I grew up in a non-Christian home with little exposure to religion or Christianity. I didn’t have a particularly hard life. It was just an everyday “things are OK” type of life. However in my heart there were always questions about some of the deeper issues of life, such as: “Is there any meaning to life? What happens when a person dies?” (I had actually seen someone die in a car accident when I was young). At the time no one really gave me a satisfactory answer, and my parents told me it was not good to talk about death. This however did little to quell the restlessness of my child-like heart.
When I entered my teens, my parents, concerned about my character development, wanted me to have some exposure to Church. So they would wake me up on Sunday mornings, drive me and my sisters to a random church, drop me off and then pick me up when church was over. Needless to say this initial exposure to “Church” was very negative. I must have visited about 10 different Chinese churches in the Bay Area, yet church never impressed me as being a place where I would find the answers to a lot of my questions about life. Church was just a place full of strangers that you dreaded every Sunday morning.
One Summer my parents enrolled me in a “Vacation Bible School” in the Chinese Independent Baptist Church of Oakland. For the first time I actually enjoyed being at church. There were people who actually took effort to make me feel welcome. During one of the meetings the speaker mentioned something about going to Heaven, which immediately caught my attention. At the end of his message he said “If you want to go to heaven when you die, please raise your hand.” I raised my hand, thinking , “Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to go to heaven.”
And for the first time in my life I was told about the Gospel of Jesus Christ: That God loves me deeply, and He gave His Son Jesus to die on the cross and rise from the dead to forgive my sin. At that moment everything seemed to click and without hesitation I prayed to receive Christ as my personal Savior.
I can’t say my life changed dramatically that day. I still was a teen who had a long way to go, as far as learning about what it means to follow Christ. But I know that on that day there was a sense of peace and the big questions in my life were answered. That day was the beginning of my spiritual journey which brought me to where I am today. I have been a follower of Jesus now for over 30 years, and still I look back on the simplicity of that day, the decision that I made, and I thank God for his wonderful grace and mercy.