A WILD PAST
I am a
Christian today because of God’s love. I believe He chose me when I was in my
rebellious stage, when I was the most undeserving, to show me how much He loves
was in grade five, my family moved from Calgary to a small town just forty-five
minutes away from the city and opened a restaurant there. My mom hired more
workers during Saturdays so that she could drive me and my siblings to the city
for Chinese school, swimming lessons, piano lessons, art lessons, and other
teenage years I continued to attend Chinese school on Saturdays. When my mom
dropped my siblings and me off for Chinese school, I often sneaked out with my
friend and roamed around downtown and Chinatown. We joined other friends and
we stole cars for joy rides or weekend trips, partied and drank, vandalized,
stole anything we could, and did drugs.
often, both physically and verbally, within our group and with other groups of
people we knew. There was a lot of violence, betrayal, anger, false
friendships, jealousy, and lies.
was really worried about me during this time because they knew I had bad
friends but didn’t know what I was up to all the time.
family of four children, I was the middle child and often referred to as the
troublemaker. Ever since I was young, I was left out by my siblings because I
was different from them. I was not obedient like them, nor did I like to study
or help out around the house. Instead, I drew closer to my friends and became
more distant from my family.
argue with my mom and yell at her until she thought she was going crazy. There
was one time she ran home from work and started to drink whiskey straight from
the bottle. Even though my mom didn’t drink, she was so upset and angry with me
that she would rather die. My dad was a quiet man and didn’t say much, but I
knew from my siblings that he had given up on me and had in fact disowned me.
continued living a wild and dangerous life with bad influences throughout high
school. My senior year, I celebrated my seventeenth birthday with a barbeque at
a park. In the large group of people who gathered, I met someone named Calvin.
first met, we didn’t get along because our best friends were enemies, but
despite our mutual dislike, we started to talk on the phone and then became
friends. At the time, he was part of a group of people who did even worse
things than my group of friends.
after we met, Calvin went to a different city to finish his studies. We would
talk on the phone every day and visit each other whenever we could.
few months, I started to have a harder time getting a hold of him. He told me
that it was because he was attending church services. This was a big surprise
to me, as he had never mentioned he was a Christian and that he went to church.
The church that he was attending was called True Jesus Church.
busy most of the time because he attended services Wednesday, Friday, and
Saturday — sometimes even more if there was family service. I didn’t know what
was happening to him because he was in the next province, so I decided to take
a few days off from school to visit him.
His Surprising Change, My Weight Lifted
arrived, he looked like a different person. He no longer wore dark designer
clothing, and his hair was no longer highlighted and styled fashionably. He was
wearing a green sweater and khakis with his hair dyed back to black and gelled
to one side.
friends, who were True Jesus Church brothers, were genuinely nice people,
unlike the friends he hung out with before.
was visiting I watched him walk to the bus stop to go
to school early in the morning, carrying a large backpack. There is nothing
extraordinary about this in general — many people do this every day. However, I
witnessed a person completely transformed from the way he used to be. After he
returned from school I asked him to take me to his
church the following Saturday.
arrived at church, the sermon was on jealousy. It was really intriguing because
it was a problem I struggled with. I felt so peaceful and happy after hearing
the sermon because it felt like a lot of weight was taken off of me.
introduced me to many brothers and sisters that day. One sister came to me and
shared many words of encouragement. She told me to seek after God because He
really loved me. She mentioned that Calvin could bring me to church but could
not bring me salvation. It was up to me to seek after God and to find Him. I
really felt God’s love through the brothers and sisters that day and was even
touched to tears.
always thought that I knew God and that He was automatically part of my life; I
never thought that I had to pursue and seek after Him. As devout Catholics, my
family attended Sunday Mass every week. But I never felt God the way I felt Him
through other brothers and sisters at True Jesus Church, and the sermons never
touched me the way they did at this church.
CHANGING OLD HABITS
this experience at True Jesus Church, I went home and started reading the
Bible. I also carefully and thoroughly read the basic belief booklet that they
gave me at church. The last part of this booklet talked about the second coming
of Christ. One part quoted 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17:
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven
with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And
the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be
caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
painted a vivid picture of the second coming of Christ. After reading it, I
really wanted to be one of those who would be caught up in the clouds to meet
the Lord and to return to our home in heaven forever!
continued to study the Bible and learn more about the beliefs of the True Jesus
Church. A few months later, I attended service at Calgary House of Prayer. I
prayed for the first time with other brothers and sisters.
preacher said that we needed to be humble, kneel down before God, repent to Him
of our sins, and ask for forgiveness. He also said that those who had not
received the Holy Spirit should pray for it.
followed what the preacher said to do and knelt down and started to repent. I
started digging up all the sins I had committed in the past, and I felt so
ashamed while I was thinking of what I had done. I had never felt ashamed
before and never regretted anything I did.
in that prayer I felt really ashamed of myself and unworthy to ask for God’s
Holy Spirit. While I was thinking this, my arms started to shake, I started to
cry, and I felt God’s presence for the first time in my life. The prayer was
very peaceful and full of light.
the movement of the Holy Spirit and through studying the Bible, my attitude
started to change towards my family and friends. There were fewer arguments at
home, and Calvin encouraged me to love my family and to respect my parents.
time I got into an argument with my mom, I would tell him, and he would
encourage me to apologize to my mom and tell her I loved her. It was very
difficult for me to say “thank you” and “sorry.” Even
though I really wanted to, I had to fight all of my old habits and my pride to
say those words.
remember crying in front of my mom when I told her that I was wrong and that I
was sorry. She also started to cry and came to hug me.
continued to seek after God and learn His truth, I learned that my sins were
not washed away through the baptism I had received as a baby. I registered to
get baptized during the next spiritual convocation.
of the baptism was a cold November day. We had to drive about one and a half
hours out of town to get to the lake.
got there, we walked up to the shore and saw that the lake had already turned
to ice! Although there was sunshine and snow had not started to fall yet, the
lake was already frozen over.
thought was that God did not want me to get baptized that day. However, the
brothers and sisters took the initiative and tried to break a hole in the ice.
Young and old, they threw rocks, stomped on the ice, and pounded away with all
their strength using sticks they found on the shore.
It was very
touching to see the effort of these brothers and sisters. They were not willing
to miss this chance to save one more soul. Not long after, a hole large enough
for two people was made through the thick ice, and I was baptized in the name
of our Lord Jesus.
A NEW LIFE TOGETHER
and I got married the year I was baptized. As we
wanted to start a new life together in Christ, we decided to move so that we
could avoid our past and the bad friends we made over the years.
change was very sudden. We did not slowly detach from our friends,
but stopped all communication with them. It was a conscious, deliberate
decision for us, knowing that if we wanted to live this new life in Christ we had to change ourselves, especially who our
friends were. Thank God, through His love, we made these changes easily.
both thankful that our past never came looking for us and that our hearts were
not tempted to go back to enjoy the evils of the world. Giving up our old life
freed up a lot of time, which we filled with God.
forward to Friday evenings because it was the start of the Sabbath. The
brothers and sisters were attentive because I was a newly baptized member and
graciously studied the Bible with Calvin and me during the week. Some of the
church members also invited us to their homes for dinner and to share the word
got married at a young age, we promised each other that if we ever got into an
argument we would kneel down and pray and trust our problems to God. We
believed that God would watch over our marriage and become the head of our
change in my life shocked my old friends as well as my family. Even my friends’
parents, who used to follow us around to see what we were doing, couldn’t
believe I was talking to them about God and how my husband and I were
determined to commit our marriage to God.
we have tasted the joy of living a simple and quiet life in Christ, which is
far better than what the world could offer.
GOD ACCEPTED ME
wonderful Lord has His great plan for everything. He even had a plan for a
small-town girl who was not only the black sheep in her family but was also
unwilling to listen to anyone!
brought to His church through witnessing the quick and dramatic change in a
friend’s life, which caught my attention and sparked my curiosity in the source
of this transformation. I was also drawn to know God because I felt His love
through the brothers and sisters in church as well as God’s movement in me when
I prayed for the Holy Spirit.
8:38, 39 says:
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life,
nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to
come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to
separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
love is so immense and so great, I don’t know if we can fully comprehend it. We
can only relate based on what we have encountered in life and assume that God’s
love is infinitely greater than that.
comparable love I have experienced is parental love. My parents sacrificed a
lot so that my siblings and I could have a good future. They worked really hard
at the restaurant and put their time and money into our education and other
extracurricular classes. They always gave us the best and took the leftovers.
this love is limited. At my most rebellious stage, my parents disowned me not
because they did not have love, but because I grieved them beyond what any
human being could bear. My mom said, “I will feed you, you may live here, but
you are no longer my daughter.” I put on a strong face and showed no emotion,
but in reality I felt empty and lonely.
understand why I cried so much when I went to church the first time and when
God’s Spirit moved me in my prayer in Calgary. It was because even in my worst
state, when my own mother had disowned me, God accepted me and loved me.
Through God’s love I learned to seek
after Him and became His child.