There are certain people in life whom I wish never existed. Come on, be honest about it and stop judging me like I’m the only one who thinks that way. I know I can list a whole page (or probably a few) of these people. But I thank God, that on the other hand, I have discovered a handful of those whom I wonder how I would’ve survived without them.
One of them is my pastor, Steven Teoh.
Yes. He is a real pastor. I checked.
Recently, we celebrated his 40th plus plus plus birthday and I can’t really recall when was the last time we celebrated his birthday (we’re never around as his birthday always falls somewhere on Chinese New Year and we’d be back in our hometowns). During the party, Jocelyn asked us to share our first impression of Ps Steven and something to encourage and bless our old man.
Well, my first impression of him: he eyeballs you. Yup, this man doesn’t blink when he stares at you while you’re having a conversation with him. Very intimidating for shy people but then again, I ain’t no shy guy. But his eyeballing simply shows that he cares about what you’re talking about and the best part is, he remembers what you’ve said! Not me though. I may eyeball you but I’d still have no idea what you’re talking about.
And he’s also the reason why I am here. In Eaglepoint and still here in Klang Valley. I was already marked from the moment I told him I’m coming over to KL for further studies. I was destined to be rooted and grow spiritually in Eaglepoint. And like all (mostly) East Malaysians, we yearn to go back to our homelands after we complete our studies but I stayed. Mainly because of the church and him. There were also times where I wanted to leave the church, but I stayed. Also because of him. It’s kinda like how the sinners seem to flock to Jesus and not the Pharisees in the Bible. I don’t need someone who acts holier than me and pretends to care for me. I need someone who genuinely cares, is deeply compassionate and accepts me despite my weaknesses and shortcomings. Like him.
Along this journey of life, I have learned a great deal from him. Well, he’s not exactly the handyman type you’d turn to when you need to change a bulb or fix a car, but when it comes to the matters of life and God, there’s no one else I’d rather turn to. You see, I don’t just want to follow a GOOD role model. I want to follow a GODly role model. Someone who follows Jesus, as I follow him. Because that way, we’ll never go wrong. Like the way he believes in a life of purity, a stand to not defile the marriage bed (aka no sex before marriage)! Obviously that’s not something that Lady Gaga agrees with but definitely something worth following if you want a fulfilling and meaningful marriage. And boy, ain’t I glad I listened! Me and Chrystin kept our purity and we had our first kiss on our wedding day! Call me old fashioned, but it made my marriage darn special. How many people on this earth shares their first kiss with the love of their lives on their wedding day? Not many in this century, I’d say. And right now, he and his wife oversees our relationship and marriage. I couldn’t ask for better counsellors than these two love gurus.
What’s the one thing I really love about having him around? It’s gotta be the permission to confide with one another. Usually pastors are quite reserved when it comes to the way they conduct themselves. You know, the blameless outward appearance and holy aura emitting from them (nothing wrong about this) that they gotta maintain so that their sheep do not question your shepherding? But hey, not him (not that he’s unholy)! He laughs, complaints, gossips updates, goes karaoke, stays up late and the list goes on just like everybody else! Sometimes we talk so openly, I forget he’s a pastor! And because of this, I find it irresistible and almost impossible not to confide with him my deepest concerns or greatest joys with him. And judgement is never the response I’ve gotten from him (probably he secretly judges me in his head).
I call him “ah pa,” meaning dad in chinese and yes, I have three dads: my earthly father, him (my spiritual father) and my Father in heaven. I guess that pretty much sums up our relationship and how much I love and respect this man. I am blessed because you, Steven Teoh, are a godsend!
“You are better off to have a friend than to be all alone, because then you will get more enjoyment out of what you earn. If you fall, your friend can help you up. But if you fall without having a friend nearby, you are really in trouble.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10