“I had to keep my faith a secret”
One of our local partners from a Buddhist background writes about the turmoil and joy of following Jesus
The following is a story from one of our local partners in Asia. As you read, you’ll understand why we’ve refrained from sharing her name and location.
I come from a Buddhist family, as do most people from my village. Growing up, there was maybe one Christian in my school.
When I moved to a big city for university, it turned out that my roommate was a Christian. She read her Bible every morning. I started asking her questions about her faith and she introduced me to a woman who worked for a Christian ministry. Through her, I heard the gospel for the first time. Her own story moved me, it made me want to know God more. I decided to follow Jesus in 2014.
I met many other Christians during my time at university, and took part in some mission trips, which I loved. I also got to share the gospel with people I knew, some of whom took the same step as me and followed Jesus. I felt honoured that God would use me like this.
I wanted to tell my parents that I had turned to Jesus, yet I was afraid. One day I found the courage to tell my mum. It could not have gone worse. She became violently angry. I was scared. I cried and asked God to please help me.
The next day I tried talking to my mum again. Her response was even worse than before.
I said to God, “If you are real, show my mum.” I ended up having to promise my mother that I would not go to church anymore. But when I went back to university, I broke this promise and kept my church attendance a secret from her.
The next time I tried to talk to my mother about the difference Jesus had made in my life, she was more hurt than angry. She said she felt she had lost me. It broke my heart. I didn’t want to hurt her but I believed my decision to follow Jesus was the right one. I still don’t want to hurt her, which is why I am keeping my story anonymous now. I left the family house feeling sad. A month later she called me and said it was okay for me to go to church but not to get baptised.
With this compromise agreed, I finished university.
A call to serve
One summer my church sent me to a mission conference. I met many like-minded people, searching for their life’s direction. Some wanted to be pastors or children’s workers or to share Jesus in the business world.
I didn’t know how God wanted me to serve. On the third day of the conference, we prayed for refugees and migrant workers around the world. As I prayed that God would meet their needs, I began to cry. I suddenly had a strong feeling, which I believe was a touch from the Holy Spirit, that I wanted to share God’s love and the gospel with this group of people. When I got home, I said to God that if he wants me to work among refugees, to let me know how.
After two weeks, a man came to my church to share how he is working with refugees in our country. God had answered my prayers. I knew this was the kind of work I wanted to do. But how could I tell my parents I wanted to leave my current job and do this kind of work?
“God is good”
God is good; my parents actually supported my decision. I now work in a faith-based centre for refugees. I teach refugee children from many kinds of cultural and faith backgrounds; some are orphans.
The centre has a girls’ shelter and I am part of this work too – listening to the girls, helping them with basic needs. I hope they can see Jesus in me. I share the gospel where I can, through stories or group activities.
Recently one of the girls came up to me. Like me she comes from another faith background. When she first came to the shelter she was frequently upset and didn’t want to listen to anyone. She started going to a local Sunday school with me and I could see her changing bit by bit. And then one day, she came to me and whispered, “Teacher, I have given my life to Jesus.” She has not been shy or secret about her faith – she has even posted about it on social media.
I see my work as God’s ministry and I thank you for being my partners in this.