Back to 2023 Church Weekly List

Vol. XX No. 43
23 July 2023


Timothy Nguyen
(1st Year FEBC Student)

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33.

Sitting here writing this testimony, I can only humbly give thanks and honestly confess that my decision to continue my studies at FEBC is nothing but an act of submission to God alone on my part. Looking back to this time last year, or even 8 months back when I was still finishing off my last year of high school in Australia, I now realise how gracious and merciful God has been upon me. Undoubtedly, it was only through His Grace, Mercy, Provision and Providence alone that I was able to be brought by Him to the Far Eastern Bible College.

Tuesday, the 3rd of January 2023. That was my first day as a student of FEBC, and it was on that morning that I stood up in front of the College faculty, staff, student body and guests to testify why I desired to study at FEBC. O, how stark and different is that five-month-old testimony from the testimony that I am now writing, and you are reading.

I thank God and confess that truly no one but God alone could have moved and placed in my heart the desire to continue my studies at FEBC. For the last five months, FEBC has been tremendously more than just my school, it has been my home and training ground. Yet even when confined in a vacuum as an educational institution, FEBC raises incomparable with any other institution in this world, for it imparts nothing but the true and faithful teachings of the Word of God. What more can one desire to learn? I cannot put it in any other words but confess that my short time here at FEBC has been the most blessed time of my life thus far. Though this is certainly no denial of how challenging and arduous it has been, I am so thankful for this testing of faith, knowing that I never faced the trials of FEBC alone. I am most thankful for how He has opened my eyes to His truth through His Holy Word and how He has ultimately revealed His calling upon my life. I can say with firm assurance and honesty that I have been convicted by God and called by Him to continue my studies at FEBC to be equipped and trained to serve Him. Though, as an unworthy sinner, I admit that it is impossible for me to ever fully comprehend and behold the gravity of this personal calling to the ministry by God, I thank God for at least allowing me to recognise this fact.

It was around 2 weeks before the Easter Week, after about 3 months of studying here full-time that I began to receive a very distinct and clear calling from God. I can still replay and recall the events vividly in my mind. There were multiple signs from God that opened my eyes to His calling upon my life. Firstly, I was granted a great desire and fire in my heart to study the Word of God. I’ve never experienced such a desire and zeal for anything in my life before and I knew that this desire for God’s Word was definitely not from me, for it was never present before. As a Christian for all of my life, I thank God and recognise that this desire in my heart to study the Word of God was from God alone. For I wholly acknowledge that I’m just a most unworthy sinner, incapable of desiring anything good. Furthermore, it was also during this period of time that I began to acknowledge, read and meditate on the Word of God with a high view. However, I thank God for allowing me to grasp what it means to have a high view of the Word of God. With a high view of the Word of God, perfectly inspired and preserved, I now read and study the Word of God not only with fearfulness but also great joy. I really have never enjoyed studying something so much in my life before, as the Bible. During this time, I particularly enjoyed and was greatly edified by the subject, New Testament Introduction, taught by the Rev (Dr) Jose Lagapa. Though the final project was very large, difficult and required total diligence to finish, I thank God that I found it so enjoyable and delightful to complete.

However, not only did I find the study a great blessing and joy, but I also found the FEBC life to be very enjoyable. Though externally looking it would appear undoubtedly evident that life must of course be more enjoyable at home, with family, privacy and all conveniences; I in fact found so much bliss and delight living in the shared dorms, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Additionally, my FEBC duties which were something I initially found challenging and rather burdensome, seamlessly became very light and easy for me to complete for I also found it a great joy, privilege and blessing to do. I was so happy that I could serve the Lord my Master and the College in a small way.

Secondly, with a high view of God’s Word, I thank God that I now personally realise how vital, critical and urgent it is for the Word of God to be shared and taught truthfully and faithfully, especially in the last days that we are living in. We are living in the end times and the Lord Jesus Christ will certainly come back again very soon to rapture his elect and there is simply nothing more important and crucial than the faithful sharing and teaching of the Gospel. I thank God, He has given me the desire to share this most necessary and literal life-saving and life-preserving truth. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26.

For this period of time when I was convicted by God to dedicate my life to Him in service I really was troubled. It was just impossible for me to brush off or ignore this calling from God, despite how much I wanted to do so. For this period of time, I just simply could not fall asleep, but rather found myself tossing and turning around late at night, debating in my head whether I was being called or not. I had heard multiple stories of those who entered into FEBC thinking that they are called, but then only to realise that they have deceived themselves and followed their own will. These true events genuinely scared me and forced me to think very hard about this calling from God. What if my story was no different? What if it was only a fleeting human feeling? What if I was deceiving myself? I had a lot of what-ifs. The last thing I wanted to be was to be rash and I knew that the consequences would be catastrophic and dire if it was I who self-decided on a whim. Not only for my holy witness but also for others whom I could have stumbled in the process. Consequently, I tried my best to think as rationally as I could with my human brain to ignore the call of God. However, I really just could not. Every lecture and sermon that I listened to just really convicted me in a very providential, profound and indescribable way. Every single lecture and sermon that I listened to during this period of time possessed my total and undivided attention, all speaking to me, edifying me and convicting me in a way that I had never experienced before.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8–9

It was during this time also that the thing of the world also became very dull for me. I had simply lost interest in the things that I had been previously interested in. Coming into my first semester at FEBC in January this year I simply entered with a purpose to spend my gap year fruitfully. Indeed, I wanted to build a firm foundation in my faith and grow in God’s Word before entering into the real world—university and working life. However, I could have never imagined continuing my studies at FEBC at that time. In my mind, waiting back home for me was my university degree. I had achieved entry into my desired course at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and I was initially fully intent on completing it. However, it was during this time that I also suddenly lost all interest and desire to go to a secular university and study, despite already having achieved entry. In addition, joining the Australian Defence Force Academy to become a military officer, which I was previously greatly passionate about and invested in, also became very dull for me. In fact, I can still vividly remember how I reopened my university acceptance letter and rewatched the enticing military recruitment videos to test myself. These were undoubtedly things that used to have a strong grip and hold on me. I wanted to test myself to see whether there was any bit of doubt left in me. I thank God that He has caused my desire for pomp, riches and fame to swiftly dissipate. I thank God for opening my eyes to see that all of these worldly values are nothing but vain, especially in these last days.

This calling and act of obedience and submission to God was something that I took most seriously and prayerfully. The truth is that I have never so fervently and earnestly prayed so hard about a matter in my life before. I wholeheartedly thank God so much for His Grace and Mercy upon me thus far.

I understand that studying at FEBC will be the hardest thing I will do yet, for I’ve already been blessed to taste a semester of it, and I understand that serving God full-time will even be incomprehensibly harder, as I’ve already seen first-hand how challenging and truly laborious it is. Yet, I thank God that I am reassured for I know that it will not require any of my human strength, wisdom or intellect, but only the strength of the Lord God alone.

The Bible verse that God used to call me, comfort me and encourage me was Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

This Bible kept me grounded and fastened on the Word of God, and I thank God that this Bible verse continues to guide me and comfort me.

Contrary to when I first arrived at FEBC, I now cannot even imagine studying anywhere else but FEBC. I really do thank God for this College and her faithful teachings of the Word of God. I thank God that I have already been so edified in my first semester, and with much joy and keenness, I am looking forward to the coming semesters.

Rev Dr Nguyen Gia Hien with his son Timothy

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