilege to serve our Lord.
Having experienced the grace, mercy and love of God in my life, I was moved to serve God’s purpose for the renewed life and strength He has given me. I sought my pastor’s guidance on how and where I could serve God soon after my baptism in my church. I even took an online survey to find out what are my spiritual gifts. I was told that I could serve as a volunteer in the Ling Kwang Home for Senior Citizens (LKH) which conducts twice-a week English devotion to a group of Residents as a way to bring the good news to them. I encourage you to volunteer your service and reach out to the elderly whilst there is still time. There are many institutions for the elderly, crying out for volunteers and there is also our S.A.L.T. Ministry. Who can better bring the elderly to faith than the other elderly people! In an addendum below is a brief insight into some of the services rendered by the LKH Devotion Ministry to the Residents.
Addendum to Testimony:
A brief insight into some of the services rendered by the LKH Devotion Ministry to Residents of the Home.
The LKH English speaking Devotion Ministry was set up about 35 years ago by my church, Zion Serangoon Bible-Presbyterian as an outreach arm to befriend and evangelise to the residents of LKH. A small group of pioneers answered God’s calling to volunteer as befrienders to the residents soon after the Home was established. They started the English devotion service in the Home to bring the Gospel to the residents.
By God’s grace and providence, this Ministry has since continued to hold regular English devotions in the Home every Tuesday and Friday. The number of volunteers and residents in this devotion group grew over the years. There are now more than 90 residents in the group and 60 – 70 of them are able to attend the devotion each time.
A group of 25 volunteers led by our pastor serve in the LKH English Devotion Ministry. Besides our own church members in the Senior Adult Ministry, some brothers and sisters from other churches have also come to join the group. Together they provide spiritual support, care and friendship to the group of LKH residents who attend the English devotion. The devotion conducted every Tuesday and Friday from 9am to 10.30am consist of worship in songs and hymns followed by the preaching of God’s word.
Over the years, many of the elderly LKH residents in this group have gone Home to be with the Lord and there have been new admissions. Devotional messages are given by our Pastor and some Elders and members from the church. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, many of the residents in this group have accepted Christ over the years. They were taken through a catechism lesson before being baptized in our church. Another group of younger volunteers was formed by the church to wheel residents medically confined to wheel-chairs for mobility to attend our weekly Lord’s Day Service.
Besides conducting devotions, monthly birthday celebrations are held for this group of LKH residents every first Friday of the month. The volunteers also celebrate Christmas and Chinese New Year with these residents to bring joy to them during these festive periods.
With the support of LKH management, the volunteers also organize up to 8 outings a year for the LKH residents. The outings are either visits to places of interests (e.g. Singapore Zoo, Bird Park, Singapore Flyer, River Safari, SEA Aquarium @Sentosa, Changi Airport, Singapore Discovery Centre); or, shopping trips (FairPrice or Giant Stores) to various shopping malls. Outings are from 9am to 1.30pm ending with lunch at the place of outing. Each outing involves 15 LKH residents who are accompanied by 15 volunteer helpers and 3 nursing/rehabilitative LKH staff.
The indescribable joy of serving God and the gratitude to Jesus for His marvelous love and sacrifice for me and all our volunteers has kept every one of us going year after year.
Testimony posted on 2 May 2020.