A Mixed Up Minister?
What insights does the book of Jonah have for ministers today?
Led by The Revd Tom Stuckey, a former President of the Methodist Church.
Conquering the Dragon
Kim Goh was dramatically converted in a shower room at Hull prison on Sunday 31st August 1985, after God speak to him in an audible voice. At the time he was on remand awaiting trial various offences totalling 257. He first turned to crime as a teenager in Singapore where he grew up from birth. He recalled that he was born to an atheist father and Buddhist mother, and had a most unpromising start in life. He has had a rough ride in life, though he admits much of it has been of his own making. But he suffered from severe discipline both from his father and mother, “my mother would beat me until she was exhausted and then father would take over, though in some ways I had considerable freedom.” He recounted an incident of how on one occasion when he was sent to a local take-away for a packed meal for the family and brought one back containing vinegar, which his father hated, he was forced to eat the whole lot as punishment!
Kim takes up the story …
“Largely through this over-strict regime and increasing disagreement with my father, I ran away from home. Blessed with a natural gift of business acumen, I found it easy to make a lot of money very quickly, especially in the commercial environment of Singapore with its abundant opportunities for those with an entrepreneurial flair. Yet sadly this new found independence and prosperity soon brought bad practices including drinking, gambling, fighting and womanising.”
“I lost all sense of right and wrong and purpose in life. I developed an irresistible urge to go even further afield in search of something, I knew not what. I was full of anger, and resentment of authority, and yet deep within me I had a gnawing hunger that I could not diagnose or even describe. I could not understand. It was a kind of emptiness, a desire for something worthwhile in life. The nearest I could come to defining it was for some personal fulfilment.”
“Eventually, I left Singapore and my travels took me Europe and America, where my behaviour simply went from bad to worse. But I have seen since my conversion that the Lord’s hand was upon me.”
“I think of the day in Chicago when I was trying to hitch a ride in winter at Lake Shore. The temperature was more than minus zero with howling Arctic wind and no one would stop for me, so I decided to lie down on the road – ice-covered though it was – to force someone to stop. Soon a young man came along and picked me up. He took me to his home, where he gave me some food and some money, but more important than either of these he gave me a Bible. The young man was a Christian.”
“Eventually, after getting into more troubles in America, I came back to Europe and continued to live a life of crime in various countries on the continent of Europe. Eventually I felt it was time to move on as well as having the feeling that the long arm of the law was getting shorter and right behind me, so I came back to England to begin a new life of crime.” I got involved with the Triads which is the Chinese version of the Mafia here in the UK as an enforcer within the organisation of their criminal activities, rising to a position of ‘Godfather’. During those times I was mainly dealing in extortion of Chinese restaurants and take-aways, which I called ‘Insurance’ as extortion was a ugly word. The way I did it was to go to either of these places and offered to sell them a roast duck at an asking price of between £500 and £1000 depending on the size of the establishment. The reason for selling the duck is that it is not illegal if a commodity or product is involved in the transaction and the seller can priced it as they wish.. The buyer has the freedom to reject the asking price or even the offer. Of course behind this farce there is the underlining threat of further action if the buyer should have the audacity to reject buying the roast duck. Usually the owners of these places understand the consequences and brought my ducks. I taught my gang members to use this method up and down the country.
“Finally, I was arrested, tried and sent to prison. On the third day in Hull Prison, where I served part of my sentence, while waiting my turn for the shower. The Holy Sprit of God came upon me in a most powerful way because I was swearing at God and He responded in a voice saying ’It’s time we had a talk’.”
“As you can imagine, I was completely overcome and found myself kneeling in that shower room crying my heart out in repentance. My fellow prisoners, alarmed at what was happening, rushed to me exclaiming “What are you doing?” I replied “talking to God”. Of course they thought I had gone mad!”
“That was the turning point in my life. I resolved from then on to live all out for God. I was filled with gratitude that my heavenly Father had not abandoned me but had loved me, protected me and ultimately brought me back to himself, and I felt that no sacrifice would now be too great to repay His love. That has been my guiding principle ever since.”
“I recognise that with all the progress I have made in the Christian life I still have a long way to go, but I am depending totally on Jesus to see me through whatever problems or setbacks that come my way, and to direct my future according to His purpose.”
“I have learnt so much about how God deals with His people, gently, lovingly, persistently and how He can turn even the most adverse experiences to His glory.”
“Those who meet me often say that they are struck by my enthusiasm! I believe that enthusiasm is the natural outcome of one’s gratitude to God for His grace and love, and I wonder why many Christians are so lacking in enthusiasm when they have so much for which to be thankful.”