Jesus Changed Me
~ Sis Alicia Tan – Singapore
In the name of Lord Jesus Christ, I bear testimony on how I come to believe in Jesus.
First Encounter with Christianity
I was introduced to Christianity when I was still studying in NUS. Back then, NUS has a rule that if an undergraduate gets a CAP (Cumulative Average Point) of less than 2 over three consecutive semesters, he/she may be refused re-admission to his course of study. In my year 2, I have already received my 2nd warning letter of a CAP less than 2 points. This meant that if I were to receive my 3rd warning letter in the next semester, I would be out of NUS. Furthermore, in the coming semester, I knew I had to retake a programming module that I had already failed once. This greatly increased my chances of being kicked out of NUS. Since I was the so-called first undergraduate in the Tan family, my parents and siblings had great expectations of me. They were really proud of me and I really could not imagine their reactions if they knew I am at risked of being expelled from NUS. My parents were at their retirement age and they were expecting me to take care of them after my graduation. It was even more stressful for me when all my relatives were expecting my graduation in a year’s time. I knew my parents would lose their pride if they were to tell their relatives that I would not be graduating. I kept my predicament from my family members as it would only add to their worries. Gradually, I began to lose confidence and got depressed.
Change for the Worse
I started to change. I detested going home. Home was just like a ‘hotel’ to me then. Everyday, I would get out of the house as early as I could. After lessons, if it were still early, I would call up my friends to meet up with them. If none of my friends were free, I would hang out at shopping malls by myself. At times when the depression within me was so great, I could wake up calling my friend and cry over the phone. Deep in my heart, I felt the emptiness and I knew something was not right about me. I flared up easily and got into quarrels with my family. At times when I was too tired to roam, I would go home and shut myself in the room. When my family tried to talk to me, I would scream at them, slammed the door and asked them to go away. This continued on for quite some time and my family was very concerned. My brother even suggested bringing me to the temple medium to check if I was possessed. Day after day, I woke up in tears, got out of the house depressed and returned home in anger. I tried talking to a friend who was a charismatic Christian. I knew he attended his church services regularly and his life seemed to be peaceful. He often had fellowship with his church friends and seemed like a nice guy with many friends around him. One day he told me during his prayer the previous night, he was touched and cried. He said it was between him and God and that I would not understand even if he were to tell me. All these triggered the curiosity in me about what Christianity was all about. There was an evening when I talked to him over dinner and he asked me if I ever thought of my soul after death. My heart was hardened then and I told him I did not even have enough time for my present life, let alone to worry about the life after. Since then, he stopped talking to me about Christianity.
The “Enemy” Religion
I grew up in a Buddhist family and had never come into contact with Christianity before. All I knew was to follow my family’s religion and Christians are deemed as our ‘enemies’. I used to find Christians hypocritical because I have never believed there were nice people around. Be it on streets or in NUS, I would avoid and be rude to Christians who were preaching.
I could not exactly remember when the thought of seeking God came into my mind. Perhaps it was due to my friend’s influence that aroused my curiosity in Christianity or maybe I felt that nothing tangible could help me now except for some supernatural being. Now the problem was to find the right person to help me seek God. Due to my pride, I did not want to find my charismatic Christian friend. In fact, I did not want any of my NUS friends to know as I was afraid to be laughed at. Therefore, Esther, being my course mate, was out of the list too. I searched for churches on the websites and emailed them. However, all the emails bounced back! My ex-colleague invited me to her church in Novena on many occasions. I rejected her since I wanted to go to a Christian Church. Much as she even offered to give me some of the cards with Mother Mary on them, I refused to accept. I just could not believe I could not find the right church to know more about Christianity. I asked my other secondary school friend who was also a Christian but she did not seem keen to bring me to her church.
The Right “Leads” to God
One night on my way home after a long day of roaming and as I waited for the MRT train to arrive, my thoughts could not stop searching for the right person to help me. Suddenly, I remembered my secondary school friend who was also a devout Christian. In my memory, my best friend and I used to avoid her because she would often invite my friend to her church. Even though she never invited me to go, I still tried my best to avoid her. I remembered though she would go to church very frequently but amazingly, her results were still very good! Therefore, I decided to contact Hui Ling. But then again, I did not have her phone number. It was only after a chain series of contacts that I got her number. I messaged her to ask her if she could help me find out more about Christianity. I remembered it was a Friday night then and she took some 20 minutes to reply. Finally she said that she would be most willing to help and coincidently there would be an evangelistic service the next day which is Saturday. I was glad that I finally found a church and someone to help me.
The next day, I told my family I would be going to church and I vividly remembered they were quite supportive. Perhaps they too hoped that some religion or God would help me. Hui Ling, Andrian, Enhao and Sizhen met me for dinner before bringing me to church. They seemed quite nice people to me.
Every thing went on well that night until the prayer. Prior to the service, Huiling briefed me how the prayers would be like. Nevertheless, I could not imagine the real thing. Instead of praying for what I needed most, I prayed for the prayer to stop immediately. I thank the Lord that initial scare did not put me off church forever. I returned on the following Sunday for the youth service. Then, I found out that Esther was also in the same church! God helped me to overcome my fears in the prayers and subsequently, I was able to concentrate on praying.
Jesus Changed Me
After a year of bible studies, God finally led me to accept baptism on December 15, 2002. My family noticed a subtle change in me too. I used to be a very hot-tempered and quarrelsome girl, full of pride too. I scolded those whom I think were wrong, regardless of whom they were. None of my relatives liked me. That was why I did not want to let them know the problems with my studies. However, as time went by, they saw that I was calmer and be able to control my emotions better. I learnt to empathize with my parents and started to respect them. I learnt to love those who hate me, though it was really difficult. My dad once said that my belief in Jesus had softened my heart. Even till now, there are still times where there’s no peace in the family, but I am slowly learning to entrust these problems to God and not by throwing tantrum and trying to solve them myself.
John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you”
Before knowing Christ, I used to feel peaceful whenever I was in the Buddhist temple. A Christian friend commented that I should pursue the peace which I could carry in my heart wherever I go. After my baptism, I knew what he meant. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27). God has put in me the peace and joy that I once felt was temporal.
I feel very blessed to be in the true church .
All glories be given to God.