It's been a bit of a busy time lately, preparing for exams and whatnot. I've really been wanting to update my blog for a while now, but I haven't really had the time. However, by God's providence, I had to look for my testimony of Jeremiah School. Jeremiah School is where I went for six weeks after my SPM, and I changed a lot there, and the following is (more-or-less) the testimony that I read to the Butterworth church on the last day of my six weeks there. Incidentally, this is the event which provides my current profile pic, with the nice shirt, the tie, and the microphone. It just so happened that I had to transfer my written testimony into a digital form anyway, for my mentors' report, so I thought it wouldn't harm to share it.
In a story, character transformation is the point where the main character changes for the better in his journey through life. Even in real life, we strive to change our lives for the better all the time. As Christians, we strive to live our lives as Jesus did.
Jeremiah School brought about my character transformation. It changed my life for the better. Today I can say for sure that I will never regret coming here.
Before I came to JS, I had been a broken and prideful person, but I never realised it. The two may seem incompatible, but they somehow had an abominable offspring in me. A year ago, I would never have used either of those words to describe myself. I was blind to my own brokenness, and I pridefully labelled myself as "humble" in my heart. I was blind to my own brokenness and pride. In my early secondary school years, I met people who hurt me and discouraged me regularly. They managed to convince me that I was quite incapable of doing anything well. By degrees my self-esteem rotted away without me realising it. I started isolating myself from others and became a very withdrawn person. I think this is when I started playing video games more; maybe because video games was one of the few things I knew I was good at. Lame. Eventually, without realising it, I tried to replace and hide my broken self-esteem with pride. I found fulfilment when other people saw me doing things well. This became a large snare for me in many things, especially when I played piano for worship in church.
Then when I was in my SPM year, my parents suggested that I go for JS. At that time, I was completely unaware of my fragmented emotional condition. But my sister had gone for JS before, and my parents thought it would be good for me to go too. I thought to myself, "I wouldn’t have anything better to do after SPM." So I agreed to go to HS. I did not know that the journey I had just begun would change my life.
I remember two meaningful events that happened early in JS, and these events laid the foundation for the rest of my growth in Jeremiah School. One morning, Uncle Alan, a speaker, came to teach us about meditating on Scripture. He taught us to ruminate over Bible verses and take their meaning personally. He then asked us to meditate on Isaiah 43:18-25. I will remember that passage all the days of my life. The passage spoke to me of God’s love, blessing and forgiveness. It was as if God had written those words just for me. This became the beginning of a new and intimate relationship between me and God.
Another turning point in my life began a few days later, when I was planning my Personal Development Plan with my mentor, Austin. Austin guided me in identifying what I wanted to improve in myself, what was hindering me from improving, and steps to become better at it. I knew what I wanted to become better at: I wanted to be more open towards the others in JS, because I had a lot of trouble with talking to other people back then. Through talking with Austin, I found out that my main obstacle was my fear of rejection and my fear of other people’s opinion. He asked me why I had this fear. Somehow I knew that this was related to my school years, even though I had never had a thought about it in the past. Suddenly the words and the pain just started flowing out of my mouth. I expressed what I had gone through and how I really felt and how my emotions were really affected by it. All the emotions I had hidden away all this time were brought into light. I’m sure I cried there in front of Austin. Fortunately no one else saw me. I remember what Austin told me: "You're still young, and you have a long life ahead of you. I believe that you have enough good sense not to make any mistakes that will affect the rest of your life." So why worry about what other people thought about me every waking moment of my life? Just try your best, and when you make social mistakes, don't beat yourself up over it, but learn from it and don't do it again. No harm done. I also learned to see more worth in myself, because God created me, and has a purpose for me and can use me for good. On that day I started a relationship and understanding with my emotional self.
Ever since God began a change in me through these two events, the rest of JS has been a wonderful experience of learning and growing together with the other students, with whom I have formed relationships and bonds that I greatly value. The other 23 students of JS formed a loving and caring community, and invited me to be a part of it. They encouraged me to open up to them, and they helped me with my brokenness. I also learned a lot from the mentors, who were always willing to talk with me, and they patiently answered any questions I had to ask. They also taught me to use the head God has given me to think over and solve my problems.
Sometimes people always say I'm so friendly and nice and etc. etc., but I wasn't always that way, and I'm sure that if it wasn't for the people I met at Jeremiah School, I'd still be an introvert, socially inept and fearful of other people. But God saw it fit to send me to Jeremiah School to meet all these amazing people, and patch me back together from all the broken pieces. Those whole six weeks played a big part in forming the person I am today, and defined my beliefs and values in life. These days I feel that it's the least I can do to keep an eye out for others in need of a friend, in need of someone to reach out to them, to get them to open up. I realise that not everyone gets the chance to meet people like the ones I met at JS, so I try to be that one friend to as many people as I can. For now, I believe that's the person God wants me to be. And if that's who God wants me to be, then of course that's the person I'm going to try my best to be. Regardless of what other people think of me.