It felt like I had come home after many years
Testimony By Yohan in Year 2010 – Singapore
My name is Yohan Tarun from Indonesia. I came to believe in Christ when I was about seven years old and was baptized into the True Jesus Church (TJC) in 1998 during my Senior High School. I knew TJC from Canaan School which is owned by the church in Indonesia. I went to this school when I was a primary five student and continued all the way until I graduated from senior high school.
I started attending the church services in Junior High School. One of my classmates who was a member of the church invited me to join him at the Sunday school service. I did not promise him but said that I would give it a thought. Then during that week, my religious class teacher who was also a member of the church promised to give us bonus mark for his subject if we were to attend the Sunday school service. The incentive was enough to motivate me to accept my classmate’s invitation.
From that point onward, I started attending the Sunday school services. However, I did not know that the main service was on Saturday which is the Sabbath Day. Neither did I ask questions about it. The fact is I did not care much.
Two years later after I graduated from the Senior High School I wanted to continue my education at a better school in Jakarta. I prayed to God with the condition that if I got into the school of my choice I would receive baptism in TJC. So I applied to enroll into that school. When the principal saw my grades, he told me that he did not think I would be eligible to enroll into the school as my grades were low. I was disappointed and thought perhaps God did not want me to be baptised into the TJC.
Amazingly, I remembered one of the statements that the preacher made during one of the Sunday school sessions. He said that God always has a plan for us. My heart felt comforted a little. In my subsequent prayers, I told God that I was willing to be baptized even if I would not be accepted into the school of my choice for I believed He has a better plan for me.
Hence, I enrolled into Canaan School again to continue my higher education. At the same time, I commenced my search for the words of God and attended doctrinal lessons with a preacher. Eventually a few months later, I was baptized. There was joy in my heart as I knew my sins were cleansed by the blood of Jesus. The grace of God continued to pour onto me and three months after baptism, I received the Holy Spirit during the Intermediate Youth Retreat.
During the senior high school I used to play basketball almost everyday after class and even during Sabbath day while waiting for the afternoon service to commence. There were many times when I either sacrificed Sabbath services so as to finish a game or would be late for service.
Initially, I felt guilty for not obeying God’s commandment to observe the Sabbath Day. However I would comfort myself that I would attend the following week. This habit went on till I graduated and eventually, my conscience was numb and I did not feel guilty anymore. My faith took a tumble.
During the 4 ½ years of my university education I was caught up with my studies and school activities and I befriended the wrong company of friends. I was influenced by their worldly values of life. Attending church services became a routine merely to ease my conscience a little. The words of God have no impact on me.
It was at this time when my family faced a huge crisis. My father lost all of his money to gambling. I thought of quitting my studies to find a job to help the family. But my mother refused to let me quit. I realized I had lost my faith, nevertheless I continue to live life as it was and tried to find comfort by keeping myself busy all the time. I was lucky to find a job as a part-time tutor.
In 2006 I graduated with a degree. My brother invited me to join him in Melbourne. At first I was reluctant so as not to burden him. He had a good life there and by having me would be a hassle to him. As it was, our father had already troubled him a lot with his gambling problem. However, he kept insisting that I should join him and managed to convince me.
When I arrived in Melbourne, it felt like a breath of fresh air. Being in a new place was very hard for me as I was used to having a lot of friends. Although there were my brother and cousin, I did not have a very close relationship with them. I felt very lonely. Still I did not feel the need for God in my life.
To ease the financial burden on my brother, I found a part-time job in a restaurant. Though it required me to work weekends, I accepted it as I need the money for my living expenses. All this while, keeping Sabbath was at the back of my mind. But I justify that my situation did not allow me to observe the Sabbath and that I would observe Sabbath fully once I had a stable life. Of course that day never came. For the next 2 ½ years, I did not attend any Sabbath service.
After graduating from university, I continued to work in the restaurant on night shifts. These working hours really affected my daily life. My days were turned to night and vice versa. Most of the nights after work, I would spend a few more hours at the workplace chatting with colleagues. They started persuading me to drink with them. Initially I resisted, but gave in soon. I did not consider it as anything against God’s commandment.
The promise I made to myself to observe Sabbath kept gnawing at me. I finally requested my manager not to put me on the roster on Saturday afternoons and told him I needed to attend church services. Amazingly, he immediately granted my request.
Finally, I returned to church on Saturday afternoons to keep the Sabbath. But still I could not feel God or anything special about Sabbath. The same old things are being preached over and over again. I ended up sleeping during services. The only consolation was that I was in church keeping the Sabbath.
After searching for a job in Melbourne for a few months with no success, I decided to return to Indonesia. Back home, I sent job applications to various countries and I received a reply for an interview from Singapore. When I came to Singapore, I had the same feeling as I experienced in Melbourne – the need to adjust myself. Except this time the feeling was a little different which I could not explain. It was like I knew I had made many mistakes in Melbourne and this was a fresh start.
I searched for a TJC in Singapore and went to the Adam Road church. It was a Friday night service. When I stepped into the church hall I felt like I had come home after many years. I felt God has given me a second chance to be His child again. When I listened to the sermon, the teachings were like a double-edged sword piercing my heart.
In my prayer, I asked God for His forgiveness and told Him I would do my best to serve Him. Thanks to the mercy and grace of God since my return to church, I could keep awake through all the services. The most important thing is I always look forward to Sabbath and listening to His words.
I now realized that God has been merciful to me all along and once again given me the chance to renew my faith and relationship with Him. I prayed that God will give me the strength to continue to attend services and serve Him in whatever ways I can.
May all glory be given unto God.