Week 2, Sep 2003

God is Sovereign

Part 2 of A Testimony by Vincent Chia, Senior Company Executive

Isaiah 61:11 : “For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.”

For anyone familiar with the geographical location of Kuala Lumpur, he/she would know that it is situated in the Klang Valley. It is the most densely populated area in the whole of Malaysia, with the largest share (almost 25%) of its 23 million population. Thus it is no surprise to find large numbers of apartment buildings, commercial, industrial as well as the much coveted landed residences there. Buildings were constructed in a feverish pace until the 1997 Asian crisis. Since then, many buildings were left half completed and abandoned as companies who owned them or constructed them went under.

Once when I was at the balcony of a 20th floor apartment in the complex that I was managing, I realized that as far as the eye could see, there were countless apartment buildings. I began to try and count them but lost the numbers after 100 and I wasn’t even sure if I was halfway through. I suddenly felt a heavy burden and I began to ask myself, “What am I doing here? What makes me think I can even get one third of the 150 apartments rented? I must be out of my mind to have agreed to come here!”

Besides the stark realization of the real estate situation in KL, the management in Singapore had set a very high standard of achievement. Expectations were very high in terms of rental rates to be achieved and the number of tenants that we must get. The pressure to perform was very intense, not unlike a war where the results mean life or death, in this case for my career.

I had grown up in the Lord and had never felt the need to prove to anyone my abilities as I was secured in the knowledge of His Grace. However, in this particular case, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to fail and be replaced. Accountability to my current boss made the burden even heavier.

Prior to my posting in KL, I had never felt an urgent need to retreat and spend time with the Lord. My stint in KL changed me. Every morning when I wake up, I would call on the Lord to empower me and bless the project with clients. I had never read the Bible as earnestly as before and it became a source of comfort to me.

Looking back, the Lord really blessed as the occupancy began to climb up after the altar was destroyed. It wasn’t a meteoric increase but one that was steady, albeit “painful”. It was painful as new tenants proved to be demanding in their different ways and to conclude a deal was a long and laborious process.

I once commented to a young Christian colleague who came up to KL from Singapore to help, “Each of our tenants is precious as every one is a result of constant prayer and a lot of labour.” Also I viewed each of them as a gift from the Lord.

When I left the project at the end of January 2003, the occupancy was 69% going on to 70%. My parting words to my secretary who is also a Christian was that the occupancy was due to the blessings of our Lord and not human efforts. Each percentage increase in occupancy was a result of constant prayer.

The Lord is indeed Sovereign as He rules over all and nothing is impossible with Him, even though the odds in human terms were heavily “stacked” against me.

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