Thanks Amy Chui for taking photos!
Before I got to know Jesus, all I knew were bits and pieces of information about God from either the TV or my friends, I was unsure if it was true. For example, during summer school, a classmate told me how the more good deeds you do in your life would land you a spot in heaven. Is this true? It sounds like it makes sense, but I wasn’t sure. The first time I ever prayed was during 4th grade, I was in bed praying as hard as I could, hoping that maybe the test I didn’t study for would get cancelled. It wasn’t until 7th grade that my interest in knowing more about the Bible and God had grown, yet I didn’t know how or where I could ask my questions.
After coming home from the park one day, I was greeted by my mother who had something she wanted to tell me. She asked if I wanted to go to a program that took place every Friday, a place that children around my age could learn about the Bible – it was called Awana. This is where my walk with Christ began. I was happy but I didn’t know what to expect until I was put into a classroom. During handbook time, there were verses to memorize and I was given a chance to ask questions like “what is sin?” or “what is heaven?”. It took me a while to understand what sin was, but once I did, it made understanding why Jesus had to die on the Cross.
It was during a normal worship night at LLC that one of the worship leaders stopped midway into the song and asked, “Raise your hands up if you want to give your life to Jesus”. As I raised my hands up, I kept thinking of how thankful I was for what Jesus has done and wanted to keep following Him. I believe Jesus is Lord and that He came to save me. I believe that He died and rose again. I believe He has given me new life.
Since then my involvement with the church has grown. I participated in Alpha, where I could freely ask questions to help me understand more about God. Helping out at Awana gave me chances to learn and share about the Bible. My life has been a lot better since I got to know Jesus. I couldn’t have come this far alone, I’ve had the church help and guide me whenever I’m lost or in conflict. Unlike before, instead of counting my good deeds, all I know is that Jesus Christ is my Savior – and that is enough.
Hi. my name is Ashley, and here is my story.
I’ve grown up in a Christian home, been at Lord’s Love Church for 16 years, and attended a Christian school since kindergarten. As my parents are leaders in the church, and being in a Christian school, I felt a lot of pressure to uphold that image of being a Christian who knew what she was doing. I knew all the right answers to the Sunday school questions, finished all the books in AWANA, and did my best to be the good Christian kid. The problem was, it wasn’t real. Looking back, I can tell that I was adopting my parents faith instead of making it my own. I had heard the stories of the Bible so many times that all the meaning had been lost to me. They were just stories that I tried to understand to grow my knowledge, but by thinking that I knew the correct interpretations or meanings, I had lost my wonder of God. I was desensitized, and I felt detached from God. I was stuck as I went through the motions.
It was grade 8 when I first realized that I really wanted Christianity to mean something for me. At the beginning of each year in middle school, all the students and teachers go to a camp. In the years before at camp, I’d feel close to God when I was surrounded with nature, and I would go on this “camp high” for a week or so, but then go back to my normal robotic life without taking something with me from the camp. This time, it was different. The girls in my cabin had gathered for the night reflection and prayer. The topic was being an outsider, and we were supposed to share our experiences with the group, and then pray for one another. I was trying to think of something to share, and my mind kept going back to a feeling of being distant, from God and from the people around me. I realized that I always prioritized my academics over everything else. I had been telling myself, once I finish doing my homework and studying, then I would fit the spare time for God. It was that moment that I knew my priorities were wrong. God should’ve been first the whole time, and that was why I had felt so detached from God. I had placed more value in something other than God, and it was draining me. I was trying to think of a way to put this into words, but before I knew it, the time came to share, and I was feeling really nervous because I had never been vulnerable with a group before. But as soon as the first girl started talking, suddenly everyone started to cry. It wasn’t because we all felt bad for her, or we all felt sad for some reason. It was this overwhelming feeling of peace that was God saying I made you, and I love you, and telling me that I was good enough because He made me, not my grades.
Shortly after that camp, I moved from Children’s Ministry to the English Congregation. A year later, I took an interest in the A/V team of the English Service, and around that time, I felt a longing to help out in some way. At school and in Journey, I would do the spiritual gifts test, and while some of them changed, the only one that stayed consistently in the top 3 was the gift of serving. I realized that God was calling me to serve in the A/V team, and now, I am on my third year of service. Through the years of working behind the scenes, Jesus has taught me to be humble and always reminds me to seek God’s approval rather than my peers. I also serve in AWANA as a Sparks leader in training. It was a natural transition from attending the club to helping out there too because I had developed relationships with the leaders and the kids and I wanted to spend more time with them. Though I technically teach the kids, I’ve learned so much from them too. God has showed me over and over again the childlike faith and wholehearted trust that I strive to have in Him.
Hebrews 10:23 is a verse that has spoken to me a lot lately. It says, “23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” It serves as a reminder for me that God is faithful and keeps His promises. He promised me peace, and I found it. He promised me a reviving from my desensitization, and I received new life in Christ. It is the least I can do to dedicate my life to him and declare this faith publically.
Hi I’m Rachel. I’ve been to church for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a Christian family, in the church, and went to a Christian school my whole life. I attended Awana, VBS, and Sunday School every year. I hadn’t really understood what Jesus’ death and resurrection actually meant for me personally until my grade eight year. I was very indifferent towards my faith, if I can even call it that at the time. It was less faith and more of just head knowledge. I was just going through the motions, and it was just routine for me. I knew that God was real and that Jesus had died, rose again and saved me, but I didn’t really know what to do with it and never really asked any questions. I guess I didn’t ask anything because my younger self didn’t understand how insane it was to believe that the God of the universe loved us so much that He would send His Son to die for us and that someone, Jesus, could die and come back to life. I became numb to his amazing sacrifice and I didn’t feel any awe or wonder when I thought of God. My indifference came from believing that Jesus was only my Saviour, and that was where my faith stopped. I believed in God and that he had saved me, but I made no action or effort to change. I had accepted Jesus as my Saviour, but not as my Lord. As I grew older, I started to wonder if God was even there with me, and started to doubt that God was even real. I felt so alone during that time because it seemed like everyone else was solid in their faith and I felt like if I couldn’t tell anyone because I was scared of how they would react.
It wasn’t until grade eight that I put my faith in God again. At the time, my Bible class started going through the Youth Alpha series. The series brought up a lot of difficult questions about Christianity, and I realized how little I actually knew. There were questions like “Why does God let suffering happen?” and “How do I know that God even exists?” After each video, my class had discussions about what we learned and shared our thoughts and experiences related to each question. And it was through these discussions that I learned that I wasn’t alone in feeling distant from God, and that other “Christian kids” experienced similar things. I realized that God was a lot more complex than I thought, considering that I had never really thought about God’s power and love before. Those discussions led me to explore my faith and God more and be bolder in asking questions, and it finally got through my head just how amazing and powerful God was. Some time after this, still in grade eight, there was an altar call during a chapel at school and that was the moment when I surrendered my life to God.
One year later, I became a helper in Awana because I wanted to continue working with the younger kids that I grew up with and help them with their learning and faith. I also became interested in the A/V part of the worship team, specifically powerpoint. I felt called to serve and joined the worship team doing PowerPoint.
Life hasn’t been perfect, and my faith has been tested ever since I accepted Christ. But that has reminded me time and time again that God in control, and that has led me to publicly declare it; that Jesus is my Saviour, and that Jesus is my Lord.
Hi everyone, my name is Simon Zheng. I first came to LLC through Alpha 2 years ago. Last year I started coming regularly and joined the Welcome Team and a small group. I’m 29 years old and found Christ when I was 26. It’s a funny statement to make about our God. Our perfect God, who came down to Earth to spread his ministry and die for our sins and wrong doings, that I found him. In reality, I think that he found me.
When I said that I felt Jesus had found me, I meant that he pursued me. Seeds were planted time and time again through dozens of people. The first seed was planted in elementary school. Like many growing up, I learned about Adam and Eve, Moses, Jesus being born in a stable in Bethlehem, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. A few years later my parents sent my sister and I, to a church camp during spring break. Then at 10, we were invited back to that same church for Awana. Guys, I LOVED Awana. There were free snacks and games! Everyone was Asian, which meant I could compete in sports! I didn’t like the Bible study portion though. Memorizing passages to earn a uniform and badges? People who know me, know I have a terrible memory unless we’re talking about golf clubs.
Eventually at 13, I aged out of Awana and had to join a group for teens. But I didn’t care for that. All I cared about was North Face and Kappa, playing Diablo 2 and Counter Strike, get a girlfriend, grow up so I could get a sick job, buy a sick car and house and be married by 27. So, you can imagine when none of that happened, I felt a void in my heart – but I’ll get back to that.
It wouldn’t be another 10 years before I go back to church. At 23 I met Andrea, arguably, the most influential person to my faith journey. Sorry Doug. She was a lifelong Christian and I was a broken soul. A year later we started dating. We would talk about her christian family, growing up in a church, what it meant for her to be Christian and her struggles with it. She invited me to her church. It was big, had great music, free snacks, coffee, friendly ushers and smiles on everyone’s faces. But I never felt connected. After a few years of semi-regular attendance, it was at that church, that I started asking questions. The Big Bang? Dinosaurs? Climate Change? Instant-Pot or sous-vide? I never thought there were enough arguments in the Bible to make me believe. But that’s when I realized I needed faith, because without faith the Gospel just sounds like bedtime stories. But it all became so real, as real as you and me.
I first felt God’s presence after finishing up worship with a prayer. I don’t remember what was said or what the song was.This time when I bowed my head down like usual, I really let the prayer take me, and I felt this overwhelming tingle on my back. You know that feeling of butterflies you have deep inside your gut. That’s your body preparing for flight or fight. It also happens when you are excited or afraid. I can tell you it wasn’t fear. No, I felt deep down that my faith was real. That’s when I believed and why years later I’m standing in front of you all today.
So, what came next? Did I jump right into church? Join missions, volunteer, start tithing? No. It never really felt that simple. I didn’t feel like my faith journey was on the right path.
Two and a half years ago, Andrea’s friend was invited to a pre-Alpha bonanza here at LLC by a Pastor Douglas Wong. Coincidently she saw Adrienne there, who she already knew. The next week we come to service. I never felt so welcomed to a place that I’ve never set foot in. I realized I knew a handful of people here at LLC. So I joined Alpha. I couldn’t make every session, but the ones I made it to left a huge impact on me. I can’t say it answered all my questions or didn’t leave me without any doubt. But I’m very thankful for the time put in by the Alpha team here. For Naomi and Frances for opening up your home to me and letting me spend several evenings with Jimmy. Thank you Doug for your support over coffees and through texts. Gabe for the meals and buckets of balls that we shared. Thank you everyone here who took the time to get to know me, to ask how I was and to welcome me into your church family.
After Alpha, some of us continued meeting and I began to come alone to LLC when I wasn’t going to the other church. Why would I give up sleep to come out on a Sunday? It wasn’t the great coffee, seeing my friends, to fill up my attendance sheet or to hear Pastor Doug’s dad jokes. No, it was to hear more of the Gospel, the Good News. To continue to build my relationship with God, to continue my faith journey with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Because for the first time, I felt like I was sort of on the right path.
I first wanted to get baptized last June, but I still had a lot of questions. I had a lot of doubt. I was nervous. My friends and co-workers often wonder how I could ever be a Human Resources Professional. I didn’t act like one, let alone a Christian. I was scared that people would judge me. Judged me that I smoked, that I did drugs, told dirty jokes and didn’t know any names or passages in the Bible. I felt a lot of pressure to explain my faith.
So in the end I didn’t get baptized. I don’t regret that year I took to build on my faith, but it sure was a difficult one. In those twelve months my relationship ended, my parents wanted to separate, school was unfulfilling, and work just sucked. I wanted to give up, to just end it all. Sometimes I think that if I didn’t have my faith, I would have. Seeing all the happiness and success around you, you really start to lose hope in yourself. I felt behind in life. I have friends with master’s and PHDs. I could feel the disappointed looks, I felt broken beyond repair. But at 29, it never too late with God. I prayed to God to take away my pain. To guide me back to happiness. I felt hope. I felt a warmth from him, so I gave my life to Him. It was then the weight of my problems lifted away and my broken heart was glued back together by the Holy Spirit. You know that thing I said was missing before? God didn’t just put me back together, He filled the void I had and gave me a church to call home.
So why did this day come, why did I choose to get baptized? When did I make such a huge decision? I relate this to those who are married or engaged. Can you pinpoint when you wanted to marry your partner? Maybe, but it wasn’t just a specific moment that sealed your fate, it was the culmination of every moment before then.
If my faith were like pieces to a puzzle, then they didn’t always fit. The past two months leading up today were truly some of my most difficult. I didn’t know what to do or who to talk to. So, I talked to Him. I leaned on the one who could truly understand. He kept taking away my pain, my thoughts of giving up and taking my own life.
I’ve made mistakes. Lots of them. Even after coming to Christ. But God was with me the whole way, and He has already forgiven me for them. He died for them. He made them “our” problems. He guided me through it. I couldn’t let Him down again. By no means is confessing my faith a free pass now. That’s not how it works. But God gave me hope. He gave me the guidance I needed to continue on. He gave me a reason to hold my head up high.
I’m not perfect, I still struggle, I’m probably the least perfect person to step foot in this church. I’m judgmental, I sin, I lie, I’m lazy and I really should stop telling those dirty jokes. But if Jesus could die to save billions of people before me and the billions after, I started to think to myself, “Maybe he died to save me too”.
So even though I still have questions, I know that God has a place for me in His heart and His plan. I know that He will continue to help me along this less than easy but beautiful gift from Him, that we call life. That I will always have my friends here, my brothers and sisters in Christ and everyone else at Lord’s Love Church.
Romans 10:9-10 says – If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
My baptism today, it’s my way of shouting it out loud. It’s my response to Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection. It’s like Facebook official now. So, when people ask me if I believe in God and that God had sent his son Jesus down to earth to die for our sins, I say, “I do”.