I am here today because God has brought me here. I first met Jesus ten years ago, but the walk has not been entirely smooth. Yet I am here because of his love and grace, and because he pulled me back even when I drifted away.
In Malaysia, everyone is assumed to follow one of the mainstream religions. I grew up in a secular family, which professed no religion at all. My parents usually just went along with my grandparents' practises, which were more of the traditional Chinese variety. I followed along because that was what you did as a good son; I did not like the heat and smoke from the burning of incense but it was OK.
Jesus first reached to me through friends at secondary school. In my third form, one of my close friends, Kelvin, invited me to join the Christian fellowship for the school’s prayer day, where students and teachers gathered in groups according to broad faith groups to pray for students who were sitting for public exams. It was compulsury to join in with a group, I went along.
During the session I heard about Jesus giving his life for us on the cross. There was no explicit prompting from my Christian friends, but trusting Jesus and getting to know him better felt the right thing to do at the time. They gave me a New Testament after the session, and I dived into that enthusiastically. I also started going to weekly Bible studies with the school counsellor and a classmate.
I had the opinion at the time though that one’s faith was a personal and private thing, so I did not tell my family about it, and due to a lack of mobility I did not go to church and I just relied on reading the New Testament I had been given every day at home before I went to sleep.
Then I moved to London to start uni, that’s when my relationship with God deteriorated. While pondering issues and purposes of life, I wondered if God was just something my psychology made up to fill the blanks I didn’t understand through science. I also learned and started practising the colourful side of several languages' vocabularies, in addition to indulging in the morally impure side of media. I think I forgot God cared, and just drifted away. Even though I attended some Sunday services at a church in London, my faithfulness to God was fading.
However, God had other ideas. The story of Hosea tells us God is faithful even when we are not. God brought me to Cambridge after I graduated by giving me my present job. He knew although I did not that the wide preaching and intellectual discussion of the gospel in Cambridge would arouse a desire to repair and deepen the relationship with Christ again.
A friend named David pointed me at several good churches in Cambridge; Eden was closest to where I lived so I started coming here in September 2009. In addition to starting attending church regularly, I also attended talks and read books that answered the logical doubts I had about God. I also found understanding the Bible much easier with Christian family.
Through my brothers and sisters in Cambridge, God has reminded me what being a Christian and trusting Jesus means. It isn’t just one prayer for forgiveness of sins and a one-off laying of the old nature before the cross. It is repeatedly feeding on God’s word, seeking Jesus’s grace and guidance and letting him replace my own sinful nature, every single day. And it is remembering above all that God is near.
Eden has helped me understand the meaning of baptism better. I had thought it mattered little in the context of faith in Jesus’s sacrifice and resurrection, and I had also met people who thought you were not a Christian if you were not baptised. It is neither, it is just doing something that pleases God by obeying him. Compared with all that God has done for me, to stop being shy about believing in Jesus, to step up today, is a small and easy thing.