Oct 19, 2015

I Have A Testimony! ~ Ben Pang


Ed's Note: -Thanks Ben for sharing your testimony. It speaks well of you to jump at the chance to say a few words for Jesus and express to others of what he has done in your life. Not everyone is willing to share their testimony.  Isn't it awesome to look back to see where you came from in your journey!  ...and more importantly to trust God for what's ahead.  God works from small to big, from inside to outside.  From just a measure of faith to bursting forth in a life of praise! When we give our lives to him we begin an amazing journey!

“...let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9
Hong Kong was occupied by Japan during the Second World War.   Living under an occupation by a foreign government, made life very difficult for the Chinese that lived in that big city.  Besides the fear that came with being subjected to an invading authority, the necessities for day to day living were not easily available

Finding food to feed our family just wasn't easy.  A family friend was receiving rice from the missionaries in Hong Kong.   They willingly shared the little provision they had.   My mom knew of the good work the missionaries did and she believed that they were good people.  

Seemingly it was their good reputation and kindness that caused us to look up to them with respect.  I was raised in a family that did not know anything about Jesus.  My folks were brought up with very traditional Buddhist beliefs from China, and as Buddhist's did, we worshiped many gods.  We had a god for each area of our home and they all had their own spot.  There was a place for the ancestor; there was a place for the landlord; the entrance god; the backyard god; the kitchen god.   There were also duplicates of those gods at my dad’s shop.  Mom would burn incense to those gods twice a month and I would help her with the incense ceremony.  During Chinese New Year, she would be sure to attend the local Buddhist and Chinese temples. 

Because of my upbringing, I was aware of that side of the spiritual world while I was still a child.  The local radio station would frequently broadcast ghost-stories.  TV shows abounded with programs about the spiritual world.  I quickly got quite used to being around these images of 'gods' or 'ghosts' and over time you could say it made me indifferent to them.    

I developed an interest in the martial arts as a boy and it's associated Buddhist-influenced spirituality.  The martial arts are deeply ingrained with the Buddhist-influenced Chinese culture .  Broadcasted ghost-story programs on TV reinforce their belief in their false gods spirituality.  One stream of Buddhist monks in particular attracted my attention.  This group was well trained in their martial arts and over time I began to imagine that I would become a Buddhist monk.

Now that I know Jesus personally and feel his love, I sure thank God that I didn't become a Buddhist monk! 

My family worked very hard to make ends meet.  Mom took home some work from a small factory and the entire family worked at home.  Our home functioned like a mini factory. We did a variety of sewing jobs which provided food for the family and allowed us to pay our bills.  The last factory our family worked at made base ball caps. ...many, many baseball caps!  At the same time Dad made shoes in his shop which was about a five minute walk from home.  While we were in school, my brother, sisters and myself would go to school and later spent the afternoon completing our homework.  But as soon as that was done we would begin our job sewing the baseball caps.  When Dad finished work at his shop, he would join in to help us well into the evening.  We just worked constantly! 

Mom and Dad didn't have time to go to church.  They had no interest in Christ whatsoever!  They believed in education and their desire was to send my siblings and myself to a better school than our local one.  Lacking the necessary funds to send us to a private school, they decided to send us to the local missionary school which they administrated as well as their churches.  Since my mom believed the missionaries were fundamentally good people, she was willing to send us to their schools.  

 Because of the respected work done by those missionaries, I had the opportunity to hear the story of Christ! 

The school I went to was called St. Stephen Church College. It belonged to an Anglican Church. They had a gospel crusade twice a year.   

In 1980 I came to believe that Jesus is the true God in one of those crusades at school. 

I was the younger child in the family and  helped Mom prepare incense for her gods twice a month. 

I decided that my life was going to change.  I went home to tell Mom that I would not be helping her in her idol worship and preparation of incense anymore.  I let her know that I now believe in Jesus!  However, I was unsure of how she would react to this news!

 I knew of a friend whose mother wouldn't speak with him following his conversion to Christ. Surely Mom wouldn't treat me like that?  It surprised me to find that she didn't say anything to me.  God has showed me favor which has made life so much easier. 

When I first believed in Jesus in 1980, I would say that "...all I want is a ticket to heaven!" 

In my early christian years, I was quite worldly and while I'd made a profession of faith, it hadn't changed me much.  I still wanted things on my own terms, ...my own way, apart from God.  However, I went to church on Sunday and I tried to read the Bible a little bit each day. 

 It was work doing that in the first few years of being a Christian. In 1983, I graduated from my Hong Kong Secondary School, which was equivalent to Grade 11 in Canada.  I passed the important public school exam and I was able to get approved to start grade 12. 

Although I tried for several years,  I had difficulty entering college to advance my education.   I went to Vancouver in Canada for Grade 12 in 1985.  

Although I was not too excited about God, He was still excited to build a relationship with me. I didn’t go to church regularly in those years, but in my heart, I believed that it was the right thing to do.  I attended a Vancouver Baptist Church where the people at the church were my friends.  While these folks were great people, I didn't feel that they were close friends of mine, yet they took steps to care for me greatly!   

I was still very worldly.  Deep inside, I longed to 'be a somebody' one day.   

It was a wish deep in my mind, ...but I didn't know what it was exactly that I wanted.  Really,  I had no idea how I could become a significant somebody.  I really did not have any career plans other than obtaining a degree.  God continued to reach out to me and prepare my path. 

English has always been a difficult school subject for me.   When I tried to attend a Canadian University, I was required to attain the entrance 'points' on their matrix.    The 'points' were towards a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam.  Different universities required different scores, yet overall, English seemed so difficult for me.   

Soon, I found an alternative.  I discovered that some universities would waive the TOEFL points requirement provided the student had completed a first year university English program.   This discovery was the key to my blocked door!   I enrolled in a college for a one year English course, and soon thereafter I was accepted into the University of Alberta.  U of A was the second largest university in Canada then and they enjoyed their great reputation.  However, there were bumps on the road ahead for me.  Upon entering I encountered inter-departmental conflicts regarding my application.  The faculty and entrance departments didn't agree. Despite the conflict that held me back,  I eventually received the go-ahead and the all-important University acceptance just a week before the start of school.  I'd barely made it!

Two of my friends had applied to that university and were already in Edmonton.  They took me in and we shared an apartment.   Remarkably, my plans just sort of fell into place although I'd only just barely arrived as school started.  It seemed that God had everything prepared for me there. 

One of these two friends was a devoted Christian. He invited me to church with him. 

 Since we lived in the same apartment, I really couldn’t say no. I went along. 

The bible says that, "... In the LORD's hand the king's heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.. ~ Proverbs 21:1

Once I started hearing the gospel again, it was the right time, and my heart changed. I became so aware of my sins, and the Holiness of God. 

The fact that Jesus came and died for my sins became real, ...I became aware of His redemption! ...it became so real. I couldn't get enough of Jesus ever again! 

After my day of school, I would read the bible for several hours in the library before starting my homework and study.  A senior student asked me one day why I chose  the University of Alberta. He expected me to say something wonderful about our university, but all I said was, "This was the only University that accepted me - it was the truth!"    It surprised him because the U of A had a great academic reputation.  God prepared good things for me. 

God's plan is fantastic!  ...his plan is to prosper me and not harm me, his plan is to give me hope and a future. 

I really grew in those years at Edmonton.  God taught me so much.   He put passionate, burning zeal for His Word in my heart.   After finishing my degree, I went back to Hong Kong.

A change of environment brings about life adjustments.  Since, I needed to establish myself and make enough money to have a good and stable life, my 'challenge' of a job search began.   It took a long time to land my my first job, even though God had smoothed-out my road.  Before returning to Hong Kong,  I specifically requested that God would prevent me from my dread of having a sales position.  I just didn’t think my personality fit sales.  Furthermore,  I didn’t even like computers.  Too many late nights at the keyboard laboring over school assignments had completely turned me off of computers! 

And, honestly it seemingly took forever to land my first Canadian job.  When I finally got the job offer, it was not at all what I had dreamed of.  Would you believe that my first job was ....selling computers.  Well, it had taken me six months to finally get the offer, so there was no way I was going to turn it down!  Perhaps God really does have a sense of humor.   I think he does...and He is sovereign!   

Significant life changes were required to adjust to my work life, which I didn't find easy.  I stuck to my belief in God and sensed His Presence guiding me through my trials. During this period in my life, one of the churches I attended had a charismatic pastor.   His vibrancy caused new growth in my life!   This church was my initial exposure to the gifts of speaking in tongues and prophecy!   

My pastor related to me that he sensed a special anointing on my life. 

However at the time I was too busy still trying to be a successful 'somebody', and so I paid little attention!  

God has always been patient with me...that's something I really love about God!  - ...His patience.  He continued to guide towards the plan he had for me.   In fact God waited over fifteen years for me.  While God was waiting, he led me to Ontario in 1998 where again in 2010,  God stirred up my heart, reminding me about that calling my former pastor had mentioned.   I have decided that I am not going to let it pass me by this time!  I have a destiny and I'm taking ahold of it! 

What is God’s plan for us?  Is it only to believe in Him? When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Jesus taught saying,  “Our Father, Who are in Heaven. Hallowed be Your name, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” ... notice that before Jesus mentioned the word “us” God is quite interested in establishing His Kingdom on earth.  He's interested in His will being done on earth. That means now, today, RIGHT NOW.  It is not when we die and go to Heaven. 

The Bible mentions that “But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.” (Numbers 14:21)  I find that God likes to accomplish that with us and through us. 

I've come to understand that when making a Godly decision, God’s will has been done through my life.  When this occurs,  I have given Glory to God and God has filled part of the earth with His Glory through me!   I believe that “...signs will follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17).     God will do that to demonstrate to the world that He is real, He is true, He is able, He is mighty, and He can do all things. God will do this so that His name shall be glorified. 

I've also come to realize that whenever I speak the Glory of God,  I cover that part of the earth with the Glory of God through my words.  This is what I have decided to do. I am going to make frequent Godly decisions; I am going to speak the Glory of God as often as I'm able. 

Let miracles follow me because I believe in Jesus! 

"...therefore let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”  

~ Benjamin Pang 2015

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