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God's Patience

Going to temples and praying to various gods was very much part of my life growing up. My mother

would also consult a medium (a family friend) on almost every issue in our lives including those

related to our health and would almost always act according to the medium's instructions. I would

participate in all the religious rites not so much out of my belief but more to please my mother.

When I met my girlfriend (now my wife, Adrienne) she was already a baptised Catholic, but religion

was not something we would discuss in the early days. My journey started by my driving Adrienne to

church every Sunday for Mass. Initially, I would just sit in the car and wait for her. After some time, I

decided that it would make more sense to go and sit in the church while waiting. Out of respect, I

would participate in the rituals without really understanding nor committing to the faith. Over time I

started to pray to the Lord and stopped going to temples despite my mother's insistence.

When my daughter, Anastasia came along I agreed to her baptism without hesitation knowing that it was my wife's wish as well as duty to bring her up as a Catholic. Anastasia has been and is a very devoted child of God. At 2 years old she would come before bedtime to our bedroom and say "Bible book" asking us to read the Bible with her. Since then, we would have our nightly prayers whenever we were together. We have been attending Mass every Sunday almost without fail even when we travel

to foreign countries. Our Catholic friends have asked why I had not gotten baptised and there was

even a priest (Father Kee who has passed on) who had offered to baptise me with a short baptism

course. Uncle Kula and Auntie Rosie (both have also sadly passed on) even offered to be my godparents although they were very understanding to encourage patience to those who were trying to push me. I was just not ready as I had too many questions and doubts and I just did not want to be a hypocrite to just go through the rites without fully accepting the faith.

When Covid-19 came along not allowing any travelling and with prompting (maybe even pushing) by Adrienne and Father Charles, I decided to join the RCIA to learn more about the faith. The RCIA journey has truly allowed me to reflect on my life and I was astonished to realise that He has always been there to guide, protect and bless me and my family. Decisions made and actions taken which were at times seemingly random, trivial and inconsequential subsequently turned out to be life changing. I then realised that He has always been with us.

I thank Father Colin for his very devoted and thorough preparation for us through the RCIA and also to the various other speakers. I also wish to thank Teddy and Raj for their dedication to ensure the smooth running of the RCIA. To my group 3 leaders Frank and May, the sponsors Kai, Theresa, Jean, Patrick, and to my fellow neophytes, Richard, Geraldine, Patricia and Faith, I thank all of you for all the very sincere and enlightening sharing. To KP, my godparent I thank you not only for your guidance but also for keeping me disciplined throughout this RCIA journey, ensuring that I attend all the Masses and sessions by ferrying me there.

Finally and most importantly, I thank God for being so patient with me. He has blessed me manifolds and I thank Him for His love. I know in this faith journey I will still have my doubts particularly when I face adversities, but I know that He will be there to guide me along the way. Thank you, Lord.

- Benedict Beh Eng Par

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