03 April 2023

Revathy was raised by her single mother. They had nowhere to live and Revathy would often stay in the houses of aunts and uncles or 'house-hop', being chased away from one place to another. Because of their situation, Revathy often heard people call her mother derogatory names, which was difficult to witness as a child.

'To help ease the burden on my heart, I prayed to all the Hindu gods, explored Buddhism, and was a Jehovah's Witness,' shares Revathy. 'I learned to be pious and serious about religion. And I also started hating my mother, blaming her for everything I went through. When I was 16, a relative invited me to church to see the Good Friday drama of Christ's Crucifixion. Little did I know that day would change the entire course of my life.

'The actor playing Jesus carrying the cross passed by me during the drama. As he did, the edge of the cross touched my ankle lightly. I quickly pulled my leg in, feeling a  strange, intense pain. My heart cried out, "Was this the pain you suffered, Jesus?" I began to cry uncontrollably. The person beside me said I should answer the altar call. I did that. I was asked if I wanted the Lord Jesus for myself, and I said "yes" without knowing what that meant. I was given a gift, and I remember reading the notes about Jesus inside. I began going to church regularly.

'As I grew in Christ, the Lord softened my hardened heart toward my mother. The hatred was changing into love and compassion for her. I spent many sleepless nights thinking of her. I didn't know at that time that she had schizophrenia, a severe mental disorder. Once, I managed to track down my mother in China Town. She looked like a beggar; I had a bag with extra clothes and toiletries. When I saw my mother, I realised why I had that bag. I held my tears in and helped her get dressed. My mother got cleaned up, and we headed to church in Katong with heavy hearts.

The power of three days

'I could not listen to a word my pastor was preaching during the service. My heart was aching for my mother's condition. At one point, I left the service to go to the ladies' room. I wept bitterly, telling God that I could no longer watch her living out on the street like that. Suddenly, I cried out to God: "Jesus, I give you three days to help find my mother shelter." I cried and declined a lady's offer to pray. I brought my mother to a friend's house that night.

'The following day, I went to school to talk to Mr Thomas, my school counsellor. He listened, gave me a letter and said, "Go, see the member of parliament (MP) and give this letter."

'Determined and praying to Jesus, I took the letter and my mother to meet the MP. But first, we had to meet with a panel to decide if our case was urgent enough to bring to the MP. One of them said he would give the letter to the MP himself, and they would contact me. I was a timid girl, afraid to stand up for myself. Not this time! God gave me the strength to push back: "We have no home. Should my mother and I pitch a tent outside and stay there tonight?" We went to see the MP.

'I explained everything. When I finished, the MP picked up her phone, spoke to someone, hung up, looked at me and said: "This is the name card of the person you will meet tomorrow. Bring your mother there, and she will explain everything. The place is just behind this block!" I thanked her with much apprehension and anticipation.

'After school, we went to meet Ms Helen, who welcomed us with such warmth. The place is a shelter for people with mental illnesses run by the Singapore Association of Mental Health (SAMH). Ms Helen said mom could stay there, have psychiatric assessments, and be under supervision. Also, I could visit her any time because I was nearby!

'I was bursting with joy and tears. Those words in the ladies' room were Jesus telling me that he could bring life into our situation in just three days! And he was faithful! That was the start of a new beginning in my life, in Christ. Since then, Jesus has been faithful and will be faithful forever. Amen!'

Revathy attends her local Salvation Army corps (church) in Singapore along with her husband. In December of 2022, they were both enrolled as soldiers (church members). Her story was originally shared in the War Cry, a magazine of the Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar Territory. Revathy's testimony was also shared alongside other stories of transformation and overcoming in the international Women's Ministries exhibition, 'The waters are rising, but so am I'.

Tags: WM News, WM Resources, Women's Ministries