A few times we almost argued. Once, I think, we did. But he remained stoic mostly, an unimpressionable picture of wisdom. I adored his principled ways, his indifference to grand reasoning.

God, if my going to Nepal is your will, I prayed, if you are the God who moves mountains, will you move my father’s heart?

As news of political unrest in Nepal continued to bubble, I convinced myself that God, not me, would have to persuade my parents to let me go.

One evening, my father’s frown deepening into valleyed furrows, he said, “One of my staff told me a Christian Singaporean missionary serving in Nepal is returning to Singapore soon for a break. She wants to meet us and says she’s willing to look out for you while you’re there…”

His voice trailed off in the direction of his gaze as if he himself were shocked at how the impossible odds were falling in my favour.

My eyes widened. Was this his yes? Hope glimmered.

Two weeks later, my father and I met with the missionary over lunch. Moved by her story of radical dedication to rescuing women from the red-light districts of Nepal through her soap-making enterprise, his heart softened. Sending me to Nepal no longer seeming so farfetched to him, and he agreed to let me go.

Believe God for a miracle right where you are

As I grew older and recounted this story to people, I marvelled at the incredulity of it all.

What were the chances that my father, who owned just a tiny start-up company with merely five staff members, supervised one who knew of a missionary in Nepal, who in turn was soon returning to Singapore for a break, and wanted to meet with us and was willing to look out for me if I helped at that children’s home?

That series of divine events culminated in my ultra-conservative — and again, pre-Christian — parents, who had never let me stay out later than ten at night (except once for prom!), saying yes.

Truly, this was miraculous.

17-year old Wai Jia and the children at the Cambodian orphanage, where Wai Jia was first gifted a kite made from a trash bag by a boy who had the same dreams as her to be a medical doctor.

As a new Christian, I began to learn the meaning of faith, how by simply holding on to what God has deposited in our hearts, we can call forth into reality what may be unseen.

Hebrews 11:3 says, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

When my father initially said no, I held on. And all I’d prayed was, God, if my going to Nepal is your will, will you move my father’s heart?

Faith makes room for what you pray for because you believe God will make it happen.

Saying yes to God’s promises amid the protests of those who most love you might not be easy, but it is simple. Faith makes room for what you pray for because you believe God will make it happen. It requires stoicism under pressure and crises, exhibiting calm.

Faith is a persistent holding on to His promises. It’s the quiet persistence of believing in what has not yet come to be. Yet despite its all-out, high-stakes commitment to believing, faith accepts whatever outcome God decides is best. That’s what faith is!

Wai Jia, on the second visit to Nepal to serve at the girls’ home, after she won her parents’ support.

Over the last decade, I’ve met many young people who had a desire — a dream — to help the poor overseas, but they knew their parents would flip if they did anything that risky.

I’ve met women with a clear call of God on their lives who said their husbands would most certainly object. I’ve met men with dreams from God who said their wives would never agree to their pursuing them. People have said their children would retaliate or rebel.

It would be impossible to follow their dreams, they said.

Wai Jia and her husband, Cliff, visiting the girls again several years later, together with her picture book Kitesong which raised funds to build a permanent home for them.

My challenge to that perspective is this: if you believe your heavenly Father has called you to embark on a risk-filled venture, can’t you also believe He can move the hearts of the people around you as you submit to His highest call?

If you initially hear no from your earthly parents or loving spouses or children, will you conveniently accept it under the guise of honouring their wishes?

Or will you hold on to that dream, pressing in through prayer, asking God to change hearts and let His will be done? And if your loved ones maintain their answer is no, will you trust God to provide enough grace and guide you into the fullness of His will nonetheless?

If there’s one place to start believing God for a miracle, it’s home — right where you are. So even when you hear no from family and loved ones, hold on. Persist in prayer. Believe in miracles. And dream brave.

Adapted from Dream Brave by Wai Jia Tam, provided by Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Copyright 2024. Used with permission.

If you enjoyed this first chapter of Wai Jia’s new book Dream Brave, you can order it here and visit her website. Otherwise, come down and purchase a signed copy from the author on her birthday on 24 February 330-430pm at Oaks Coffee Co (223 Upper Thomson Rd, Singapore 574355) and sow into her ministry Kitedreams.