God will make all things right in His time

True enough, in His time, God answered all my prayers. When I was stranded, He made sure I was well taken care of by my partner’s family.

Dec 11, 2021

By Teresa Chong

I am a cradle Catholic and this is my faith story. I attended Mass and Sunday school in church at my parents’ request. My prayers were for good exam grades when needed. This was my parents’ faith, not mine.

At age 18, I left the faith after an incident in church — I was using my handphone while waiting for the veneration of the cross and suddenly a church warden yelled at me for using my phone and the people sitting behind me applauded him as he berated me. Not only did my family not support me, but they all felt embarrassed by what had occurred. From that day onwards, I told myself not to return to church.

While I was away from God, I felt a sense of emptiness, but I couldn’t explain what it was. It was 10 years later that I met my partner, who brought me to the Church of the Assumption, Petaling Jaya. During the sermon, Fr Gregory Chan said, “to all of you who have been away, I welcome you back to the church”. This was God calling me home. Later, the church announced the Landings programme, and I joined the second edition of the programme after listening to a participant’s testimony.

Through Landings, I met people from all walks of life. I was not the only person feeling lost and disconnected, I learned that our relationship with God is personal. I used to think that I was not worthy to be close to God, why would He care for me? By the power of the Holy Spirit, Landings gave me a self-discovery through sharing and being heard when I took my first steps back to God. With the wonderful ladies in my group, I learnt to let go of my past negative views of the church. At the same time, I managed to start over and create a relationship with God again.

Soon after Landings, I went to Ecuador for a five-week vacation to visit my partner. The pandemic struck a week before my return, and I ended up being there for 18 months. Ecuador is a beautiful country with wonderful people and a rich culture, but it is plagued by poverty. Despite this, I discovered that no matter how deprived the people were, they always had a smile on their face and they constantly said ‘Dios le pague’ — it means “God will repay your kindness”.

To see the level of poverty in Ecuador made me realise how blessed my life was. We all have problems, but I have seen three generations begging at every traffic light for money or for a sale of fruits and candy.

Being a foreigner during the pandemic had its challenges. I had issues extending my visa and finding a way to return to Malaysia as there were flight bans from Europe and I was battling with depression. As multiple issues kept appearing one after another, I could only ask God to solve all my problems as I felt everything was against me.

True enough, in His time, God answered all my prayers. When I was stranded, He made sure I was well taken care of by my partner’s family. When I was going through depression, He helped me find peace in prayers and sent my Landings members to check on my mental health. He gave me the patience and strength to handle officers from the Department of Immigration who were unclear on their own laws, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when they procrastinated in processing my documents. When it was time to return to Malaysia, He prepared a flight for me to return a day before my visa expired. When I was almost denied boarding at my transit airport in the Netherlands due to an error on my PCR test, He made sure there were people to help me translate my documents correctly that led me to reach the plane two minutes before the gate closed. The Lord is always with us; we may have doubts about whether He is watching over us but He is.

Through what I experienced, I learned an important life lesson. Patience is key, just leave your problems to our Heavenly Father. Just saying the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be calms me down. I reassessed my hatred for that warden, and found forgiveness. From being an agnostic person in the past, today I am a firm believer, and I can finally call this faith my own. I now thank God first in my daily prayer and ask for peace which is difficult to achieve but not impossible. While my relationship with God is still a work in progress, I feel closer to Him now than at any other point in my life as a churchgoer

--Teresa Chong works as a sales representative in the pharmaceutical industry. She is an avid traveller who is currently mastering the Spanish language. She also volunteers as a facilitator for the Landings and Alpha Youth programmes at the Church of the Assumption, Petaling Jaya

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