Catherine Chen has seen the power of both prayer and community work in her life, and she wants others to experience the same.
I was born in Beijing and immigrated to New Zealand in 2000. I do believe God called me when I was little. Since I came to New Zealand, I went to church to learn English and make friends, and I was baptised at Albany Baptist Church. Then a lady introduced me to one of the kids’ programmes at the Albany Bays Corps called ‘Thank God It’s Friday,’ run by Olivia Huszak. That was the first time we really knew about The Salvation Army and noticed they hosted a church service.
In the beginning, I just sent my son Alexander to ‘It’s Friday’, but about seven years ago, I chose The Salvation Army as my church. When we moved from Torbay to Silverdale in 2015, I prayed that a Salvation Army church would be close enough to us. Hibiscus Coast Corps was exactly what I prayed for. Karen and Ben Schischka, the corps officers at the time, and everybody there, gave us a very warm welcome.
A couple months later, my son’s biological father passed away. At that time, Karen really helped my family. Even though I’d only known her a very short time, I shared my burden with her, and she supported me and my son. I really appreciate that. I think God prepared the church for me. God does his work through his people.
For fellowship, I joined the Ladies Group. Tanya Robertson and Nikkie Scowen, who lead our group, are very knowledgeable on the Bible, and we all share our heaviness and workload together. Jan Moody is also a mentor to me. We feel like we have a lot in common and she has really helped me to grow my faith. I like to share the messages I receive from God, my tears and my happiness, with her and she shares hers with me. I also volunteer at the food bank. I’ve got strong support from my church. It’s like a family in Christ.
Karen and Jan introduced me to BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), and this is my second year of study. It is a great opportunity. At the beginning, I thought study would just mean knowing more about God, but I’ve realised it’s transforming. It’s about God’s relationship with me. I pray to the Lord every day that he can use his Holy Spirit in my life, help me to spread his good news and be a tool to help other people know about him. I want to be a good mum, partner and daughter to my family. I pray all the time for his presence in my life so that I can do what he wants me to do, make my life meaningful and help me to be more like Jesus.
If I have a problem, I first check with the Bible, because I’m sure God is going to give me an answer. All of the answers are in his book. I read the Word for Today, and in the past three days, the messages have been so related to my current situation. Alexander has struggled with depression since his father passed away, and last night I felt like he wasn’t right again, so I prayed. This morning, the verse was, ‘The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance’ (2 Peter 3:9). I keep praying for my family, that they will really get saved and work through the darkness. But God has his promise for my family, I just need to hold onto the cross and keep trusting him.