Rachel Leung’s Testimony
I’ve been going to Lord’s Love Church for a really long time. I started going to AWANA when I was really young, maybe around 3 years old. My dad is Christian but my mom isn’t, and growing up I didn’t really have many conversations about faith with my parents but my dad would always drive me and Heidi to church. After AWANA I started going to Journey youth group with Heidi on Saturdays. I didn’t start coming on Sundays until I was about grade 7, when Heidi started coming and I just tagged along. I used to be incredibly shy though so during service and also at Journey I kind of just followed Heidi wherever she went and didn’t really talk to people.
Coming to faith was definitely a gradual thing for me. From going to AWANA, Sunday services, Journey, and retreats, I heard the gospel and also how God had worked in other people’s lives. I knew God might exist but I did have a lot of doubts. And back then, school was my top priority and my main focus so personally I did not spend much time seeking God.
In about Grade 10, I did not have much faith in God, I wasn’t even entirely sure if He existed, and I definitely did not have a personal relationship with Jesus. I started getting this fear of death because I was afraid of being judged by God if He turned out to be actually real.
In January of 2020, so almost the second half of grade 10, I started reading the Bible. I don’t remember the exact reason why but it was probably connected to wanting to understand more about Christianity and maybe looking for proof to whether God is real. I read through Genesis then half of Exodus but then it got too confusing.
When the pandemic started, that’s what really made me reflect more. With the sudden stop of school and everything else, it gave me a lot of time to think about where I put my values.
In January 2021, I downloaded the Bible App on my phone. Soon after, I started reading the New Testament. Right now, I actually just finished reading Revelation. When I first started reading I realized that even though I had gone to church for so long, I didn’t know much about the Bible. I would say that what I read definitely wasn’t what I was expecting.
I used provided plans from the Bible App, and from that I found out about Through the Word, an app that provides a short audio guide for each chapter of the Bible. I started using it and that really helped me understand what I was reading and gave me more motivation to keep reading.
Going through the New Testament was when I really started to grow in my faith. It convinced me that God is indeed real and that Jesus did die on the cross to save people. All the stories and letters in the Bible just didn’t seem like they could be made up especially with all the specific details provided and how it just kind of fits with history.
Reading the Bible also made me see how the life I was living was just not right. I saw how my values were in the wrong place, how I was so impatient and constantly annoyed and how so much of what I did was for myself. And I knew that I couldn’t keep living like that. I knew I needed to change but I was powerless to do so. Eventually, as I continued to seek God, I saw how my mindset did start to shift.
Through everything I struggled with a lot of doubt on whether God loves me and whether I was saved. I knew Jesus’ death on the Cross meant the forgiveness of sins, but I had a hard time connecting that with my life. I knew Jesus saved others but I doubted whether his sacrifice was actually for me as well. I think a lot of that doubt stemmed from a sin in my life that had been affecting me for a really long time and that kept making me feel a lot of guilt and shame.
Probably because of that doubt on whether God loves me, I really wanted to talk to someone about faith. (I guess besides Heidi because I did talk to her but she didn’t always have all the answers so she encouraged me to talk to someone else as well). I was kind of too afraid to go ask anyone so it took me a really long time to actually reach out, but eventually, this January, with encouragement from Heidi, I asked Lovelle if we could call to talk sometime and we ended up doing that. We met up a few more times after and talking to her was really helpful because she was able to answer a lot of the questions I had.
I also ended up calling Jermane in April, initially just to ask her about her story and how she came to faith but I actually ended up telling her about the sin that I had struggled with for a long time. Talking about it was really freeing and it kind of lifted this burden that I felt I had. That’s when I actually started understanding God’s grace.
I also called with Queenie in April, then with Joyce in May. Each time, as I talked with people, God erased more and more of my doubt on whether He loves me.
I started seeing how God was working in my own life and saw how a lot of my prayers were answered. Like how two years ago I struggled with insomnia but after I asked Lovelle to pray for me, I gradually started sleeping well again. And there was also the Bible plan on the book of Matthew that I did with Madeline. I remember when I asked her to do it with me in October or November last year, I really didn’t know how it was going to go, and I remember thinking to myself that if something actually came out of it, it would be God’s doing. And now last month me and Madeline finished going through the book together and I think we were both able to learn a lot through that.
As to when I actually believed in Jesus, and believed that he died to save me from my sins, I’m not really sure. I know before like one or two years ago I used to tell my friends I was a Christian just because I went to church but looking back that wasn’t really true. I think around April or May is when I would have started calling myself a believer.
I think it wasn’t until the day after the first baptism class in mid-May that I made this conscious decision to follow Jesus. I still wasn’t that sure if I was ready for baptism yet though, and I’ll be honest, part of me was still kind of doubting. But I ended up calling Reverend Doug and that made me think of all that God has done and I just couldn’t say He hasn’t been working in my life. And if He is working in my life, then He is watching over me and He does love me. And that’s kind of when I decided to get baptized.
And yeah so here I am now. I think before I thought that when I accepted Christ everything would make sense and I wouldn’t struggle with anything anymore and now I know I was wrong because there are still things I struggle with. I still see ways I need to change but I know that God will continue to work in my life and guide me. I choose to follow Jesus and to trust him and to keep seeking him because he is ultimately the only one who can fulfill me.
Victor Xuan’s Testimony
Hello everyone, my name is Victor and this is my testimony. Let me first share about my life before I started coming to church and developing a relationship with Christ.
My life before I came to faith felt like I was just existing, not knowing the meaning of life and feeling very lost. I grew up with immigrant parents who didn’t know how to speak English and my Cantonese wasn’t that good. There was always this language barrier between my parents and I. I could never really share emotional thoughts with my parents or have a proper conversation with them without struggling or altering the meaning of what I was trying to say. As a result, I was not emotionally close with my family. I just dealt with problems on my own or let them go away. I never really had support as I do now with God and the church community. I grew up as a normal child just like everyone else, unfortunately, one day my life changed when my Dad was diagnosed with an illness and it became terminal. He passed away leaving my Mom, my sister, and I. I grew up without a father figure in my life and my mom was left to raise us. I’m so grateful that she raised us right and never gave up even though my sister and I weren’t the most well-behaved kids. No matter what I will always be grateful to my Mom and Dad, for leaving their life behind in China to immigrate to a foreign country, Canada, for starting a family here so that my sister and I could have a better future.
As I grew up I knew I wasn’t like the other kids at school because I only had one parent and our family didn’t have much money. Despite not having much, I’m still grateful for everything I had growing up, a loving family, a roof over my head, clean water to drink, and enough food to eat. What else could you need right? As I matured and made my way through high school, I always felt very lost and questioned the meaning of life. I thought to myself we’re all born, go to school, get a degree, maybe start a family, work full time till we’re 65 years old, retire and that’s the end of life. I always thought to myself: “There must be something more to life, what is our purpose?” As I got older I questioned the purpose of life more and more.
Where my life changed is when I started my faith journey. My journey from growing up in a non-religious family to having faith in God started in 2019. That year one of my friends, Anthony Tang invited me to retreat with the Journey Youth. He told me it was a Christian camp before I signed up and that not many “Christian” practices would be taking place. At first, I found it extremely odd that we were honoring this God by singing worship songs and praying. I thought to myself: “Who was this Jesus?” Strangely enough, even though I didn’t know who Jesus was and how much I would eventually come to realize how much I needed Him, I felt his presence throughout the retreat. I felt that something, someone was looking out for me and protecting me. It was a strange but comforting feeling. I can now confirm that that must have been the presence of God. After the retreat I didn’t continue coming to church or the journey youth program, I just didn’t think I could commit myself. Even though some of my other friends who got invited to retreat with me kept attending the Journey Youth program, I didn’t continue going. I felt that I would be going for the sake of my friends and not actually intending to form a connection with God, whether He was real or not. It was either I was fully committed or not at all.
After the retreat with Journey, I returned to my normal life, and around late 2020 to early 2021, I felt like I wanted to make an effort and learn about who this Jesus was. I had so many questions such as: What about other religions? Are they complete nonsense? Why Christianity? If God is so great why does he allow bad things to happen to good people? I was almost afraid to ask questions because I didn’t want to come off as rebellious or disrespectful so I asked a friend: Cady, who first gave me some answers but couldn’t answer all of my questions. She referred me to Pastor Howard, we called over Zoom a couple of times where we discussed my faith-related questions. That time was right when the Alpha course started, June 2021. Howard recommended I sign up for the Alpha Course, a course where you learn about the basics of Christianity and who Jesus is, specifically designed for new believers like me. I attended the Alpha course with an open mind, not expecting much from it. During the Alpha course, we listened to other people’s stories and how they had come to faith, and how they have been changed by God. We learned about who Jesus is, why He’s our Lord and Saviour, and most importantly we got to ask and discuss our many questions. There, I met Reverend Doug who ran the course, who is so approachable, kind, warm, and welcoming. He’s helped me grow so much spiritually. I can confidently say that without him, I don’t think I would be here today reading my testimony to everyone. After the Alpha course concluded, I started to attend Sunday service which was held online and eventually in person when covid restrictions lifted. Eventually, Doug and I started meeting biweekly for me to discuss my faith questions. We started going through a book together called: Starting Point by Andy Stanley, which is a conversation guide book about faith aimed at new believers to understand where they are at their beliefs and to learn about simple topics such as: what Sin is, what grace is, who Jesus is, and much more.
I knew I had accepted Christ into my life when I had subconsciously started praying to God whenever I was going through a hard time or even felt grateful for something good going on in my life. I’ve also gained a new perspective on life since I gained faith in God that I believe He has given me. Being able to feel grateful for everything I have: most importantly God, my friends and family, and the church community. From time to time I think about the Church and how I feel that I belong to this community, this family that I could never walk away from. During Sunday services, I’d always feel the Holy Spirit work within me. Singing along to worship songs gave me joy and goosebumps. It became “official” on April 4, 2022, when I had accepted Jesus into my life. That day Doug and I had our scheduled meetings where we caught up and talked about where I was with my faith over lunch. When he drove me home he asked me if I had accepted Jesus into my life and I had responded “yes I have.” Hearing the news he prayed for me to receive God and it became official! During that prayer, as Doug would call it the salvation prayer or believers prayer, I felt this feeling of peace and joy but at the same time, I felt almost emotional in a good way. Since then I wondered if I was ready to be baptized if I was ready for the next step of commitment towards my relationship with God. The thought of baptism kept coming to my mind and I finally decided to take that leap of faith. Here I am today telling you all my story.
Ephesians 2:4-5 has really spoken to me. It says, “4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” I know that even though I didn’t do anything to deserve God’s grace, He has given me mercy and has saved me through eternal salvation the moment I had faith in Him. I know that I am a broken, sinful human being and so need God in my life.
My life since attending Church, forming a relationship with Jesus, and being a part of the Lord’s Love Church family has changed for the better. I feel so much hope and joy for my life going forward, knowing that God has a purpose for me. Knowing that He was the ultimate sacrifice, dying on the cross for our sins, that we are all saved by His grace. I know that even though I didn’t have a biological father to teach me and guide me as I grew up, I still have our good, good father Jesus Christ walking alongside me for the rest of eternity. I acknowledge that even though I now have accepted God into my life, life won’t be “perfect” and that there will still be ups and downs. I know that I will struggle with my faith from time to time. But I just know that no matter what God will be with me. Today I accept you, Jesus, you have saved me.