Hi I am Raymond, I am 33 years old, married with 2 kids. Vera, my daughter is 8 years old, and I have a son, 5 years old. I never had a father figure and I have always been left with my grandparents. At the age of 11, after a mischievous act, my grandmother angrily said to me, ‘If I know you like that so naughty, I sell you away, don’t take back already.’“
As I grow older, I would steal. I would do anything that can give me money. With that I got into trouble with the law. I went to Boys’ Home when I was 14 years old. And eventually I ended up in prison at the age of 16 years old till 21 years old when I was out and given a
stern warning that if I would be caught for another case, I would be put for Corrective Training. That was like a wake-up call but it didn’t really change me. It taught me to be a smarter criminal.
Coming to his senses
What really changed me was when I realised that money had its limitations, and I was pursuing money all my life. I got rich through doing car rentals. In the midst of pursuing money, my family fell apart. I ended up in a casino, using money to gain entertainment but it wasn’t happiness. Eventually, I lost all my wealth.
I realise that money has its limitation
At one point I wanted to end my life. I went to the temple. I went to any place that I could seek help. Eventually, I was reminded of God through a Family Service Centre. I prayed and asked that if there is a God and if Jesus is real then He will help me. He really did!
I went to the casino hoping to recoup all my losses, but that was when I realised that when I prayed to Jesus, He really took charge. He helped me to lose all the money. If I hadn’t lost all the money, I would have been so blinded. I wouldn’t see what I needed to see. And that really woke me up.
I went on to start a hawker’s stall. I stumbled across Dr Leslie Tay (of ieatishootipost fame). While he was in the midst of helping me with my hawker’s stall, he invited me to church. That was when I came to SJSM. The people were singing, and I was singing. Looking at the lyrics, I don’t know what hit me (now I know it’s God). He touched me. I just cried uncontrollably. And I felt so much peace - a peace I never felt before. That was when I know if that was God and that God is real.
So I asked, “God, if you are real, I need to seek something that everyone acknowledges to be bad which is smoking.” I told God, “If this smoking, you can take it away, I will believe you are real.” I even gave him a condition. I said, “If you are going to take too long, I will think it is of my own will power and it has nothing to do with you. If you want, make it known it is you and not me.” The next day, I wasn’t able to smoke. And whenever I even smell cigarettes, I tend to gag. With God all things are possible. That’s how I know from my first experience that God is so real.
Life ever since, God has been so real in my life. From getting my house to setting my family life, God is always at the centre. Back then when I first came to Christ, (and I think everyone will have this stage), I saw it as a transaction. I thought of God when I have problems and needed His help.
My relationship with God…
It used to be transactional but now it’s relational
Then eventually I realised how much God loves me that He gave His only Son. Whenever I see my son gets hurt, I feel so much pain in my heart. God with all His love, has sent His only Son and saw Him die on the cross for us even when we are so unworthy. I feel that love from Him. Like I said, it used to be transactional but now it’s relational. And God with all His love, He pours it out on me. My life is now transformed. Praise God for that!