Updated: Jul 14
I grew up in a non-Christian family in China. My parents divorced when I was seven years old. Since then I was sent to live with my grandparents (mother-side). My father almost left my life. My mother came to visit me every weekend, but her relationship with my grandma was not good, so they quarreled every weekend. The discordant family atmosphere and the lack of love of childhood made me feel anxious and lonely every day and night. I often hid and cried, didn’t like to smile, and didn’t know what love is. My heart is like a barren desert.
On December 25, 2015, I came to the United States. Michael and Alice from our church came to pick me up at the airport. They worked hard to introduce Los Angeles and the United States with their poor Mandarin and made me feel very welcomed. The next day, they spent a whole day with me to go to Costco and two other supermarkets to buy daily necessities. They also took me to IKEA to buy furniture such as tables and chairs and lamps, went home to help me assemble, and treated me a very delicious Cantonese cuisine. Their kindness and care were beyond my imagination. I began to wonder what kind of belief can make them so good to a stranger? As a result, I came to our church with them the first week after I arrived in LA. The atmosphere of harmony and joy in the church shocked me. This was what I was seeking! I felt at home in the church. I started to wonder that maybe this belief has something different compared to other religions. In order to explore more, I started a one-on-one Bible study with Haobo Wang who is a campus evangelist in AGF. God's holiness and faithful love touched my heart and cured my wound. Although I lost the father of this world, I have found my heavenly Father! He has steadfast love to me. He prepared an eternal home for us and for those who believed him. I knew this is what I had been looking for. So, in the summer of 2016, I thought I was ready to be baptized. But when I informed this decision to my ex-boyfriend, he couldn't accept it at all. He said that I can only choose one among him and God. At that time my faith was not very firm. I was not changed and reborn. So, I chose my ex-boyfriend, left, and turned away from God and our church.
After that, everything returned to its former state, and I fell into deep loneliness again. Gradually, I felt that my ex-boyfriend is not reliable, and he is not worthy. I returned to China in May 2017 due to my grandma’s serious cancer. In June, she passed away. Her death had dealt a big blow to me. She is the closest person to me in my whole life. It made me start thinking about the time we spent together. God opened my eyes and helped me to see how much she loved me. She took care of me from every aspect of my childhood life. It also made me realize how selfish and self-centered I was. I only cared about my own emotions and needs and continued to ask her for care and love. When she was saddened by my mother's quarrel, when she was suffered from cancer, I didn't care for her and accompanied her by her side! What a great sinner I am! Her love and death for me made me feel remorseful and painful. And Jesus Christ’s love and death were even bigger! I finally understood and was willing to bow down and admitted that I was indeed sinful.
In August, after I came back from China, I came back to our church. When I read the Bible again, participated in worship, and listened to sermons, I felt particularly shameful and regretful in the face of God. God used his forgiveness and love to water and soften my poor, waterless soul. And Heavenly Father used the brothers and sisters in our church to express his love and heal my heart. In September, I began to seriously consider becoming a Christian, but I could not take the initiative to break up with my ex-boyfriend. So, at the retreat of the USC Fellowship, I shared my hesitation and troubles with Jenna and Jeanette. They patiently listened to my distress and prayed for me. Three days after, Annie and I prayed about it again. In my prayer, I confessed to God for the first time with tears. I said, "Dear God, I am so sorry for betray of you last year. Your love is the only true faithful love. Your love is beyond my expectations. I am very grateful even if I turned away from you, you still haven't given up on me, you let brothers and sisters help me, care about me and support me. My grandma’s death helps me understand how sinful I am. I beg for Jesus Christ to redeem my sins. I am eager to renew my heart and my life. Please change me to love others as Christ Jesus loves us. Please lead me into your way, know you more, and follow the life of Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ’s name, I pray, Amen!" On the night of the second day of this confession prayer, God responded to my prayers, and my ex-boyfriend broke up with me. That night, I kneeled down to thank God’s acceptance and reconciled with God. I became a true Christian.
Looking back on my past life, God's grace, forgiveness, and love are everywhere. When I really confessed my sin from the bottom of my heart, I began to experience the power of changing and renewing in my life. Thank you, my Lord and my savior, I finally found my eternal home and my hope for my life. The lost child has gone home. Dedicating all my thanks and praises to our great Lord, our Heavenly Father!
My favorite verse is 2 Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.