承接使命:踏出信心的一步

李展能

道學碩士一年級

上主施恩眷佑

         我生於澳門,是第一代信徒。我小學時,神藉著隔壁一對來自香港的宣教士夫婦,帶領我信主。雖然我小時候便決志,自小在教會成長,或許在別人眼中是「乖乖牌」的孩子,每個禮拜都出席團契、主日學、崇拜,但我對信仰卻沒有太多反思,信仰與我的生活並沒有太大的關係。

         後來到台灣升讀大學,我在異地生活漸漸更深體會神的看顧;加上受團契學長及導師影響,我開始反思信仰與我的關係,心裏漸漸更渴想事奉神。限於自己性格內向,除了在團契參與服侍外,我主要的服侍是擔任司琴;這崗位的一個「好處」就是不用與人有太多交流。後來,大學團契陸續有成員全時間讀神學。那時我雖然對神學也有興趣,但認為讀神學是生命的委身,而我對全職服侍未有感動;故此畢業後,我回到澳門,找了一份穩定的工作,並於教會服侍。

珍惜侍主時機

         2018年初,一位與我相識已久的宣教士回國後突然離世,讓我體會人在世上可以服侍的時間有限;除了每天工作、週末在教會服侍外,已三十多歲的我該如何把握時機事奉神?雖然那時我任職的工作能給自己理想的收入,但對於造就生命卻益處甚少,且要面對種種角力及掣肘,叫人有虛耗時間和心力的感覺。我想起有傳道人說過神在她兼讀神學期間才呼召她全職事奉,因此我便報讀澳門聖經學院(「澳聖」)的兼讀課程,希望有更好的裝備,並進一步尋求生命的方向。在「澳聖」修讀期間,一位老師不斷鼓勵我全時間讀神學,並表示有些感動過去了便無法回頭。不過,我總是認為自己仍未預備好,所以沒有回應。

         另一方面,我們這群職青信徒開始擔任教會領袖的崗位,當中需要不斷學習如何配合及協助傳道同工的牧養工作。我也開始學習離開自己的安舒區,更多與不同弟兄姊妹交流,漸漸看見教會牧養的需要,看見人的生命需要同行者。有位弟兄說我這幾年變得更願意關心弟兄姊妹,而我服侍期間也發覺自己對別人多了一份關注。有一次,我長時間陪伴和安慰一位遇到難處的弟兄,他簡訊回應了一句「謝謝你的支持」,這讓我體會將時間擺在人生命上的價值,原來神也可以使用我這個不太懂得與人交流的人,讓別人感受到支持。自己缺乏關懷別人的心,是我認為自己未準備好讀神學的主要原因。雖然現在我的性格仍然內向,尤其關顧別人的過程中,我更體會自己在知識及生命上仍有很多不足,但既然神叫我看見人的需要,而我若要更善用自己生命的時間,或許就是考慮全時間讀神學的時機

福音使命

         完成「澳聖」課程後,另一位從香港來的講師亦鼓勵我全時間讀神學。她提到澳門教會和聖經學院都有很大的需要,尤其現時老一輩牧者漸漸退休,宣教士也陸續離開澳門,突顯本地人須興起承擔傳道牧者職分的需要。後來某次崇拜上,講員亦提及澳門教會需要培養下一代傳道同工接棒。自此澳門的需要便不斷在我腦海浮現。

         澳門是個很小的地方,可能很多人認為這裏做福音工作很困難(澳門也被稱為「福音硬土」),有諸多限制,基督徒只佔人口比例少數,教會也缺乏資源,但我相信神仍然看顧當地很多生命的需要。老師提醒我,若我看到澳門的需要並願意委身其中,讀神學的念頭一直沒有消失,那麼,縱然我仍有不足,也應該踏出信心的一步。於是,我去年決定報讀「浸神」,並期望完成神學訓練後,可以回到澳門繼續服侍這個我成長的地方。或許我可以做的不多,但相信神會使用,並繼續帶領我。

God’s Blessings

I am a first-generation Christian born in Macau. When I was still a primary school student, God led me to believe in Him through a couple living next door, who were missionaries from Hong Kong. Thus, I was converted at a very young age. Growing up in the church, I was seen as a typical “good child,” attending fellowship gatherings, Sunday School, and church services every week; however, I did not reflect upon my faith and so, my Christian faith did not impact my life.

Later, when I was studying at a university in Taiwan, away from my hometown, I gradually began to feel God’s hand in my life in new ways. In addition, under the influence of the senior members and mentors in the fellowship, I began to reflect upon what faith meant to me. I became more and more eager to serve God. Being an introvert, apart from my service in the fellowship, I served mainly as a pianist. One thing “good” about being a pianist was that I did not need to have much interaction with others. Later, members of the university fellowship became full-time seminary students one by one. At that time, I did have some interest in theology but I believed that studying at a seminary represented a life-long commitment to serve Christ and yet I did not feel a calling to full-time ministry. Therefore, I returned to Macau upon graduation to get a stable job and serve at the church.

Treasure the Chance to Serve the Lord

In early 2018, a long acquaintance of mine, who was a missionary, suddenly passed away after returning to her homeland. This made me realize how limited the time we have may be. Apart from working every day and serving in the church on weekends, how could I, in my thirties, take the chance to serve God? Although I was well paid at that time, my job did little good to the building up of the lives of others. Worse still, the job brought about lots of contentions and constraints, which consumed my time and energy. Recalling a pastor mentioning her calling to full-time ministry while she was studying theology part-time, I enrolled in a part-time program at the Macau Bible Institute (MBI), hoping for better preparation and further exploration of my direction in life. During my studies at MBI, a teacher kept encouraging me to study theology on a full-time basis. She also reminded me that sometimes we may not have a second chance to respond to God’s calling. However, I was still unprepared and could not respond.

Meanwhile, I, along with a group of young working Christians, began to assume leadership positions at church, which required continuous learning of how to cooperate with and assist the ministerial staff in their pastoral work. I then began to learn to come out of my comfort zone and had more exchanges with various brothers and sisters. Gradually, I saw the church’s need for pastoring and people’s need for someone to walk with them in their lives. A few brothers in Christ said that I had become more caring to fellow believers over the past few years and I also noticed more concern in my heart for others. On one occasion, I accompanied and comforted a brother who was in difficulty. In response to this, he texted me, saying, “Thank you for your support,” which made me understand that it was worthwhile to spend time on other people’s lives and that God can use me, someone who did not know much about how to communicate with others, to give others support. My lack of a caring heart for others had been the main reason for me to consider myself unprepared for pursuing theological studies. At that time, I was still introverted. Especially when I was trying to care for others, I discovered lots of inadequacies regarding my knowledge and life. However, as God had called me to see people’s needs and I was yearning for more meaning in my life, it might be an opportune moment for me to consider the full-time study of theology.

Carry On with the Gospel Mission

After I completed my studies at MBI, a lecturer from Hong Kong also encouraged me to take up the full-time study of theology. She mentioned the great needs of the churches and the Bible Institute in Macau. In particular, with the gradual retirement of senior pastors and the successive departures of missionaries from Macau, there was a need for someone in the local community to shoulder the duties of pastors. Afterward, during a Christian service, the speaker also mentioned the need for the Macau churches to nurture a new generation of pastors. Since then, the needs of Macau stayed in my mind.

Macau is a tiny place. It might be considered very difficult to carry out evangelical work there (Macau is also known as “hardened soil for the Gospel”). The place is full of constraints. Christians account for only a very small percentage of Macau’s population and the local churches are lacking in resources. However, I believe God still cares for the needs of the numerous lives there. The teacher reminded me that if I saw the needs of Macau and was willing to commit myself to such needs while the thought of studying theology kept lingering, then I should step out in faith regardless of my inadequacies. As a result, I decided to enroll in studies at HKBTS last year, hoping that I can return to Macau upon completion of the theological training so that I may continue to serve the place where I grew up. I may not accomplish much, but I believe God will use me and continue to guide me in meaningful ways.

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