This year, celebrating Christmas has a special meaning for me.
September 17, 2006, I got baptized at
Spirit of Life Bible Church in Woodbury.
As I look back at my life and think about the journey that led me to this event, many people and many things come to my mind.
and growing up during the Cultural Revolution, I didn’t know anything about
God. Christianity and churches were verboten. But I did have the fortune to see
God’s love in action, even for only a brief period of time. China
I was an above average student in an average high school in my neighborhood. I wanted to go to college. But I didn’t have much chance to go to a good university if I stayed in that high school.
Before my last year in high school, I heard about a good English teacher Mr. Sheng Xuanguang in a different high school. Many of his students were accepted by top universities. He had a good reputation. I wanted to be his student.
My Mother was a math teacher in my own High School. She talked to some teachers and helped me in the process of transfer. After an interview, Teacher Sheng accepted me into his class.
As I look back now, I realize that this single step changed my life forever.
Mr. Sheng was my English teacher for one year. He was not only the best and most dedicated teacher, but also the most giving and humble person I have ever known in my life.
He spent all his time and efforts on his students. He was in the classroom tutoring his students from early morning till late in the evening, even on some weekends.
He used his own meager salary to buy books and school supplies for his students. He regularly visited his students at home to meet their parents. Yet for all his giving, he never accepted anything in return from any students or parents.
But at that time, like most people, I thought he was just a very good person – although also very unique and odd, out of ordinary. Only many years later, I found out he was a Christian. His father was a minister and he went to a Christian college himself.
Teacher Sheng never talked about God, but he showed me through his action what God is. His first name means in Chinese shining light. His shining light has lit my way on my spiritual journey.
After graduating from college, I went to
in 1986. Germany
One day while walking on the street, a Christian invited me to his Church. Mr. Christian Schlicksupp took me to churches many times and spent time with me studying Bible. To this day, he still keeps in touch with me and prays for me. He sends me birthday card and holiday greetings every year.
Since then I have gone to churches on and off. I have done Bible studies with a few people, such as Randy Luke from Oak Park, Illinois, and most recently, Lisa and Todd Hyland from Spirit of Life Bible Church in Woodbury.
I was interested in Bible studies, but because of my atheistic background, my heart and eyes were closed.
When my son and daughter were three and two years old, I decided to take them to Sunday school. I wanted them to grow up with faith and know God, not have to experience the confusion and struggle that I had to experience.
I found the closest church to my house and took my kids there every Sunday. I stayed with them in their tiny Sunday school classroom.
One year later, that small church moved to a different location. I took my kids to a bigger church that we got to know through VBS in the summer. Again, I took them to Sunday school every week and stayed with them. The adult Sunday service wasn’t attractive to me.
Then during Woodbury Day 2004, I stopped at Spirit of Life Bible Church booth. I was invited to an 8 week study based on Rick Warren’s bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. My kids and I liked this new church and we stayed with it after the 8 week study was completed.
I was impressed by Pastor Frank Sanders of Spirit of Life. I was touched by his helpful and easy to understand messages. Gradually my spiritual eyes are opened, and my heart and mind are opened.
Two years after I started going to Spirit of Life, I made the decision to be baptized.
Now I believe that God is the creator of the universe. Man is created in God's image and filled with his spirit. A human being is a spiritual being living in a physical body.
I believe in life after death; whoever believes in God will have eternal life. I believe only God can transform my life and give me everlasting love, joy and peace.
There are so many people who have helped me along the way as I grow in my faith. I am forever grateful to them.