Trusting God through a Robbery, a Health Crisis, and a Salvation
Alvin Ding has seen the hand of God preserve and transform him through life-changing events.
Alvin’s family spend time in God’s word regularly using resources from Our Daily Bread Ministries—Journey Through Series for Alvin, Our Daily Bread for his wife, and Our Daily Bread in Chinese for his mother.
Growing up in a Christian background, Alvin Ding had always known the presence of God in His life. He understood the importance of following Him, diligently read His Word, and prayed as he was taught to do.
But the truth of God’s wisdom and love became even more real, after several dramatic incidents—from a robbery to a health crisis and the salvation of his beloved grandmother—showed him what trusting in the Father really meant.
These events, he says, have given him a deep, personal insight into God’s instructions to trust in His wisdom and promises, and shown him how “profound” Proverbs 3:5–6 really is:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
“In the past, especially when I was younger, I tended to rely on what I thought I knew, rather than trusting God,” says Alvin. “But through the years, time and time again, I can testify that as I learnt to trust God (while leaning lesser on my own wisdom), and surrender totally to God, He just made the way!”
Yet, he adds, it took time for his “spiritual eyes” to be opened to the wonder of these godly truths.
A Lifelong Journey
Alvin (extreme right) started reading God’s word seriously during his teenage years, when he was studying in Malaysia.
From young, Alvin was taught to follow Jesus. His mother began taking him to church when he was small, and he never had reason to seriously doubt the existence of God.
When he was 14, he decided to get baptised. While he admits that he didn’t fully understand what this meant, God honoured Alvin’s vow to follow Him and drew him closer to Himself. Several years later, He gave Alvin a hunger to know Him better, which led to Alvin seeking Him more through prayer, reading the Bible with the help of Our Daily Bread.
His mother had been reading the devotional as long as he could remember, and he had always seen copies at his church resource and reception area. Driven by a God-given desire to know Him more, Alvin began reading Our Daily Bread, spending time in devotion, speaking to God, and waiting to hear from Him.
Then, he had the first of his life-changing experiences.
Protected in a Robbery
In 2002, Alvin and a friend were waiting at a bus stop for their school bus in Malaysia—where he grew up—when a group of young men rode up on motorbikes. One of them held a parang to his neck while the rest grabbed all their belongings and zoomed off.
Overwhelmed by rage, Alvin “cursed them so much that I couldn’t believe I would do that,” as he recounted in a testimony he wrote for his church in Singapore. “I hate you guys, sinners!” he shouted.
But then, he was hit by a sudden realisation that he was a sinner, too.
“I realised I was no better than these robbers, as there are no small or big sins in God’s eyes,” he says. “We are all fallen, and it’s only through Jesus’ blood that we are cleansed and reconciled to Him.”
Later, he says, after he calmed down, he also realised that God had protected him and his friend, and gave thanks.
Preserved through a Health Crisis
A year after the robbery, Alvin experienced another crisis when he started to have problems breathing. His heart-rate and blood pressure shot up, and during one exam, it got so bad that he had to stop writing and lie face-down on the table. “I thought I would die right there,” he recalls.
At that point, all he could do was pray. Surrendering everything to God, he told Him that if God would prolong his life, he would dedicate it to His purpose and glory. God answered his prayer, and Alvin even managed to complete his paper. Later, after taking some medicine, Alvin recovered, and never encountered these problems again.
“I believe it was God who healed me,” he says. “I’ve also learnt that we cannot take things and our days on earth for granted. Everything is from Him and for Him.”
Grateful for a Salvation
One answered prayer that Alvin is most grateful for is that for his maternal grandmother, whom he was very close to.
Since God opened his spiritual eyes at the age of 16, he had been praying for the salvation of “Ah Ma”, as he lovingly called her, sharing the good news with her. To his relief, about five years ago, his grandmother began accompanying his mother to church and even befriending Christians there.
“Whenever someone asked if she wanted to believe in Jesus, she would will just smile,” he recalls. “I believed that I would be the main instrument God would use to bring her to Him, as I was closest to Ah Ma.”
By then, Alvin had moved to Singapore. After graduating, he started work as an engineer and got married here. But he regularly went home to Malaysia to visit his grandmother.
But, it seemed, time began to run out for her.
Alvin’s grandmother developed mild dementia, and her hearing deteriorated so badly that even a hearing aid didn’t seem to help. She began to lose interest in everything around her. Alvin feared that her last days were near.
Worse still, the Covid-19 crisis prevented Alvin from going back to Malaysia to spend time with his grandmother. “No one in church knew if she believed in Jesus, and neither did I in my conversations with her about Jesus in the past,” he says.
“In my heart, I was already bemoaning that for her to accept Christ now was almost impossible,” he adds. “How can one who is forgetful or not listening well, hear about Christ in her last days?”
Then, Alvin saw God working in Ah Ma’s life in His powerful, miraculous way.
“Just before she was admitted to hospital and fell into a coma, she expressed specifically that she wanted to go to where Jesus is,” he recounts. “It was a really touching moment, to know it came from her mouth, that she knew where she was heading to. That assured us that all the things she had heard from me and other brothers and sisters through the Spirit all these years, had reached her indeed.”
Last year, Alvin’s grandmother went home to be with the Lord, leaving him not only with an assurance that God had answered his prayer for her salvation, but also with an encouraging reminder of His power and faithfulness.
“It also showed me God’s goodness in showing His mercy and grace,” he says. “Things may seem impossible, but never for the Lord. It’s not about what I can do, but what the Lord can do.”
Alvin with his beloved grandmother, whose salvation reminds Alvin of God’s love and goodness.
A Promise to Keep Seeking and Serving
Such personal experiences have shown him the truth of what Alvin has learnt in his study of the Bible and his devotional time with the Lord.
Recently, he has been reading Journey Through Judges, a book-by-book devotional published by Our Daily Bread Ministries, which showed the presence and power of God’s hand in the lives of the Israelites.
“There are quite a few takeaways,” he says, “one of which is that faith is not obeying without fear; it is obeying despite fear, as evidenced in Gideon’s response to his own anxiety and fears.”
He cites Judges 6:27, in which Gideon, despite his fear of the repercussions, obeys God’s instructions to tear down the altars to other gods and builds an altar to the Lord.
Seeing how God will preserve His followers and empower them to do His will, has encouraged Alvin to know Him even more, obey His words, and be a blessing to people around him. And having personally experienced God’s transformation in his life, Alvin is determined to share the good news of salvation and transformation through Jesus with as many people as he can.
One verse that anchors his ministry is 2 Timothy 2:2: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”
Says Alvin: “I always believe in making life upon life impact, and this verse anchors myself (and the ministries I serve in) in meeting both the criteria of being a good discipler and a good disciple.”
He adds: “I cannot imagine life without God. I’ve come to realise that I simply cannot live without Him, literally. I’d be so lost without Him and His words, His wisdom, and His promises. I cannot give enough praise and glory to Him.”