With my bad habits and nasty character, I used to tell Christians who tried preaching to me that I was beyond redemption. However, God is a truly righteous and patient Father, and His love is beyond human comprehension. The fact that I am still alive today testifies to His unconditional love.
A SEARCH FOR MEANING
I come from a Taoist family. I am the youngest of six siblings. My father passed away when I was eleven years old and my mother died seven years later. For some reason, after her death, I became very interested in ancestral worship and the worship of the Goddess of Mercy. I kept my parents’ memorial tablets in my home, which, according to Chinese tradition, was an unusual practice for a daughter. Although I was only eighteen then, I zealously observed all the festivals, performed the rituals, and offered sacrifices. One of my brothers was even forced to eat the food offered to my late mother on the anniversary of her death, in order to oblige me!
Despite my religious fervor, life did not seem to hold much for me. I was despondent and cynical. I partied a lot to beat boredom, but I still did not have direction in life. I even bought a book of 1,000 insults so that I could use them at any given time on those whom I disliked. To many, including my family members, I seemed to be enjoying myself when in reality I felt empty inside. Before I turned twenty, I attempted suicide for the first time, but I failed. I survived, not with a sense of relief but of despair. For the next four and a half years, I drifted through life. But life continued to be meaningless, so I decided again to end it. This time, I made certain that it would be successful. After locating the tallest building near my home, I wrote my suicide note. Then, a family problem suddenly popped up that I had to attend to, and I was compelled to postpone the suicide plan.
LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
Unbeknownst to me, God had already started working in His mysterious ways. After the postponed suicide, I was introduced to a person who had been attending the True Jesus Church as an observer. We clicked. She sought my advice about going to London for further education. In turn, I invited her to a party with my friends. In the middle of the party, she asked to be excused, as she had promised her sister, a member of True Jesus Church, that she would attend the service on Friday evening. Reluctant to let her go, I agreed to attend the next service with her in exchange for her skipping that evening’s service. As it turned out, the next service was on the following day, a Saturday Sabbath service. On the following day, as was my daily morning routine, I placed joss sticks on the family altar and two other altars. I then left to meet my new acquaintance in the city center thinking that we would be visiting a church in the vicinity. I became agitated when I learned that we had to travel all the way to the east on what was a hot Saturday afternoon!
When I was told that the name of the church was “True Jesus Church,” I became even more infuriated. Although I was not a Christian, I thought the name smacked of arrogance. My acquaintance reacted quite calmly to my irritation, gently explaining that God had revealed this name to the early workers of the church. In hindsight, I think the Holy Spirit must have guided her response. Thereafter, we had a silent journey almost all the way to church.
The moment I took my first step into the chapel, I felt a pleasant light breeze, which calmed me. For the first time in my life, I experienced peace.
BREEZE OF PEACE, FOUNTAIN OF JOY
When we reached the church, just before we alighted from the vehicle, I told her, “This is my first time, but it will also be my last time coming to this church, so don’t ever ask me again!” But amazingly, the moment I took my first step into the chapel, I felt a pleasant light breeze, which calmed me. For the first time in my life, I experienced peace. I could not really understand the hymns or the Mandarin sermon even though the latter was translated into English. The whole atmosphere seemed foreign to me. And when they started to pray, I couldn’t help noticing the behavior of a lady in the pew in front of me. She prayed with such reverence yet in a very personal manner, as though she was talking to God face to face.
Suddenly, the desire to be a Christian welled up in me. I immediately chided myself and reminded myself of all my vices that would disqualify me from becoming a Christian. Then I heard a soothing male voice saying that I could be a Christian if I wanted to. I whirled round, trying to see who said that, but all those praying around me were females! As I continued to struggle with the impossibility of becoming a Christian, the same voice spoke again. He said that I could stop my vices gradually, and the first step was to stop smoking. I was really awed—I had not opened my handbag since I stepped into the church, so how could anyone have known that I smoked? I agreed immediately.
After the church service, I headed off to a pre-arranged dinner appointment with an ex-colleague. I told her about the peaceful feeling I had when I attended the True Jesus Church service. She encouraged me to continue going, but I replied that I could not until I stopped my ten year smoking habit. That night, as had been my routine, I wanted to have a cigarette before sleeping. To my horror, it tasted foul and bitter when I started to smoke! It seemed to be a sign from God reminding me of the promise I made in church to stop smoking. A great strength filled me and I threw the pack away. Miraculously, I have not smoked ever since. The next day, I called my acquaintance to tell her of my desire to go to church. She told me the next service was on Wednesday evening. I attended that and continued to attend more services. Each time, I experienced newfound joy from God. It was as if a fountain had been planted in my heart, with waters of joy springing up. It was such a wonderful feeling!
NEW LIFE AND MEANING
A few weeks after attending services in the True Jesus Church, one of my relatives asked me to take her to the temple that I used to frequent. She wanted to get a talisman from a medium for her daughter. Previously, whenever I invited her to join me in the temple for worship and chanting, she would refuse. Strangely, this time she was very keen. I refused and she got angry. While she continued to persuade me, something in me kept urging me to keep peace with her, so I finally agreed. When we met at the temple, I directed her to the medium’s room and told her that I would wait outside. I decided to walk around the temple and look at the idols that I used to worship. When I came to the biggest idol, a sudden enlightenment came upon me. These deities had eyes that could not see, mouths that could not speak, and ears that could not hear my cries for help. Even the clothes on them were made by human hands. Why had I been worshipping these idols?
The truth then dawned upon me—God was in the True Jesus Church. At that moment in the temple, I gave my heart fully to Jesus and I was wonderfully converted. I resolved to be baptized. By the mercy of God, I was baptized three months after studying the truth. After baptism, I felt that I had been given a new lease on life, a life that was now filled with hope and meaning. I have since enjoyed countless blessings from this God who called out to me and accepted me so lovingly. I strongly believe that He is living and is merciful to all. He waits to give all His salvation grace. Therefore, we should not hesitate to draw near to Him and enjoy His wonderful grace.
May all glory be given to His name. Amen.