Hi everyone, I am Keifer. My mother and I were diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and received treatment at National Taiwan University Hospital. I had my first enterostomy surgery on 7th December that year. Is anyone unsure about what that is? (It involves creating an opening into the intestine through the abdominal wall and allows the intestine contents to drain.) On the day after the surgery, an older sister from the bed next to me was getting ready to be discharged from the hospital. Before she did, she asked if I was a Christian and I said I wasn’t. She asked if I minded that she gave my details to a Christian from the hospital and I said that I didn’t mind.
On 26th December of the same year, I had a surgery to remove the tumor from my large intestine, and I needed to be at the hospital two days before to empty the contents in the intestine. On the night of the 24th, I was the only person in the ward and I switched off the lights at about 7pm to go to bed. Not long after I started sleeping, I suddenly heard someone singing “Silent Night”. I opened my eyes. Although the ward was dark, I could see 5 or 6 people dressing up as Santa and stood by my bed with candles in their hands singing “Silent Night”. The light from the candles lit up the dark room and I was so touched I cried. At that moment I realized that I was not as strong as I thought. Those who dressed up as Santa were members of a church.
A few days after the surgery, I went to the church of the hospital and it was under renovation. There was a lady who was arranging the items within. I walked through rows of long benches and sat at the second row. I looked at the cross that was hung up and Jesus was nailed on the cross. That was my first time in a church and the first time I prayed to Jesus. I asked Jesus to free my mom and I from the suffering and peace during this time. In that instant, I felt a warmth that surrounded by chest and it gave me a sense of peace, security and being cherished. I was unaware of my surroundings until the lady gave me a packet of tissues and touched me for a moment. Only in that moment I realized I had cried until my whole face was wet and I realized that I had likely been crying loud enough for her to know.
At that time, my mother was at the final stage of cancer and the cells had spread throughout her body. From the start, the doctor had declared that she would die within 3 months without treatment and in a year with treatment. The cells had spread to her bones and she often cried out in pain. An aunt who was a Christian asked a fellow church member to visit my mother and when the Bible was read, the pain left my mom. My mom was special and before she passed away, she said that Jesus visited her once, and that the Lord is male and has a large beard. There was once she dreamt about floating in the ocean and Jesus used both his hands to touch her face.
It was a major struggle for me to become a Christian because it was the campaign for same-sex marriage at that time and the biggest opposition party was the Christians. I remembered that one of the days after the law for same-sex marriage was passed, there were two youths who told me that Jesus loves me and He thinks I need His love. I immediately replied that I don’t need it. They did not give up and asked what I needed. I replied, “I need the law for same-sex marriage to be passed.” That youth was stunned and said “oh” twice before shouting “Jesus loves you!”
In December last year, I was diagnosed with cancer for the second time and I felt more lost than ever before. I was unable to sleep, eat or think. I understood at that time that if the situation persisted, I was not losing to cancer, but rather that my body was unable to tolerate the treatment. On one of those days in the same month, Ten, a brother from a church took the initiative to contact me. I had met him twice about 6 or 7 years ago, and had no contact since. To be honest, I couldn’t even remember him. I was suspicious about why he had my Line contact. Ten said that he just changed his phone and my Line contact suddenly appeared on his account. He insisted that we meet but I didn’t want to have contact with anyone at that time. My physical and emotional states were too poor and I didn’t want to meet anyone, but I was unable to withstand his persistence. I met Ten and I told him honestly about my situation, as well as what I experienced in the church of National Taiwan University Hospital. I asked Ten about an LGBT church in Taipei and I wanted to visit. Only then did Ten tell me that he was a member of Tong Kwang church. That night, Ten helped me make a decision for Jesus and I guess Jesus sent him to bring me home.
My first time at Tong Kwang was during a Christmas event at the church, and I attended a Sunday service, but I did not go to church for 2 months afterwards because although I had the same prayer as everyone else, I did not feel the presence of Jesus. Not only that, within those two months, I had to face the fears and worries caused by the illness and treatment. Even worse, within those two months I was hurt by my closest and most trusted family members and friends. That caused me extreme anxiety and I had the thought of ending my life.
On one Sunday morning about a month ago, during a bus ride to a gym, I prayed to Jesus. I still did not feel His presence nor a sense of peace. So I said to Jesus in my heart, “Are You the true God? Is this Your plan that the people whom I am close to and trust show their bad side and hurt me? Is it Your plan that those people left me without any choice? Is my pain from people’s hearts? Are the experiences of illness and suffering what You have prepared for me? Do you want me to face, withstand and complete everything in the best of my abilities and hand the results to You? It was not my intention to disobey You, but if all these are part of Your plan, please give me a sign. I need a sign! Please let the mother sitting next to me talk to me on her own accord.”
After the bus passed through two traffic lights, that mother naturally did not talk to me on her own accord. At that point I thought that it was silly. Of course that mother would not talk to me on her own accord. After a further 5 or 6 traffic lights, my thoughts drifted on other topics and forgot about what happened earlier. I was going to alight two stops later and suddenly I heard a voice coming from the seat next to mine, “Sir, may I ask you a question?” I was shocked by the sound and jumped in my seat, almost falling from it. I looked at the mother in surprise and wondered if she was Jesus. Without looking at me, the mother pointed a finger at her phone in her hand and said to me, “My phone is set with an alarm mode but it keeps going back to vibration mode. Do you know how to change this?” So I smiled at the mother and told her, “Do you want to try restarting the phone? Sometimes my phone also does this.” She replied, “Yes, yes, yes!” and switched off her phone. Honestly, since I returned from the States to Taiwan, something I could not tolerate was people not changing their phones to vibration mode in a public setting. I smiled and said goodbye to the mother before alighting from the bus. After the gym session, I returned to the Sunday service at the church.
From that day on, I believe that Lord Jesus is a humorous true God, and I pray to Him often. Now, I feel at peace in Jesus’ embrace.