Thursday, May 3, 2012

Goodbye Letter #03 - Arnold Tanubrata

[When people in our church move on, I ask them to write a goodbye note before they go.  I hope this will be one way to help us navigate these transitions well.]
   In 19 years as a servant of God, I never saw or met any power bigger or greater than the power of God, no matter how bigger my problems were or how bad I feel that I'm 'being cruxified' because of my loyality to Him.
   My name is Arnold Tanubrata, but I am also known as Tan Yue Liang since I am Chinese-Indonesian. My extended family originally owned a top pharmaceutical company, producing prescriptions drugs and OTC drugs and importing pharmaceutical and chemical raw materials.  However, my nuclear family was the second poorest of the families in our clan, so I considered myself as middle class of Indonesians.
   As a middle class Indonesian, I lived happily like in heaven. I received the highest education available -  from kindergarten to a posh graduate university.  However, I had friends from many backgrounds both poor and rich, including children of the unemployed, military generals, artists, and governors.  After graduation, I also got good jobs, slowly moving up from staff, to supervisor, to assistant manager, to manager, and finally to director.
   Things started to change in 2008.  I lost my job due to the global economic crises. After lost my job, my relationship with my ex-wife became worse until she cheated with another man.  I became very angry and even had a plan to have the other man killed by a professional.  My father knew all about my situation, so he suggested that I go to South Korea to work and to search for a better future there.

   In South Korea, I experienced many things that I have never experienced before in my life.  For the first time in my life, I worked as an unskilled worker ( labour ). All of my co-workers, even my bosses were only educated through the high school level.  I also worked more than ever before: from sunrise to sundown Monday to Saturday, so I almost never had a chance to socialize normally with other people - even if I had the money and the friends.  In some ways, my time in South Korea was like hell.  It felt like I was "being crucified" so badly.  
   My crucifixion became even worse after my beloved father passed away without me even having a chance to say goodbye or to go to the funeral.  The next days and weeks became more hellish than ever before as I still had to do my job normally but under deep stress and depression.  
   But thanks to God, I still had Sunday, the only vacation day I had.  (I had to fight with my boss to secure this one day of rest.)  I could still go to church and be a servant of God.  Through many Sundays, I realized that my presence here in Korea and even my "crucifixion" were all part of His plans to make me stronger than before, to develop an inner beauty in me, and most importantly to make me more like Him.  
   God even reminded me in the days after my father's death to keep being patient and to follow the world's rules.  I waited for my replacement and trained him, and finally I was released from my contract so that I could return home.  It seems that all of my struggles have been part of God's plan to prepare me as the new leader of my family - someone who can stand firm amid great pressure and difficult conditions.  
   In 19 years as a servant of God, I have never met any power greater than the power of God.  His faithfulness is proof to me and to my fellow Christians that God is the greatest power in the universe for those who trust and follow Him.
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