Their stories of loss and failure went on to bless others in extraordinary ways: Profiles in new Salt&Light book
by Gracia Lee // December 3, 2021, 1:20 pm
When Michelle Wantasen (left, pictured here with her sisters) testified about God's goodness amid her grief, she never expected God to multiply her small offering in the way that He did. Photo courtesy of Michelle Wantasen.
It can be a scary and vulnerable experience to share your story with others, let alone strangers whom you do not know.
But many who have had their stories published on Salt&Light found that the simple act of testifying to God’s faithfulness in their lives can have a ripple effect in His Kingdom – often in ways they would never have imagined.
Three profiles, whose stories are published in the new book, Salt&Light: Inspirational Stories of Faith in Families, share how God used what they had to offer, including their pain and failure, to build others – and themselves – up in the faith.
She lost her fiancé just before the wedding: Michelle Wantasen
When Michelle Milyarti Wantasen’s fiancé died in a car accident last June, her whole world crumbled.
But even though her grief was fresh and raw, she decided to step forward to share how she had experienced God’s goodness and comfort in the midst of her pain.
“As much as I could, I wanted to turn this experience into a blessing for others instead of being defeated, as it wouldn’t bring any glory to God at all,” said Michelle, now 30.
She never expected God to multiply her small offering of her testimony in the way that He did.
After her story went out on Salt&Light last August, she received more than 100 messages of encouragement through Salt&Light’s Instagram page.
She also received many messages from family and friends about how her testimony had strengthened them in their faith and helped them to better understand God’s presence, healing and restoration.
“In the midst of my pain and suffering, it was very encouraging for me to know that I can still be used by God to bring hope to others.”
An old schoolmate even messaged her on Facebook to tell her that he had decided against taking his own life after reading her story.
“In the midst of my pain and suffering, it was very encouraging for me to know that I can still be used by God to bring hope to others,” said Michelle, who has accepted several invitations to share her testimony in churches and on online platforms.
Now, more than a year on, she told Salt&Light that her priorities in life have changed.
While she used to focus her energy on building up her business and earning more money, she is now pursuing a Masters of Counselling at Singapore Bible College. She is also learning from two of her mentors, who are pastors, how to minister to others effectively.
“I’m on a totally new path than I was before. I hope through this, I can learn more and be used by God in a greater way,” she said.
Her son was killed by a car as he cycled to his CCA: Anne Lee
When Anne Lee, 70, first shared the story of her son’s death on Salt&Light in 2018, many friends and old schoolmates reached out to tell her that it had touched them deeply.
In June 1996, her 17-year-old son Adrian was struck by a car while cycling towards MacRitchie Reservoir for canoeing practice, on a familiar route not too far from his home.
Years later, in an interview with Salt&Light in 2018, Anne shared how, despite her grief, she had experienced an inexplicable strength and grace that even allowed her to console other mourners at her son’s wake.
“In hopeless situations and a hopeless world where everybody is confused and lost, our only stability is our hope in Jesus.”
Three years on, God is still using her testimony to bring comfort to others.
An old friend recently chanced upon her Salt&Light story and introduced her to two mothers who had just lost their sons – one from stomach cancer and the other in a car accident. Anne is hoping to minister to these bereaved mothers.
Amazed by the reach of her testimony, Anne hopes that it will continue to inspire real hope in those who read it.
“In hopeless situations and a hopeless world where everybody is confused and lost, our only stability is our hope in Jesus,” she said.
“When your son passes away, there is no more hope. But against all hope, I can hope that I will see him one day,” she said, citing Romans 4:18.
“That’s what keeps my family going with joy,” she added. “I told my husband: Every day that passes is a day closer to when I can see Adrian.”
Their marriage failed dramatically: Jay & David Chong
Not many people would share honestly about their personal shortcomings and failures in their marriage.
But Jay Chong, 65, who remarried her husband, David, in 1995 after they divorced three years earlier, said sharing their story reminds them how good God has been in their lives.
“If you take God out of the equation, it’s very shameful. But when you put God into the equation, it becomes about His redemption of our sins,” she told Salt&Light.
“Yes, we have done wrong … We were selfish, the family was dysfunctional, but look what God has done in our lives. Sharing our testimony is always a reminder of God’s gift to us, and it’s also a reminder that God is in the middle of our marriage,” she added.
“Sharing our testimony is always a reminder of God’s gift to us, and it’s also a reminder that God is in the middle of our marriage.”
As God leads, Jay and David, who are are full-time church staff at Covenant Evangelical Free Church, speak at churches about their marriage journey and also take married couples under their wing.
In being honest about her own experience, she hopes to encourage others to cherish their marriages and uphold the sanctity and holiness of this covenant, which is made not just between two people, but with God.
“With God as one of the parties of the covenant, don’t say, ‘I’m not happy in my marriage, so I have the right to leave the marriage.’ Remember, God is the One who put you two together,” she said, encouraging couples to seek help and counselling if needed.
She acknowledged that marriage is “the most difficult relationship you will go into” and living out your vows is far from easy. “But we have hope because God is in the middle of it. One of the most important things you need to have in your marriage is the fear of the Lord,” she said.
To find encouragement for your own journey of grace, or to bless someone who needs hope, CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR COPY of Salt&Light: Inspirational Stories of Faith in Families.
Just released! Salt&Light: Inspirational Stories of Faith in Families
The newly released Salt&Light: Inspirational Stories of Faith in Families is now available for pre-order here.
Please note that only orders made by December 16 will be delivered by Christmas.
While family life may give us some of our most memorable and joyful moments, it can also take us on perplexing and heartbreaking journeys.
In Salt&Light: Inspirational Stories of Faith in Families, find encouragement in 34 true-life accounts that show that unvarnished reality and hope can exist side by side. Draw inspiration so that you, too, may experience life-giving faith in every season of your life, even through times of testing.
Place your order here. Also available are Special Christmas Bundles and bulk orders of 10 or more books.
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