‘They can lock away your bicycles and they can burn your Bibles, but they can never stop you praying …’
Spring’s story | 6,570 prayers and the tender heart of God
“My father was born in China. When he was small, he was carried by his father to the South of China and sold. It was because of the famine. My mother was also sold as a child in Malaysia, and she became a street child. Later, they met and married and had ten children. I was the fifth. They were Buddhist Taoists by background.
In the late 1960s, my eldest brother came to the Lord. He heard the good news about Jesus and then he told my next brother, who told my next sibling, and it went on like that until eventually, we all came to faith. I was in secondary school at the time. My parents were very angry at the news. The first thing they did was lock up our bicycles, so we couldn’t go to church. Then they burnt our Bibles and stopped all communication with Christians.
But it didn’t work. Somehow my parents realised we were still believing in Jesus. So they tried the softer method, which was even harder for us. My father called a family meeting and he said, “How could you do this to us?” and “Have we not been good parents?” and “Why would you give your loyalty to a foreign God?” It was very hard. The conversation went on for a long time, and we tried to explain to them that we had found a pearl, a great treasure and that it brought us great joy. But they didn’t listen.
Then, my brother had an idea. He said we would all take Acts 16:31 as our family verse. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your whole household.” We decided to pray twice a day for our parents. By then, there were nine of us believing in Jesus, so it was 6,570 prayers a year.
The prayers changed me. With that kind of background, all you can do is talk to God. All you can do is pray, as if he’s sitting right next to you, all the time. And he is. Nobody can stop you from doing that. They can stop you from going to church, they can lock your bicycles away and they can burn your Bibles … but they can’t stop you from praying.
I finished high school and I went to Kuala Lumpur to study. It was the first time I was free to go to Christian meetings, and I went! At one of the meetings, it was as if the Lord was sitting right next to me. He told me that he wanted me to serve him cross-culturally. But I ignored him. I told him I would only go if my mother and father came to faith. Two years later, I graduated from university, and both my parents came to know the Lord!
I went and served the Lord cross-culturally. At first, I went to the jungle of Papua New Guinea, to work in a refugee camp. It was 1979, and there I was, without water and electricity, trying to run the project. That’s when I learnt that as human beings, we have inner resources, more than we can ever imagine. After that, in 1986, I went to Pakistan and Afghanistan. I spent eight years there, working with Afghan refugees – in public health, with the women and with the blind. It was a war zone. I can’t describe it to you. It was so dry there was nothing to eat. There was injustice everywhere. There were so many people maimed on the streets. I would go home and weep. I would kneel on my prayer mat and weep until the mat was drenched with my tears. Sometimes I would express my anger to God. How can he allow this? What will he do?
But I have learnt that the Lord’s heart is broken, too. He weeps too… and he’s with us in the weeping. There’s so much I don’t understand about the world, about human choices, and suffering and evil… even my own brokenness and how I have grieved the Lord. But every day, God is with us. And one day we will see and understand. In the meantime, the Lord says, keep going, keep trusting in him, keep crying out to him… because no one can stop us from praying.”
Spring’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.