Updated: Aug 26, 2019
Sochenda Mol Roeup (aka Ada, Chenda)
My husband loves to collect different sorts of things, and one of these is tools, especially car - fixing tools. When you go into my garage, you will see many of my husband’s tools — some sharp, others big and heavy, still others short or bendy, or simply straight — in various forms, sizes and shapes. I once asked him “Do you really need so many types of tools?” Besides, many looked similar to me. “Each of them is for a specific purpose, for different levels of strength and for different types of projects…” responded my husband.
I was baptised in Singapore in 1997, where I spent about nine years. I left in 2005 to my home country, Cambodia, but then later went to work in Kuala Lumpur for slightly over a year. I returned to Cambodia in 2006. I thought I would live and die in Cambodia but then I got married in April 2011 to my husband who is from Myanmar, and in November 2011, I moved to live in Yangon (Myanmar).
Prior to moving to Myanmar, I anticipated some challenges, and decided that I will be ready for whatever life throws at me. Or so I thought. But when I got here, I soon realised that Myanmar was a very challenging place to live. I struggled to get pregnant (even up to now), and it took me about two years to learn Burmese and the subsequent four years to be able to truly understand the locals and the sermons. It took me about four years to land an acceptable job. I went through years of not being able to find close spiritual friends, and forging deep connections was extremely challenging. I wrestle through tearful prayers, depression and loneliness.
I often reflected on the purpose of all these challenges, as I believe that if God wanted to, He could have insulated me from each struggle. As disciples, we intellectually accept that our love for God and our relationship with Him needs to be supreme… and all the other things we do should overflow from our love for God. Yet, so often our hearts and what we know in our heads are not aligned, especially when our negative experiences or emotions dominate us. I found myself reacting in sinful ways to situations and people, in ways that I thought I would not.
The truth is, God knows me, much more than I or anyone else. He knows that I have so many areas in my life in which tools must be used to break down, so that He can rebuild the 'old me' into the 'new me'. He knows the broken places in my heart that need repairs. When I am in my own comfort zone, these areas are not brought to light. They remain buried, hidden even from my own eyes. Only God knows the perfect timing, situation and tools to carry out His project on me.
In a sermon, a preacher once said that we are each like a glass of water with sediment at the bottom. When the glass is shaken, the sediment surfaces. God wants to purify us from the “sediment” in our lives so that we can genuinely love Him and freely delight in Him.
I don’t like to think that I am a bad or unspiritual Christian. I can become proud of my own goodness or spirituality. I can also secretly compare myself with others’ sins, spiritual journey or lack of spirituality to make myself feel great. But that’s because we compare our holiness to each other, but when my holiness is compared to God’s, it’s truly a mess.
David said in Psalm 16:2, “I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing”. David, in spite of his reputation of being a man after God’s own heart, had such a profound, humble understanding about who he is before God. He was not fooled by men’s compliment or praise, or by all his achievements. Today he remains a source of inspiration to all who long to pursue God’s heart.
In fairness, I am very blessed in so many aspects of my life. I love to live in Myanmar; it’s a very interesting place with amazing people, fascinating languages, diverse cultures and various foods. I have great relationships with my parents-in-law, sister-in-law, and the most amazing thing is that I am married to a very serving and self-sacrificial man. Even in the midst of those struggles, I have tremendous support from my own physical family in Cambodia likewise my close friends — lest I should be ungrateful and forget about these great people. I have witnessed many incredible changes, transitions and transformations in Myanmar. God has given me both blessings and discipline.
Every day now, when I look at each situation, no matter how insignificant or forgettable, I try to remember the “tool principle”.
Ada Roeup (Myanmar Church)
She is known as Ada in the Central Christian Church. While Ada was in Singapore, she served in many ministries, including the Young Teens. She always wears a smile and is a "super" loyal friend. Thank you Ada for contributing even while you are in Myanmar!