It was after I had been in Germany for half a year that I felt God’s call to become His disciple during a communion meeting. It has been more or less a year since, but in all honesty my lifestyle has not really been in keeping with the grace God gave me. I never really produced any of the fruit of eternal life.
As a stranger in a foreign land, I felt the days drag on in my life in Germany. I increasingly felt like I had lost my way, and spent every day immersed in computer games, watching anime, and the internet. I had no way to get myself free. The first thing I would do whenever I returned home each day was to turn on the computer without any reason to do so. It had already become such an unconscious habit that it seemed as if I could only feel settled if my hand was on the mouse.
Flash forward to August of this year; I was preparing for baptism. During the pre-baptism meetings,
I gave my best rendition of the presentation I had prepared for the pastors and confidently answered all of their questions using Bible references. I was so sure that I had done a good job but my pastor said that I had completely misunderstood everything.
Afterwards my already ailing devotional life became even more of a mess. I couldn’t bring myself to read more than just a couple of pages in the Bible and when I came to pray it was as if there were a cloth blocking up my mouth rendering me unable to speak. During a prayer meeting, one of the sisters sensed that there was something wrong with me. Kneeling down she took hold of my hand and with tears asked me over and over, ‘Don’t you realise that God loves you? Every day He counts the number of hairs on your head! Don’t you know that He loves you?’ At that time I had no courage to give her the answer, ‘No, I don’t know’.
The following day I plucked up the courage to go and talk about my problems with a brother. I had heard that he had also been addicted to the internet but God had given him the victory. I kept an open mind as I listened to his testimony of how God had given him strength. He shared the scripture about comforting others with the comfort we ourselves have received, and although I couldn’t argue with him I couldn’t see in my heart how it could work for me. He said that I had been bound by the world, computer games and anime and that there was no love for God in my heart. I didn’t have an answer. He said, ‘Are you willing to give up computer games and anime to follow the Lord?’ At that moment I suddenly remembered that the following month there was a new game being released which I had already been waiting ages for. Suddenly my heart twisted up into a knot. That was the first time I realised what it really meant to die to self. You really have to take both hands and break yourself into pieces. I kept repeating ‘I can’t do it, I can’t do it’. In tears I prayed to the Lord saying, ‘I’m willing to give up the games but I can’t do I in my own strength. Please will you help me.’ Praise God He is faithful; the Holy Spirit came into my heart. All of a sudden I felt it wouldn’t be hard at all, as if I had never played a computer game or seen an anime show before in my life. Such a peace flowed into my heart that I had never experienced before. It was like a little child being lifted up into his father’s arms. I a split second I felt just like the small child who had once run up to me and showed me his most precious toy which he had been waiting a long time to be given. He had said to me, ‘big brother look at my new toy, isn’t it great?’ I suddenly understood what that brother had meant when he talked about God comforting us with His comfort. I also finally felt I could answer that sister’s question; yes I know now, God is love.
I thank God, when I got home I had absolutely no desire to turn on the computer. It’s now been more than a month and even though I haven’t deleted any of my games and those icons are still on my desktop, I haven’t even had the thought to open them. My housemate was amazed when he saw that I wasn’t playing games anymore. Previously, whenever he opened my door I would have been in heat of battle on the computer, so I shared my testimony of what had happened. I had tried to encourage him to put his faith in God many times before but it had always ended in an argument. I was always on the verge of just telling him outright that he wasn’t saved, but on that day I didn’t say a word; he just said to me that from the looks of things God is pretty impressive, and he decided that he should go and read the Bible! Words can’t express the gratitude which filled my heart towards the Lord. Thank you God, Hallelujah!
A few days later a group of us went with the pastor to Ratingen for the Life Impact Conference. Before we set out, I said to the Lord that I wanted to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and had prayed in faith for this to happen with some of the brothers and sisters. One of the sisters told me that she felt that during the conference I would definitely be baptized in the Holy Spirit and I was happy to accept that as a word from God. 5 days and 4 nights into the conference, I had already received a lot but the baptism in the Holy Spirit still hadn’t happened. Day one – nothing; day two – also nothing; day three – still nothing; I was starting to get worried. It was the last day and we would be leaving at lunchtime. Why is it that nothing happened when I had been praying so much in faith? At that point a brother asked me if I believed. I said that I did, and he told me to confess it louder. Actually I said it again, but quieter. When he asked me a third time I realized how weak my faith really was. I had thought I’d managed to raise my faith level a lot but in actual fact I didn’t really believe at all. On day four I was feeling very lost and was talking things over with one of the brothers. I was talking for most of the day, but one thing he said broke right through to the heart of the problem: Prayer is my responsibility, carrying it out is God’s responsibility. God is faithful to answer prayer,
and all I need to do is believe. I thank God for putting is words into my brother’s mouth. Immediately my heart was full of peace. During the testimony meeting that evening, brothers and sisters were coming up one by one to share their testimonies, and although I still hadn’t received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, I had no more doubt in my heart. When that brother asked me again if I believed, I could answer very surely, ‘yes I believe.’
God is faithful and he always keeps his promises, hallelujah! After the testimony meeting, one of the brothers prayed for me and I was filled with the Holy Spirit. I didn’t know what my tongue was saying, but the tears just continued to flow down my face. When I got home I had a video chat with my mother. I’d shared the gospel many times with her before but she had come up with every kind of reason to dismiss it. This time I shared my testimony with her and as I was speaking God suddenly put his words into my mouth. I said, ‘Mum do you know that God says “see I lay a stone in Zion that causes men to stumble but the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame”. I thank God who has the power to turn people’s hearts around. Now my mum also wants to read the Bible and I’m hoping someone will be able to lead her in a Bible study.
Thank you Lord for giving me the opportunity to write down my testimony! When I look back, I really was superficial in my faith and had no real understanding of the Bible. I used to think that apart from the sin of not knowing the Lord I didn’t have any other sins. Now I recognize that I’m sinful from head to toe, but God still has mercy on me. The fact that my baptism was postponed for two months really was God’s grace. During that period of time he did a fresh work of moulding me into someone who looks a lot more like a Christian. I hope that this small testimony might be a help to other brothers and sisters so that we might build each other up and keep watch over one another, because even though the storms may be great, our God is still King. Amen!