Lynn Foo was a contented Buddhist and then she heard God's call, and her faith changed.
Lynn holds her niece, Sarah, whose illness was what led Lynn to the bible and onwards to RCIA and baptism.
MANY OF MY friends who are "cradle Catholics" never did a programme like RCIA, which gives an enriching overview of the faith. They attended catechism classes when they were young, and I think those classes give a different perspective of the faith (tailored to their age). When they are older, they have the impression that they should already "know" the faith and, therefore, there is no necessity to continue in any faith formation programmes or even attend Bible classes to strengthen their understanding of the teachings.
I even have a Catholic friend who has now "converted" to Protestantism and who says that what he understands now of the faith is many times more than all those years he was a Catholic! So I think converts are more passionate - from my conversations with "cradle Catholics" - but I guess it's due to the fact that our journeys take different routes.
My journey began in mid- 2003 (and I was already 43 then) when I started searching for God. You see, for almost 20 years before that, I was a devout Buddhist, often reading Buddhist literature and fervently going to the temple every other day. I was quite happy with the religion as the Buddhist teachers had taught me all the precepts necessary for a peaceful and charitable life. But somehow I never quite had a relationship with Buddha and I left it at that.
One day I got a call from my mum telling me that my cousin's little girl was ill and had been hospitalised. Soon, our hospital visits became more frequent and somehow that brought the family closer together. In our daily conversations, my cousin would praise God for helping him and his family through the difficult times especially when they weren't sure if his daughter would survive the trauma.
That started me asking the questions - "How do you know that there's a God?", "If there is a God, why doesn't he heal your little girl immediately?" or "Why doesn't God show himself then?"
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This went on for a while but my cousin would patiently answer my questions each time by telling me stories from the Bible. That got me curious. I told him that if that is what the Bible said, I would want to read it. And the more I read it, the more I was convinced that there was something to the Catholic faith but I couldn't quite put a finger to it.
Sometime in early 2004, I started to attend church regularly but I straddled between a popular Protestant church and a Catholic church every weekend. I did this for about eight months because I wanted to know the difference between the two.
At about the same time, a colleague introduced me to the RCIA but she insisted that I attend the one conducted by Father Richards Ambrose (which was then held in St. Anne's Church). I reluctantly did but since then I have not looked back. Father Richards did such a wonderful job of explaining the faith that I couldn't wait to be baptised. And when the RCIA culminated in my baptism in December 2004, it was to be the happiest day of my life!
But I must tell you that the journey after my baptism was not easy initially. When I prayed the rosary in the quiet of my room every night, a lot of noises and unspeakable thoughts would float into my mind, prompting me to stop many times before I could finish. I also faced many difficulties in the various areas of my life when it used to be a lot more peaceful. Somehow I attributed all that to my lack of faith.
I then started praying more often, asking God for strength to overcome my difficulties and I thank God for pulling me through. It has been almost a year and a half since my baptism. I used to help out in Children's Liturgy for a while but I am now a facilitator at RCIA in the Church of the Holy Cross. I take care of the bookstore there on Sundays too.
Whenever I can, I attend Bible classes at the Singapore Pastoral Institute and listen to talks at Cana - The Catholic Centre to deepen my knowledge of the faith. Well, maybe someday I can do more for the church but for now I strive to live a meaningful life for God and pray for sufficiency of his grace to continue serving him.