Job was a good man greatly blessed by Jehovah. he was healthy, rich, had many children and a good wife. then one day, all of this was taken away. his body was stricken with boils, his wealth vanished, his family perished and his loving wife told him to "curse your God and die!" Job remained steadfast however, knowing that surely, Jehovah is merciful. his unwavering faith and his strong will was eventually rewarded. his health was restored and his riches doubled. he had more children, more beautiful than before and lived 140 more years to see the fourth generation of his family. this was Job... i was not Job. God nevertheless was still merciful.
the series of events that have transpired had caused me to reach the end of my tether. i was exhausted and was in deep depression. i felt abandoned, betrayed, and dejected. i was thankful of my friends for they tried hard to lift my spirits but i was too defeated to be roused, as proven when i found myself bawling my eyes out over a plate of my great friend's prided corned beef (i miss it everyday, kay. no one makes it like you do.) i was greatly homesick and longed desperately for my family. i realized that the walls i had built for myself to shield me from the emotions of being away from my loved ones had finally collapsed. my spirit depleted and weakened, i eventually caved in.
funny how circumstances are related, to the extent that you really cannot deny a divine operation working behind it all. a last ditch effort of me in finding strength saw me emailing a friend back home. i told him how much i missed the support of family and friends. he then emailed me back and referred me to a christian website, suggesting that maybe i could find some encouragement from the articles there. upon viewing the website, a sense of familiarity came over me, a feeling i greatly welcomed. i later found out that the site was built by my cousin in Toronto, hence pictures of my family were too posted there. i was so thankful for the break it gave me that i left a comment in the site's guest book, it's first comment. that post turned out to be the catalyst of a remarkable hunt for people that involved the coordination of six churches from six countries around the world.
my cyber-presence in dubai previously involved checking my emails, blogging and searching design websites for what's trendy and new. the christian site was the newest addition to the roster and also quickly became my most visited. i checked it regularly for updates as well as new posts on the guest book, for it seems, more and more people were logging in. i was reading of posts from india, venezuela, columbia, france, ukraine, brazil, germany, russia, philippines, dubai.... DUBAI!??? i quickly checked it again. true enough, a fellow christian like myself was in dubai, and she was looking for fellow christians as well (like me). i took her name and quickly emailed my friend back home and asked him to look her up. contact info was given and a few days later, i met up with mae.
that first meeting with mae became the beginning of our christian fellowship in the desert. through God's grace and our persistence, we were able to find more and more people who were like us, searching. being an islamic state, practicing one's faith publicly other than islam, though is not sanctioned, is still highly discouraged in dubai. our initial meetings (we were already 4 by then) involved sitting by the curb on the sidewalk and pretending to chat with one another, but were in reality already praying out loud with our eyes open. none of us had a place that we could congregate in so doing it out in the street was the only resort we could manage. it was risky but we really didn't mind. for us, this weekly gathering was an addicting escape from the life and the toll living in dubai took from us.
as days went by, our humble group saw the blessings of what stubborn people "pestering" God can do. the ripples caused by that post on the website brought us to find more people from various places of various nationalities. in the end, our number blossomed to almost 30 in less than a few months comprising of pinoys, taiwanese, indians, sri lankans, malaysians, and singaporeans. we also were able to find a place to meet, at a flat owned by an indian-kiwi who does business in dubai. stable now, we would find ourselves receiving visiting christians from australia, manila, oman, saudi arabia and new zealand, all of which have heard of our remarkable story and wish to be witnesses to it. it has been more than a year since i left my christian family in the desert. since that time, they have increased in number again. some of my friends have found love in the church and have married as well. they contact me often to update me on their status and all news from them always makes me smile. in december of this year, they will be the host of a grand conference involving christians all over the gulf states. christians from saudi arabia, oman, qatar, bahrain and kuwait, all coming together to testify what God has done.
for the first time since i set foot in this country, i finally felt some form of balance in my life. despite all the turmoil happening at work and all the adjusting i was doing, i at least have a place where i could bask myself in the positive energy God and fellow christians provided, at last, my hope was being restored, and it did not come at a better time.
my incident with GM had ruined him in my eyes. though i have always had a feeling that he was an arrogant man, i had thought to myself that he had every right to be proud considering what he has gone through and what he has achieved. he was never shy to tell us his story and how he had climbed up the social/corporate ladder to be where he is, the right-hand man to our arab boss whose family is closely associated with the sheikh (my arab bosses were VERY influential). his story was truly inspiring. success and prestige however should never be used to lord over people, ever. his actions against me and my senior that day was something i could not swallow and from that day on, encounters with him have always been strained.
sensing that i no longer had any allegiance with GM, my senior finally opened up to me. she shared stories about the company, before the time we came in, before the company was an independent entity, before GM became GM. she told me of stories of peace and harmony and camaraderie and how all of that changed the moment power was redistributed. oh, how power corrupts is all i can say. they were difficult times, mentally and psychologically torturous since the word of one became good enough to determine whether or not you had a job the following day. she showed me a picture of the entire staff of the company before we came. she then point out those who never "made it". these were the first casualties of an imbalanced system in my company, a system solely controlled by the man who sat upstairs. my senior warned me of GM now, she never thought of warning me before since she though GM would practice enthnocentricity. obviously, she was wrong (well, i WAS chinese anyway, hehehe). sharing that rather unpleasant experience with GM though made me and my senior, didi closer. considering how in later times i would find myself sleeping over at her house, going on road trips with her, eating out, shopping with her, and being her gurl-friend, proves only how many more unpleasant experiences we shared under GM's tyranny.