Moore Matters: How did you become a Christian?
Susan An: I was born into a church-going family, but we did not always go to Bible-teaching churches. I had many questions about God and the Bible, but these were never really answered. I was told to ‘pray my doubts away’, which never worked! Through God’s grace, we stumbled onto a Bible-teaching church when I was a teenager.
My youth group leaders there didn’t tell me to ‘pray my doubts away’ but continued to open up the Bible to answer my many questions.
I realised, then, that whether or not I became a Christian depended upon what I thought of the Bible. Was it man-made or written by God?! Finally, it all came together when I heard a talk on Genesis 38 at Easter Convention one year on the sovereignty of God. I became convinced that only God could have written such a cohesive book, spanning many centuries, involving so many people. Once I believed that God had written the Bible, I had to accept all the truths within it: that Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and that to attain eternal life, I needed to repent and give my life to him.
MM: What’s one of the best things about being a Christian?
SA: One of the best things about being a Christian is the knowledge that we are more precious and more valuable than we could have ever imagined. We were deliberately created by a loving God who wanted us. We are so precious that even when we walked away from God, he had a plan to win us back. We were so loved that the Creator of the universe sacrificed his only Son to redeem us. In a world where people try to find meaning through their achievements and self-belief, this message is more empowering and refreshing than anything else! This knowledge is so effective in my fight against self-doubt.
MM: What’s one of your struggles with being a Christian?
SA: One of my struggles with being a Christian is to let God’s voice be the loudest in my life. The world can be a pretty distracting (and loud!) place, and I am not always aware that I’ve let the world drown out what God is saying. I’m very thankful that God’s provided me with his Word, prayers and incredible Christian friends and family around me to steer me back to God in those times.
MM: What are you looking forward to here at Moore?
SA: I am looking forward to meeting with godly men and especially women who have stepped up to be trained to serve God and his people. I am looking forward to getting to know them better, doing life with them, and being able to share any wisdom I can from my own experiences of being in vocational ministry. I love seeing God’s people grow in their relationship with God—seeing their love for God deepen, being sacrificial in how they love Him and others, and becoming more like Jesus. Moore is a great place to witness this happening!
MM: How has your background shaped you as a person? How has it impacted your faith?
SA: I was a speech pathologist before I was in ministry, giving me a keen interest in communication. If I have a communication breakdown with someone, I have an avid interest in analysing the interaction and where it went wrong! It also helped me to realise that whilst I enjoy helping people, helping to mend their communication and health is only temporary. I longed to tell people about the one thing (or person) that could heal their souls for all of eternity. I still have a keen interest in health, but whenever I meet a medical missionary, I have an itching to join them on the mission field! I also worked a lot with older people and was particularly unsettled by witnessing people struggle with dementia. This experience gave me the topic for my Issues in Theology paper in my fourth year. I ended up thinking about the soteriology of people with dementia. It was wonderful when I discovered that our salvation is not contingent upon our memories but on God’s never failing, unchanging and timeless memory.
MM: What have been some of the challenges you’ve seen in ministry?
SA: The world continues to become increasingly hostile to Christians.
It has been a challenge to train and equip the members of our church to stand firm on their beliefs, and to do that wisely. Most of us have been encouraged to be honest and transparent in our Christian lives. But I think the time has come when we need to be wise in our honesty and transparency. Working out what it looks like to be ‘wise as serpents and innocent as doves’ (Matt 10:16) has been challenging and will continue to be so.
MM: What is one of the most powerful Christian relationships you have had, and why?
SA: I have been fortunate in that my biological sister is also my sister in Christ. We became Christians around the same time, so we have journeyed Christian lives together. She has spoken to me of Jesus’ love in times where I doubted; she has spoken God’s truths in times when I strayed; and she has urged me to keep running the race when I found the Christian walk difficult. We have prayed together, learned God’s word together, laughed and cried together. To have such a mature sister in Christ within my own family, someone who knows me so well and can speak the truth in love to me, has been invaluable. I consider her to be one of my most precious gifts from God.