When I was a young boy, life was amazing to me. I am blessed with two loving parents, three brothers and a sister. I always recall being a very happy child and even from a young age I knew that there must have been a creator. I had a picture bible and I always loved reading it. My mum used to tell me the story of how I was a miracle baby, that before me my mother very sadly had miscarriages and so I am so thankful for my life and I believe that even from the day that God knit me in my motherís womb, He had a plan for me. Even though I wasnít to know this plan until I was 16 years old and even today God is gradually showing me the things he has in store for my life.
I've always been unsure on my beliefs to be honest. I would go through phases where I would believe God was there and other times of trouble I wanted nothing to do with God and I thought to myself if God is such a loving God then why am I experiencing such suffering. But never before had I really had a daily relationship like I do today. Once or twice I had gone to church before, but as a young boy I had no desire to be there at all as I thought that Christianity was just another religion that teaches you certain rules and tries to improve your behaviour and to be honest I thought I had good morals and I did not think I was in any way a bad person, so for me church seemed almost pointless. Religion teaches that there are two types of people, good and bad people and the more 'good' things you do, the better person you are, and the more 'bad' things you do then you are a worse person, however the reality is that everyone is sinful and we are in need of a saviour (Romans 3:23) and holiness comes from intimacy with God and being set apart for His purposes, it's not about how many good deeds you do each day, this comes later on as you accept Christ and live for Him in holiness, but I wasn't to know this truth until later. The only thing I went to church for was to make my parents happy and sometimes Sunday school was good fun, and even then, I only went to church now and then and not on a regular basis. As I said, my parents did not regularly go to church but having said that, they did have some degree of faith in a God. Even though within me I thought that there was a God I did not know how to reach this God so I continued going my own way which included playing a lot of sport. Badminton at the ages of 13-16 was my life. Fortunately for me I seem to pick up sports quite easily and I had already played basketball, football and cricket, but badminton was different. In the first few years of playing the sport I progressed really quickly and I went from a beginner to playing for the county, and not only this but I was sometimes training six times a week along with traveling the country every weekend to compete in national tournaments. Looking back, I can see how God has used badminton in my life to draw me closer to Him. Firstly, I remember that my uncle and I would always have long conversations about God when he took me to badminton once or twice a week which was a good 1 hour drive away. Even then I was amazed at my uncle and the relationship he had with Jesus who wasnít his religion but his saviour. I developed a hunger and thirst for God and would always ask my uncle about the experiences and encounters that he had as a Christian. At this point in my life, today and I know for my future that my uncle will always be praying for me. I look back and now can see the effect of his prayers which led to my salvation.
Although I absolutely loved my badminton, there was a massive void in my life that whatever I did could not be filled. That is where I searched for other ways of finding this God I longed to encounter. I remember being in my teenage years and I started to become slightly interested in Buddhism and what it taught so I was soon to get a poster of the Dalai Lamaís teachings on my bedroom wall and even after this I was still very empty. Even though I was empty, I was a very happy boy through my childhood and early teenage years. I had my life already planned out: I would leave school and hopefully go to Denmark where my mother is from, to play badminton professionally. Little did I know at this point that soon I would have an encounter with Jesus Christ that would change my life forever.
Not long after I had started secondary school, I realised that I wasnít really a good person at all like I previously had imagined. Looking back, I can see how God was convicting me of my sinful life and making me realise that I needed a saviour, although I did not recognise this at the time. Matthew 9:13 (NLT) "....For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners." In those early teenage years, I got into the wrong friendship groups. I remember countless of times being sent out of class, swearing with my friends and being not very kind to other people. I would always hide my detention slips in my bag, copy my mumís signature and then tell her I had sports after school, which she believed.
After my first year at secondary school, I became good friends with a girl named Chelsea who happened to be a born again Christian and like my uncle, I admired her faith and relationship with God so much that I desired what she had. Despite this hunger in my life, I was still in the wrong friendship groups and behaving badly.
I believe that God then really started to pursue me and at this point in my life the devil also became afraid at what God was doing in me. When I reached year 9 at 14 years old I begun to go to a youth group with Chelsea. The only reason I went was because she went and I wanted to please her and I thought it might be a good way to create better friends and have some fun. The youth group was called ypf (young peopleís fellowship) and from the very first time I went, I loved it, so I would go every week. While God was gradually drawing me to himself, the devil was soon to try and lead me of Godís path. One day, at school Chelsea told me to pray the sinnerís prayer which I prayed along with her. To be perfectly honest, the motive in praying this prayer was not right: I wanted to impress her and be like her and also I had a desire to change my lifestyle. After praying this prayer, I felt no change in my life. I still had the same friends and was living the same life. At the end of year 9 at 14 years old I really hit rock bottom, and it was as if the devil knew that I was getting too close to God for his liking so he threw in this massive trial which made life painful for 6 months.
It started when one day I was walking home from school with my friends (those who were ungodly and who did not go to the youth group). They started talking about witchcraft and the Ouija board. Up to this point in my life, I thought that all this kind of thing was just a myth and I did not believe it myself. I thought that witchcraft was only something to do with harry potter, pointy hats and broomsticks. I did not know that the devil was real and that he opposed Godís people. That afternoon I went back with my friends and they wanted me to do the Ouija board with them and after this I left my friends and went back home fear completely flooding me. I remember the voice of the Holy Spirit inside of me say that this is not for you, you are mine.
After this experience, I became depressed, anxious and spiritually attacked for roughly six months. These six months were very painful, but God was there beside me every step of the way. I remember not being able to sleep at night and I remember that eating became very hard; this worry was always with me and at this time in my life at 14 years old I used to self harm and I even had suicidal thoughts. The devil made me feel so isolated that I did not know what to do.
One evening, I went once again to the youth group with Chelsea who did not know my pain. That night I spoke to the leaders (Alison and Rachel) telling them all that happened. Afterwards, they prayed for me and I canít explain why, but I started to laugh in the Spirit despite all of my inner pain. It was like fresh water bubbling on the inside of me which I later found in the bible in John 4:14. That night was the first time I encountered God, although I wasnít fully baptised in the Holy Spirit I felt Godís love wash over me and I realised the very nature of God, which I had once perceived as God being angry, mad and not caring. Nothing could be further from the truth as our God is completely loving, compassionate and caring. I then realised that the character of Jesus was completely in line with the Fatherís heart for mankind. In fact, Jesus was sent to truly show us who the Father is and to pay for our sins which was the barrier between us and an all loving Father! What an amazing God He is I thought!
This encounter was truly God capturing my heart and showing me how He felt about me. In spite of this encounter, the devil resisted even more and the depression continued along with all its side effects. That summer holiday of 2011 was very painful as I felt so isolated even from my family who I couldnít explain my hurt to. Even though they were so loving I knew that the only one who could ever heal me was Jesus Christ, because everything else I tried to do to overcome these feelings had not worked so it was either Jesus Christ would heal me or I did not know how much longer I could live like this.
In this summer holiday, when I was in the midst of pain and depression, I remember the still small voice of the Holy Spirit say to me to start reading the bible. Godís timing is perfect because only a few weeks before my troubles my uncle had given me my first proper bible which was an NIV. So starting at Matthew and reading the whole of the New Testament, I began my pursuit of God in the bible. As I continued in my pain, I remember the only hope I experienced was when I was feeding of Godís word. I couldnít believe how much God was speaking to me! Not only did God deeply love me, but He wanted a personal relationship with me and He always wanted to speak to me when I opened my bible! Today, I read, meditate and study Godís word every day and I read it from Genesis to Revelation, because I know that the power in the Scriptures can transform a life (Hebrews 4:12) as it did mine!
In this period of about six months being depressed and attacked by the devil, I remember Godís comfort through His word to me! In this time God really opened my eyes to the Spiritual realm. God showed me that the devil is real but that God is far above the devil in power and that the devil is a defeated foe because of what Jesus did on the cross, and therefore he knows that he doesnít have much time left to try and deceive people, before Jesus returns.
Within this time, I knew who Jesus was and that God loved me but I had not yet made a commitment to following Him and accepting what He did on the cross for me. My focus, at this time, was not on Christ but upon my terrible situation. However, One day I remember being at the darkest point of my life and praying: ďJesus if you are real, come and set me free! Heal me Lord! I can no longer live like this!Ē I truly cried out to God, and prayed from the depths of my being for help because I was so desperate for God and hungry for Him!
After this, I started my next year at school and when I turned 15 I gave my life to Jesus being completely healed and delivered from all my past hurt! How amazing! Satanís best attempts to destroy me and God used it so that I may know Christ Jesus who is the Lord and saviour of all! I truly was a new creation and I experienced what the bible talks about being transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light! And all this happened, not by my good works but by my faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ! At this point of being completely free from depression, oppression and all worry I truly knew that the devilís work had been defeated in my life! I now look back and see that the things my friends were about to step into (drugs, alcohol, sex) were things that God rescued me from by His grace!
Acts 10:38 (NASB) "You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.Ē
Revelation 12:11 (NASB) "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimonyÖ.Ē
After having come through this stage in my life I went from being in bondage, to completely on fire for Jesus! I became very zealous because of how much I was set free and I would read the bible and pray for extended periods of time! I noticed such a change in my life; relationally, emotionally and spiritually! At the age of 15 I was baptised and not long after this I was baptised in the Holy Spirit and I received the gift of speaking in tongues! This changed my life as the bible started to become alive as I read it daily and my prayer life developed from a few words to praying much more and I enjoyed praying! As well as this, the baptism of the Holy Spirit allowed me to share Jesus with friends more effectively which before I found hard to do.
At the age of 16 God challenged me to really die to self and to give up some of the things I was doing so that I could see His work in my life. Up to this point, badminton was still my passion and God really blessed me with this sport, but it came to a point where I believe that God had another plan for my life. I said earlier, I wanted to become a professional badminton player, however this was not Godís will. After battling with myself for some time I felt that I should give God His rightful place in my heart as number one! So I decided to give up badminton and surrender more of myself to Jesus. Although it was difficult, God blessed me beyond anything I could have imagined! I spent more time in fellowship with Christian brothers and sisters and I felt a huge burden leave me! Ever since I opened myself up to more of God and surrendered more of myself to Him I felt the lifelong call to be an evangelist and a missionary which at first shocked me. I thought that God surely would want to use someone more qualified than me. He begun to speak to me through the bible about this calling and soon after this, people prophesied over my life confirming my call to be a missionary, an evangelist and a leader.
Since then, I have begun to step out in this calling and I have grown in my faith! I have begun to step out in more of the gifts of the Holy Spirit including prophecy, words of knowledge and healing etc. I went on my first mission trip to Poland and was amazed at all God was doing and I believed that He further confirmed my call to mission through this trip!
Since becoming a Christian my life has changed so much and I give all the glory to God! When I allowed Him to work in my life He has truly cleansed me of every sin and bondage. I used to be bound by lust, anger and much more and through His grace God has freed me!
One thing I always thought about Christianity was that it was following rules and regulations. Little did I know about a personal relationship with Jesus himself and being baptised in the Holy Spirit, which I had heard from my uncle who has been a huge encouragement to my faith. From this I found a new way of dealing with problems, I had noticed a complete change of my approach to life, then I knew how Jesus completely transforms lives from the saddest of times to a happiness only God gives and freely and out of grace through Jesus.
Jesus has changed my life and has been with me through the tough and the joyful moments of my life. I have learnt now to trust in God, because the journey he takes me on may seem difficult but God always works for Good, so I know where he is leading me.
A relationship with Jesus and Jesus' love does not compare with Earthly joy. God has given me such a blessing in all the family I have and the wonderful people, who have helped me along this journey, which I know is only beginning.
Ephesians 3:20 (NASB) ďNow to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within usĒ
Romans 8:28 (NASB) ďAnd we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.Ē
Philippians 4:13 (NASB) ďI can do all things through Him who strengthens me.Ē
Luke 1:37 (NASB) ďFor nothing will be impossible with God.Ē
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