22 July 2006

Ask for testimonies and they come... Here's one from Nikki completely unedited...

hey guys,
it's nikki. Just thought i'd share my rather long testimony with all of you!

I'll start my testimony with a short background of myself and how I was brought up. I'm the middle child of three and I grew up in a loving middle-class family. My dad's Thai and mum's chinese and we were brought up as free-thinkers. Dad never imposed any religion on us but he made sure that we respected all religions. In primary, I went to a Catholic Missionary School. St. George's and it was there that I came to know Jesus for the very first time. My parents supported me and bought me a gold crucifix necklace. But I never really understood Catholicism. I just thought it was fun to sing songs. Fast forward to 2001, my Dad passes away and I was left questioning everything. During that point in my life, religion was not part of me or my family.

When my Dad died, I was angry. I was angry at the circumstances of how he left us and at whoever had taken him away. I was angry at him. A year passed, and I remember just going through life like it didn't mean anything. I was an empty shell.

Not long after, a friend of mum's reached out to her and invited her to go to bible study. I could see the subtle changes in her the more she went. So we started going to church while I was in Form 5. Though I tagged along, I never accepted it. I didn't want to and I wasn't ready to. I had set up a wall between me and everything else. But in hindsight, God was already reaching out to me and blessing me. Form 5 was an extremely stressful year for me. I knew that there was no way my mum could afford to send me to college and I knew getting a scholarship was the only way that I continue my studies.

A chance meeting was all it took ...It was on a Sunday, mum and I were at the 2nd service and she was contemplating whether or not she should go to Auntie Haslin's house for Hari Raya. She told me that something was nagging her to go and so we went. It was there that I met Uncle Boon Keat who just happened be in town. He knew my father and we started talking. He asked about my studies and my plans for the future. I explained my situation and he told me to email him as soon as I got my results. I did. And he gave me a full scholarship allowing me to pursue my studies. It was when those things started happening that I knew God was looking out for me. It was then that I embraced him fully, with arms wide open. I let my defenses down and let Jesus into my life.

When I left Brunei and went to KL. I told myself that I was going to continue going to Church and that I was going to grow spiritually. But I never did. Three years passed and I never did. I had a Christian classmate, Esther, who reached out to me on many occasions and each time, I turned her away. I never denied being a Christian but I was the biggest hypocrite there ever was. I made fun of other Christians and I always made excuses. I made excuses not to go to Church or to go to Fellowship meetings in College. I thought if I went I would be deemed 'uncool'. I indulged myself in things I knew were wrong but I did so because I wanted to fit in. I didn't want to be an outcast. I chose society's acceptance of me over Jesus. But I prayed. I prayed whenever I wanted something and whenever I needed help. I never thought I could be capable of such selfishness but obviously I was.

Eventhough I turned away from Him, he continued to bless me, I entered into competitions which I did well in and I graduated with a 3.91 GPA at the top of my class, the only one with first class honours. That really opened my eyes and gave me a right smack in the head. You see, I spent most of my last college year skipping classes and I thought that there was no chance that they'd award a truant first class honours. Everyone thought so. Studies were my top priority because I was on scholarship. And I needed to get the honours to prove to my benefactors that I was worthy of it. I thought my life would be over if I didn't get it. That's why it was a real shock when they called out my name and announvced the results. I thanked God immediately because I knew how lucky I was and how much God loves me even though I let Him down.

I came back to Brunei and I vowed to never repeat what had happened in KL. I promised God that I would never turn away from Him and I that I would keep the fire burning strong for Him. But I always felt an incredible sense of guilt whenever I worshipped Him or whenever I prayed. I just couldn't forget how I had disappointed Him, and how much I had wronged Him. Youth Camp was extremely emotional for me. Everything Pastor Kenneth preached about made perfect sense. On the third night, he spoke of an exemplary student who went to Taylor's College for 3 years, who made excuses after excuses, putting studies above all else. I cried because whatever he had described, I knew it all too well, because he was describing me. During the Altar Call that night I begged for forgiveness. Pastor Kenneth, when he prayed for me, told me to "Fear not. He is with you." Again I felt guilt. I felt so unworthy. I just couldn't let go of the mistakes that I had made.

The last Altar Call is the one that I'll never forget. Pastor Kenneth told us about letting go of all the emotional baggage in our lives. I prayed. I told Him that I couldn't let go. It was an internal struggle and I cried so hard. The last time I cried like that was when my Dad died 5 years ago. I couldn't let go of all the things that were holding me back; the guilt, the anger, the resentment, the regret. After Teck and Auntie Dona prayed for me, I stood there and I stopped crying. I was going to try to let it go. At that moment, I told God that I'm going to let it all go and I'm going to put my life in His Hands and I'm going to trust him. I couldn't stop smiling after that! Uncle Ben came to me and he placed his hand on my forehead and started praying for me and I fell. I just felt weak and all I could hear was my own voice telling me "Let it go. Leave it on the floor." I blacked out. As soon as I hit the floor, I felt something pulling me up. The thought that was going through my head was "Rise now and we shall walk together." I felt light. I felt happy! It was an amazing experience!!

I understand now that it was the Holy Spirit anointing me and speaking to me. After that baptism, I found myself suddenly praying in tongue whenever I prayed. I was taken aback and I never said it out loud. It was coming from within my heart and it was just natural. But I wasn't sure of it. I mean.. me? speaking in tongue? Are you sure?!? Then we had a prayer session for the baptism of the Holy Spirit as part of the Foundation Class. When Reverend Johnny prayed for me, I felt like I was being told "Just say it out loud. Don't be afraid to use my gift to you". I opened my mouth and it poured out! I was sweating and I didn't understand what I was saying but it just went on and on as if I had spoken it all my life!

God really is awesome! I am so thankful for everything in my life. My whole life and everything that I have, I owe them to Him. I guess the main message that I want to share is that, no matter what, God will always love you and God has already forgiven you. There's no need to feel guilty. Just love Him as much as He loves you! You have to be ready for the battles and tests ahead and I pray that you won't fail them as I have. Stay strong in your love for Him and you will overcome them! He will always be with you.

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