Voices told her to jump but she found new hope through a Bible her teen children gave her

TRIGGER WARNING: This story contains mention of suicide ideation.

by Christine Leow // July 1, 2024, 4:46 pm


It was her daughter (left) who gave Amanda Wong her first Bible and encouraged her to pray when Amanda was at her most despondent. All photos courtesy of Amanda Wong.

When her son was one and her daughter only a month old, Amanda Wong and her husband divorced. Amanda was 26 years old.

“I don’t really know what was the root cause of the breakdown. It was really a family crisis. I had to go live with my mum.”

Amanda became a single mum in her 20s.

She and her ex-husband never contacted each other again. He did not keep in touch with their children either and they would grow up never knowing him.

After the divorce, Amanda could not function.

“I locked myself in my room. Thank God my mum and my sister helped to take care of the children.

“After a year, my mum told me, ‘You know who is it that buys milk powder for the children all this time? By next month onwards, you have to settle it yourself.’

“I suddenly woke up and looked back. It had been a year plus since I’d locked myself in,” said Amanda, 46.

But there would be more losses.

Falling apart

Within a few years, Amanda’s mother passed away.

Her mother had gone for a simple procedure to remove stones in her gall bladder. But she contracted a viral infection after the operation and, after a short time, passed away. She was 60.

Amanda (right) with her mother and brother.

Amanda (left) had always been close to her mother. After her divorce, their relationship deepened as her mother helped to care for her children, .

Amanda, who hails from Penang, Malaysia, was working in Singapore at the time.

“It was very sudden. My family called and said, ‘You need to fly back. She just wants to see you.’ I was always the one she’d pampered.

“When I got back, she could only manage to nod her head to acknowledge my presence.”

Amanda fell apart again, descending into depression. A year after this, her father developed breathing difficulties and passed away as well. He had been suffering from lung cancer. He was 63.

Amanda (in pink) in one of the few photographs she has with her mother (third from left) and her father (second from left).

All her life, Amanda and her family had been devout followers of another religion.

By the time of her mother’s death, Amanda was also heavily into New Age mysticism. But with setback after setback, her belief that “do all things good would get merits” began to falter.

A change in behaviour

She was not ready to consider another religion yet. Instead, it was her children who were the first in the family to embrace Christianity.

“The children needed to study the Bible in school. I told the children, ‘Take it as moral studies.'”

When her children were young, Amanda had worked in various parts of Malaysia. Wherever she went, she took the kids. When they were ready for primary school, she decided to return to her hometown in Penang.

But when Amanda tried to enrol her children in the school of her choice, the school rejected her application. That was when she met an old friend who told her about a school that would possibly accept her children.

“There was one condition – the children needed to study the Bible. I told the children, ‘Take it as moral studies.’”

Within six months of the children being in the school, she noticed a marked change in their behaviour.

“They used to fight every day. Really fight. The girl was so fierce. 

“But I began observing them and I saw their relationship getting better and better.” 

“The words hit me”

A few years later when her son was 11, he asked to attend a Christian youth camp. Amanda was happy to let him go.

“No need to take care of him for a few days, so for me I was very happy.”

After that, he asked to go to church regularly. She was about to say “no” when she had a supernatural encounter.

“I had a vision of a piece of paper with the words, ‘Don’t stop your children from coming to know God.’

“I remember seeing a piece of paper they had brought back from school during registration that had those words.”

She searched for the piece of paper but never found it. She let her son go to church.

“Each time I sit there, I’m not listening but still the words hit me.”

“I thought: Now he is 12, I can stop him. When he is 19, he will go on his own. I told him, ‘You can go but don’t ask me to go.’”

Six months later, her son asked to be baptised. Her daughter became a Christian in very much the same way – youth camp, church and then baptism.

The difference was that her daughter insisted that Amanda attend the church service with her.

“She is more of an introvert, not like her kor kor (older brother).

“She told me, ‘Instead of driving us to church, going home and then coming back for us, why not sit at the back. You don’t have to  listen to the sermon. The pastor won’t call your name.’”

That was what Amanda did. But try as she might, she could not block the Word of God from her heart.

“Each time I sat there, I was not listening but still the words hit me. It was like they were talking to me.

“Once in the morning, I was facing a lot of challenges in life and thinking about working overseas. I told my children, ‘I want to go to Australia. You stay here with Da Yi (first aunt). Learn to be independent.’

“Then when we went to church, there was a pastor from Australia and he said, ‘If God didn’t call you to Australia, don’t come.’

“My two children looked at me.”

Jesus, help me

A year later, Amanda encountered difficulties at work. She was running a family-coffeeshop. The challenges were so great, she became depressed again.

“My daughter told me, ‘Mum, if you hear this voice again, you can pray.'”

“I was crying every night. I know the children must have heard. They just pretend they don’t know.

“Then I started hearing a voice asking me to just jump from my apartment. I shared this with my children.

“I told them, ‘As a single mum, I won’t kill myself.’ I had seen them grow up already. The toughest time was over.

“But this voice is so real and scary. I was just worried that I might just jump and it would be too late.”

Her children were 12 and 13 years old then and, in response, they shared the Gospel with her. Then her daughter did something more, she gave her mother a Bible.

“She told me, ‘Mum, if you hear this voice again, you can pray.’

“I stared at her, ‘Pray what? I’m not a Christian.’ But she told me that God could still help me.

“I told her, ‘If your God is so good, you ask your God to come and talk to me.’ Instead, her daughter again encouraged her to pray.

“After I read the psalm, I felt my whole body become light. The heaviness was gone. It was like a warm light scanning me from head to toe.”

“She told me: Just say, ‘Jesus help me.’ It’s just like talking to someone.’”

A few nights after that conversation, Amanda heard the voice telling her once more to jump from her apartment and all her troubles would be settled.

“My whole body was so numb, so weak. I was crying and crying for so long.

“Then I shouted in my heart, ‘I don’t know who You are but my daughter says You will help me. Come to me and talk to me. I don’t know what to do. I try to live a normal life; why is there so much injustice? What is this voice?’”

As she struggled to overcome the suicide ideation, Amanda turned to the Bible her daughter had given her.

The first passage she flipped to was Psalm 69. The first line of the psalm was exactly what Amanda wanted to say – “Save me, O God.” She wept loudly as she read the whole psalm.

“[What was in the psalm] was exactly like my life,” said Amanda, crying at the memory.

“In the past, my heart would beat very fast. Now I had a feeling like Someone was holding my heart to stabilise my heartbeat. 

“It felt like Someone was really talking to me. After I read the psalm, I felt my whole body becoming light. The heaviness was gone. It was like a warm light scanning me from head to toe.”

She finally experienced the peace that she had sought, and failed to find, through meditation and New Age practices.

“I had a feeling like Someone was holding my heart to stabilise my heartbeat. In the past, my heart would beat very fast, very unstable. But from that moment, it became quiet, normal.

“And I felt Someone hug me and say to me, ‘Child, don’t be afraid, I will always be with you.’ That was my first encounter with God.”

In that same year, 2015, Amanda was baptised at a Christmas service. A year later, her desire to know God increased further and she started attending Christian seminars within and outside the church.

“That peace that I felt that day. I don’t know how to describe. But that feeling of peace has lasted till now.”


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About the author

Christine Leow

Christine believes there is always a story waiting to be told, which led to a career in MediaCorp News. Her idea of a perfect day involves a big mug of tea, a bigger muffin and a good book.