His Buddhist family converted to Christianity but at 18 Philip Tanean’s road to Christian faith took a detour.
I was born into a Buddhist Chinese family in a small town in the northern part of Sumatra, Indonesia.
When I was a small boy, my family converted to the Christian faith one by one, starting with my aunt, who began to follow Jesus as a student while studying in Singapore. She was then followed by my grandmother, uncle, father, mother and other family members. From then on I grew up in a Christian home and I remember an uncle and aunty attending a small Indonesian Salvation Army church nearby.
As a student, at the age of 12, I too became a follower of Jesus. At the time, I was a bit on my own amongst my classmates, but I now know after so many years that it was the best and most important decision I ever made in my life.
When I was 18 I left for another city to study at university. I stopped going to church. I began to feel emptiness in my soul.
When I started working, I fell into depression due to some work issues. It was then that I realised I had gone astray in life. I discovered that life without God is really meaningless regardless of how many material possessions we have or how good the appearance of life seems.
I started to attend church again. I grew in my faith as a follower of Jesus and, through committed prayer, I felt the depression leave me and it has not come back in more than 20 years.
As I reflect on my younger days, my home where I grew up was always peaceful. Father and Mother were always loving and didn’t quarrel or experience strife at all. My younger sister was learning the piano and she brought music sounds into our home and later on became a church pianist and an organ teacher.
My father was a kind and loving father to all four of us as his children. I don’t remember ever being scolded by him and never once experienced trauma. Memories of my father remind me of how important it is to be a godly father to a family. Now my children also experience that same peace in their life, as God’s grace and love always abound in our home.
After a long stay overseas, I returned to Australia. Coming back to Perth, I prayed that God would lead me to a church that I could become part of. God heard my prayer! One early Sunday morning, I was walking around the city of Perth when I saw a Salvo who was sitting down after opening The Salvation Army city church door for Sunday service. I approached him, started talking with him and he invited me to join him in the church service that morning. I have been attending a Salvation Army church ever since.
I became a Salvation Army soldier after attending the Perth Salvo Chinese church for about a year or so. I now serve there as Connect Coordinator, welcoming new people into our church. I also support people as a counsellor in family therapy. For many years, as a language interpreter, I also taught English at The Salvation Army to migrants.
There are many things I thank God for in my life. The most important is that God is faithful. I daily seek to follow Jesus and there I find meaning and peace in my life.
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