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How I Became a Christian

日本語
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From as far back as I can remember Mum and Dad used to take my brother, my sister and I to Sunday School and church every Sunday. There we learnt a lot about the Bible and Jesus. However the church itself had no spiritual life - it had many traditions and formalities but no vibrancy.

When I was about 13 I lost all interest in spiritual things. I stopped attending church and started to fill my life with other things. This state of affairs continued until 1988 when I turned 18. That year was a big year for my family since it was then that we immigrated to Australia. Since I was in the final year of high school it was decided that my mother, brother and sister would go to Australia first and then my father and I would follow them 6 months later. I'll never forget the feeling of isolation and loneliness that swept over me after my mother, brother and sister had left for Australia.

About 2 months later, my best friend from high school, Mark, whom I had known for 6 years and who lived in the house across the street from us, invited me and another good friend from school (also called Simon!) to visit his church. Because of my loneliness I agreed to go with them, but I only intended to go once - at that stage I had no intention of ever returning.

God had other plans, however. The message I heard from the Bible that night changed my whole perspective on life. The Pastor preached on the expert in the law's question in Luke 10:25, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?” The Pastor said that it didn't matter how busy we were but that if we didn't know Jesus then we were spiritually dead. That statement was like an arrow to my heart. I had tried to fill my life with many things. I got up early every morning to practice the violin. I took extra subjects at school and consistently got good grades. When I got home from school I would do my homework and practice the piano. I had many interests including astronomy, listening to classical music and opera, attending plays, going hiking and taking photos. But that evening I realised that life without God was just a meaningless existence culminating in death.

The Pastor went on to explain that God offers everyone the gift of eternal life. We can receive it by believing in his Son, Jesus Christ, who had led a perfect life, but had died an agonising death on a cross to placate God's anger against us for all our sin.

From that point I started going to my friend's church every Sunday. I became increasingly conscious of my need of God's grace. I knew for certain that if I were to die at that point then I would go to hell and deservedly so. I became conscious of life's brevity and emptiness apart from Jesus. One verse which particularly spoke to me was 1 Peter 1:24

 "All men are like grass,
  and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
 the grass withers and the flowers fall,
 but the word of the Lord stands for ever."

I also realised that I was powerless to remedy this situation. All I could do was to cry out to God to save me. This I did for about 4 months but with no apparent effect. At times I was tempted to despair and think that God would never answer my prayers.

Then on the night of Friday, 17th June 1988 something happened. That evening I went to a Gospel rally with my friend. Afterwards we went to a birthday party of someone from the church. At the end of the party I can remember feeling very tired (I was in the middle of my final exams and had just had a gruelling exam that day). All I wanted to do was go home and crawl into bed.

Once again God had other plans! As we were driving home Mark turned to me and said, "Why are you holding back?". I can't describe the effect that those 5 simple words had on me. I remember opening my mouth to reply. I wanted to explain that I wasn't holding back, that I was seeking after God but that he wasn't answering my prayers. But something stopped me and instead I closed my mouth without saying anything.

From that point on I knew I just had to go to God and ask for his forgiveness. And that's exactly what I did. As soon as I got home I went straight to my bedroom and asked God to forgive me and to come into my life. I trusted that God would accept Jesus' death as sufficient payment for all my sin. At that time I was very conscious of God's presence. That evening I went to bed with the assurance that all my sins were forgiven and that I had peace with God.

That was about 18 years ago. Since then many things have happened to me but throughout it all God has protected me and kept me in his love. I know that whatever happens God will ultimately bring me to be with him in heaven forever.

 

 

 

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