Following God’s Calling
Editor’s note: The Scriptures tell us that the true
church will eventually reach perfection and be glorified by God. But as we
strive to reach this goal, we need workers to dedicate themselves to serve in the
ministry. In fact, since this process of perfection is God’s work, God Himself
will raise up workers. Many are called, but few are chosen. Who are the chosen
ones? Those who boldly accept God’s calling. In the following testimonies,
three writers share their personal journeys towards full-time ministry, how God
called them and continues to guide and walk with them, every step of the way.
Choices: My Family’s and Mine
Derren Liang—Irvine, California, USA
Our lives are
defined by the choices we make. For me, the greatest decision I have made in my
life was to dedicate myself to be a full-time minister. However, the roots of
this choice were not planted by me: I did not choose this faith. As a
second-generation believer, I received my faith from my parents. The choices
they made changed their lives (and those of their children) eternally.
MY FATHER’S CHOICE TO BELIEVE
In 1951, while
my father and his brother were on a shopping trip in Taipei, they came across a
sign that read “True Jesus Church.” My father, a Presbyterian at the time, was
very indignant. He thought to himself, Why do they call themselves “true,”
suggesting other churches are not? So he marched into the True Jesus Church to
demand an explanation. During that session, a minister explained the doctrines
of the church to my father, who realized that they all made sense. He could see
that their basic beliefs were from the Bible. After the discussion, as my
father was leaving, the minister told him that he could pray and receive the
My father took
the invitation to pray for the Holy Spirit to heart. He fervently prayed at
home, and was overjoyed when he received the Holy Spirit. Not only did he
understand the truth, he was able to experience the precious Holy Spirit.
Eventually, he brought his five siblings and their families to be baptized into
the True Jesus Church.
RELATIVES’ CHOICE TO BELIEVE: DISTURBANCE FROM THE DEVIL
the truth, my extended family willingly converted to the True Jesus Church.
However, as new believers, they neither fully understood the Bible nor had full
discernment when it came to spiritual matters. After praying for the Holy
Spirit, they seemed to have received Him. However, they soon felt that
something was amiss, although they were unsure what. The spirit they had
received could predict certain things. These relatives were vegetable farmers
who sold their produce at the market. The spirit in them could prophesy which
kind of vegetables would sell well the next day, and which would not. If my relatives
heeded the spirit’s forecast and took those vegetables to market, everything
would be sold quickly. If they ignored the spirit’s prediction, their
vegetables would be left unsold, even up until noon.
Later on, these
relatives became more fervent. They started to fast and pray, even skipping
work to do so, saying that the Lord Jesus would come soon. At one point, a few
of them saw an aeroplane flying backwards in the sky. They were puzzled but, in
their inexperience, did not understand what was going on. They just knew that a
powerful spirit was involved. Besides making predictions, this spirit could
also reveal what wrongs had been committed by other people. It was so accurate
that others started to fear them.
The church came
to know of these happenings when workers made a routine visit for newly
baptized families. Through prayer, these workers discerned that the spirit was
an evil one. When the workers helped my relatives realize this, the spirit
fled. By God’s grace, when my relatives knelt down to pray again, they truly
received the Holy Spirit and were filled with joy.
Lesson of Faith 1: Test Every
experience shows that we cannot believe every spirit (1 Jn 4:1). Even after
believing in Jesus Christ, it is possible to receive a spirit that is not from
God. We must thus be vigilant and build up our ability to discern.
MY FATHER’S CHOICE TO ENTER THE
My father was a
teacher, but after his baptism, he aspired to serve the Lord. One night, he
dreamed of a train that was destined for heaven. He opened his suitcase to look
for his ticket, but he found that there were just too many things packed
inside. By the time he found his boarding pass, the train had left. The message
was clear: he was tied down by many secular tasks, and if he continued to be
bound by these, he would find it difficult to enter heaven. Hence, he decided
to enroll in the church’s theological seminary, and was accepted into the first
cohort of full-time theological training program students.
After my father
joined the ministry, my mother had to raise the family on her own. Although we were poor, my mother loved to
offer to God. On one occasion, the local church requested contributions to help
fund the construction of a church building. My mother promised to donate a sum
that was equal to half of my father’s living expenses. When my father returned
home and heard what my mother had done, he was upset. He said to my mother, “I
have offered myself to serve the Lord full time. Why do you create another
burden for yourself?” What an irony—the evangelist objecting to his wife making
an offering to God!
When my father
returned to the church he was pastoring, his body started to itch. He tried
applying topical creams, and even prayed for healing, but to no avail. He reflected
on his behavior: Is this happening to me because I opposed my wife’s offering?
He then prayed to God, “If I am suffering for my wrongdoing, I repent.” After
this prayer, the itch disappeared. Amazingly, the amount of money he had spent
on the medicine was the same amount that my mother had intended to offer! It
was a timely reminder that the ability to offer is indeed grace from God.
my father’s repentance, we still had a problem: where would we find the money
that my mother had pledged to the church building fund? My father decided we
should raise piglets. Miraculously, the pigs thrived and, within six months, we
had sold them and offered the pledged amount to church.
Lesson of Faith 2: God’s Grace is
The God we
worship is the source of living water. If we do what is pleasing in His eyes,
we need not worry, for God will sustain us. For instance, in the countryside
where we lived, there was only a line dividing my family’s fields from those
belonging to our non-believing neighbors. We sowed the same seeds and used the
same water to irrigate our fields. However, there was a noticeable difference
between our crops and those of our neighbors. Even the non-believers could see
how much more fertile our fields were compared to their own. They did not
understand how this could happen, but we knew that it was the blessing of God.
My father often
encouraged us to serve the Lord throughout our lives. Do not put off service
until you are advanced in age; give God your best while you are still young.
MY MOTHER’S CHOICES IN SPIRITUAL
NURTURE AND DIVINE SERVICE
Lesson of Faith 3: Pray
spirit of offering, my mother was also a sterling exemplar in prayer. She loved
to pray, waking up at 5 a.m. to pray until 7 a.m.; and she would always have a
long prayer before bed, even if she was exhausted. When filled with the Holy
Spirit, she would sing spiritual songs; at times, she was so joyful that she
would wake us up to pray with her. In our prayers, we always felt God guiding
our family. Though our lives were simple, joy filled our days.
◎ Note: Materially Poor, Spiritually Rich
My life as a
child was a stark contrast to life today. Up until I left elementary school, I
had never worn shoes. Unlike the youth of today, who grow up in front of
screens and are sheltered from nature, we climbed trees, chased birds, caught
fish in the canal, and swam in rural ponds. Prayer was a source of great joy to
us. Despite our poverty, we led fulfilling lives. Most importantly, we drew nearer
to God and enjoyed His presence in our lives.
My father passed
away after serving the Lord for ten years. At forty-six years of age, my mother
had to shoulder the burden of feeding and caring for the whole family. Yet, she
did not allow this to affect her life of prayer. Despite her intense sorrow at
my father’s demise, she was able to rely on God. Whenever she sang spiritual
songs in prayer, her sorrows were lifted. The Holy Spirit comforted her.
My mother’s prayerfulness
had wide and long-lasting impact. My parents had five children; all five of us
married in the Lord and are preserved in the Lord to this day. Apart from God’s
grace, I have always felt that the most important factor was my mother’s
Lesson of Faith 4: Serve with
Another of my
mother’s virtues was her diligence. She got up early, slept late, and worked
tirelessly throughout the day. She also applied this attitude to serving the
Lord, particularly in her determination to complete every task she undertook.
This is an enduring example to her children. When my mother was given the
opportunity to live in the church to serve God, she was thankful to be able to
fulfill her desire to serve. She would ensure that every floor was thoroughly
cleaned, and every blanket was properly washed and odor-free. Her belief was,
Not only must I finish the work of God, but I must do it properly. I answer not
to man, but to God.
Staying in Church and Experiencing
When I was in
high school, my brothers enlisted in the army and my mother moved to the city.
Left to live alone, I decided to move into the church. The three years I lived
in church changed my life. I had no family living nearby, so after school I
would head straight back to church and spend between thirty minutes to an hour
in prayer. I was often filled with the Holy Spirit and with joy. Indeed, that
was one of the most joyful periods of my life.
In my second
year of high school, my prayers became particularly earnest. “Lord, I do not
have my parents here to guide me. Oh Lord, please guide me!” was my constant
supplication. On one occasion, while I was deep in prayer, a thought was carved
deeply on my heart: God wants me to serve Him. After that prayer, every time I
thought about serving the Lord, I would be moved to tears. This could happen
when I was at school, when I was riding my bicycle, or when I was lying down to
sleep. Even though I was still in high school, God had let me know what He
wanted me to do. This thought, imprinted on my heart, would eventually lead me
to enter the full-time ministry.
From University to Ministry
In my third year
of university, another thought was planted in my mind during prayer. It was
that God wanted to lead me to America and use me there. I was puzzled why such
a thought would pop into my mind. I wondered whether I had imagined it, or
whether it was truly God’s will. I pondered on this for a long time, but I had
no answer. Yet, the thought of serving God still moved me to tears. I shared my
uncertainty with a preacher, who advised me to watch and wait. If God were the
source of this thought, it would surely happen. So I decided to let things fall
into place naturally.
university, I enlisted in the army. For six months, I attended an infantry
academy as part of the basic infantry training that all university graduates
were required to undergo. After this, I was posted to the paratroopers unit.
Soon after, I realized that I was not suited to this role. Paratrooper cadets
were selected specifically for their physical strength and stamina. They were
expected to run with machine guns—something I found difficult to do. On one
occasion, while crawling on the ground during an exercise, I told God that I
really could not handle this. If I could not live up to the physical demands of
training, how would I be able to lead a platoon of thirty men? As I prayed, the
moving of the Spirit within my heart told me God had heard my prayer.
Not long after,
I was chosen—as a civil engineering and construction graduate—to oversee the
building of army barracks for the paratroopers. This meant that I had regular
working hours, and no longer needed to undertake such extreme physical
training. The barracks were not built in the end. But, indeed, we can cast all
our cares—no matter how big or small—on our Lord who truly cares for us.
As the end of my
army service drew near, I had no idea what my next step should be. On a train
home from the army camp, I thought about my choices. Some of my classmates had
entered the workforce, some had continued their studies, and others had moved
overseas. What should I do? As I reflected, the Holy Spirit moved me to tears.
The person sitting next to me kept staring at me in puzzlement. His confusion
was a counterpoint to my clarity and certainty—I had to serve the Lord.
Therefore, I joined the theological seminary in Taichung and entered the
Coming to America
In 1981, at the
World Delegates’ Conference held in Taiwan, the United States General Assembly
submitted a proposal: to help church workers go to the United States (US) to
learn English. When I saw that proposal, I knew that my time had come and that
God had opened the way. However, I did not put myself forward to the
International Assembly (IA), as I wanted to see how God would guide. Indeed,
the IA passed the proposal, and decided they would send two candidates to the
US. Elder John Yang informed me that I was one of the chosen ministers. Thus,
the idea of serving the Lord in the US was indeed from the Lord. Truly, if we
seek the Lord, He will reveal His will for us.
preparing to go to the US. First, I applied for a theological program at a
seminary run by another Christian denomination, with the purpose of improving
my English. As part of the application, I had to take the Test of English as a
Foreign Language (TOEFL). Despite not having taken a test since university and
having only a short timeframe to study for it, I attained the score required by
the school. This was yet another one of God’s mighty works.
The next problem
soon popped up. I did not realize that, back then, the Taiwan government only
granted Taiwanese students permission to travel to America if they were
accepted into certain universities; Taiwanese were restricted from leaving the
country for religious purposes. What was I to do? I suddenly remembered that I
had also applied for other university research programs. One of these
universities had accepted my application and had sent me an admission letter.
Better yet, this university was on the Taiwanese government’s approved list of
universities. Therefore, I used this letter to obtain a passport from the
Taiwanese government, before applying for a US visa.
CONCLUSION: RIGHT CHOICES BRING
In retrospect, I
can clearly see how God has guided my every step. I came to the US with little,
but with God’s guidance, I have everything I need today. My three daughters
were able to complete their tertiary educations without taking any loans, which
seems impossible on a preacher’s salary. By God’s grace and miraculous ways, it
was indeed possible. He provided for all our needs. Many believers who came to
the US empty-handed have had the same experience of God’s providence.
My mother used
to say, “If you do not have something to do each day, then what is the point of
your life?” This motivated her to serve the Lord every single day, giving her
life value and meaning. This is why I have always thought the best way to live
my life is to serve God. Even though we may lead simple lives with few
possessions, we can be filled with peace and joy.
I often ask
myself, If I were to live my life again, would I make the same decisions?
Indeed, I am certain that, if the Lord were to move me, I would take the same
path. Like others, I have experienced the pain of seeing co-workers depart from
the truth, but this is a useful reminder to all of us who serve, to be vigilant
and watchful. Only then can we complete this path of service, and be able to
give a joyful account to the Lord when we see Him on the last day.
May all glory
and praise be unto His holy name! Amen.
We Are God’s Workmanship
Samuel Kuo—Flushing, New York, USA
For we are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we
should walk in them. (Eph 2:10)
has a purpose. Take a look at the things around you—the roof over your head,
the clothes on your body, even the typeface of this text—they have been made
for specific purposes.
Our existence is
no exception. Jesus Christ created and called us for His purpose. As Paul wrote
in Ephesians, we were created in Him for good works—works that have been
prepared long beforehand for us to accomplish. Fulfilling these works means we
are living out our Creator’s purpose for us—the epitome of a successful life.
My First Calling
The first half
of 2004 was my final semester at university. Throughout that school year, I had
prayed over what I should do after graduation. I was interning at Motorola at the
time, and they had offered me a full-time position. Therefore, I prayed to see
if it was God’s will for me to take this job, or to do something else. All this
while, I pondered over my calling in life. What was my life’s purpose?
break that year, I met with my resident preacher, Preacher Derren Liang, to
discuss some local church matters. I took this opportunity to seek his advice
on my future. During my university years, I had become more involved in the
church’s literary and internet ministry, so serving in this area was also a
advised me to consider applying for the full-time theological training program,
explaining that a sound theological foundation was necessary for writing
edifying works. Before I left, he added, “Right now, we really lack
English-speaking preachers.” This statement stayed with me, as I had always
thought that my birth in the United States, with English being my strongest
language, was no accident.
session, as I drove home, tears welled up in my eyes. I wondered, Is God calling me to be a preacher?
However, I quieted those thoughts, rationalizing that if God wanted to call me,
He would make it very clear.
A few days
later, our campus fellowship group visited members in Philadelphia and
Washington, DC. That Friday evening, we lodged at the church in Philadelphia.
As I was assigned interpretation duties for Sabbath services the following day,
I stayed up late to read the Bible and pray in the church hall.
started liked any other. Soon, as I shifted my focus to pray about my future, I
reflected on my recent conversation with Preacher Liang. Suddenly, the Holy
Spirit moved me with great intensity. It was like nothing I had experienced
before, or since. It reached the point where I could no longer pray in tongues
because I was weeping so much.
In my spirit, I
knew that Jesus was telling me, “Serve me as a preacher.”
immediate reaction was, “No, it can’t be me, it can’t be me!” I felt unworthy,
and did not think my personality or my gifts were suited to this ministry.
There was a struggle within my heart. After five to ten minutes of internal
wrestling, I finally realized that I could not deny God. In my heart, I finally
said, “Okay.” At that moment, God’s tremendous love poured into my heart. I
could resume praying in tongues, and I concluded my prayer about ten minutes
later. As I was walking upstairs to bed, I realized that God had not answered
my specific questions about my future. But He had given me a clear direction to
In the weeks
that followed, I came to understand that God was not telling me to apply for
theological training immediately. Besides, I was only twenty-one years old, and
the minimum age requirement set by the United States General Assembly (USGA)
was twenty-three. God was telling me that, while this was the path I would
tread, I needed to prepare myself first.
Growing up, I
had always attended churches with large congregations, so my faith was
bolstered by a stable spiritual environment. But this made me question my
motivations for serving God. Was I doing it because of reputation—because it
was expected? To impress people? Therefore, I decided to take up graduate
studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which was two-and-a-half
hours’ drive from the nearest True Jesus Church. As I prayed, God seemed to be
telling me that it would be good spiritual training: an opportunity for me to
examine the substance of my faith and my service.
My Second Calling
After I moved to
Illinois in August 2004, the initial period was fresh and exciting. It was the
first time I had lived away from my home state. But after one month, I realized
I was not as strong as I had thought. My faith was declining, as were my
academic grades. I started to doubt: Does
God really want to use me? If I change, does God’s will change? Doubts
crept into my mind over the next year or so. I was unsure of where I stood in
In January 2006,
during the winter break, I attended a church seminar for Africa ministry
volunteers. During the first evening prayer, encouraged by the preceding
message, I prayed diligently. I told God, “God, I do not know where I stand
before You.” I realized how unworthy I was in His presence. I continued, “God,
You knew me even before I was in my mother’s womb. All of my ugliness, You
know. But if You are willing to use me, I will serve You.”
I was so moved
during that prayer that I continued to fast and pray during dinnertime. In
prayer, it seemed like I had entered into a spiritual dimension, where I spoke
directly to God. I asked Him many questions, expressing my doubts and worries
about full-time service. “What about my introverted personality? What about my
lack of eloquence? Will a sister be willing to marry me? What about finances? I
have not been able to convert any of my friends—would I be any good as a
Yet, to every
question I asked, it seemed God simply responded, “Don’t worry about it.” After
that prayer, I sensed God’s gracious affirmation. It was a second calling.
My Third Calling
I graduated with
a master’s degree in May 2006. Thank God, I promptly secured a job in Texas.
Before starting work, I attended the National Youth Theological Seminar (NYTS).
Within the first two days, Preacher Vuthy Nol-Mantia, who was a theological
student and NYTS counsellor at the time, approached me. Knowing that I had
graduated and found a job, he was interested in my next steps, since I had
previously shared with him my first calling.
asked, “Have you been thinking about marriage?” Without disclosing her name, I
told Preacher Vuthy that I had a sister in mind, but did not know if it was
God’s time for me to approach her. He advised me to tell the sister so that, if
she accepts the possibility of being a preacher’s wife, she could prepare
herself. I kept this matter in prayer for the rest of the seminar.
For many years,
I had thought Joyce was a good sister. She was also Preacher Liang’s daughter,
and I was not sure how he would react to his daughter entering a relationship,
since she was only twenty-one. At that time, Joyce and I were just friends. We
did not really talk much and I had not made an effort to stay in touch while I
was at graduate school. I was also very shy around her. I was worried about making
things awkward between us if I approached her and the timing turned out to be
decided to speak with Preacher Liang, who was an instructor at the NYTS. If he
said, “No, we cannot accept you,” then I would just let it go. If he said,
“Wait,” then I would wait. To avoid making her feel uncomfortable, Joyce did
not even have to know about this conversation. During the chat, I plucked up
the courage and confessed, “I like your daughter, and I wondered what your
thoughts are about me starting a relationship with her.”
thought he would say, “It’s too early.” Thankfully, he said, “Why don’t you sit
down with Joyce and talk to her before she goes to Taiwan?” She was going to
Taiwan a few weeks later to study Chinese for a year. “We’d be happy to see
what God’s will is.” I was very surprised that he gave me the green light. I
immediately called my parents and spoke with them too.
One week later,
straight after the NYTS, Joyce and I were attending another seminar. I was
distracted the whole time. Finally, on the last day, I found an opportunity to
have a private conversation with her. After sharing with her about my calling,
I asked her if she could pray about two matters: first was my future ministry,
and second, whether she would be willing to join me on this journey.
I expected her
to ask for a couple of weeks to pray before giving me her answer, as becoming a
minister’s wife is no small decision. Yet, she gave an immediate response: “My
answer is yes.”
I was surprised.
“Wow, how come you are so certain?”
She told me that
two years earlier, in April and May of 2004, she felt that God was repeatedly
telling her the same message in her prayers: “You will serve Me all your life.
You will be a preacher’s wife.” So, with me approaching her two years later, it
seemed a perfect match. It was something she had been quietly anticipating. I
did not realize that God would even call a preacher’s wife!
Later that day,
I flew to Texas to start my new job. Throughout that entire flight, I was in a
state of awe; I felt so humbled. I could not understand why God would do this
for someone like me.
To me, it was a
third calling. The first two were during my personal prayers with God, but this
third calling was confirmed through a third party. All my lingering doubts
dissolved and I completely surrendered to Jesus. I just told God, “You’ve
convinced me. Although I do not know what will happen in the future, I trust
After her stint
in Taiwan, Joyce returned to the States and completed her master’s program. A
week after her graduation, we were married. Later that same year, I was
accepted into the theological training program. In November 2014, I was
ordained as a full-time preacher.
Looking back, I
cannot but humbly thank God for His mercy and guidance every step of the way.
Things were often unclear. However, God is my Creator, and He graciously
revealed His purpose for me—a purpose that I shall continually strive to
of success typically revolves around fulfilling dreams, self-actualization,
attaining wealth, or some variation of these. Unfortunately, we Christians
often become engrossed in pursuing this definition of success too. While
worldly success is not forbidden, our primary concern should be to fulfill the
intents of our Maker. The call to full-time ministry does not happen to
everyone, but the principle remains. We are His workmanship, created to
accomplish good works.
fulfilling your Creator’s purpose?
Feed My Sheep
En-Ping Liu—Tamsui, Taiwan
He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him
the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, Lord, You know all
things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep. (Jn 21:17)
As believers in
the true church of God, we have been purchased by the blood of Jesus (Acts
20:28), and were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4).
Have you ever wondered why God chose you? The answer is simply that He loves
you. If we can see how tirelessly God calls us back when we start to stray, we
would never leave His church. For me, this redeeming love has compelled me to
present my body as a living sacrifice to God. This is my story.
TURNING AWAY FROM GOD
I grew up as a
True Jesus Church member in Tamsui, northern Taiwan. My childhood was carefree,
and attending church services was a normal part of my routine—this, to me, was
how simple it was to live a faithful life. When I was in senior year of high
school, my carefree days were suddenly cut short—my family met with a financial
crisis and almost went bankrupt. At the time, my family members began to lose
their pure faith in God. We no longer had time for church, and any money-related
discussions would lead to arguments. Experiencing such pressure at home, I
prayed to God that I could enroll at a college far away.
answered my prayer: I ended up at a college in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan,
about five hour’s drive from Tamsui. This provided the perfect excuse for not
visiting my family so often. Deep down, I just wanted to escape.
In an attempt to
put family troubles behind me, I dedicated most of my time to extra-curricular
activities at college. Although I knew that church was important, I only
attended when I had spare time; college activities always came first. As I
indulged in these worldly pursuits, my values gradually changed, and I even had
a non-believing girlfriend for a time.
By the mercy of
God, the members of my church varsity fellowship never gave up on me. They
prayed that I would return to the love of God and to church, and endeavoured to
keep in touch. On one occasion, I met three of them for dinner. I thought they
would scold me for not attending church services, but instead, they just asked
about my studies. Even though they did not mention church, I knew deep in my
heart that they wanted me to return, and I knew that God had sent them to me.
Because of their sincere love, I broke up with my girlfriend and started
attending church services again.
God’s mercy was
like a rope that kept drawing me back. Time and again, different brethren
conveyed the same message to me: God is more important than anything in this
world. Whenever my faith was low, their care lifted me up. In the end, God’s
love compelled me to devote myself to attending church services and to studying
THE LORD HAS NEED OF YOU
In 2012, during
my third year of college, I attended a student spiritual convocation. Listening
to the many teachings, I realized it was God’s mercy that I was able to attend
the event and study His words. I was inspired to dedicate the rest of my life
to God. A thought formed in my mind: I want to be a preacher. In one class, a
deacon shared an English hymn with us, and asked if anyone could provide
Mandarin interpretation for the class. “Is there anyone who majors in English?”
he asked. “The Lord has need of you!”
I was shocked. I
was an English student—was the Lord calling me so soon? My fellow students
pointed me out to the deacon, so I had no choice but to stand up to interpret.
However, I buckled under the pressure—I could not translate a single word.
Sitting down, I told myself, God has need of me, but I am not yet prepared.
FEED MY SHEEP
Half a year
later, I attended the Youth Theological Training Program (YTTP). I was so moved
by the words of God that I decided to return over the next two years to
complete the three-year-program, to cultivate myself spiritually. I also began
to wake up early to pray before lessons started.
In my third year
of YTTP, I was elected to be class leader, much to my surprise. I asked God why
He would choose me—how could I lead the whole class when I had once strayed so
far in my faith? But the phrase “the Lord has need of you” kept coming to mind.
I felt that God wanted to train me so that I could stand firm before Him.
Therefore, I prayed earnestly to prepare myself before the event started, but I
did not foresee the challenges that I would face.
There was one
particular incident during my time as class leader where God exposed my
shortcomings and spoke to me. I was informed that some students had been
blatantly sleeping during lessons, so during one of my sharing sessions I spoke
sternly to the class. As anger rose within me, I rebuked them: “If you don’t
want to learn the words of God, just get out of here!” Afterwards, I was upset
with myself for speaking so harshly, so I went to the prayer room to pray,
repenting before God for scolding His sheep.
astonishment, a gentle thought—not quite a voice—came from the depths of my
heart. It said, “En-Ping, do you love Me?”
I knew in my
spirit that this was God’s voice, so I shouted from my heart, “Lord, of course
I love You! That’s why I’m here!”
Then the gentle
voice spoke three words: “Feed My sheep.”
On hearing this,
I started to cry. I finally realized that the action of loving God is to feed
His sheep. Once again, the idea of becoming a preacher came into my mind. I
knew I was not worthy of taking up His ministry, but I told God, “If You need
me, I am willing.”
GOD CONFIRMS HIS CALLING
I felt that I
had received God’s calling to become a preacher, but I could not be completely
sure. If it was indeed God’s will, I would apply for the theological training program
(TTP) as soon as possible. The minimum age for TTP applicants in Taiwan is
twenty-five years old, so I had to wait. In the meantime, I asked God to
confirm His will to me.
1. My Family Returns
I could have
stayed near my college after graduation, but I chose to move back home instead.
Since my family had departed from church, I thought it would be difficult for
me to become a preacher. Therefore, before I spoke to my family about God or
any faith-related matter, I would pray earnestly, sometimes with fasting. I
would then share with my family what I had learned at church, and encourage
them to have faith in God. I prayed to God: “If it is indeed Your will for me
to apply for the theological seminary, please bring my family back to church.”
It was a long
process but God answered my prayers. At first, my family refused to take my
advice, but as they listened to my encouragements, God gradually changed their
hearts. One summer night in 2014, I caught sight of my family praying together.
I knew that this was the green light for me to apply for the TTP.
2. His Servant Prays for Me
2014, I was conscripted into military service. At the beginning, I had to
attend training for three months straight. But luckily, I could still take
weekends off. Many spiritual convocations were happening around that time, so I
looked for one taking place nearby. There was a prayer house holding
convocation on a day that I was free—I believe that this was God’s arrangement
services, I listened carefully to the preacher’s message. When it was time to
pray, I walked to the front for the laying of hands. I earnestly prayed for
confirmation that I should become a preacher and for guidance in my
preparations. After we finished praying, the preacher began to introduce the
members of the congregation. When he reached me, the preacher said, “I saw this
brother praying very hard, so when I laid hands on him, I prayed for him—that
he could become a preacher one day.”
I was shocked
and excited by his words. Afterwards, I eagerly asked how he knew what I was
praying for, even though I had never met him before. He just smiled and said,
“Thank God, it was the movement of the Spirit. Keep praying! He will lead you.”
3. A Message on a Card
By God’s grace,
in October 2014, I was given an alternative option in the military service.
Instead of training at the barracks, I only needed to teach at a school for
high school dropouts. Near this school was the small church at Beipu, so I
could attend church services and even undertake holy work. My relationship with
the church brethren gradually deepened, to the extent that some members treated
me like a son.
2015, after a year of military service, it was time for me to leave. Two days
before I departed, the church held a farewell gathering for me. This touched me
deeply. They gave me an MRT railcard with a message written on the back:
Jesus said to En-Ping, “En-Ping, do you love Me?”
En-Ping said, “Lord, yes, You know I love You.”
Jesus said to En-Ping, “Feed My sheep.”
These words were
based on John 21:17—the same passage that had come to me in prayer during my
final year of YTTP. I had not shared that experience, or what I had been
praying for, with anyone. I was so moved that God had called me a third time.
4. Blessings in Marriage
Although I had
felt God’s calling, I was not confident enough to proceed with my application.
When I first aspired to become a preacher, I prayed that God would provide me a
prayerful spouse who would be willing to be a preacher’s wife. Indeed, God
granted my prayer and, on November 1, 2015, He blessed me and my wife in holy
marriage, I still had my doubts about the way ahead. One sister who was married
to a preacher told me, “God has given you clear evidence of His will: your
fiancée’s willingness. Not many sisters would want to be a preacher’s wife.” At
that moment, I realized how God had led me through this whole process. Since my
wife and I had agreed that I would apply for the TTP when I turned twenty-five
the following year, I had no reason to hesitate any longer. By God’s grace, I
passed the TTP entrance exam in August 2016. God chose me, an unworthy man, to
be His full-time servant.
Now, as a TTP
student, I still have much to improve. This verse is a source of strength for
me whenever my faith is low:
“But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when
you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Lk 22:32)
I was once a
lost son who pursued worldly pleasure, but God called me to return. In my
heart, I know that I am undeserving of such amazing grace. God’s love has
compelled me to dedicate my life to strengthen my brothers and sisters, and to
serve God with all my heart, all my mind, and all my soul. May all glory be given
to Him. Amen.