By Nazarii Baytler —
As multiracial dyslexic at 11 years old, Choby Siau was an easy target for bullying at his new school in New Zealand.
“Because of that, I started to fight. I started to fight to defend” my brother and me, Choby narrates in the video he made documenting his salvation.
Choby grew up in a church, but he never had a personal relationship with God. He felt hurt by the church.
“I knew He was real, but I just really thought, ‘How can God let abuse happen to me and my brother?’ I had a distrust of God, and I blamed God for what I went through,” Choby continues.
At 13 years old, Choby and his family left to Penang, Malaysia, where he joined a local Triad, a Chinese mafia.
“My goal was to raise in the ranks,” Choby says. “I wanted to become a boss in the Triad.”
Choby got kicked out of school in the 8th grade.
“Choby, because you’re out (of school), I’m going to teach you about the ways of the Chinese Triad,’” Choby’s boss told him.
Choby was hooked for life.
Choby started as a fighter. Anytime there was a problem for the Triad in Penang, he was called upon to settle scores.
At 17, he and his family moved to America, far away from his girlfriend. Through his connections in the Triad, he learned she was cheating on him.
“Listen,” he threatened his girlfriend over the phone, “I want you to tell that guy that I have a present coming for him.”
But before he could board the plane, his mom had a very serious talk with him.
“Son, I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again,” she told him ominously.
“God spoke to her that I was gonna die in Malaysia,” Choby explains.
A praying mother was contending for the soul of her son.
On the plane to Malaysia, Choby started feel anxiety. He never liked planes because he had no control over the plane. Control was something he thrived on.
He began to thumb through a small Bible his friend had given him.
“In three days, I will heal your wounds,” he saw in the Bible. The message “popped out” at him. It wasn’t any particular scripture. Even though he was dyslexic, he could make out enough to let God talk to him.
Once in Malaysia, Choby wavered between seeking God or getting a machete to go after the guy cheating with his girlfriend.
“I was so angry,” he says.
On the third day, Choby woke up and his rage and jealousy were gone. There was peace inside him that he couldn’t understand.
He decided that God had healed him.
He continued to hang out with his old friends in the gang. He didn’t want to fight anymore, but his friends were constantly in skirmishes with rivals.
Going to meet with his boss, Choby was confronted by rivals who emerged out of an elevator.
“I felt that death was right there,” Choby recalls. “I felt like this was the moment I was going to die.”
If he died right there as a result of the imminent conflict, he knew he would go to hell.
The enemy boss pulled out a machete and began shouting, trying to get Choby and his allies out into the parking lot. They wanted to kidnap and kill them.
Choby prayed earnestly in his heart for Jesus to have mercy on him and save.
Suddenly, more of his friends showed up, giving his group time to run away.
“I remember thinking that night to myself, ‘Man, this was totally a God thing,’” he says.
Still, he hadn’t repented of his sins or understood his need to fully turn to Christ and leave behind the things of the world.
So the next day, he was at a club consuming the drug Ecstasy.
Again, he felt a dark premonition.
“I remember exiting the club, and I could feel the coldness of death,” Choby says.
This time, he panicked. He thought of dying and standing before God at judgement day.
Once again, he looked at the sky and asked Jesus for help. Life went back into his body, and he felt sober.
Weeks later, he went riding one day with his right-hand man from the Triad.
“I heard a voice that told me to put on my seatbelt, which I usually didn’t put on.” Choby recalls. The Triad lived recklessly, so taking precautions — such as wearing a seatbelt — was frowned on.
“Choby, you don’t trust my driving?,” his buddy asked him, noticing him slide the buckle into the click. “Why are you putting your seatbelt on?”. Choby told him to put on his seatbelt as well, and he obliged.
As they were driving heedlessly, trying to keep pace with a faster car full of other buddies, his car started to slide out of control.
“It went at a ninety-degree angle. It cut off the road, and jumped off the sidewalk,” Choby says.
Choby’s life flashed before his eyes. He called out to Jesus and then blacked out.
“I woke up, and the whole windshield was smashed. My head was hanging to the side because a pole that came through the windshield that cut some of my forehead,” Choby narrates.
When he came to consciousness, he noticed that his friend got worse injuries and started to experience a seizure.
“I remember him laying on my lap, and he tells me, ‘Choby, please tell my family I love them,” Choby says.
Choby asked God for what to do.”‘Pray for him,” was all he heard.
Choby prayed for his friend. They went to the hospital, and that friend got brain surgery. He survived.
“I thought about God, and I knew at that moment that I wanted salvation. At this point, God’s reality became existing to me. I said, ‘God, I want to know more about you,’” Choby continues.
Choby had finally found the peace of God and salvation. He flew back to America. He couldn’t read the Bible, but when he opened it, he felt a heat come over his head.
“God, I don’t know how to read. I pray that you will use your word to bring healing to my mind,” he prayed.
“Every day, I would open the Bible, and I started to read.”
God broke the drugs in his life, and healed Choby’s mind. Six months later, he quit the mafia, and shared about Jesus to his boss and his gang.
“Never neglect the name of Jesus,” he says now. “Never neglect or doubt that He is right there with you, even if you’ve been through bad circumstances. Ask Him to teach you the truth and show Himself to be reality. If you truly believe that in your heart, salvation, purpose, truth, and healing will come into your life.”
Nazarii Baytler studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica, CA.