The 'Waiting Room' Study Series
MY STORY……..SO FAR
Tan Sin Liang
Preacher, Teacher, Lawyer
Life Of Overcoming Obstacles
Ethel and I have been married for the past 40 years. We have 2 sons (both in their thirties). At the age of 2 years old, I was struck down with polio. However, it did not prevent me from leading an active and fulfilling life. I have done almost everything a normal person could do. My life, has been one of overcoming obstacles. I discovered, with God’s help, we can overcome almost all obstacles in life.
Becoming A Christian
Born in an ancestral-worshipping Chinese family, I found the Lord, Jesus Christ, in an evangelistic meeting when I was, still schooling, at 18 years old. God changed my life. His hand was upon me since that day. He changed my ambition of becoming a nightclub singer to a lawyer (what a change).
Becoming A Lawyer
After finishing high school, I had no money to study in the college. Through the intervention of my missionary teacher, she loaned me the money to go to college, with one condition: that I should go to law school. Otherwise, the deal was off.
Being a Chinese-speaking student, I was poor in English. There was no way I could make it to law school. But God provided a miracle to make it possible. At the final year of my high school, I scored an “A1” for English! And that was my ‘passport’ to law school in Singapore.
Call To Return Home – My Church Ministry
After graduating from law school in Singapore, my plan was to settle down in Singapore (where I found my future wife). But God had other plans for me. Due to bad economic recession, I was forced to return to my country (where Ethel and I were married).
I served in a Baptist Church (founded by a Southern Baptist Missionary, Hugh Smith, now living in the US) for 12 years as one of their leaders. Hugh Smith was my pastor, spiritual mentor and dear friend. I had the opportunity to preach and to teach in the Sunday school. I spent time counselling and mentoring the church members. Hardly did I realise that God was preparing me for His ministry in the future in another country. This was the foundation for my ministry today.
My Law Practice
During my 12 years of practice as a lawyer in my country, I faced several challenges. Corruption was rife. Because I did not pay the bank managers bribes, they refused to give me any work (although I was one of their panel lawyers). But God was faithful and He provided me with other work.
Another challenge I faced was helping people to change their religious status. Since I was the only Christian lawyer in town, I was asked by a Baptist pastor to help to change religious status of a Malay Christian in her identity card. I helped her to get it approved by the government authority. I also helped in a few other similar cases. Little did I realise that this would have severe repercussions to my future in this country.
God’s Call To Leave The County
It was around this time, I began to experience strange dreams (more like nightmares). I dreamt I was back in law school, missing my lectures and exams. I was finally convinced that God was prompting me to go back to law school a second time. That meant selling my home, my law practice and leaving my church and my mother. It was heart-breaking. I had never planned to leave this country. But who would want to buy my small little law practice? God had it worked out for me.
Out of nowhere, God sent a lawyer to buy my law practice. Meanwhile, I had started to apply to some law schools in London and US. The sale of my office happened so fast, I was not ready to sell it because I had not received any confirmation from any of the law schools I applied to. But the lawyer said he could not wait for me to get the confirmation because I did not know when I would get it, (if at all). I was in a dilemma. Logic told me to wait for the law school acceptance, then sell my practice. But the lawyer said he couldn’t wait. And he was my only buyer! God convinced me to take the route of faith. So I sold my home and my law practice before I was accepted by any of the law schools. Had this not worked, I would have ended up without a home or a law practice in my town. I would be the laughing stock of the whole town. God honoured my faith. In the end, I was accepted by two universities.
They Wanted To Arrest Me
One month after I arrived in London to pursue my degree in Masters in Law at the University of London, I received news that the government of my country wanted to arrest me. For what? For helping my clients to change their religious status. But I did nothing wrong. My clients’ applications were approved by the government authority. This was a draconic law, it did not matter if you did not do anything wrong legally. Had I been arrested, I would have been tortured in prison. But God’s protecting hand was upon me. Two years before this event took place, God had spoken to me, through those dreams, to leave the country. So God delivered me.
My Waiting Room In UK
After I graduated with a Masters In Law degree from University of London, I wanted to emigrate to UK. I applied for many jobs and waited one whole year but I got nowhere. None of the doors I knocked, opened. Finally, God convinced me to go back to Singapore.
My Waiting Room In Singapore
That is where I am today. But I did not manage to get a job in Singapore immediately. I struggled for almost a year before God provided me an excellent job as the Legal Counsel for the largest bank in Singapore and this part of Asia.
Life for me, had turned one full circle. Since returning to Singapore. I have been actively preaching and teaching in churches in Singapore and Malaysia for the past twenty odd years.
God’s Miracle In Saving My Life
A few years ago I was diagnosed to have several blockages in my heart arteries. My cardiologist told me that if I had a heart attack, it would have been “massive” (in simple terms, I would have died). But he told me that my “heart performed a miracle” and that saved my life. He said that when my two left arteries were badly blocked (one almost 100%), my heart performed a ‘natural by-pass’, by growing an extra artery to join the heart to provide that life-saving supply of blood to keep me alive! But it was only a ‘stop-gap’ measure. I underwent a double-by-pass operation and I am in good health today.
I was deeply touched by God’s immeasurable love for me, to save me. Why did God save my life? There must be a reason. To serve Him and to reach out to those who do not know Him and to those who need help and encouragement. That is what I try to do today. I’ve not retired. I’m still actively practising as a lawyer in the areas of my specialty in Singapore today.
That, roughly, is my life; so far.