By Wah Lok
31st December 2001
Wow ! One year has passed so quickly and we are now at the threshold of year 2002. I thought I will write my last testimony for year 2001 and share with you how my year went.
The year 2001 has been one of the most significant years of my life. This year, God helped me fulfill my 20 year old dream of producing my own album of Christian songs. Since my teenage years, I had several dreams in my life which God helped me to fulfill. One was to graduate at a University with a degree. This was fulfilled in 1984 and 1988. I got 2 degrees in Engineering. My second major dream was to get married and have children. Well in 1986, I married Bessie Mah and by 1993, God had already blessed me with 3 lovely boys, Garrett, Nicholas and Victor. My third major dream was to be successful in my career. I came from an average family and did not have many things in my childhood. God indeed blessed me in my career. By 1993, I was already in top management level in a large company. All these dreams were fulfilled while I walked closely with God and served him with all of my heart since I got saved in 1974. But one major dream has eluded me for 20 years.
Since 1979, God has blessed me with songs. I wrote them as the Holy Spirit inspired me. When Full Gospel Tabernacle was birthed in 1981, God blessed me with many songs. It was during these early years, some of my best songs (Every Time I Pray and Approved in Every Way, co- written with Pas Voon Yuen Woh) were written as the church was going through some very tough times. So year after year, I would write songs and dream that one day, I will produce an album. But my album never came. My songs were mainly sung in the church. Only a few made it outside the church as it was passed on by word of mouth. By 1989, I had written nearly 40 songs. Still, I never realized my dream of producing my album.
For the next 6 years, between 1989 to 1995, my dreams died. I gave up song writing and threw away almost every melody that came to me. You can say I was pretty discouraged as my songs were going nowhere. This was like a death of my vision. In these 6 years, I only shared one song with my church. I must say I was not backsliding. I was praying , studying God's word, attending every meeting in church and serving God. But my dreams died within me.
But God has His plans for my songs. In 1995, God sent His Holy Spirit to bring a renewal to my dreams. I attended a meeting at my home church and I was touched powerfully by the Holy Spirit. I saw with my own eyes what the Holy Spirit could do. When I went home that night, I wrote another one of my most significant songs "Flow Holy Spirit". It was my first anointed song in 6 years. Since then, songs started to flow again. My vision was rebirthed. It took me another 5 years before I started work on my album in year 2000. By this time , I had written nearly 70 songs in 21 years.
Recording my album was again another trying process. I was inexperienced and had to rely on professional musicians to do it. You would never believe how expensive it is to produce an album. By the time my album was completed, I had spent RM 25000.00 on recording costs alone. It was way above my budget. After duplication of 2000 CDs and costs for artwork, I had spent RM 35,000.00 on my album. You may guess that I was rather worried whether I could recover all this money as I had financed my album with my own savings. Nevertheless, I finished my CD and released it in April 2001. But God was good. After 7 months of sales, I had managed to recover back my cost and also has the opportunity to give away free, hundreds of my CDs. So after 21 years of songwriting and 70 songs later, God helped me fulfill my dreams. 20 years is a long time to wait but I am still grateful to God for allowing me to fulfill my dreams.
Releasing my CD has been a major milestone in my life. Together with my website www.tabernaclemusic.net , my songs are now available to the wider body of Christ. It has also opened many doors of ministry and assisted me with my work at Tung Ling Seminary. I have also been blessed tremendously by those who have sent me e mails telling me how they have been blessed by my songs.
On another front, my home church Full Gospel Tabernacle had also several major milestones in her history in year 2001. After almost a 2 year wait, we received our certificate of fitness for our new building and moved in this year. It is a beautiful building and all of it is fully paid in cash. The building has a build up of almost 56000 sq ft so you can imagine how big it really is. Sometimes I still stand in awe of God just looking at the building God has blessed us with. It is also significant that we waited 20 years for this. Since the church was birthed in 1981, we never owned a church building. We were renting premises all the time. In the last 6-7 years, we met every Sunday at the KDU Hall. Every week, we would set up the PA system and I would be faithfully carrying my heavy musical instruments to church. One day I told God that if my reward in heaven would be measured by the weights I carried to church every Sunday, it could also turn out to be quite a big reward. So our nomadic 20 years came to an end in year 2001.
Another major milestone in year 2001 for the church was the acquisition of a 3.4 acre land opposite the church. We had absolutely no money for this land. But in late October 2001, our Senior Pastor shared with the church his vision that God would want us to purchase this 3.4 acre land opposite. This shocked the church. We had just finished building our 7 million ringgit church all paid in cash. People have already sacrificed for the building . Another purchase of the land is really out of this world. Nevertheless, we prayed for several weeks at the church at 6.00 am in the morning. We then set 3 weeks to raise the money. In the first week of collection, the church raised 1.3 million. In the next two weeks, a total of 1.6 million was raised. Then God supernaturally gave us a bank loan for the rest. So the 3.4 acre land now belongs to the church. This is an amazing miracle for the church.
What can we say but that God is good and it is all by His grace. My song written in 1999 for our 19th church anniversary "We're here by grace" is a constant reminder to all of us that all that we achieve in life is by God's grace alone. I thank God for his grace and mercy on us in year 2001.
In closing, I would not like you to get the idea that all things are a bed of roses for us. In fact, we had endless struggles which we had to battle very much in prayer. Our CF application was really a nagging issue. It was a 2 year battle. Some members left the church over minor issues. Our building contractors gave us lots of trouble. Personally I was very discouraged when I discovered how the local bookshops took a backseat on local CDs. But looking at things positively, the year 2001 must be one of the most significant years of my life. God helped me fulfill my 20 year old dream !
Do you have a dream that has died in you ? Perhaps my testimony will encourage you to continue to believe in God for your dreams to be fulfilled. From the scriptures, I have found that God often allows our dreams to die so that our self dies. And when He revives our dreams in us, we will then know that it is finally God and not our own talents that helps us fulfill our dreams.
31st December 2001