22 Feb 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
Tan Poh Choong or PC Tan is a learned man, who spent his boyhood to adulthood –the many learning and growing years– first in Germany than in Switzerland, before returning to Malaysia. His German was better than English and Bahasa Malaysia. Capable and successful, he was the Director of the Equities and Sales Division with a global investment bank in Zurich. It was also during his stay in Switzerland, he was exposed to the culture of Christianity.
“In Europe, Christianity is more of a culture than a personal belief. Many people would send their kids to the Holy Communion and baptism but they don’t claim to be Christians,” said PC.
After a thriving career in Switzerland, he was invited to return to Malaysia in 1997 to join a financial banking group to launch their asset management service business when the Asia financial crisis started. His career also flourished and he became the CEO of his company. In addition, he also tied the knot with his beau after five years during his work here in Kuala Lumpur.
“We were attracted to each other because it was like east meeting west!” said PC.
Everything was going well for PC. In fact, he accepted Christ at the highest point of his life.
“Many people asked me how I accepted Christ but I didn’t really have a testimony to tell because I accepted Him at the peak of my life,” said PC who’s walk of faith counter the popular notion among non-believers that people only accept Jesus at their lowest point.
He started to become involved in church activities after receiving an invitation to a Christmas Harvest event in November 2008 at a SIB cell meeting in Mutiara Damansara. Although his wife did not go, she encouraged him to go with their sons. In fact, she had been a wonderful supporter of his faith, reminding him to go to church every Sunday and even cooking for his cell group.
Although she never turned up for any event, his walk with God became stronger week after week. In October 2009, PC got baptized- a time where the angels rejoiced but also a time when a loved one walked away. His wife wanted a separation because she believed that there is no turning back after a baptism.
“She wanted me to bring my sons to church because she knew that being around Christians is a good place to be,” said PC. “But having her husband being baptized is another thing.”
When he found out about his wife’s determination to separate, he was lost and wanted to leave the country with his two sons for a short break. But the counselor in SIB advised him otherwise.
“In the middle of uncertainty, you need to bring certainty into uncertainty,” said the counselor and that certainty is God. Incidentally, three of his brothers were Christian who also offered him support.
So, he stayed to amend the relationship for a year. However, the divorce was imminent and his two sons had been under his custody ever since.
“Without the Lord, I will be a broken man with two sons with me,” said PC. “But God gave me a lot of strength.”
He recalled asking God, “Lord, where are you in all of this? Lord, have you not promised me a world without problems?”
But now, after a year of divorce, he desires that his two children would be the salt and light to the family especially for those who are not saved. As a single father now blessed with two wonderful sons (4 years old and 11 years old), with His Peace and Strength, he raised them up. Now, although he does not earn well, he lives well rejoicing that God's love is there!
“We live a simple and abundant life and we are very contented. I spend a lot of time with my two sons and I would take them for vacations with me,” said PC who owed his singlehood fathering to God and also his independence as a boy-scout kind of person cultivated when he was overseas. Before he came to the Lord in 2008, he had already visited many rich and poor countries all over the world for cultural enrichment and personal development. Now, he appreciated these travels much more, knowing that this is God's creation. It is an amazing, beautiful world…
His siblings were amazed with how he could maintain harmony in the family, especially the health of his eldest child’s emotion; he was nine when his parents divorced.
“I have the peace from God. When I was angry or I did not understand, I cast everything on the cross. He is not only the God of my joy, but also the God of my problem 24/7, the God of my pain and also the God of forgiveness,” said PC.
Not only his siblings were impressed with PC, his in-laws could not believe how he could handle the divorce while taking care of his two children as a single father. Through it all, he came out of the divorce stable and at peace. To honor his in-laws, he would still bring his two sons to meet their grandparents during festivals.
“Although they felt a little awkward in the beginning, they eventually and generally welcome us,” said PC.
Indeed, our true relationship with Jesus is tested not based on how many problems we have, but how we behave amidst very stressful situations.
“God did not promise you a life without troubles. We often see trouble and tribulation as a curse,” said PC. “But the truth is that the Bible already told us that we will have problems in this world.”
Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
When asked if he forgave what his wife did, he said that, “I still pray for her although we are divorced now. I will forgive her to the point of God’s Will be done. Her goodness is very important to her children. As for the extent of forgiveness, I am praying that God would restore her as a daughter of Christ.”
PC shared that although we may grow up in a spirit of defeat, in a culture of ‘cannot wan lah’, God wants to give us a spirit of victory!
“As a Christian, I am accountable to God and I come under His authority. It is a mentorship by the Lord,” said PC. “His Words are just not information but a cause for transformation. Indeed, His Words reveal to us our wrong heart when we refuse to be obedient to Him.”
Looking back, he realized to sustain a good marriage, it is important to have open communication about feelings between husband and wife aside from only talking about children, school, environment, and what each other had in a meal. Also, being free of pride before your brothers and sisters-in-Christ is important because they are there to support you.
Most importantly, God must be in the relationship like a trinity type of relationship. PC shared that, “Unlike how movies depict the third party in the marriage life, this god-fearing trinity or three-party relationship is fundamental to any wholesome healthy marriage. That being said, the first party should be God as the significant anchor to the other both parties– the spouses.”
“Without God, there is more trouble in marriage. But with God, there is less trouble in marriage,” said PC. “Sometimes, people love their weddings but they don’t want marriage.”
Accepting this world as imperfect, PC described his world as a ‘sweet’ world now raising his boys up as God’s gift to him and being their good shepherd for the glory of God.
“His grace is sufficient for me and His love is overflowing,” said PC. “I rejoice because this world is a beautiful place and my heart is to bring glory to the everlasting Father.”
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