Saturday, June 29, 2013

Today I am a Proud Father

Today is entered as a day in my life as a proud father. I always learn to be a father. All my four children are teenagers now. Though I face strong challenges to disciple and nurture them in the Lord, I always feel proud that Jesus gives them to me.

I want to say I am a very proud father today. Here it goes. My 3 younger teenagers had their inter-house school sports. I was there to cheer for my 2 sons (twins), Tobias and Elliot. Tobias is a school athlete, whom I am proud of. Both were chosen by their teachers for a few events. They finished all the events within today and I was there almost the whole day.

Elliot (Form 2)

He is dyslexia but he has improved so much that his physical coordination is not a problem anymore. For very special reason, his teacher entered him for two difficult events; they were 110m and 200m hurdles. A few days before the sports day, he already said he was not going to compete. He did it last year but he did not do well. My wife and I kept encouraging him to take up the challenge to do the two events. We insisted that he must go and participate. I kept encouraging him with words like, it is a privilege to do it because the others are not selected to represent their house; winning is not important but participation is important; if he cannot jump over the hurdles, he can use his hand to push down the hurdles and just jog slowly to finish the race; and I will be there to support him.

With all these words of encouragement he still felt depressed about it and he kept saying he did not want to do it. However, praise the Lord this morning, he woke up and he went for the sports day! Praise the Lord I remember my promise and I showed up at the sports meet. He still kept saying he won’t go down for the 2 events. He said that his friend had taken over his places. I went to his house sports teacher to confirm it. In my mind I was prepared to accept the decision of Elliot not to contest and allowed another student to do it. He could not stand the stress and I should show understanding. However, upon checking with the 2 sports teachers, they said it was confirmed Elliot was entered for the two events. They did highlight that he was not willing to do it. And the other name was wrongly entered. From then on, I started my uphill task to convince him to do it. This was really a time of father and son talk.

I could feel that he was stressful (because he did not want to get injured) when it was confirmed it was him to contest. I kept telling him, he could just push the hurdles and jogged to finish the race. I gave such advice because it was done before in my school and I saw contestants doing it. After persuading a while, he seemed to say that he could jump over a few hurdles and then pushed the rest. And I said yes. The important thing was to participate. Praise the Lord he was willing to participate. I was feeling happy in my heart for he was willing to contest. Only God knew what was in store for Elliot. He did not practice jumping over the hurdles at all.

And now, he needed to do it during the sports day in front of everybody. I could imagine how he needed to face the awkward position of getting last; pushing the hurdles one by one; having the possibility of injury and the others might tease him for the poor performance. I could see that he wanted to avoid the embarrassment.

To make matter worse, upon checking with a very experienced hurdle runner, to my surprise, my advice to Elliot was wrong. If he pushed with his hand the hurdles, he would be considered as disqualified. It was my negligence not to check the information before I advised Elliot. I was caught in between. Elliot agreed to contest because he could push the hurdles in case he found it difficult to jump over them. Now, he was not to do it. I quickly rushed to him to tell him the truth about the proper way to handle the hurdles. Everything has to use legs! I thought I would get a disagreement to contest from him again. Praise the Lord, he had made up his mind to contest. He said it was not supposed to use hand to push to clear the hurdles (because he already knew it). The race was not designed as such. My heart was so relieved to know he was going to contest. The race was on!

The most nervous moment came. It was the 200 m hurdles in early afternoon after 1.30, under the not so hot sun. My wife, Tobias, Mercy and myself dared not go to the field to cheer him. I myself made a conscious decision not to go near him to embarrass him. My wife confessed to me her heart was beating very fast the more I asked her to see how Elliot was going to perform. The most anxious thing was whether he was able to jump over the hurdles or not. Last year, he failed to do it. Consequently, he was adamant about it. The other four contestants were also lining up for the race. They did warm up and tested the hurdles but Elliot was not bothered at all. I was prepared for the worst!

At this stage, I must not forget to mention that I remember to pray for Elliot before the race. He prayed with me. I actually prayed that Jesus would empower him to jump over the hurdles and finished the race. He believed in the power of prayer. Before, when Tobias ran for the 400m, during the race, he even asked me to pray. I did and I said vocally for Jesus to help Tobias to run well. In the end, Tobias got a silver medal! That might have helped him to trust in Jesus. He (Elliot) is actually the most prayerful child in our family.

Now, we had to face Elliot’s 200m hurdles race. Will he fall down? Will he be injured? Will he have to face the embarrassment of falling hurdles? Will he… Then, a miracle happened before our eyes. We almost could not believe it. After he jumped over the first hurdle, he almost lost his balance and fell down but he did not! Praise the Lord, from then on; he cleared all the hurdles by jumping over. Though he was behind the other four but he was just about one meter away from the fourth position. He actually tried to chase up. I told him about it. My wife was very happy that he could clear all the hurdles. It was a miracle. We could not believe it. From the grand stand, I went down and I walked over to the finishing point to congratulate him for successfully completing the race. Praise the Lord, he gave me a smile. Returning to the grand stand, even his sports teacher said he could do it. And I agreed with the teacher and I even said before the teacher he did quite well. My wife was so happy that she hugged him. Mercy was also very happy for Elliot.

I believe that miracle helped Elliot to be more confident now to take on the next event, 110m hurdles. I was less anxious then. Now, I dared to go near the 110m hurdle track and prepared to cheer for Elliot. But still, I was not hoping for him to get any medal. He was facing the same two boys who defeated him in the 200m.

As the whistle was blown to get the four contestants ready, and this is in the final, Elliot confidently went to the starting point and put himself in a ready position to speed off. After the pistol went off, he really dashed out. He was going for a miracle of obtaining a medal. He was smooth and fast but he was still the last runner after the 50m. Meanwhile, right from the beginning, after he dashed off, I never stopped cheering by calling his name and telling to keep dashing forward. I was at the top of my voice and I was the only father doing it. My wife, Julia, Mercy and Tobias were seeing from the grand stand. I was very proud that I was there at the track to cheer for him for his first athletic medal in his life.

After running for 50m, a wonderful thing happened and I was so touched that I almost cried, as I kept shouting and cheering at the top of my voice. He overtook the third position runner with strength, confidence, speed and steadiness. He was leading in the third position from then on until the finishing point. There was not a single hurdle from his track falling down. He defeated the fourth place at least by one and a half meter! I was almost ecstatic about the winning of the bronze medal! I kept congratulating Elliot and this time I could see in his face, he was not only very happy but also satisfied. I could also sense that he was very excited and surprised by his achievement.

Upon arrival at the grand stand, after the race, Elliot’s sports teachers greeted him and said his effort had not gone to waste. I could see that they were very happy for us, father and son. Then, my wife congratulated him and hugged him. She was so full of smile and happiness with surprise. Tobias and Mercy were also very happy and we really shared the happiness as a family. We agreed among ourselves to celebrate it later.

Tobias (Form 2)

I am very proud of Tobias in his performance of all the events he took in 400m, 800m, 400x4m, and 100x4m. Probably after this, I am not able to see my children running again as I will be very busy next year doing ministry. This is my sabbatical year, praise the Lord, I was there to see them running and witnessed their achievement.

Before the start of the event, we prayed together. I actually did not think about whether he would get a medal or not. Tobias did say he might get third position. I prayed that Jesus protected Tobias from injury; the Holy Spirit filled him with strength and power to do his best. I saw how Tobias tried very hard during the 400m run. I saw him running consistently with speed from beginning till the end. He was putting in all the energy to beat his opponents. Towards the last hundred meters, he did not seem to slow down. He was behind the first position, a very good school athlete, by about 5 meters. He managed second position among Form 2 boys (15 years). I ran over to the finishing point to congratulate him. I was so happy for him and he was very happy with the achievement also. He was all smiles. I really appreciated his steadiness, confidence, speed, endurance, and strength. I am so proud of him. I told him how he really tried hard to beat others. I was full of praise and encouragement for him as we walk back to the grand stand. Upon reaching, his mother was so happy and full of smiles to congratulate him and hug him. Elliot and Mercy were also very happy for their brother.

Then, after about one hour, he needed to run 800m. We never talked about whether he would get a medal or not. As usual I prayed for strength, power, and protection. I could understand why he did not put in all the energy. It was too tiring for him. Therefore, right from the beginning, he just ran at his own comfortable pace as he had not really recovered his energy from the last race. His strategy was to save his energy for the 100m relay. He completed the 800m and I told him his strategy was right. Though he did not get any medal for this event, he finished the race and he successfully represented his house. He was committed to his house. I still encouraged him for it. I told him, if I were to run, I might not perform at all as it was very tiring to run under the hot sun.

Another hour plus later, he was scheduled to run for 100m relay! I prayed the usual prayer. It was a real challenge because I was not sure whether he had regained his energy. Praise the Lord he looked fine. He was positioned as the third runner out of four runners. All four of them maintained their second position from the beginning till the end. I was both excited and anxious about this event. I was excited because it was really my privilege to see my son being elected to compete with other teams. Seeing the best four teams competing in the final with my son present was so meaningful. I was anxious because I did not know whether they would make mistakes like dropping the relay button, falling down or any kind of disqualification. Praise the Lord for the efficiency of the teachers and students. On the track, they took time to explain to every relay runner how they should accept the button within a limited distance in their own track. Tobias and the team were fast and each member worked out well to finish second. I could see their team work and they all wanted to win and ran fast. They deserved to get a medal. By the look of all the teams, I did expect they might get second or third position. I was really very happy about the second position result. I rushed to the finishing line to congratulate my son and his team members. By doing so, I actually became their friend.

Julia, Mercy and Elliot were at the grand stand to receive Tobias who finished in the second position. Again we were all very happy for him, congratulated him and hugged him. Relay event was team effort, and we thank God for the good team work. They actually did not practice to do the relay. They just communicated among themselves on how to pass the button. It turned out fine. The button did not drop.

Not long after the 100m relay, then, came the 400m relay. I looked forward to it and as usual, I prayed the same prayer with Tobias. This time there were only three teams competing. My son was the second runner as instructed by the sports teacher. My son’s team was at first in the second position. But he was been chased up by another good school athlete. Despite the setback in the process, my son kept his steadiness to run with speed till the finishing line. Their last runner actually tried to chase up but his leg muscle was in pain and he almost could not continue. He struggled to cross the finishing line. Praise the Lord he still finished the race. I still encouraged him by telling him that he had done a good job. The team still got third position despite the setback.

We were still happy for Tobias and his team. We still congratulate him. All of us in the family were so proud of both of them that day. We decided to celebrate at MacDonald. Before eating, as I said the grace for the meal, I thank God for our children having the opportunity to participate in the school inter house sports; for no injury; for the achievement; and our opportunity to see our children running. Also, I prayed that they would work hard in studies like they tried hard in sports. We were all hungry after the sports’ meet, we ate happily and thankfully.

What a joy to see my two sons running on the track though it was just the school level competition. I just felt, even then, the teachers had to select them based on some criteria and my sons were qualified. Not all students got to run and participate. They are the privileged twenty percent who were chosen. I was so proud of them that day.

Prayer points:

1. Praise the Lord I am able to write 25,000 words (4 chapters) for my book. Do pray that I will finish another 9 chapters.

2. Pray for Grace (doing A level at KL Methodist College) that she can cope with all the English terms for all her subjects (Economics, Law and Accounting).

3. Pray that I have good health to do mission and preaching among churches and long houses.

A faithful disciple of Jesus,

Pastor Law Hui Seng

(Miri, 24th -27th June, 2013)

Posted By Teresa Han

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