My Journey to Apprenticeship
Posted on 28 Mar 2021 by Ruth Voon
Hi everyone! I’m Ruth Voon and my hometown is Kuantan in Pahang. Back at Kuantan, people know me as Yan Wen (my Chinese name). I started using the name Ruth in university because it was a name given by a pastor back at my high school because it was easier for the pastor to remember this name compared to my Chinese name. I completed my primary and secondary school (including Form 6) at Kuantan before I embarked on my journey to KL to pursue my degree.
Coming to KL wasn’t easy for me because, for most years of my life, it was a life of cycling everywhere – to tuition, school, the beach, grocery shopping, hanging out with friends, etc – places were all near to each other. But in KL, there are a lot of cars, and I also don’t have a bicycle. Even if there was a bicycle, it would be dangerous to cycle around. I had to leave Kuantan because many universities in Malaysia are outside of Kuantan. I pursued a 4-year degree in Pharmacy at the International Medical University (IMU). Initially, I wanted to study Nutrition because I wanted to help people to live a healthy lifestyle. Since young, I would collect newspaper articles about healthy food and paste it in my notebook and ensure that I stay healthy and the people that I love stay healthy too. However, my mom gave me a bit of advice that pharmacists can do much more. As a pharmacist, not only could I do the job of a nutritionist i.e advising people on healthy lifestyles, but I could also advise people on taking the right medications. So, I listened to my mum’s advice (plus my family owned a pharmacy business in Kuantan). Hence, these are the reasons why I decided to pursue pharmacy and left Kuantan to a place where I did not really want to be.
After I completed my degree, I worked for the Malaysian government for two years (compulsory service) to get my practising licence. And then, early this year, I left the job and now I’m working as a full-time church worker – a CMA-er at my church, CERC. CMA stands for ‘Church Ministers’ Apprentice.’
(“Wait…Not a pharmacist? What happened to that?” – this is what a lot of people has asked me. Let me explain below, why I am doing this CMA programme.)
Well, many changes happened during my university life especially in my views of God and Christianity. Before going to IMU, I was already a committed Christian back in my hometown, attending church regularly and was active in my school’s Christian Fellowship. So, when I was in IMU, I was looking for a church to attend and also looking for a Christian Fellowship. The first church that I visited was CERC because I was introduced by my mom’s friend. I went to TGG* first. When I first attended TGG, I liked it because they spent so many hours reading the Bible to find out what God is trying to say, and I’ve always wanted to understand the Bible so that I could ‘experience’ God.
My Christianity back then was a Christianity of experience – what was viewed as Holy Spirit-filled and God powerfully working in the person. Or the church to me was when someone had supernatural experiences i.e speaking in tongues, holy laughter, falling on the floor, having visions and feeling a burning sensation and so on. It was always an experience that I was looking forward to and having these experiences meant a lot to me as it would mean that God is anointing me and loves me more. I was hoping that through experiencing God supernaturally in my life, I would be blessed and prosper even more. However, I have never experienced these supernatural things genuinely in my life although I was trying to manufacture it myself by speaking in tongues and trying to fall on the floor (when I went for altar calls / prayed for). So, when I started attending CERC for the first time and seeing CERC was so into learning from the Bible, I was thinking maybe this is how I could experience God.
As I was pursuing my agenda all this while, little did I know I did ‘experience’ God – it was through His Word. I was crushed deeply during the Romans series in CERC. Throughout the series, God’s Word revealed to me about His great plan of salvation, how He was the Sovereign One who was orchestrating all things in history according to His will for His glory. God was and is to be revered in awe and worshipped. It was bold of me (before this) to make myself the centre of my life and to treat God like my servant, asking Him to come down to fulfil my agendas. As I looked through my prayer lists, I used to pray to God to grant me more friends, getting good results, etc. so that I can have a better life on earth.
From then onwards, I began to learn more about God’s will through church and university ministries and wanted to tell my friends about God as revealed from the Bible. As I continued to grow in my understanding more, it was clear to me that God is committed to saving His people through His gospel for His glory! So, I wanted to commit to this mission full-time! That’s how I ended up doing the CMA programme currently.
I’ve started CMA on the 1st of January 2021. Being an apprentice means I would be given many ministry opportunities to do while being trained at it. As of March, I have been leading the TGG, helping out at Mum’s GG, running departments for the church, and soon be also doing Youth Ministry. Next year, I’ll be doing children’s ministry. And being a partner of RUF, I’m also running university ministries and soon to be giving talks at the CFs.
Here’s a typical week of my CMA life:
|Morning||Ministry prep Flexi-time||Mum’s GG||Ministry prep||House-chores CMA training||Ministry prep||Youth Ministry||Sunday church gathering|
|Afternoon||Chinese Ministry Bible Study Ministry prep||GG meetings University ministries||University ministries||CMA training||University ministries GG meetings||TGG||Sunday gathering Post-Sermon Discussions|
|Evening||University Ministries||GGLT||University Ministries||University Ministries||Prep for TGG||TGG CMLT Meetings||Meetings Flexi-time|
*GGLT – Growth Group Leaders in-Training, where the church leaders meet up to discuss church matters and are trained to do ministry
*CMLT – Chinese Ministry Leaders Training, where we plan ministries to reach out to the Chinese speaking people long term. (You can find some of our videos here)
*Flexi-time is used for ministry prep, reading, writing reflections, grocery shopping, exercising, etc (I’m writing this blog-post on Monday morning now!)
Here is where I usually work, a conducive place to work on the ministry with some colleagues and also the library just right next to me to prepare for ministry. I am thankful for the many books that CERC has bought for us to read to help equip us for ministry.
My hopes and prayers are that through this CMA programme, God’s kingdom would grow, and Christ would be magnified in my life. I also hope that I would learn how to run ministries better, know myself better, and be sanctified through the learning and teaching of God’s Word.
I hope that as you read this, you could prayerfully consider supporting CERC financially (which would mean you are supporting my CMA journey) and as you support me, you are supporting the good work that God is doing through CERC to grow His kingdom here in the Klang Valley and beyond. More financial resources mean that more workers can be hired and trained to do this work full time for growing God’s Kingdom. (More details can be found here)