(Life Bible-Presbyterian Church Weekly Vol. III No. 15, commentary Rev. Timothy Tow)

I was called to speak at Tabernacle BPC’s 7th Anniversary last Lord’s Day. There I was given a souvenir magazine in which was a testimony of Dorcas Ang Lai Kheng. This is another eye-opener to me, so I have it reprinted here for your edification:

“I grew up in a typical 70’s kampong with temples and gods aplenty. I remembered being quite ‘religious’ since a tender age, and would often be entrusted with the job of burning joss paper, because I would do it most reverently, unlike my other more playful siblings. I enjoyed the smell of burning incense. We were all one big extended family living under the same roof, and my great grandmother, the matriarch of the household, was extremely superstitious, so were my uncles, aunts, cousins and all my neighbours.

“When a cousin was murdered, they managed to call his ‘spirit’ back. The sick would go to the temple medium, not the doctor, and would always be cured, or so they reported. Thus, I was suitably impressed, and amidst all this idolatry, I never once doubted my belief. In Primary 6, a friend tried preaching to me. But I was frightened when she mentioned the blood of Jesus. I immediately rejected the message and the messenger.

“But the Lord had His own timing. I was supposed to go to River Valley Secondary School, but eager to be with familiar faces, I chose Crescent Girls’ instead. There, I met Victoria. Her brother brought her to church, and she in turn invited some of her classmates. I was curious and asked to join them. I attended the meetings regularly. One day, almost a year later, the Lord touched my heart and I realised my own sinfulness and accepted Him as my Saviour. I was baptised a few months later and there was no turning back. I met parental objections, uncles’ and aunts’ ridicule, and pressure from others to conform. But I thank God for His strength, grace and mercy that preserved me through those initial difficult years. From wanting to attend Sunday service and Baptism, refusing to take food offered to idols, and refusing to partake in the religious ceremonies. I had many stormy sessions with my parents.

“I remembered after one particular such session when I almost wanted to give up my new-found precious faith. My father, who had always had gastric problems, was so angry, hurt and disappointed over my refusal to give up Christ that he vomited and was in severe pain. I could hardly bear with my Mum’s cold shoulder and my brothers’ and sisters’ accusation of my lack of filial piety. I was paralysed with fear and guilt. I was so afraid I might lose my Dad forever. Countless times I went to his room to see that he was well. Once I thought he was not breathing and I went numb. It was a night of turmoil. I debated with myself if it was wise to continue to upset him. Can’t I just wait, postpone my belief, till a few more years later?

“Thank the Lord. He knows the measure of testing we can endure. The next day, my Dad told me first thing in the morning that I could go to Church on Sunday and henceforth. More than a decade had passed since that night, but I had never asked him what caused him to change his mind. But surely it was the Lord’s doing, and marvellous in our eyes.

“I always had to eat bread or biscuits on the first and fifteenth of the month in the Lunar Calendar. Food, glorious food, was a real temptation. Then one Mid Autumn Festival, Dad came home with two pomelos, a big and a small one. The big one he put on the altar, and the small one he gave to me. That was the beginning of the ‘big and small’ affair in my home. One big plate of steamed prawns in the centre, and one small plate in the corner, my corner. From rice to vegetables to meat and even fruits, Dad and Mum painstakingly separated them into big portions for their offering, and small ones for my consumption. I thank God for His marvellous kindness and for such loving parents. I can only pray that they will come to trust in the Lord quickly, to accept Him as their own personal Saviour…”

Commentary: In the light of what I’ve written on the power of Baptism against heathens in my Counselling book, you will notice that as a result of Dorcas taking a stand through baptism, her father yielded and let her attend church. Realising that she belonged to Jesus, they reserved a small portion of the family’s food for her exclusively, not being offered first to the idols on the 1st and 15th of the Moon. If you are not baptised for the fear of parental objection, this testimony should strengthen you to stand up for Christ.