I grew up in a non-Christian family but attended a Catholic school where talking about God or Jesus was part of the environment. I recall very strongly that we prayed during assembly every Monday. On one occasion, I was invited to a children’s camp and one memory from that time was imprinted on me and […]
I grew up in a non-Christian family but attended a Catholic school where talking about God or Jesus was part of the environment. I recall very strongly that we prayed during assembly every Monday. On one occasion, I was invited to a children’s camp and one memory from that time was imprinted on me and has stayed with me; it is the memory of when I encountered God’s presence during worship. I remember, during that moment, of saying ‘yes’ to Christ. But I was very young and my parents strictly forbade the idea; I had to forget about it and, gradually, the desire decreased.
Throughout my teenage years, I occasionally got invitations to join church activities but I could not enjoy worship properly, because I was forbidden from pursuing Christ. I felt like an outcast. My thoughts became worldly, to the point where I would instantly shut out any talk of Christianity, even within my own heart.
When I became an adult, I was given the privilege to study overseas. But although I had freedom to do everything in life, I was becoming very unhappy and feeling empty. It seemed as though in every aspect of life – work, friends, relationships, family – I was not getting what I wanted or was unable to sustain it. I felt entirely lost in everything I did, how I behaved, how I differentiated between right and wrong. If I can put it this way: the wrong never felt wrong, the right never felt right. There was no light in my heart and I couldn’t find joy. I felt down and angry at the world. Mostly I felt dead inside and unworthy to exist.
One day, it suddenly occurred to me that I could feel a sense of ‘purity’ and liveliness by going to church and school again. But I was afraid to step into a church on my own. God, instead, found a way. A friend asked me to accompany her to a small group gathering. I hesitated at first and it took me awhile to see that I needed to put God first but I slowly realised that He was giving me peace and I felt my ‘empty doughnut hole’ beginning to fill in. I was touched again by His presence.
I am now ready and able to shift my focus on Him in everything I do. By faith, I have started to accomplish things as they start to matter again, no matter how small they may seem. His love has truly filled me up again.
Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray
Read more stories about our partner churches in Malaysia (Sabah) at https://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/malaysia-sabah/