Testimony on Straits Time
I never thought Straits Times would publish such stories, but I am impressed that they did. Yet I wonder how many people really read them and ponder on the real meaning of Christmas rather than thinking Christmas as just a merry day of feasting and giving?
Moved by God's love after fall
Chinese national Liu Chengyu, who works as an electrician here, is celebrating his first Christmas because of a spinal fracture from a bad fall in July.
The former atheist, who found God through the ordeal of his injury, said: 'I used to think Christmas had something to do with Santa Claus but the day had no meaning for me until now.'
Tonight, the 44-year-old from Jiangsu province will stand before a 500-strong audience at the Fairfield Methodist Church Chinese Christmas service in Tanjong Pagar Road to share his conversion.
His injury happened when his then employer asked him to repair a light at the workers' dormitory in Punggol where he lived. He lost his balance on an unstable ladder and fell 2m.
Mr Liu received a basic checkup at a hospital, was given some painkillers and discharged the same day. He was back at work after four days of rest. 'I had no choice. If I didn't work, my family in China would have no money,' said the father of a five-year-old daughter and an unemployed 22-year-old son. His spouse is a housewife.
But the pain in his lower back became so agonising that he lost his appetite for 10 days. His employer, however, refused to take him to hospital again so he went on his own.
During his 10-day hospitalisation in August, doctors found that he had a compression fracture in a lower spine vertebra. They advised against an operation as he would risk paralysis.
His employer insisted he pay the $6,000 hospital bill before it reimbursed him, except he had no money. Then his one-year contract expired in September and he found himself out of work. He had no roof over his head too. 'I felt suffocated by my burdens,' Mr Liu said.
At the urging of friends from his former workplace, he attended the migrant worker church service at Fairfield Methodist Church 'to find hope'. He said: 'At the service, I was deeply moved by the love of God and I felt my burdens lifting.' He was baptised a month later.
He eventually found temporary housing with a friend. A lawyer is helping him pro bono to recover medical fees from his former boss.
Because of Mr Liu's medical condition, he is still in pain and unable to sit or stand for long periods, but he does not blame God.
'I am born into a world of sin so suffering is normal. But the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas to save sinners like me gives me strength to carry on,' he said.