I grew up in a family without religious belief. Looking back, I can see that God determined to call me into His love and arms from the very beginning.
As a teenager, I would ask myself, What’s the meaning of life? I thought if a person only lives this life, then the best way to live is to eat, drink and be merry. If that is true, then life is really meaningless and a vanity.
In the summer of 2002, I joined an English training class. The teacher was from America with a PhD in theology. In the first lesson, he introduced himself by sharing a miracle that God had saved him from a car accident. His car was heavily damaged in the accident, but he felt there was a big cup covering him in the crash and he was unhurt. I was impressed by the miraculous story, sharing it with my family right after class.
In October 2012, I went to Canada on vacation. Near my hotel in Vancouver, there was a church. One morning, I saw a gentleman in a green suit at the gate of the church, holding a sign, which said “BACK HOME”. My morning tour finished earlier than I expected, so I decided to visit the beach near my hotel in the afternoon. Later, as I walked back to the city centre for dinner, I saw the same gentleman holding the “BACK HOME” sign at the gate of the church.
The wind was really heavy on that day and I was so impressed by this gentleman, wondering why he was willing to stand in the wind for the whole day? I decided there must be something special about this belief. Since then, the image of that gentleman holding the sign has never faded from my memory. [pullquote]
Right after my vacation, I joined a postgraduate course at Hong Kong University. One professor gave every student a book titled Streams in the Desert as a gift after a two-day lecture. I was highly impressed by the book, because the book partly answered the question of the meaning of life. I started reading one chapter every night.
Weeks later I wrote an email to the teacher to thank him for the book. I expressed my willingness to know more about Christianity. The teacher introduced me to his colleague Karen. Every Friday, Karen would gather with other church members in her home. The first time I joined the gathering, I felt their love toward me. I had never experienced something like this before. I was eager to come back to the next gathering. Karen gave me a Bible and I started to read every evening.
In January 2014, I was baptised in a church. On that day, God miraculously healed my sickness that had troubled me for a long time. Praise God for that! After taking both Chinese and Western medicine for about half a year, I still had not healed—and my stomach felt uncomfortable from too much medicine. So I’d stopped for at least half a year. But my sickness was healed completely the day of my baptism—the only reason was God’s mighty work.
After my baptism I visited some different churches, listening to the preachers, attending youth gatherings, Bible study groups and church services, reading Christian books. But I knew there was still something wrong with my relationship with God. I was scared to look at the cross, I was too far from the standard of God and felt discouraged at myself.
I saw Hope Channel on TV when travelling to New Zealand in October 2016. It was a huge blessing for my spiritual life. When I returned home, I searched online and found the Hope Sabbath School program on YouTube.
I started watching Hope Sabbath School and I couldn’t stop. Watching Hope Sabbath School is the happiest time for me, and I watched all the Hope Sabbath School episodes from 2013 in several months. I love the smiles of the team members—they make the Bible easy to understand.
Blessed by the program, I started to have a clearer picture of what our God is like. God is full of mercy, eager to call us back to Him to save us, and always willing to forgive. God is love. I no longer felt scared when looking at the cross. I know God loves me, He has cleansed me and He will change me to be like Him by His power.
In early 2018, I decided to change from a Sunday church to the Adventist Church. Last year I was convinced to be rebaptised by immersion (I was baptised by sprinkling in 2014). Now I have finished one year of Bible studies in a local church and I am waiting for rebaptism after church opens again.
Thank God for bringing Hope Sabbath School into my life to grow my spiritual life. Now I am willing to give all my life to Jesus and desire to live a life that glorifies God. That is the true meaning of life. Amen!
Christie Chen is a Hope Sabbath School member in Shanghai, China.