“Not many people see it this way, but I’ve always seen God as a mentor,” Aaron Chong said with much conviction. “A Father, definitely, but also a mentor.” He went on to talk about how God has always guided him in his decision making, whether big or small. “Whatever God says, I’ll do. I’ve found that things work out best that way.”
From Standard One all the way up till Form Five, Aaron attended a private school. “This school made me who I am. Every aspect of me has come from this school, or my parents.”
Aaron grew up in a solid Christian home where his parents taught him the ways of the Lord. “Mom told me lots of stories,” he recalled. One day during PE (Physical Education) class, Aaron’s class teacher decided to share the gospel with her students. It was raining outside and they couldn’t go on with their scheduled outdoor activities.
“I had heard the story many, many times. I had even unknowingly shared it with my friends before.” That day, however, something clicked in eight-year-old Aaron’s mind. “It was the first time I really thought about it—that God would confine Himself to become a man. Not only would He do that, He went through every man’s fears.”
At the end of the period, when his teacher gave the invitation to accept Christ, Aaron raised his hand. “That was the day that God became my God. But that,” he added, “was not spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity came later on.”
Again, at his school, Aaron and his friends attended a camp where they had a very special encounter with the Lord. “A lot of us go to camps and get fired up, but the excitement dies off later. This camp was different. We held on to that passion after the camp.”
Aaron eventually graduated and went on to pursue a Law Degree first at HELP University, and then finished the course in the UK. “I was actually thinking of staying there longer to do my Masters,” he said. But the Lord called him back to Malaysia, and so he returned in August of last year.
His initial plan was to take the rest of the year off before he began his Masters in Business Administration in January of this year. However, at the end of 2014, a friend mentioned to Aaron that he was working as a tutor in Sunway University and asked if Aaron was interested. “I said no lah, cos teaching is not my thing.”
But when he went home, he kept thinking about tutoring, and figured that it might be something to consider. After all, he had experience with leading studies in his youth group. Perhaps he could be a tutor.
“I asked my parents, and surprisingly, they were okay with it.” Aaron had thought that his father, who owns Shogun, Saisaki, and Glory Wheels, would want him to work with his business. But he did not object to tutoring.
“So I went around and gave out my resumè to universities and went for interviews. I was getting ready to hand in my application to Sunway when a friend of mine said he was going to visit my old school.”
Aaron decided to accompany him. While there, he thought to himself, “Since I’m applying for a teaching job, why not just apply here?” He applied, and got an offer. “It was a difficult decision to make, because it was not my only offer. I would be teaching subjects that had nothing to do with my degree, and I would be dealing with younger students.”
So he prayed about it really hard. They told him that they wanted an answer from him by Monday. On Sunday, Aaron visited a church he used to attend and ran into his former pastor. The pastor asked about him, and encouraged him to go ahead with this position at my school. “I knew it was from God,” Aaron said. “It was just so clear.”
“Working in the place I grew up in definitely feels strange at times. I mean, I just left the school about six years ago.” Little things like going to the teacher’s toilet or entering the staff room without knocking on the door still feels odd at times. Even odder is that some of his ex-teachers are still working there, including the ones that have known him since he was seven.
“So to be asked to treat my ex-teachers as my colleagues is definitely challenging. But surprisingly, they’ve all accepted me as a colleague really quickly. In fact, a few of them have really guided me through this learning process of teaching as well. And here I thought I wouldn’t be learning anything from them anymore.”
One of Aaron’s schoolmates who was a year ahead of him is also now a teacher there. “I thank God everyday that I have someone who is pretty much my age and has gone through the same things I go through in this school to be a listening ear and a friendly advisor in pretty much everything I do in the school.
“The students are without a doubt, the best part of the job,” Aaron said. He teaches approximately ninety students from three classes, all sixteen years of age. “Seeing them grow and improve in all they do is sometimes the only thing that gets me through the day. I’ve made it a goal to talk to every student and understand where they have come from and why the act how they act.
“Each one has a different story and each has different motivations for their actions. It is definitely a challenge at times, but they make it worth it. You’d be surprised by what these students, even the ones people see as the ‘weakest’, can do if you just believe in them.
“There is an increasing amount of sixteen and seventeen-year-olds that are so passionate about the Lord that it may put many people to shame. I believe these students will one day grow up to be a great voice of good in our country. To have a chance to have a hand in their growth and relationship with the Lord is such a blessing.
“These sixteen and seventeen-year-old students are my life for the next 2 years, I only pray that I do right by them and guide them well as my parents and ex-teachers have guided me.” Aaron’s long-term plan is still to eventually either work with his father’s business, or to start up his own business with his father’s help.
“A lot of people ask me why I do this. For me, it’s because of the first fruits concept. I take tithing literally, but the giving back of first fruits to God is not just about my salary, but my time as well, and I wanted to give my best years to the Lord.
“God has been everything to me.” Aaron was always a good student, but somewhere along the way during his teenage years, he had strayed and made decisions he considered to be unforgivable. “I figured I could do whatever I want now, because there’s not hope for me anymore anyways.
“I still served in church and chapel, but I did it more with the mindset that I’m gonna try to save everybody else, but there’s no point for me. But then, God sent someone to show me that my mentality was wrong. That’s why God is very important to me. And without God, I have no idea what I would be doing now.
“I will work tirelessly to give to these students what I was blessed with and took for granted at their age,” Aaron said, reflecting back on the impact his time at his school has had on his life. “To be a father to those who need one and to be a friend or mentor to those who needs that. But most of all to always point them back to the Lord and try to help them attain spiritual independence and reliance in the Lord.”
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