Friends, if you are wondering how real God is, if He loves you despite your mistakes, if He cares about your job, then I hope this true story of how the Kid’s Illustrated Bible Reading project come into being will help you see God’s unfailing love for us.
A Calling from God in 2003
In 2003, when my son was beginning to be able to read, everyday, I tried to read the bible with him because I knew that the best thing to give to my child is to let him taste the reality of God’s words in his life. However, even the children bible contains few pictures. Sometimes, I find it difficult to focus a child’s attention on the bible. Then I began to think if anyone would do up an illustrated picture bible for kids.
During that period of my life, I struggled with many problems –in laws, career, family, finance, parenting but God will always comfort me through His words. I felt then that there must be many people facing similar problems as me and if only they can be blessed by God’s words too. What then would be the best way to reach out to these parents? A kids illustrated bible for parents to read with their kids!
But it seems an impossible task!
So I embarked on a journey to draw to illustrate the bible. It took me about a week to do up just one chapter of the entire account of Joseph in the book of Genesis. See the slides below this paragraph. That was my first booklet and what I had in mind. It was a laborious task but I thought I will at least be able to do up some 52 booklets in a year. When I showed the first booklet to my bible study group, their reply was ‘even if you take a whole life time to draw, you may not be able to finish the entire bible’. That’s true. So I tried to search for drawing software, however, after a while, I was too lazy to carry on. I began to doubt and felt that a Kids Illustrated Bible may be an unrealistic idea. Some times I felt strongly that it was a calling from God but I gave the excuse that I will do it someday. However, God’s unfailing love was ever patient with me despite my procrastination and doubt. He never rejects me and get someone else to do this job. He had His perfect timing.
My First Drawing on Joseph's Dreams
Swipe the pictures to view the other pages.
God’s perfect timing
Look at the timing : In 2003, social media, smartphones and tablets were not in existence. If you look at the slides above, when I first conceived the idea to have an Illustrated Bible to reach out to people in need, I can only imagine having some commentary page at the end of each story booklet. I never imagine there can one day exists powerful technologies such as social media and interactive digital books on mobile devices that can allow not just me sharing my experiences but everyone to share their experiences!
2004-2012 : God places me in places where I can learn
While the technologies were evolving, from 2004 to 2012, I was working in technology companies who uses online marketing to market their products. I was a sales and marketing personnel and was never tech savvy though. However working in these companies allow me to at least know some of the technical jargons, knew that such digital technologies existed and got acquainted with some tech savvy colleagues who later helped me on my learning path.
God’s unfailing love – focused me from my calamities to my calling
During this period many things also happened in my personal life. I suffered betrayal and a broken marriage. I had to walk the difficult path of a single parent. I was retrenched and although I found another high position job, I was later accused of things I did not do. I suffered public humiliation and were put under investigations by the authorities. All my career hopes were smashed. There was no way I could find a job in my industry. In that darkest moment of my life, God brought to my mind the story of Abram and how he was told by Pharaoh to leave Egypt. What could be the feeling of Abram thousands of years ago must be similar to what I was feeling at that moment when I had to leave my job and industry. The bible said Abram “called on the name of the LORD” (Genesis 13:4). God never reprimand Abram for the lies he told. Instead, God’s unfailing love reminded Abram of His promises.
After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants[a] as a permanent possession. And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted! Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.” So Abram moved his camp to Hebron and settled near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. There he built another altar to the Lord.
Genesis 13:14-18 New Living Translation (NLT)
So I called on the name of the LORD. and His unfailing love comforted me. Then He reminded me of the Kids’ Illustrated Bible project!
God turned my mistakes to miracles
In 2013, without a job, time was all I have. I started off buying drawing tools. However, drawing materials were rather costly these days, So I asked my tech savvy friends about drawing software and was advised to buy an electronic pen so I could use Adobe software to draw. However, I bought a wrong one. I bought a pen that works only on iPad and Adobe software works on Desktop. I still keep the pen as a reminder that nothing is a mistake when we have God.
The iPad pen which I bought by mistake.
Fortunately I had bought an iPad under some staff discount scheme while in my previous job. Miraculously this iPad was not confiscated by the authorities when they raided my office. God has hidden the iPad from their sight! Once, I dropped the iPad and the display colour appeared to ‘run’ and the device was no longer readable. Miraculously, on the following day, everything was normal on its own! I knew then that God’s presence was with me and the iPad and pen was the enabling tools. Though I had the iPad for a year, I never really know how to use it. To use the pen, I searched the App stores for software and I discovered drawing Apps available in the App stores that cost only $4.95. Compare that to Adobe software that cost hundreds at that time! Swipe on the images below and see the drawings done using iPad Apps (Brushes and Sketches).
Then I discovered that the easiest way to make an ebook was to use Apple iBook Author application. With iBooks, you can actually flip the pages. I fell in love with the flipping effect and got really passionate about ebooks. I embed a simulated version of flipping books here so you can understand the fun I had then with the interactivity.
God worked through my desires to give me a new way to make a living
Through all my research in ebooks, I began to develop a passion for digital media and learn how to convert PDF files to ePub (an ebook file format) and upload these ebooks to Amazon for selling. So I decided to approach Publishers and sell them the service of converting their printed books to ebooks. However, as most publishers were not sure if the ebooks business is the way forward, they requested that I enhanced their e-commerce websites instead. That started my journey in the digital media business and I started my company “Passion Digital (S) Pte Ltd”. So you see, how God worked in me through my passion as the scriptures stated in Philippians 2:13.
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Philippians 2:13 New Living Translation (NLT)
God turned difficulties to desires
As I knew little about website technologies, I started off sub-contracting the development to developers instead. Unfortunately, I met many very dishonest developers who quoted exorbitantly high or quote low but kept adding on to the development cost for every minor change required. This made it very difficult for me to manage my clients’ expectations and at times my cost exceeded the price I quoted to my clients. However, with every difficulty I encountered, God has a purpose. Through interactions with the developers and through all the problems, I learned about the existence of content management systems and the many applications available at very low cost. It was like God had a learning curriculum planned for me. Everyday, I woke up with a question “how to do…”, then I searched the web, tried it and got it! My desires and passion for digital knowledge grew immensely and before long, I was into websites animation, video creation, interactive ebooks, mobile apps, learning management systems and social media. It was miracles everyday! I never imagine I could learn all these to the point of being able to sell them as services to business clients. Through this journey, I really experienced what King David meant when he said God trained him for battle.
He trains my hands for battle;
he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
Psalm 18:34 New Living Translation (NLT)
While I was learning all these.. God worked on many more stuff…
God does the job, not me
Knowing how to build websites and ebooks are just perhaps 2% of the total work needed to get this project done up. Here’s what we need and see what God has provided:
God’s Purpose and Provision
When God calls us to do something, He will also provide all the resources. He own the entire schedule. He is the CEO. He assigns the jobs to respective people and He has the entire project timeline in His hands. At the appointed time, He will make it happen
Friends, I thank God that I have been chosen to fully experience Romans 4:21 that God has the power to do what He promised.
being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
Romans 4:21 New International Version (NIV)
Above all, I thank God that I get to experience God’s unfailing love.
Friends, it is my prayer that you too will experience God’s unfailing love in your life.