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  • Alan


by Alan, Regular worshipper at International Christian Fellowship (ICF) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

It is fascinating to see how God is interested in every one of us and the way He comes into my life is truly amazing.

As a first generation Australian, I was privileged enough to go to a Catholic primary and secondary school. There I learnt the basics of the religion but did not having any real belief or faith. As a child, I served as an altar boy. However, as I grew, I also grew further from the faith and closer towards the ways of the world. After completing university, I was adamant on leaving everything behind in pursuit of a career in showbiz. To the surprise of everyone, I moved to Vietnam to chase this dream.

Within the first year, I achieved more than I expected. I was an overnight success, people recognised me wherever I went. I was walking alongside other celebs, wore fancy clothes, ate at top restaurants, praised, given special treatment, and became an idol for others. Admittedly this was fun for about a week, and then it got exhausting. It was draining to pretend to be a fake version of myself so that others may like me more. Eventually the fame faded and my career declined. But now my identity was shaken and I was purposeless. I went through each day not knowing what to do and was hopelessly waiting for something to happen.

Then Vietnam went through a strict lockdown and I was forced to face the reality of life. So many life questions with all the time in the world to deal with it, there was no running away. Having done some self-reflection, I asked myself: Why is there so much suffering in life? What is the purpose of life? Why am I so wicked? What am I doing in Vietnam? I turned to religious texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, meditation, yoga, motivational speakers, podcasts, anything to help me gain wisdom. It temporarily helped but I was not fully satisfied. Finally, I remembered that my best friend in Australia was reading the Bible, so I opened it on my phone and began to read the Gospels.

Though I had gone through 13 years of Catholic education, this was my first time voluntarily reading the Bible. After reading it for a few days, I fell in love with Jesus. His character, self-sacrificial love, empathy, authoritative teaching, miracles, and wisdom satisfied what I didn’t find in the other religious texts. Everything He stood for was exactly what I wanted to be. He is the perfect man. All my life questions were answered in His Word and as a result, I hungered to know more and more. I then spent the whole lockdown reading the Bible and praying every day. It amazed me how a text written 2000 years ago can speak perfectly to my current situation today, I knew this is from God.

With all this excitement inside of me, lockdown was finally over and I reached out to find a church. I sent a message to ICF and Pastor Leslie responded to give me the Zoom Link to ICF Home Sunday Service. I wanted to grow even more and live a life fully for Christ. ICF quickly welcomed me and I was embraced by other brothers and sisters who shared the same passion for Christ. The Christian community was something I had never experienced and I truly felt the love of the church for me. The church blessed me with many opportunities to contribute my gifts and talents. I am now serving in the worship team and other areas in the church. ICF also provided me with life-groups to help further my understanding and foundation on the Bible.

Pastor Leslie and Aunty Linda graciously took me on as their disciple to guide me over the past two years. They spent many hours teaching me doctrines, providing me with educational resources as well as real life practical situations to practice Christian values. Thanks to their training and encouragement, I have learnt to be responsible and accountable for my life with God. I intentionally seek to make the most of each day and opportunity to further God’s Kingdom. My biggest change has been embracing leadership roles. Instead of being passive and allowing others to take the responsibility, I have come to a point where I will step out of my comfort zone and take initiative. I have learnt to think about the needs of others before my own and be a servant to others.

As a result, God has been faithful to raise me to be a worship leader, life-group facilitator, and discipler. This would not have been if it were not for the training of Pastor and Aunty. I have also been challenged to break any preconceived ideas of how to serve God. I learnt that I should be ready and willing to equip myself with whatever God brings my way. I observed that I now have a wider range of skillsets in which I can use to serve God in whatever He may call me to do in the future. This is exciting because the opportunities are limitless when I am willing to be used in any way by God.

Christianity to me is not a religion but a relationship with my Creator. He became a Saviour to deal with my sin issue. It was very clear to me that Jesus gave up everything to save me from my misery, which came from the power of sin and death. No one can boast because He saves freely and I do not need to work for my salvation. All I need is to love Him back devotedly and sacrificially, and I do. Now I no longer seek to glorify myself in the entertainment world, but I live each day with the purpose of making Jesus famous. My life has a new direction, I now know who I am and I want to continue to be in Vietnam. It was here that the Lord met me and gave me a reason and hope to live.

I pray that you will also find the Lord Jesus as your Saviour and your life story will become part of God’s Story of His Saving Plan.


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1 Comment

Dear Alan, Thank you for sharing your incredible faith journey. Praise God for His abundant grace and mercy that led you through the challenging crossroads of your life. Thankful for Ps Leslie and Linda's leadership and mentoring. Great that you have found a greater clarity in terms of God's direction as you love Christ more each day. Take care. Enjoy and grow as a faithful Disciple of Christ. Shalom.

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