Journeying With Uncle Tee
“I’m so happy now because my mother asked to meet me! I banked in money to her and for the first time, she accepts it.”
Tee* is now in his 60s, an ex-client of Rumah Petros, Malaysian CARE’s halfway home for men. Since he first smoked heroin at the age of 17, the addiction had led him through the cycle of being arrested and imprisoned, seeking recovery in Christian drug rehabilitation centres, and relapsing into drug addiction again. He was stuck in a life of hopelessness, self-dejection and poverty. His greatest pain was to experience his own mother avoiding him.
I first met Tee in Rumah Petros about five years ago. In recent years, I took up the privilege of journeying with him as a caseworker. Despite his struggle with drug addiction, Tee is a man of discipline, diligence and dedication. He wakes up early in the morning, spends time reading the Bible and praying. He proceeds to occupy his time with work for the rest of the day. He is skilled in electrical, maintenance, welding and also cooking.
After his release from prison in 2017, Tee resolved to leave the old lifestyle of drug addiction and to seriously be obedient to God—by keeping himself near to God in personal devotion, including constant fellowship and accountability with a few reliable Christians, and engaging himself with a church. There were often times of distress, disappointment and being on the brink of giving up. Yet, Tee learnt to cope by taking time off for himself to seek the Lord and to seek advice from fellow Christians.
Tee constantly expresses his gratitude to God. While men his age are retiring, he was offered a full-time salaried job as a maintenance worker for a welfare home. Healthwise, he is fit and agile. He now lives independently in a rented room. With the money he saved, he bought a pre-owned car which he uses for work and he volunteers to fetch the men from Rumah Petros to church. One day Tee called me to say, “I’m so happy now because my mother asked to meet me! I banked in money to her and for the first time, she accepts it.” Now, Tee deeply values the opportunities, relationships and freedom which he has found in Christ.
*Name has been altered to protect identity.
by Frederick Foo
Frederick leads the Service Development team and journeys alongside people living with HIV, people recovering from substance abuse, and men from prison.