Investing for the Future
11 June 2028
Gosh! It’s so exciting to be starting off a new diary. I’ve always wanted to do this, but found myself just too lazy to start. But, I’m finally doing it. I think this will be the start of a new and interesting journey.
It’s not easy having a doctor pastor as a father. There’re so many expectations being thrown at you. But ultimately, I believe that God does have a greater purpose for me and I want to celebrate that. So I commit this journal now to record each day of my life, how it has been and the things that God has done for me.
God, I’m really eager to see where you take me.
Lead me on, God!
12 September 2028
I am truly wondering if I have made the right choice in coming to university to do Medicine. It’s really killing me. All these weekly tutorials and lectures are really starting to wear me down. I am so far behind in my studies and revisions. I truly need to catch up.
But right now, I think there is a far greater thing that is bogging me down and that is the apathy of the people around me towards the world. I do believe that God has such a far greater purpose for this world, but so many people just take things for granted. I really feel so lonely on this journey here in Uni.
God, if you are hearing this, would you grant me someone to walk with? I really do not want to walk this journey alone. I do not want to be the only one standing for You and your creation here in Uni. I have no problem expressing your faith, hope and love in church, but over here, things are just so different. I truly feel so alone.
14 September 2028
I am feeling down in the dumps again today. I feel so drained today after having a conversation with this guy who is doing medicine as well. His name was Damian, I think. What he said really distressed me and made me feel really uncomfortable.
Our conversation began with the usual introduction and smiles. Then we kinda went on to talk about the assignment essay. He wrote on the topic of obesity, and I was curious to hear his take on things. In the conversation, he made a remark that obese people should just be allowed to die from coronary heart diseases as they brought on the problem themselves. I asked him about the roles of genetics but he brushed that aside and insisted that their attitudes were the prime cause of their problems and that they should suffer for it.
He also did not seem to be concerned at all about how this city would turn out in the future and pointed out how selfishly people were living out their lives, going about in their lives running their own businesses and piling up wealth for themselves and then binging themselves to death. He said that there was no point in helping people who would not help themselves and there was no brighter future ahead for this city. It also appeared that he would like to leave Melbourne once he graduated.
How can he say such things? It’s just awful, really, especially for one who aspires to become a doctor. I really think that it isn’t their fault that they become obese. Well, perhaps some do overeat and underexercise, but still I don’t think that we should just “let them die of heart disease”. And just because they enjoy food too much doesn’t mean that they don’t suffer enough for it, with all the social stigmas and negative stereotyping being hurled against them. I really want to help these people, bringing God’s grace into their lives and leading them to live a more wholesome life than pursuing their own pleasures. They really deserve a second chance.
Ah! What a terrible person he is! I really hope I don’t talk to him ever again. It’s so depressing.
But then, God, you know what, the thing that stung me most was the fact that there is truth in what he said. Really God, many obese people do bring their problems upon themselves. So, why bother to help people who won’t help themselves? Why am I obligated to do such things? Is it really worth my time and effort? I am just so confused now. God, I really wish you would give me someone that can affirm me on my journey in bringing life to the people around me. Grant me guidance, Lord, I pray.
16 September 2028
It would appear that today would be a mundane and uneventful day had it not been for this one crazy thing that I think the Spirit prompted me to do.
I met up with Damian again during practical session today. Not wanting the conversation to go down the depressing pathway that I had experienced earlier, I tried to keep the conversation at the level of daily life stuff and work around university. Yes, it was better to keep the conversation going that way. It was less awkward that way.
However, halfway through, the thought about the dialogue that we had the other day kept tugging at me. I felt the desire to prod deeper into the issue to discover why he was so passionate about the obesity issue. I was quite sure that I was in for it, that I would probably get frustrated again at the end of the conversation. Nevertheless, it was still worth a shot.
So I asked him why was he so passionate about the obesity issue. He replied that it was because he felt so annoyed at how people in first world countries were enjoying themselves and stuffing themselves to death while so many other people around the world were suffering and dying from lack of food. His reply took me aback. I did not expect that to come from him, someone whom I presumed to be cynical and uncaring.
I felt an urge to dig deeper into his life, so I asked him more about his passion. I was in for a real treat. He started off by telling me how back home in Taiwan one night, he watched the news on television about people who died in a tsunami. And he contrasted that with the fact that he was lying there comfortably in bed watching television. The thought struck him that he really should live his life for something worthwhile rather than dwelling in a meaningless existence.
He is also dissatisfied with the Western capitalist system, how people were amassing wealth for themselves and competing for power and prestige. Therefore, he really feels that people in first world countries are living too comfortable lives and thus he wants to work with people who are unable to fend for themselves in the poorer nations. He wants to become a doctor so that he can treat and care for people in those countries.
I am so amazed at his response. I’ve yet to meet anyone in university who is so passionate about helping people in the poorer countries of the world. Many other course mates I’ve talked to want to become a doctor for the few “classical” reasons, i.e. to earn money or gain greater prestige. He truly is someone different.
As the conversation progressed, I had this thought of suddenly speaking something strange into his life. I could sense a nudge that prompted me to say a particular thing that I wasn’t so comfortable saying. I pondered about it, and tried to suppress it but it just kept coming back. Finally, I relented and decided to give it a go and let the Spirit to lead me.
“Hey, I think you’d do well with Jesus,” I told him. Oh no, there goes the conversation and the possible friendship! He’ll think I’m some kind of freak.
I waited for the “inevitable” rejection and contempt. Again, I was wrong.
“Well, I don’t know about that. But I do know that we should all love the God’s creations.”
“Then have you ever thought about going to church then?”
“Well, I have been to quite a number of different churches, but I stopped going. It’s just that people in church are so hypocritical. And so many people in church are so concerned about themselves that they don’t really show love for other people around them.”
Yes, that is so true. There are so many people in “church” that are concerned only about themselves and their own lives that they have no space for others, including myself sometimes. Although we are called to show grace to people, we get caught up with our own desires and ambitions. I can really relate to what he feels about the church.
I think that today, God has really shown me how wrong it is to judge someone by their outward appearance. Behind the outward cynicism or apathy that people display, there is inevitably a deeper story behind the way they act or behave. I am not sure if it was really the Spirit that led me to say the things that I did to him, but I’m really glad that I did. It opened up the opportunity to share in the richness and beauty of Damian’s life journey.
Thank you so much for that, Lord.
21 September 2028
Today I decided to invite Damian to Life* Expedition. I really want him to discover more of the richness of God’s promises for his life and to be grounded in the faith of Christ so that he will have the foundations to push through to pursuing his vision for his life and not getting ground up by the systems of the world, and to have the leadership of the Spirit in his life. I can see so much potential in him and I really want to see him develop and grow into a powerful man of God. Admittedly, I am quite frustrated with the traditional way church is “run” because it has really killed his interest in Christianity. I really think that it will be a hard battle to re-establish his trust towards the ways of Jesus and the leadership of the Spirit, but then again nothing is impossible for God. I believe that God wants to do something amazing in his life.
The opportunity came when I met up with him just before the lecture was about to begin. I sat beside him in the lecture theatre. I was kind of nervous about asking him to church, as he might turn down my request in light of his apparent cynicism towards it. Yet, in light of what I have already discovered last week, I think I should just do it and leave the rest to God. Oh dear, I make it sound as though God’s job is to clean up my mess. But, I’m sure He would be happy to do so.
“Hey, Damian. Erm…I was just thinking. Would you like to try something exciting?”
“Something exciting? What’s that?”
“Would you like to go on an exciting journey in life?”
“And what journey would that be?”
“Erm…a journey to discover the life of Christ, a whole new way of living that is above the current systems that we have.”
“Oh really? Does that mean you want to invite me to church?”
Oh dear, how do I proceed now?
“Erm…yes. I would like to invite you to church. Look, I know that we have not got everything together yet, but I do believe that we are all on this journey together and we are all learning to live out the ways of Christ. So, I really apologise for the ways that the churches that you’ve visited in the past have shaped your perspectives of Christianity, but true Christianity is really not the way you think it is. And I really want to invite you to discover for yourself the ways that Christ has taught us to live.”
“Hmm…well. Why not? I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to check it out.”
Phew…okay. That wasn’t too tough. Praise God for that. I am really excited for him, to see where God would lead him in this journey of discovering Him.
Lord, I really pray that you will open his heart to receive your Words and your Spirit. I can sense that there is potential in him, that you can use him mightily for your glory. Would you teach him your ways that he might be grounded firm in you and bring life to those people in third world countries.
In Jesus name. Amen.
27 September 2028
Strangely, today I feel that God is nudging me to invest into Damian’s life. After visiting our community, he still has suspicions about the people at Life* Expedition and he still isn’t too sure about following Christ just yet. But I think with time, God can make the seeds that has been planted in him grow.
I think that God is calling me to disciple Damian and to lead him spiritually. It would be a great task for me and it would undoubtedly consume a lot of my time and effort but if Damian grows up to be a strong man of God and becomes a blessing to others, then I would willingly lay down my life for that cause.
But still, I am not really sure. I don’t know if I would be able to handle the responsibilities that it entails. What if I misrepresent Christ in some way that reflects poorly on God, causing Damian to stray from His ways? Oh no, I wouldn’t want that to happen. I really don’t want God’s name to be tarnished. I want to bring glory to Him.
I think I need more time to think this through. Maybe it’s just a crazy idea. Yes, I need more clarity on this issue. I’ve never really discipled anyone before. I don’t think I’m ready for it.
Ah! It’s just so difficult. Lord, would you give me clarity and assurance that I can undertake this task.
30 September 2028
I’ve talked to my dad about the thing that God has put in my heart. Since he’s the pastor of Life* Expedition, I reckoned that he’d know what to do. He encouraged me to take the challenge on and to pursue the vision that God has given me. Speaking from experience, he said that when I dare to take the step of faith to pursue it, God will open up whole new opportunities and new discoveries for me and that it would enrich my faith in Him. He also added that God wouldn’t give me something that He doesn’t think that I can handle. I still had reservations about it and all kinds of negative thoughts were flying through my mind. But after praying with him, I had the peace to think things through.
And you know what, diary, I think that my dad’s right. I think I should pursue the vision that God has given me. I really do see God’s promises for Damian’s life and I really do believe that God wants to do something in him. And it’s true that God won’t give me more than I can chew, so He must think that I’m able to handle this (with His strength and wisdom of course).
Yes, I really want to go on an exciting journey myself. I really want to see where God leads me in this. Alright God, from today onwards I shall guide Damian on his journey to discovering You. Perhaps tomorrow, I shall start by inviting him to join my house church. And perhaps even Life* 101. I’m sure my dad would be delighted to have him around.
Oh, this is so exciting. I really want to see where God takes me.
15 January 2029
I really don’t know if I’m making any progress at all with Damian. It’s been nearly 4 months now and it still doesn’t appear to me that he has had any significant changes in his walk with God. I’ve brought him for house church and Life* 101, but it seems that he still feels self-sufficient and says that he doesn’t need to follow God’s ways in his life in order to pursue his vision of healing the sick in Africa.
Really, God, am I investing in the right thing? I am not quite sure whether I am able to have the same faith that I once had when I started to invest in his life. Somehow I just feel that I’ve gone down the wrong path. I’ve tried talking to him, doing Bible studies with him, sharing my personal convictions with him and even referred him to certain people in the community whom I think share his passion. But I just feel that I’m getting nowhere. If God does want me to tread down this path, then why is He taking so long to respond and bring results?
I think I’m on the verge of giving up. I really don’t think I can take this anymore. God, forgive me for thinking like this, but it’s just so hard to go on. I’m really sorry, God. I’m really sorry.
18 January 2029
I’ve shared my burden with dad again today. I told him everything that has been troubling me and how I am on the verge of giving up. He told me this story about a friend who related to him how she once did not believe in the power and ways of Christ although she went to church. Her shepherd kept pursuing her despite her stubbornness, and hard-heartedness until one day, she had a powerful encounter with God that changed her life forever. She really thanked her shepherd for having faith in her and trusting her enough to invest his life into hers. Without that, she would never have discovered the beauty and the richness of following Christ.
The story really touched me and I broke into tears. In a sense, it was refreshing to let my pent-up emotions all out. After praying with dad for half an hour, I felt really uplifted.
Yes, I want to pursue Damian just as how the good shepherd pursued the girl in dad’s story. I want to pursue Damian as how the Good Shepherd pursues His lost sheep. Things will turn out well in the end. They will. God will use everything that I have put into Damian’s life for His glory. He will see something different in God’s ways and he will want to follow Him.
I have the faith to push on again towards the vision that God has for me for Damian’s life. I will press on, and I will overcome. Thanks so much, dad. Thanks so much, Dad!
15 April 2029
It’s the mid-semester break. Damian has returned to his home in Taiwan. I’m sure he must feel relieved that he no longer has to hear my pestering voice calling him up to see how he’s doing and inviting him over for church activities, at least until the holidays are over in two weeks time.
Just before he left, I reminded him seek out a church community back home or even a cell group, to which he gave me lukewarm responses.
Oh dear, I do hope he’s alright after the two weeks are over. I do hope that he doesn’t lose whatever God has revealed to him here in Melbourne (if any at all). I do hope that his parents not kill me for doing this. Also, I do hope that he doesn’t shun or avoid me when he returns here, especially after talking things through with his parents and his friends back home.
Ah! There’re just so many things to think about. But there’s no point worrying right, Amelia, so why don’t you just let things go and enjoy the holidays. Yes, yes, that’s right. Calm down, Amelia! You can do this. I shouldn’t worry too much. I shall leave everything to God’s hands and pray hard that things will be alright after the holidays.
Lord, I do pray that things WILL be alright.
9 May 2029
Oh dear, oh dear diary!
I wonder if things are alright with Damian. He has missed lectures for a week now. I’ve tried contacting him, but to no avail. I’ve sent 10 emails to him since the start of the holidays asking him if he’s alright, but he didn’t reply a single one of them. I do pray that nothing bad has happened to him. I hope that I didn’t do anything to offend him. I hope that he didn’t get kidnapped, or worse got involved in a car accident or, or maybe…a plane crash! NO!
Ah! God! What happened to him?
Lord, please, keep him safe wherever he is and whatever situation he may be facing.
15 May 2029
I don’t know how to put to words the anguish and sadness that I am feeling now. I just learned today that Damian dropped off from medicine over the holidays.
I feel sad that our parting was so abrupt and that within two weeks, things have changed so much. More than that, I can’t help but feel that I have failed to bring a greater purpose and conviction into his life. All my time and effort that I have invested into his life are simply wasted. I feel so much like a failure.
Perhaps if I’ve tried harder things would be different. Perhaps if I had pursued him more aggressively I could have provoked a greater change within him.
I really don’t know what else to say.
I’m really sorry, Lord. I’ve failed you. Forgive me, Lord.
18 May 2029
I suppose it’s time to move on. I’ve been grieving long enough for the loss of a friend. But I think that God has more things in store for me. Perhaps I should have expected such things to happen when I started out to pursue this vision.
I spent an hour today crying and pouring my heart out to God. At the end of it, He once again gave me the peace of mind and rest for my weary soul. I think I can learn something from this that things don’t always turn out the way I expect them to be.
Lord, I thank you for this experience, painful though it may be, that you have taught me to trust in You. I really don’t know many things, but Lord I do know that You are in control of all things and I want to commit all myself into Your hands. I want to trust in You with all my heart and all my soul. Lord, would you renew my strength today and grant me new vision and direction for my life.
I pray these things in Your Son’s most precious name, Lord. Amen.
14 April 2031
This new role as OCF president is not easy at all. There’re just so many responsibilities to handle. On top of that, I have my studies to think about. I really need to learn to manage my priorities better.
The committee asked me to speak at the coming OCF gathering later on this week. I really don’t know what to talk about. Oh dear, I feel so unprepared for this. Perhaps I should ask dad about this. I’m sure he would have some idea of what I should be “preaching” on.
Lord, would you reveal to me Your heart. And would You think thoughts to me that I might deliver Your words of conviction to Your people.
17 April 2031
I can’t believe what happened today! I received a letter from Africa. And guess who was the sender – it was none other than Damian himself!
I shall attach this letter here that you might have a read of it.
It’s me, Damian. Do you still remember me? Just in case you’ve forgotten, I’m the one whom you have been discipling two years ago.
How are you doing over there in Melbourne? I do hope that you are not overwhelmed by studies and your commitments to church.
First of all, you have my deepest apologies for not contacting you for so long. You might be wondering about the reason that I left medicine in Melbourne. When I went back to Taiwan that time, I had a good reflection about the things that I have learned in Melbourne. As I was praying and reflecting one night, God spoke to me and touched me deeply. I thought about how insecure my life was, how it was filled with bitterness and unforgiveness towards others. I thought about the many times that I’ve failed miserably in my life and the countless hours I’ve spent wasting my life away in meaningless activities to drown my fears and anxieties. The thought of God being able to give me a new purpose and a new vision for my life and to take away my fears and insecurities in life simply overwhelmed me. The beauty of the ways of Christ of laying down my life for other people helped me see a life that is lived to the fullest. That night, I made the choice to embrace God’s love and promises to me and made a pledge to follow Christ.
That same night, God called me to follow Him to Africa to pursue the vision that I’ve always dreamed about. Initially I was not very sure about it, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt that this was my chance. I packed my bags and left that night to a local mission organisation that I came to know through a friend the night before. And sure enough, they told me that they had one place open and welcomed me on board. I’m enjoying my time here in Africa, providing relief and aid for families and more importantly, educating them and teaching them the gospel of the Kingdom. I’ve learned a lot here in Africa, and I’d love to share my experiences with you when I visit Melbourne next year. But one thing’s for sure, it’s truly liberating to be living in the purposes and promises of God for this earth and for mankind.
I truly thank you for not giving up on me, Amelia. I know that I have been hard-hearted and obstinate. I’m truly sorry for that. Truly I cannot thank you enough for the much sweat, tears and prayers that you’ve poured into my life. It has truly made all the difference in my entire life.
I really miss you, Amelia and I do hope to see you again soon. I really hope to hear of the things that God has done in your life as well. But until then, may God continue to grant you more and more peace, love and joy always.
After all this while, God has been working in Damian’s life, calling him to a new way of living. It seems that the seeds that I have planted finally bore fruit after all.
I’m really happy for him, that he has found an enriching life in Africa. I truly thank you Lord for giving me the strength to press on and not give up on him. I can now see that when I step out in faith, God will work wonders and take me to places that I’ve never been before, just as dad had told me. It was truly a worthwhile investment for my life and I truly praise God for the opportunity to invest and lay down my life for Damian.
Thank you so much, Lord. I pray that you will continue to lead Damian as he grows in Your strength and wisdom and may You continue to give Him the heart and passion for the things of Your Kingdom. And may Your Kingdom continue to be advanced in Africa through Your servant, Damian.
19 April 2031
In a few hours time I shall be speaking at OCF. I believe that I have a sense of what God wants to say to my fellow OCFers tonight. I believe that God wants to challenge them to dare to lay down their lives and invest into something that is worthwhile.
And I can now speak with conviction because of the things that I have been through.
Truly, I shall tell my friends about the amazing things that God has done in one individual that I know because of I have dared to step out in faith to invest into his life.
And let it be so.
Picture taken from http://sing2mebeauty.deviantart.com/art/the-diary-32640012