Monday, June 6, 2016

"Born Again:" A testimony of "R"

Note: For some students, placing their faith in Christ means tremendous amounts of family strife and even persecution.   "R" is a student in our ministry who has an amazing story.  Because she is still in the process of communicating to her family about her new life in God, I will not be printing her name.  

"R" wears new jewelry now because she is a Christian and all of her old jewelry was Hindu.  She had images and pieces that had all been consecrated and dedicated to false Hindu "gods". She discarded all of her idols and packed her jewelry in a box on April 29th, as she put her faith in Jesus Christ!   Her Community Group leaders, Anna and Margaret went to the store and bought her some new necklaces.  

I love R's story because in it we can see God's grace working through many different people all throughout the school year.  

It all started last summer, when our own Rachel Chuang sent R a facebook message. We love sending welcome messages to incoming students to let them know that the Body of Christ is alive and active on campus.  R was Hindu, and so she wasn't immediately sure what to think of Rachel's hospitality.  But she said: "Rachel is such a sweet person and we connected and messaged each other over the summer."  When R arrived on Campus Rachel invited her to check out Cru.  God also connected R with another Christian girl who is part of a different fellowship.  It's pretty clear that God had plans for R this year!

I met R back in February when she got invited to our winter retreat.  We sat around the table in a small group and studied the book of Jonah.  I didn't know where R was at spiritually, but I could tell she was really interested in the scriptures!  When she was getting dropped off that evening, she said to me "Thank you."  And then, even though it was the first time that I had ever talked to her she said "I'm not a Christian.  I'm just checking it all out."  I said "That's awesome!  I'm glad you came out this weekend!"  R has always been very open and willing to talk about what she is thinking.

After the Winter Retreat, R began to attend Anna Thompson and Margaret Gao's Cru Community Group on Tuesday nights.   Each week they would hang out, eat together and study the Bible.  R relished the chance to ask questions and engage with other women about the truths of the gospel.  The group meeting on Tuesday April 26 was considerably significant in R's life.  She regards the study that night as the "catalyst" for enabling her to surrender fully and joyfully to Christ.

She recalls, "On that day, we read a portion of Mark’s Gospel regarding how Jesus healed a man who was tormented by the demons known as Legion."   Anna talked about the reality of spiritual warfare and the discussion that night focused on Jesus' supremacy over demonic forces.   R said "The lesson that Anna taught us was that God is all powerful and mighty and demons are nothing compared to God. It was comforting, but I was still afraid. Because that discussion gave me an insight into what I was dealing with since I was a little girl."

She continued, "Ever since I was a little girl, whenever I went to bed, I would feel this oppression. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling. It felt like some kind of force or pressure was pushing down on me throughout the entire length of my body. It was a heavy, uncomfortable atmosphere. I was always afraid. I always went to bed in fear. And that CG meeting made me realize that what I was facing with was most likely a demonic oppression."

The next day, R met up with a Christian friend to talk more about Jesus and her experience of Spiritual warfare.  She said "Our conversation made me realize that in other religions, there are entities such as demons, who portray themselves as gods or goddesses and these are the things that other people in those religions are giving their love, devotion, and life to. Hinduism is heavily, heavily embedded with idol worship and many 'gods/goddesses'—now I call them entities. I was brought up in this environment of idol worship, performing rituals, having those rituals done to me. Although I wasn’t religious, I still respected and prayed to those entities and consequently made attachments to those things. I basically gave reasons for whatever demon/entity that has been oppressing me to stay attached to me. I also realized that this oppression became more pronounced once I started College, which translates to when I started getting involved in Cru. I started to feel more things that I don’t remember feeling such as fingers stroking my head. It now makes sense because when I first joined Cru, I was starting to learn about the Truth, about Jesus Christ, our one and only God…and this thing does not want to let me go."

The next few days were filled with gospel conversations, a whole lot of prayer and an intense spiritual and emotional journey.  At times R felt very oppressed and scared, but in and through prayer things began to shift!  On April 29th at about 1:00 am, R sat in her room with a friend named Sharon.  She took off her Hindu Jewelry and took her idols and bhagavad gita (Hindu guidebook) off of their shelves and proceeded to pray to Christ.  She repented of any and all idol worship and surrendered to Jesus.

The next night, she came out to our Friday night Large group meeting.  Every time someone would ask her how she was doing, she would excitedly answer, "I've been born again!"  It was awesome. At our last Leadership Meeting of the year, we had R share her story! It was an amazing time of celebration as we looked back on the year through R's testimony. The story of God's faithfulness and grace was and is an encouragement to our faith.

Please pray for R as she continues to grow in Christ. Her witness is already very passionate and overt. This summer, she plans to continue to read the scriptures along with a couple of other books like Tim Keller's Reason For God.

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