The journey of faithfulness began with small steps before God opened a door for Jeremy-Joe Tan and his family to step into something bigger.
by Jeremy-Joe Tan
What an amazing journey God has brought my family and I through!
When I first came into full-time ministry about 10 years ago, all I wanted to do was to serve the Lord. I would have been content serving in Chapel of the Resurrection (COR) for the rest of my life. But as God would have it, I was asked to go and study in Trinity Theological College (TTC) after serving in COR for a while. I agreed to it because I figured theological studies were necessary if I wanted to serve for the long haul.
TTC proved to be an incredible time of stretching. I would study from Mondays to Fridays, then lead a cell group on Saturdays, and worship in two churches on Sundays – my attachment church and then rush back for Mustard Seed Service (MSS) whenever I could. It was a fun but tremendously busy life – so I often did what was only basic and necessary for my studies in TTC. I could not put in the extra mile for my studies.
The major turning point for me came at COR’s staff retreat in 2014. I was paired with Suat Ngoh to share what we discerned God to be calling us to. After giving half-baked answers initially, Suat Ngoh urged me to articulate, by faith, what I felt God was calling me to. So by faith I said, “I think God is calling me to get ordained and get a PhD. Then to teach in TTC and make a difference in my generation.” The minute I said that, I began to break down and cry. Suat Ngoh discerningly replied, “You are crying because you know what God has called you to, but you don’t want to do it.”
Out of that, Tricia (my wife) and I began a long conversation about our fears and the obstacles of this journey. We eventually summarised them into four seemingly impossible mountains that we needed to cross if this was to happen. So we prayed to the Lord – asking that if this was truly His will for our lives – that He remove these mountains and make level our path so we may follow Him. Amazingly, every one of these mountains – each one an impossible situation to work out – began to clear. Witnessing this miraculous working of God, it was easy for Tricia and I to acquiesce to this step of faith.
This is only the beginning of our journey. I still have a Masters and a PhD to finish, while Tricia and the kids need to adapt to life in Scotland and then re-adapt to Singapore in four years’ time. In many ways, this is just part of that amazing and wonderful adventure of full-time ministry that God has called us to. We still have many fears and uncertainties, but we consciously choose to place our faith and trust in the good Lord who has seen us through thus far; and who will certainly see us through more in the future!
Jeremy-Joe served as a mentor in the Chaplaincy ministry for 2 years before going for theological studies. Since graduation in 2015, he has been a youth pastor in the Mustard Seed Service. He lovingly refers to his wife, Tricia, as ‘long- suffering’ and they have two cute and lively children – Joshua (4) and Anna (2). They will live in Edinburgh, Scotland for the next four years.
This article first appeared in Issue 17, November 2017 CHORUS Magazine.