unsurpassable joy of seeing our loved ones come to faith
Mrs. Connie Lin came from a staunch Taoist family. Her late father was a temple leader and her elder brother, elder sister and younger brother were temple mediums. As a youth, before her conversion to Christianity, Connie was also involved in temple activities together with her mother, Madam Chua.
Ever since her conversion in September 1990, Connie’s greatest desire is to see her whole family come to faith in God and has been fervently praying for their salvation. Connie had tried sharing the gospel with her family over the years but they were reluctant to accept Jesus as their Savior. Being the only Christian in a Taoist home environment was tough and she faced a lot of pressure from her family to give up her faith. During the difficult times, Connie could feel God’s presence with her and God had been her refuge and strength. By God’s grace, she stood firm in her faith all these years because she knew that God had a purpose for her to become the first Christian in her family.
In 2004, Connie’s late father contracted Myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow). Even though he was a tough person, he was very fearful of death. Connie and her husband, Rev John Lin, took the opportunity to share with him about one’s eternal hope in Christ. They told her father that whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life. A few weeks before he passed away, Connie’s father told her that “believing in Jesus is good because you know where you will be going after death.”
Unfortunately, in 2008, Connie’s late sister was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Madam Chua prayed to her gods fervently for her daughter to get well, but her condition continued to worsen. During the last week of her life in August 2009, Connie’s sister was very afraid and requested her brother-in-law, Rev John Lin, to visit her at the hospital. Pastor John asked her if she would want Jesus to help her and she immediately responded, “Yes!” On her deathbed, she cried out repeatedly in Chinese, “Jesus, please save me.” Both Connie and Pastor John have the assurance and peace that Connie’s sister is now with the Lord as the Bible promises, “for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10: 13).
After the death of her elder daughter, Connie’s mother went through a period of depression. She was disappointed that her prayers to her gods for her daughter’s recovery were not answered. Connie again shared with her mother about the love of Jesus; she was anxious for her mother to know the hope that is in Christ, especially as her mother has heart problems for many years.
Connie and Pastor John asked their friend Paul, who is the pastor of a church near their mother’s home to reach out to her. They were glad when Connie’s mother became more open and eventually attended activities in the church. On 4th November 2010, the news Connie had been waiting for all these years finally came. The pastor friend sent her a text message which read, “…We led your mum to say the sinner’s prayer and she has accepted Christ as her personal Lord and Savior.” It was truly a joyous moment for Connie; her prayers for the last twenty years were finally answered. Praise the Lord for His wonderful grace and mercy! There is no joy greater than the joy of seeing our loved ones come to the Lord.
Since her conversion to Christianity, friends and relatives noticed remarkable changes in Connie’s mother. She is more cheerful and even though she is a shy person, she would heartily sing praises to God during the services. She joins her Christian friends to visit those who are hospitalized and often shares the gospel with her sister and her youngest son. She is now a regular worshipper at Calvary AOG Church and attends Bible study classes every Thursday.
Connie has seen God’s boundless grace and mercy on her family in the last twenty years. She thanked God that He has used her, Pastor John and her three children to sow the seeds of His love in the hearts of her family members. God has also sent many Christian friends to reach out to them through prayers, love, care and concern, especially in their darkest moments. Most of all, she thanked God for working in their hearts and tearing down the walls of resistance.
For those of us who have family members who are not yet in the Kingdom, we need to pray for their salvation. We not only need to pray, we need to pray without ceasing. We need also to be witnesses of God’s love and boldly share with them the gospel of His grace and forgiveness.
The amazing conversion of Connie’s mother testifies to God’s power - that nothing is impossible with God. Like the words of the song “He will make a way, where there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see, He will make a way for me.” How great is our God!
(Connie’s story was told to and written by Vanessa Kong.)
First published in The Courier, December 2011.
Photo: Connie (in red) with her mother, Mdm Chua and husband, Revd John Lin and their three children, Grace, Charis & Timothy