Richard Ting's mother threatened to commit suicide if he joined the staff of Cru. She had high hopes for her eldest son, born and raised in Singapore. But missionary work did not fit her picture of success. Richard prayed, "God, I want to obey you, so I commit my mother into your hands."
Thankfully, his mother did not carry out her threat after Richard joined the Singapore team, but neither of his parents spoke to him for six months. "When I came home," remembers Richard, "they acted as if I didn't exist."
Eventually, his parents began talking to him again, and five years later, Richard's father accepted Christ just before he died. But Richard's mother was unwilling to commit her life to Christ.
The years passed as Richard worked with Cru in Singapore.
One main island and many smaller islands make up this city-state located halfway between China and Australia. Singapore is three times bigger than Washington, D.C., with a population almost eight times greater. A global hub for communications and trade, Singapore prides itself on a clean environment and stable economy.
Most of Richard's time was spent there, but for three years, he lived in Auckland, New Zealand.
He directed the Asian student ministry at Auckland University while also serving as the pastor of a Chinese church.
When he thought about returning to his home country, Richard wanted to help the missionaries that Singapore sent to other nations. He saw them becoming discouraged and "burnt out."
During Richard's last year in New Zealand, Roland Tan, director of Cru in Singapore, invited him to come home to direct the missions and member-care ministry. Richard and his team helped all of Singapore's missionaries, both domestic and international, to be fulfilled in their roles.
"He has passion, vision and good people skills," says Roland. "He also has discipline from his [past] experience as a soldier and a national rugby player."
During Richard's training as a soldier, his roommate was a young Christian. Their conversations brought Richard back to when he had first heard about Jesus from the storybooks his sisters would bring home from missionary school. He had accepted Christ during a youth-group meeting, but then his mother forbade him to go to church.
"So I stopped going," says Richard. "But I remember telling God that one day I would come back to Him. I don't know why I prayed that, but I remember it."
Because of his roommate at the armed-forces training, Richard did recommit his life to Christ, and later he joined the staff of Cru.
But even after talking to his mother about Jesus for more than 20 years, she still refused to accept Christ.
Last year, she had to be hospitalized, and Richard feared that she would not get better. He tried to tell her again about Jesus, but she wouldn't listen.
Richard continued to pray, "God, I have done all I can, and I leave my mom's salvation in your hands."
One day when Richard was visiting, his mother took his hand and said, "I want to be a Christian, and I want you to baptize me."
Although her health deteriorated, she remained solid in her faith until her death two weeks later.
"I had prayed and waited for this moment for more than 20 years," says Richard. "The Lord is faithful."