Against All Odds

10 Aug 2013 by Natasha Kim CM-

 

Benny Tan recently shared at a recent Full Gospel Businessman (FGB) fellowship in Summit USJ. He flew down all the way from New Zealand to share his touching testimony which comprised of a difficult, dark and desperate life; one that hurt him inside while growing up. When Benny found God, the pieces of his old self started to break away, which revealed a changed man, one that could finally say “I am hurt no more”.

When Benny was growing up, he had to live communally with his family in a tiny room. There were no beds but only wafer-thin mattresses, a shared toilet and a shared kitchen in the room. Their room was next to other tenants, all squeezed in a little coffee shop house his family had rented.

 

Benny Tan sharing at the FGB  fellowship at Summit
Benny Tan sharing at the FGB fellowship at Summit

 

As time passed, life seemingly got better for him when his family moved into a bungalow with a nice view but it wasn’t very long until his family was evicted for not paying rent. Even though his family didn’t have much money at all and were constantly being chased by creditors, Benny made the best out of his life by using the natural resources around him to keep him entertained such as playing with homemade toy boats or fishing by the drains.

“Poverty aside, I remember a lot of great times in that house. We didn’t have real money, but we had lots of monopoly money” shared Benny.

So since they were evicted, Benny and his family had to move back into a tiny place where they felt squashed like sardines.

 

Devastated and on the road to Destruction

One day, when Benny turned 12 years old, his whole world collapsed for the first time when he found out that the parents whom he lived with were not his real parents at all. His identity card was red in colour, when he knew it should have been blue like other Malaysian citizens. The names written of his mothere an father were also different. And when he questioned his father, he wasn’t told any details but that his real parents had sold him to this couple.

 

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“I didn’t dare ask for any explanations. Back in those days, our culture was such that children were seen but not heard,” shared Benny who felt hurt and shocked at that time.

He recalled his mother mentioned that it was his duty to repay them because they have fed, clothed, educated and looked after him. As a result, he felt that he was just a retirement plan, and did not feel an ounce of love. Depression and the feeling of abandonment filled his entire being; it was a difficult thing to fathom but he had to be strong and live with it.

“I began feeling sorry for myself and struggled hopelessly with my self worth,” said Benny.

Due to his hurt that brewed inside, he started releasing it by picking and bullying those he perceived as weaker than him. His first fight almost killed him when he thought he could win just because he was bigger than the other kid. Benny started mixing with the wrong crowd who were not interested in studies. Together, they began terrorizing the neigbourhood.

“The bigger we were, the bolder we got, and the more confrontational and aggressive we became,” he said.

That was when the beginning of his notorious life. Benny ended up joining the powerful Tiger Dragon (Loong Foo Thong) gang.

“Your father knows what you need before you ask him. So do not worry, saying 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today's trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:8b, 31-34)

 

Divine Appointment

It was in one Saturday, his life took a change. A vehicle pulled up along him. Inside the car was a missionary from New Zealand who introduced himself as Roger, and he invited Benny to a youth meeting. But at that time, Benny had no clue what a missionary or a youth meeting meant, though he decided to check it out anyway.

 

Pr Benny Tan
Pr Benny Tan

 

So he arrived at 'Bentong Gospel Hall' and had no idea what that meant either, but he enjoyed the warm welcome he received when he was there.

“They obviously like seeing me… They made an excellent first impression on me” said Benny.

He kept going back for these meetings, discovering Jesus in his spiritual journey. 

“The person of Jesus inspired me to desire God and drew me closer to Him instead of wanting to run away as I did in other places of faith. I could feel a beautiful presence in church,” he said.   

“Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16)

 

Purpose in Life

Suddenly, his life became meaningful and the emptiness in his heart slowly faded away as God began to heal his past hurts.

“Most people thought I’d either be killed on the streets of Kuala Lumpur or be arrested and locked up for good. But they didn’t count on God intervening!” he said. 

 

Pr Benny Tan
Pr Benny Tan

 

Through his troubles, he committed his future to the Lord. Even though he was a fairly new Christian, he knew that God's will was the best and even though he struggled with it, he chose to surrender his life to do His work.

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)

Soon God confirmed His will to send Benny to a Bible College in New Zealand. Though he had a good job at that time in the Magistrates court, he resigned to fulfill God's Will in his life. It was in New Zealand that he met a girl named Sharon Managh who he became good friends with. This girl shone and stood out to Benny. As their relationship continued to flourish, they finally made the big decision and decided to get married in 1975! It was a very special year for Benny.

“We’ll always remember it” he said.

 

Praying For Dogs

Sharon and Benny began their full time pastoral ministry. Not long after they began, they received a knock on the door one afternoon from their neighbour across the street; her dog had been badly injured. She asked, “Do you pray for dogs?” Her husband had accidently run over their Labrador who was just a puppy and it's back had been crushed.

“Sharon and I were gobsmacked. We had never been asked to pray for that before. It was definitely a first for us. The crippled and immobile puppy had been lying in a basket for four days," said Benny.

Since they both loved dogs and really felt for their hurting neighbour, they decided to step out in faith and pray for the puppy. So they laid their hands on the dog and prayed a simple prayer in the name of Jesus and asked God to heal.

 

FGB Summit
FGB Summit

 

“What happened next blew us away. The moment we finished praying and said 'Amen,' the puppy sprang to her feet and took off. She ran around and around the garden and 'watered' every plant in sight!” he shared. They had just witnessed a miracle before their eyes.

“God would be responsible for many more miracles and perform many more amazing signs and wonders in our lives” shared Benny.

Now, they have one daughter and five sons who are all grown-up.

"God has enriched my life and revealed the heart of God for family. It still shocks me today that I didn’t want the blessing of life to be a part of me” he shared.

Today Benny is a visionary leader-pastor in New Zealand who has the gift of inspiring people to dream big dreams. The great communicator with a cheeky sense of humour has a great passion for the things of God. How God has miraculously changed his life!

“Trust in the Lord and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” (Psalm 37:3-5)

 

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