Calling & Gifting

“Who Am I?”

David asked himself, “Who am I?” as he looked into the mirror. 

All the partying had led him down a path to becoming someone he did not recognize. His GPA was suffering since the drugs and drinking were causing him not to care about school.

He found himself surrounded by insecurities and fears. It felt like he didn’t have a voice; that he wasn’t heard and understood, yet there was a need to be accepted.

He knew that he had to align his heart and his actions. He knew that he desired God but his actions during the week were causing him inner turmoil…

I had the opportunity to interview David Tong and ask him about his testimony, what God is doing in his life and how he got there. 

Tell me a little about yourself and your childhood

I was born and raised by my parents in California. 

I did not grow up in a Christian household but we would go to the Catholic Church maybe twice a year, on Easter and Christmas. I have two older brothers.

Who is someone who influenced you in a positive way when you were younger?

My oldest brother went to a local Catholic Church in San Diego while going to UCSD. 

For a few years, he faithfully served troubled youth in the area by bringing them food. I remember wondering why he did that. 

We were never pushed into believing in God, or to even go to church; yet he was serving God at that level.

What are some of the things you struggled with while growing up?

One of the biggest things I struggled with growing up was having an orphan spirit. 

This caused me to feel like I didn’t have a voice and that I wasn’t heard or understood. In high school, I felt the need to be accepted by my peers and I was eventually hurt deeply by a close friend. 

This led to me smoking weed and not caring at all about school. In college it got worse and I turned to harder drugs like ecstasy and drinking.

What were some of the results of the path you were on?

This all led to deep insecurities and fears, which in turn led me down a path of becoming someone who I was not. I was not doing well in school and I was almost caught in a depressive state. 

My heart and actions were not aligned which caused a deep, internal turmoil. A lot of times I would look into the mirror and ask myself, “Who am I?”

Can you tell me about your first experience with Jesus?

It was actually on my first mission trip to the Philippines during my senior year of high school. 

I told God I wanted to know what it meant to follow Him and to have a relationship with him. It was on this trip that I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. During that trip we went to a really tough area to hand out supplies. Towards the end of us handing out the supplies, a boy approached us with his little sister. I only had one candy left, so I gave it to the boy. Without even thinking twice, he looked at his little sister and gave it to her. Then they just walked away. 

At the time, I couldn’t understand what took place. How could someone be so loving, protective and selfless? It was then that God showed me, this is how I am toward you.

What happened in your life after accepting Jesus?

After that experience, unfortunately, I went straight back into my old ways. I started my first year of college with zero discipleship and mentorship from the church I was attending. 

For three years I wandered in the wilderness, confused and without direction in my life.

Did you have a breaking point where you felt a change needed to happen?

My breaking point came my third year of college. 

The drugs were really messing with my mind, and I was not doing well in school. I was still going to church on Sundays, desiring God, but during the week my actions were taking me into the opposite direction. 

My heart and actions were not aligned, and it caused a deep internal turmoil.

What did you do?

I made a decision. 

I moved back with my Mom and I started taking my walk with God seriously. 

It was then that God opened a door for me. I joined the worship team and played the drums. When Friday nights would roll around, my friends would ask me to party with them but I had worship practice. 

I would tell them “maybe”, but that maybe never became a yes again. 

God delivered me from something that I felt completely stuck in and I am no longer tempted by drugs or alcohol.

How did the Rock School of Ministry help you on your new path?

My life trajectory completely changed after RSOM. 

At the time I was going to school to become a nurse, but I decided to attend one open house event. About one hour before going to the event I received an email saying I did not get accepted into nursing school. For some reason I had a lot of peace about it. 

Then at the open house event, I knew God was telling me, “This is where you need to be.” And the rest is history. I now know my life will be dedicated to pursuing only God’s will.

What are some of the things that God revealed to you through RSOM?

God revealed to me my calling, my purpose, and my gifting. 

Prior to RSOM I had no idea I loved to teach the word. I didn’t even have the confidence to get in front of people to speak! Through the intentional mentorship, teaching and retreats, I found my gift and love for teaching.

The biggest thing God revealed to me through RSOM was during my time of solitude. It was an intentional time during a retreat where we were placed in a spot with only our Bible, journal and pen. It was here that I brought every doubt possible that I had toward God and eventually ended with this question, “God are you real?”

It was in that moment, when I looked up and saw the hills and ocean in front of me, I felt Him say, “This did not all happen by chance.” God revealed Himself to me as the true Creator of all that exists. God showed up in the most loving way He could. 

This love has been crucial in my growth as a son of God. It has truly changed everything!

How did RSOM help equip you for your calling?

RSOM further equipped me into this calling through solid Biblical teachings. 

They also walk you through encountering true freedom in your relationship with God. Mix that with how deeply you encounter the Holy Spirit through this school and the transformation takes place.

What was your favorite part of RSOM?

My favorite part of RSOM was the community. 

I had never experienced anything like it until I entered the school. From day one, people were willing to pray for me and genuinely asked questions to get to know me. 

The people I met at the school have become lifelong friends.

What changes happened in your life after going to RSOM? What have you been doing since?

Without RSOM I would not be where I am at today. 

The amount of growth that took place while I was a student and while I was serving for about a year afterward, is unexplainable. Now God is opening up doors that I never would have imagined possible. I took a step of faith and obedience by going to the school.

Last year, I went to school at San Diego Christian College to get my multiple subject teaching credential. I currently serve with the Young Adults at East County.

What do you think it means to be a follower of Christ?

I believe that following Christ isn’t something you just profess, but it is something that changes every aspect of your life. There should be a turning away from the things that once pulled you in.

James 1:22 tells us to be doers of the word, not just hearers. So, your lifestyle should reflect one of holiness. I believe that Christians should be easily identifiable by their loved ones, friends and co-workers.

What would you say to someone who is struggling and doesn't know Christ?

I would say, “Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.” 

There is no other way that will satisfy, fulfill or bring true life and peace outside of Jesus. You have tried to figure things out in your own strength, your own will, your own understanding… but at the end of the day, you may be able to take a step or two forward, but you eventually become tired, weary and unable to continue forward. 

Jesus can make a way when there seems to be no way.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about going to RSOM but isn't sure?

I would say pray, fast, and seek wise counsel. 

This is a decision that must be made out of obedience, and partial obedience is not obedience at all. If the answer is “yes”, why postpone your blessing? 

I have heard before that the “closer you get to God the more obedience is required.” Trust God, He will never call you to something that He isn’t ready to provide for.

Click here to read more content written by Joanna McMillan.

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