09242_000_027The pressure was on. I had to make a choice.
As a convert to the Church in Malaysia, a country where there are few Christians, I sometimes found it hard to stand up for my beliefs. One day in December, my boss told me that our company would be having an anniversary party at the end of the year that I was expected to attend. I was worried and didn’t want to go because drinking alcohol at parties is part of our company culture. I also knew that my co-workers would try to force me to drink.
But my manager was firm that I should attend. I wondered how I would be able to overcome this challenge.
Later, a co-worker stopped me and asked, “Why don’t you want to come to the party?” I told him that because of my religious beliefs, I don’t drink alcohol.
He replied angrily, “You should worry about the world you live in now, not another world that may not even exist. Do you want to make money or give it up for your stupid beliefs?” When he asked me this, I felt afraid. I knew if I did not drink at the party, I might lose my job. Then suddenly a scripture came into my mind: “I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth?” (Isaiah 51:12–13).
Immediately I knew that I should fear God, not my co-workers or my boss. I also realized that my purpose on earth is not to earn money but to grow spiritually. So I answered my co-worker, “I will choose my belief, and you should respect it.”
A few weeks later I quit my job. On my last day of work, I had a good conversation with my co-workers. I explained how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is different from other churches. I told them about my beliefs and my desire to keep the commandments.
About a week later I got another job that pays better than the job I left. My new job also gives me time to prepare to serve a full-time mission.
This experience not only taught me that keeping the commandments will enable me to return to Heavenly Father someday, but it gave me the confidence that no matter what challenges I face every day, the Lord will prepare the way for me (see 1 Nephi 3:7).
Illustration by Gregg Thorkelson