I am fairly new to Christianity, becoming a committed follower of Jesus at the end of January this year and what a great and humbling feeling it is to know how much love the lord has for me and that my life is in his hands.

Before I go on, I think I need to say a few words about how and why I became a Christian as I know a few of you here today are still a bit bewildered about my conversion. In fact I’m still a bit amazed myself. A few years ago I would never have thought that I would have been beckoned to Gods word but I was and how thankful I am for that calling.

I was brought up in a non-Christian family, in the sense that we never spoke of such a thing as God. I had never thought about God as a child, he was only a fantasy that we sometimes spoke of at school. Then he became someone we spoke about more and more in RE lessons, but this was compulsory and I never thought for a second that this so called ‘divine’ being had any influence over my life.

Around the age of 15 I became very confused about my beliefs. At the time I was ill and unable to attend school for a long period, so I had a lot of time to spend thinking about life. I began to pray that things would go back to normal but they didn’t for ages. I wondered why this God wasn’t answering my prayers. I look back now and realise that maybe he was answering; I just wasn’t seeing his signs because I had no faith.

So from then until I turned 18 I would say I wasn’t sure about God. I think I believed there was a God but he wasn’t the true God of the bible. I didn’t believe he was all-powerful as he had brought me so much bad luck. I was full of anger and cursed him regularly.

My conversion began at the end of October last year. I received news that a childhood friend had died. I hadn’t seen him for years but he was still a part of my memories and this had a profound effect on my behaviour then and still on the way I live my life now. I couldn’t understand why such a young person should die unexpectedly. I began to think that there must be something beyond this world otherwise what would the point of all the suffering?

I was very lucky to have so many supporting friends around me at this time. Some were Christians, others not. Two of my closest friends were Christian. They were extremely helpful in helping me find my faith. They were encouraging and shared their love for Jesus with me. I began to read the bible and things began piecing together like they should. I then began attending church in November with a good friend called Erika. I had put off going with her for so long, I was scared of what I might become, scared to give my life to Jesus. When I finally went, I felt a big sigh of relief the first time I entered. I felt revitalized and the ‘real me’ was brought to the surface. I released all my inner feeling about God and all I’d been through. I felt free to seek for God. Without the guidance of this friend (who unfortunately can’t be here today), among others, I don’t think I would be standing here right now.

I finally accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my saviour in January, after attending church with my teacher. I was just amazed at the fact that everyone in the congregation could openly express their love for Jesus without embarrassment. I had been finding it very difficult to accept Jesus because I was worried about what my friends and family would think. But after that service I realised that it wasn’t about everyone else, it was about me and God.

So, I went back to college and with another teacher I spoke of what had been holding me back and realised my reasons were just mere excuses. We prayed together and I then put my life in Gods hands.

Since then, I have learnt that I am not alone anymore as I always have Jesus in my heart and know that the Lord is looking over me. I have also learnt to appreciate everything I have in life, things come and go but God always stands strong.

I have been attending Eden now for several months. I felt welcome from the moment I stepped through the door. I really feel I belong now. The emptiness I had felt in my heart for years has now been filled. Every second I spend here, my foundations in love and trust in God are forever deepening and growing.

Jesus is now at the centre of my life. I have had to sacrifice a lot of things, which I used to enjoy, but what I have gained in having a relationship with the Lord is so much greater. I am no longer scared about what lies ahead of me. God sent his only Son, Jesus Christ to die for our sins so we can have this relationship with him forever. Jesus died and then was raised again for us, for me. What greater proof do you need that Jesus is our Lord and our saviour?

I have been imagining getting baptised for a while now. I want declare my commitment to Christ as nothing compares to devoting my life to God. My faith is so great at this time in life, I have been through many difficult times as a Christian and I know there will be many to come, but I will still stand strong, as I know God is with me always.