Seek and You Shall Find
Susan Lu—Johor Bahru, Malaysia
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:11-13)
SCARED BUT INTERESTED
I was born into a staunchly Buddhist family. I did not like Christians in general as I felt they always criticized other religions, but I still had a few friends who were Christians. Two of them were from the True Jesus Church.
My first visit to True Jesus Church happened in 2000 when my friend, Alice, from secondary school invited me to an evangelistic meeting at True Jesus Church Elopura, Sandakan, Sabah. I attended the service together with a few of my friends. We were astonished and scared during the prayer session.
Although it was “scary,” I was convinced that it was a true spirit because Alice had received that spirit. She did not behave strangely or suspiciously. She could still give me logical advice and was a good friend with whom I could share everything. So, I decided to go again the next day. I invited another friend to go along because I wanted to see how the people prayed again. I had been scared, but I was also interested!
A few months later, Alice approached me, saying that, given our closeness, she would feel very bad if she owned something precious but did not share it with me. The precious thing that she had in mind was the gospel. Then, she started to preach to me. I asked her many questions, especially about why True Jesus Church was so different from other churches.
After that conversation, with my curiosity satisfied, I did not bring up the topic of religion again. I was still a practicing Buddhist, sure that the deities I had been worshipping truly existed. However, Alice had gotten me to think that perhaps Jesus Christ existed, too. But, in 2001, we soon went to separate institutions for tertiary studies and rarely met.
WORSHIPPING A DIFFERENT GOD
One reason my family relied so much on Buddhist gods was because of the great financial pressures we faced. In 1994, my father was cheated by his business partner and had to declare bankruptcy.
With my father jobless for almost eight years, my parents looked to these Buddhist gods for deliverance. During this time, my aunt introduced a new god, one worshipped by Japanese Buddhists, to my family and me.
I did not know the origin of the god or anything else about him. I only knew how to pray to him by reading a text given by my aunt. According to her, we just had to tell the god all of the things that we wished to have, and he would give them to us.
As a result, this Japanese god was added to the Buddhist pantheon that we had at home. My parents worshipped the newest addition whole-heartedly because they hoped that the god could resolve all of their financial difficulties. But after a year of prayers to him, their situation did not improve, so they stopped worshipping him.
On the other hand, things went smoothly for me. In 2001, I obtained good grades in the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (Malaysian Higher School Certificate), an examination taken by students to gain admission to Malaysia’s public universities. On top of that, I even won a scholarship to further my studies at the Science University of Malaysia.
I thus relied on the Japanese god more and more, trusting that he could fulfill my every wish. I never missed saying my prayers to him every night before I went to bed.
I kept on worshipping this god in university. When I found out that one of my roommates had family problems, I introduced the god to her so that she could receive his blessings, too. She told me that she had learned about this god when she had a vacation job in Singapore.
Her friend’s uncle had prayed earnestly to this god and received everything that he asked for. But one day his son died.
He approached the leader of this religion and asked why such a terrible thing had happened to him. The leader then explained that it was only fair: since the god had given him so many good things, he would definitely take something back from him in exchange.
I was astonished and started to have doubts about this god. I shared my unease with my aunt, but she convinced me there was nothing to worry about and told me to just continue praying to him.
Around that time, my grandma was diagnosed with colon cancer and had to undergo surgery. I loved my grandma very much, and I was very worried that the Japanese god would take her life away in return for the many good things I had received. I confided my worries to my younger sister, who was also praying faithfully to him, and both of us decided to stop praying to the god.
COMING BACK TO JESUS
After ceasing my worship around the end of 2002, I was at a loss. I did not know which god to turn to.
One day, while enjoying a rare chat with Alice, I told her the whole story. She then told me that the true God is generous. If He gives us something, He won’t take it back from us. As the Creator, everything belongs to Him. He has no need to be so calculating with man.
She invited me to pray to Jesus Christ. I brushed this invitation off—although I had been to church with her, I thought I should remain faithful to my Buddhist gods. But her statement of a generous God gave me much food for thought.
After some time, I came to a decision. This Japanese god was frightening. He could help me—but at a price. Buddha, whom my family had traditionally worshipped, did not seem powerful enough to help me.
On the other hand, Alice seemed to have received such abundant blessings from her God. Perhaps this God would also bless me if I prayed to Him. I decided there was no harm in trying.
So I asked my other friend from True Jesus Church how to pray to Jesus. From that day, I prayed only to Him. I prayed every night before I went to bed, and I started to feel His presence. That semester, I scored the highest marks in class and was rewarded with RM500 cash. That was the first time I said, “Thank God.”
I started to seek the truth. I emailed Alice and asked her questions in order to learn more about Christianity. Not only did she answer my questions, she gave me a Bible for my birthday. It was just the right present at the right time. All this while, I had wanted to own one but never took the step of going to buy it for myself.
I received the Bible around the
time of our examination period. I would read it whenever I felt bored with the reading materials for my exams. Of the sixty-six books
in the Bible,
After one year of studying the Bible on my own, I told Alice that I wanted to go to church. She helped me contact a member at the church nearest my university.
And thus, it was a brother from Butterworth Church who came to drive me to church and a sister who sent me back to university every Saturday. I felt embarrassed because my hostel was very far away from church, but Alice told me that they were more than happy to give me a ride.
Gradually, I had the feeling that I should go to church every Saturday. Sometimes, even if no one was free to drive me to church, I would take a bus there by myself. As I learned more about the Holy Spirit, I became scared about death because I knew that without the Holy Spirit, I could not go to heaven. I started to pray earnestly for the Holy Spirit.
I also had discussions with other Christian friends about their beliefs because I was so curious to know why there were so many different denominations. Through all the debates, I concluded that only the True Jesus Church practices everything according to the Bible.
I went to a Methodist church once with my friend. I asked her about the Holy Spirit, but she told me she did not know what it was all about. I was very surprised as she had definitely read the Bible more than I had.
I wanted to show her the Bible passages concerning the Holy Spirit, but I did not know where they were. Miraculously, when I opened the Bible, it was exactly at Acts chapter 2. I was so happy! After asking her to read it, I introduced the True Jesus Church to her.
REPENTANCE, BELIEF, BAPTISM
One morning, I woke up and cried non-stop. In my dream, I had seen a flashback of all the sins that I had committed since I was young. There were so many bad things I had done, especially to my family. I felt ashamed and sorry.
I needed to speak to someone but did not dare share my dream and thoughts with my roommate; I was worried that she would laugh at me. So I quickly switched on the computer and wrote an email to Alice, describing exactly what I had seen in my dream.
I expected her to scold me for being such a bad person. But surprisingly, all she said was that she was so happy to have received my email. She went on to say she was more than willing to explain sin to me.
For the first time, I learned about sin and who could wash them away. All this while, I had thought that baptism was just a formal ceremony to proclaim that you had been accepted as a member in a particular church. The True Jesus Church’s definition of baptism and its effect was different from other churches. But it was entirely in line with the Bible.
By God’s will, after graduating from university I got a job in Johor Bahru where Alice had also landed a job. This was fantastic as that meant she could continue to guide me in the truth. I went to church almost every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, and I learned about the basic beliefs and doctrines.
In four years of seeking the truth, I was moved by many sermons, as I felt that God was talking to me through them. I loved going to church. As a Buddhist, my focus had been on praying and waiting for blessings from the deities. But I knew that Christians should not receive the Lord’s grace in vain. Instead, one must labor for the Lord. But if I was not baptized, I could not participate in the holy work.
With so many natural disasters happening around that time, I started to worry that if I died in one of them, I could not go to heaven. I wanted to get baptized as soon as possible. My parents objected at first, but I kept on praying and asking God to open the way. Thank God, they didn’t prevent me from receiving baptism, and now they even take me to church if I do not have transportation.
Six months and twenty-two days from the day I got baptized, God poured down His precious Holy Spirit on me. It was the most wonderful day. I will never forget how moved I was—I cried non-stop tears of joy because I was receiving something very precious that I had been longing for. I was able to serve the Lord in the church and repay His love.
Most importantly, I thank God for His mercy. Through these events, I was even more assured that the Lord Jesus Christ keeps His promises and listens to my prayers. May all the glory be to God.