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 (Manna 18)
I Saw Him
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My ambition has always been to be a music artiste. I single-mindedly pursued this goal until I felt I was sufficiently qualified to join the fraternity of artistes I have longed to be part of. Yet at the age of twenty, having embarked upon my chosen course in life, I began to experience the stirrings of dissatisfaction. I began to think that perhaps there was something beyond the mundane - a meaning to my existence. I recalled the past years of good fortune and health. Surely there had to be a source. But who or what was it? Was it the power of nature? Or the mysterious source of the universe? Was it a philosophy of life? Or the power of man's mind? I searched for this source, and eventually came to the knowledge that this source is the one true God.

The next thing that confronted me was the multiple and perplexing explanations about God. I believed that there was only one God who is intangible. I had the overwhelming urge to seek this divine being, to find out who he is, and to draw near to him. After a period of searching I found him in Jesus. I went to a church and there I was baptized.

At the age of twenty-three, at Cologne, Germany, a friend introduced me to the True Jesus Church. I was invited to join their winter spiritual convocation. I discovered then that the teachings of the True Jesus Church were in complete accordance with the Bible. I began to thirst for the truth and would often travel some three hours each Sabbath to join the brothers and sisters for worship.

After a year of studying the truth, I found that one could experience God personally and draw near to him. He was to me a friend and a source of support. More importantly, I came to realize that the baptism I had undergone did not conform to the Bible's teachings and was therefore ineffective. However, my pride made it hard for me to come to terms with this major error. I found it difficult to acknowledge that I needed to be baptized again. I also found the prospect of keeping the commandments of God quite daunting, especially since I had not yet received the Holy Spirit. I was concerned that after committing myself to Christ through this baptism I would lose all the freedom I had. Such thoughts ran through my mind, preventing me from becoming a true Christian according to God's will.

On new year's day of 1986, I attended a spiritual convocation in Stuttgart, Germany. At the end of the day's seminar, a group of us thirsting after the in-filling of the Holy Spirit, stayed behind to pray. In that first prayer I asked God whether I ought to be baptized. God answered me in a wonderful way.

I was moved by the Holy Spirit and saw a vision in that prayer. I saw a man wearing a robe and Roman sandals, seated on a rock about a metre away. Although his face was indistinct I perceived that he had an aura of peace and kindness about him. Below him shone a soft light. I knew instantly that this was the Lord Jesus! Overwhelmed with excitement, I requested that others might see this vision too, but he merely smiled. I then told him, "Lord, this heavenly path is too difficult for me to walk. You have to help me to finish it. I am too weak, but if you have indeed chosen me, then please help me to walk on this path." The Lord continued to smile without saying a word. I had a feeling of peace and intimacy with him. Suddenly, I saw myself as a five year-old child dancing and singing in front of him. His smile was still there. Then I saw myself as an adult again, sharing with Him the problems encountered on my journey of faith, and discussing with him doctrinal questions. All the while, he listened, still with that gentle smile on his face.

Just then a bell rang, signalling the end of the prayer. I was so moved by the Holy Spirit throughout the prayer that my eyes were swollen by the tears I shed. When a deacon asked me what happened during the prayer, I took the opportunity to relate the vision to all who were present. Then two deacons who had laid hands on me confirmed that I had received the Holy Spirit. They praised and thanked God for His grace.

For the sake of those who had not yet received the Holy Spirit, we decided to have another prayer.

Immediately after I knelt down and said, "In the Name of the Lord Jesus I pray," the vision continued. The Lord Jesus took my hand and led me to a river. Pointing to the water, he said, "My child, you must be baptized." At that point, the scene changed. I saw Him nailed to the cross wearing a crown of thorns. His body was bruised and clad with blood, and His head was bowed. He appeared to be in excruciating pain. Beneath the cross, several women were mourning for Him. I was among them. A Roman soldier with a spear in his hand, approached the Lord. When he forcefully pierced His side, I yelled bitterly, "No! No!" I saw blood and water flowing from His body. As I cried, I heard the voice of Jesus saying, "My child, do not grieve. You must be baptized." I could not bear to watch anymore the scene before me. Jesus died this cruel death for my sake. I felt the weight of my sins and broke into a sombre spiritual song until the bell rang again. I stopped praying, but was unable to stem the flow of tears.

Later, I shared the vision with others. Many were moved to tears. I had great admiration for the depth of their love for the Lord. I had seen Him personally, they only heard my testimony and yet were so moved.

The following morning, during another prayer, I saw another vision. This time I saw an empty cross. Beneath it lay a body wrapped in linen cloth. I felt as if a member of my own family had passed away. I wept and mourned.

Through these visions, I received God's answer. Unworthy as I am, the Lord revealed Himself to me through His grace and mercy. I thank God that despite my pride, he did not forsake me.

During a spiritual convocation in Heidelberg on 20 April 1986, I was baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus in manner prescribed by the Bible. Now I pray that God will continue to lead me so that I may complete the heavenly path.

W.I.C.
Cologne

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