written by Daniel, a student from Timor Leste
How can we change our old ways of living to that of new ways? Our efforts will not be sufficient to defeat darkness. Even more so if we have memories that will not let us go until we die. I struggled with such memories that haunted me.
As I witnessed fellow friends deciding to follow God fully, I also felt inspired to do so. At the same time, I felt an inner hunger and emptiness; I felt like I was about to drown. One night, I began to desire reading the Word of God. As I walked down the street that night, I reached a crossroad, and I turned in the direction of a staff’s house. I asked him if we can study the Word together and he gladly accepted. Our journey of studying the whole of Luke’s Gospel took us around five months.
Throughout the study I was inspired by the character of Jesus and how people’s lives were changed after encountering him. I saw how Jesus restores dignity in people – like when he healed the blind. I also saw how these people were truly moved by what Jesus did to them. What made a strong impression on me is that Jesus came from above to live a simple life among others. He did not choose to live like a performing magician. I learned that the key to transformation in my life is to have FAITH in Jesus.
Reading Luke’s gospel changed my way of thinking. I understood that life is not just about knowing God in our head but also knowing him in our heart. I learned to open up my life for Jesus to fill me and shine his light in me. I also began to realize that it would be unfair to keep quiet about what the Holy Spirit had done in me.
I started to notice friends around me with the same hunger to read the Word; the topic of life and God kept popping up in our conversations and on social media. So we gladly decided to form a small Bible study group. I have seen changes in my friends – they have new values in life and see life differently than they did in their old ways of living.
As I know Christ more, Jesus is helping to sort through the baggage that I accumulated from my past by sweeping them under the carpet. It is a sweet and painful experience. Although it is a painful, I know Christ is with me and this process is necessary to live a righteous life. It is like an ongoing work in progress with Jesus until the day I meet him. I call this process: “transformation is not just about change but construction”.
testimony translated from Tetun language