She was a Zoom novice, but God multiplied her online ministry from 50 to 500 in 10 months
by Gemma Koh // October 21, 2021, 11:57 pm
Grace Lim and family during her husband's first job posting of five years to China. It was an answer to a prayer she had made at age 14 to serve in China. All photos courtesy of Grace Lim.
Story after story popped up on the Zoom chat.
Heartfelt, real-life accounts of freedom from depression. Fear. Betrayal. Rejection. Trauma.
The hosts were Singaporean Grace Lim, 56, and her international team of “encouragers”. The occasion was the final session of a 10-week Freedom in Christ (FIC) course over Zoom.
Prompted by the Holy Spirit, one teenager said that he was turning away from sexual sin. A survivor of a childhood rape shared how God “gently, calmly and completely” freed her from the trauma.
Another participant shared: “When I humbled myself before God to seek forgiveness for anger and bitterness against my abuser, I realised she was subjected to a lifetime of resentment and bitterness. She unleashed it on me because she didn’t know where to seek justice for herself. As a child of God, I am able to rest my injustice on God because He is my vindicator.”
The testimonies of hope and healing in FIC participants still fills Grace with wonder.
In May 2020, Grace had taken FIC to Zoom for 50 friends. Friends told friends … often after attending just one session. Numbers snowballed and 10 months later, Grace was facilitating sessions for more than 500 participants from some 30 nations, including Monaco and Kazakhstan.
Grace is thought to be the first individual in the world to take the course, usually run by churches, online. New FIC courses, led by inspired participants, have mushroomed.
May 2020 was just nine months after she swallowed a fishbone that almost cost her her life, her voice and her ministry.
Her story is a powerful testimony that God can heal, said a prayer warrior who encouraged the publicity-shy Grace to share her story with Salt&Light.
Pursuing the runner
Grace was 14 and a national runner when a teacher from her secondary school invited Grace and a friend to her home, and shared her life story with them.
“She saw that I had all this glory, all these trophies, but if I didn’t have God, there was no point,” said Grace.
“I was moved by her story. I felt that she has such a personal relationship with God. I wanted the same thing, and I asked how I could accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.
The 14-year-old asked God to send her to China as a missionary, “even though my Chinese ‘cannot make it’”.
“Since my cousins took me to church, I had been asking, ‘God, if you are real, show Yourself to me.’
“God pursued me by sending this teacher who didn’t even teach me in school,” said Grace who has since been telling others about her God who is “so personal, so accessible – a God one can pray to everywhere, anytime, anywhere”.
The teacher was the first in a line of disciplers who would equip Grace, who would go on to disciple others who would become disciplers themselves.
Hearing God’s call to “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), the 14-year-old asked God to send her to China as a missionary, “even though my Chinese ‘cannot make it’.
“God answered in a way beyond my imagination.”
17 years of “training” abroad
Grace would go on to join Singapore Youth for Christ, and Christian fellowships in junior college and university.
In varsity Christian fellowship, she met her husband-to-be. His bank job would take them out of Singapore for 17 years.
“We started a ‘workshop’. He worked, I shopped,” she quipped.
As an expat wife, she conducted learning workshops for other expats wherever they were posted. God was also equipping her to handle an international audience.
“So international was one church that over three days, I could be speaking to people from seven different nations, whether it was having meals as a group or studying the Word one-on-one with another lady,” she recalled.
In China, responding to the Word to “go and set the captives free” (Isaiah 61:1), the Lims would start a cell group for expat families called Blessed at their home.
God multiplied it so that they had 400 people come together at their last retreat.
“I was very hungry to learn. I would be chewing on new resources on my own or attending conferences,” she said.
“I used to be a math teacher … If you asked me to write a composition, I would say I cannot do it.”
Isaiah 50:4 spoke to her: “The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.”
Responding, she said yes to serving in a leadership role with BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). The role required her to give sermons every week.
“I’m very economical with words, because I used to be a math teacher. I could give you a formula, but if you asked me to write a composition, I would say I cannot do it,” she said.
“So God has a sense of humour. He was saying, ‘Now I want you to write and read to other people.'”
At their next posting in Bangkok, Grace became a volunteer BSF ambassador, flying back and forth between the Thai capital and Ho Chi Minh, where she would spend Mondays to Wednesdays lecturing a class of 100.
During her five years in Bangkok, Grace became aware of the revamped UK version of Freedom in Christ on DVD.
In 2015, she “experimented” with it on a group of 20 expat women whom she was leading in Bible study, followed by a group of young Thai people.
Her Singapore friends got wind of it, and asked her to run the course for them when she popped back to visit her sons who were then doing National Service.
“Within 10 days of publicity over WhatsApp, 48 ladies appeared in my living room in Singapore,” Grace said. It was divine provision how there were sufficient seats for everyone.
“My friend said, ‘Your living room is like a rubber band – can stretch.'”
Grace called herself “a secret ambassador” for FIC, as she had no connections to the originators of the DVD.
Over the next few years, God kept opening opportunities for her to introduce this tool to more groups, and to coach facilitators at churches in Singapore and Thailand.
Then a missionary in Chiang Mai – whom Grace had introduced to the course – discovered that there was a conference in Kuala Lumpur run by Freedom in Christ Ministries International. She alerted Grace to it.
There, Grace came into contact with FIC co-creator Steve Goss and other key people from the organisation for the first time.
Grace had forgotten that some five years earlier, she had actually attended a training session in Singapore by Steve and his wife. Earlier in China, she had also briefly used a book by FIC’s other co-creator, Neil Anderson.
“So I had actually attended FIC training without knowing it,” said Grace. “It’s so divine how all these things come together even though I didn’t plan it.”
The fishbone accident
Seven months before Grace and her husband were to relocate back to Singapore, Grace was having a meal when she swallowed a fishbone.
“One lady prayed specifically that my throat would be protected. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do what I am doing now.”
She felt uncomfortable but went to bed as usual. In the middle of the night, she felt a pain around her chest.
By 8.30am, she was in the surgery of an ENT doctor friend.
A CT scan showed a 3.3cm fishbone in her esophagus.
The doctor spent 35 minutes using a scope to remove it.
Grace still did not feel well.
A barium test indicated a leak in her esophagus. It took a 3.5 hour-long operation to repair the 4cm-long tear.
Grace felt that she was under attack by the evil one, for she had been conducting a course, the Battle of the Mind, on the role of Satan, just a month earlier. “I knew that he wasn’t going to be happy with me,” she said.
Throughout her ordeal, prayer warriors from different nations interceded for her.
“I realised, my life is here for a reason. So I had better use it for God’s glory, for His purpose.”
“One lady prayed specifically that my throat would be protected. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do what I am doing now.
“Doctors didn’t think I would survive. They knew of someone who had died immediately after swallowing a fishbone. They also knew how risky and messy the operation was,” Grace said.
“I realised, my life is here for a reason. So I had better use it for God’s glory, for His purpose.
“Many said, ‘God must have a job for you to do. If not, He would have taken you home.’ I did not know exactly what it was He had saved me to do.”
Grace spent two days ICU. In the 10 days in hospital, she could not swallow her own saliva, and had to be tube-fed.
“I thought I wouldn’t be able to travel anymore, do any more ministry,” said Grace.
Her month of recuperation and “spring cleaning … restored soul and spirit”.
She used what she had learnt from FIC “to fight the battle of the mind, take every thought captive, reject lies from the devil, and believe in God’s truth”.
“I could have gone into depression. I could have been so bitter and angry with God,” said Grace.
Instead, she praised Him. “I realised that every breath that I have comes from Him.”
During her recovery, she listened to God’s Word, inspiring messages and worship songs.
She minimised distractions by not turning on the television and not having visitors.
Her recovery was “a journey of up and down of sanctification between me and God and finding peace with myself and others as well”.
Her month of recuperation and “spring cleaning … restored soul and spirit”.
Borderless and unstoppable
Unable to travel, Grace asked God: “What ministry do You want me to get involved in? Please open one door and close all other doors.”
“So, instead of flying all over the world, I just Zoom from one room to another room.”
The door to FIC “just kept opening”, first with individual requests, then group requests to take over leadership. A volunteer working with girls-at-risk wanted to explore if it could be done over Zoom. At that time, Grace did not know how to use the share screen function.
In her new apartment, Grace prayed: “This is the new home that You have given us. This is my living room, use it for Your ministry.”
She heard God say: “Grace, your living room is too small. I want you to go into people’s living rooms. I want your ministry to be borderless.
“So, instead of me flying all over the world as I used to, now I Zoom from one room to another room.”
Two months after moving back to Singapore, and a month after the island went into Circuit Breaker, Grace hosted her first big FIC season over Zoom with 50 friends.
The wife of a church leader made a request to keep her audio and video off as she had two young children to look after. Grace also put this participant in an individual breakout room where she could reflect on her own.
“Jesus can heal even if a participant does not want to turn on their video audio to share.”
The participant later shared that her depression had lifted during her time alone.
“It showed me that people can encounter Jesus and He can heal even if a participant remains anonymous or does not want to share,” said Grace.
Counsellors, people in inner-healing ministries and pastors are among those attending Grace’s Zoom sessions to see how they are run.
“FIC is a solution for mental, emotional health issues and for churches who may not be able to connect physically with those they want to reach out to,” said Grace.
Equipping people to take personal responsibility is the key to their healing, said Grace.
“We don’t do healing, pray for the sick or cast out of demons. You can do all these things, but if people don’t take personal responsibility, they will not be healed, they will not forgive, and they will still carry their baggage. So this is a paradigm shift for a lot of people.”
The Zoom course seems tailor-made for Covid.
People who are feeling isolated because of Covid restrictions feel like they are part of “a non-threatening community”. Some are repeat visitors who enjoy the familiarity of the sessions.
“Equipping people to take personal responsibility is the key to their healing.”
This year in March, Grace received bad news at 1.58pm on a Saturday – just two minutes before she was due to go on Zoom.
Yet she was at peace when she continued with her four-hour appointment with more than 50 participants.
“It was a lesson for me as well. Here I am, teaching people how to be set free. Am I set free myself? Do I choose to believe what God says is true, that He will carry me through ? Do I choose to submit to Him?
“I knew it was another of Satan’s plans to stop FIC. It was not God’s plan.”
With new commitments that came with the bad news, she acted in obedience to God to continue FIC. She had to be discerning about her time, and so dropped the morning session to concentrate on the evening one. Yet she saw participation surge to more than 500.
“God is borderless and unstoppable,” she said.
Grace is also thankful for the people God brought from different countries to help run the sessions. They include prayer partners and “encouragers” (including a former pastor) whose ministry experience allows them to facilitate breakout rooms. Friends and family have come on board to help with administration.
“How come nobody has taught me this in all the years I have been a Christian?”
“It’s amazing how God has equipped, guided and provided all the help I need. It started with saying yes to God.”
Currently, there are plans in the UK to dub the FIC video in Mandarin (instead of merely adding subtitles) to reach people who may not be able to read.
Already, one participant has paraphrased the course into Mandarin for her mother, who went on to share it with two friends in their 80s.
After the first session, the mother asked: “How come nobody has taught me this in all the years I have been a Christian?”
Grace has just completed a nine-month training programme run by Freedom in Christ Ministries. She is not an official rep for them, though they highlighted the fruits of her online efforts in their Spring newsletter this year.
Neither is she a pastor or counsellor. She uses FIC in her personal capacity “as the platform that God has equipped me for, and is giving me the privilege of doing”.
What she is doing debunks the misconception that one must be in some position in a company or church to be doing God’s work.
“It’s not,” she says. “Because God’s commission to go and make disciples is for all of us.”
The next Freedom in Christ course conducted by Grace Lim over Zoom runs for 10 weeks every Sunday from November 7, 2021 till January 9, 2022, from 8pm-10 pm (Singapore time).
There is no homework and the Zoom-based course is free-of-charge but participants are required to get two course books (titles in registration link here). Click here for course overview and here to see sample videos.
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