My first time hearing of “Jesus” was in middle school, I heard about him from my aunty, but was not interested in believing at all at that time. I was an atheist, I didn’t believe in anything, not science, not myself, nor any religion, the only thing I knew was that I had to study. So, I felt what my aunty said was just nonsense (I later learnt my aunty was a Jehovah witness).
When I went to university in 2011, I was keen to learn English, and make foreign friends. I found an English corner, which was run by a group of foreigners, so I went there every week to practice my English. After a while, I could feel that these foreigners were such nice people, and later I learnt that they were all Christians. I also felt that these Christians were different with my aunty. After some time, one of the leaders tried to share the gospel with me. She talked to me privately, and told me about Jesus. This was the second time I heard about Jesus, and obviously, I was still not interested to know about him, as I came to that place just to practice my English.
Later that year, a group of New Zealanders came to the English corner for 2 weeks. They were also Christians, and I built good relationships with the NZ team members. In 2015, when my university had a programme to go to America for 4 months, one of my foreign friends helped me find an American family through her organisation to spend time with me when I was free. I did not know this American family were also Christians until I was invited to their house to have dinner for the first time. They loved me like their own daughter, and whenever I was available, they will pick me from where I was living and take me hiking or sightseeing.
And I could feel they were giving me a totally different kind of love: they accepted just as I am, not because of what I have done, which made me start to think that maybe God really does exist.
Back in my home country in October 2015, one of the friends I knew from the NZ team started to go through the book of John with me verse by verse. At that time my attitude to was actually to challenge the Bible, to show him that there is no God. However a month into this, somehow my heart started to become soft, I stopped challenging the bible, I started to accept it, and I finally made the decision to follow Jesus on Thanksgiving Day 2015 (26 November).
When I came to New Zealand in June 2019, I heard about ISMNZ from the organisation that helped me find the American family in 2015, and they connected me with Allen Tie. During my time in NZ, I joined some activities and a conference with ISMNZ, and also served in the university fellowship with my church.
I really appreciated the advice and support that Allen gave me, especially with my studies and future plans. We keep in touch and I keep him updated on my life. Graeme Sterne also helped me with my assignments.
God has been so faithful to me. I feel that serving in university ministry is my calling, because I became a Christian when I was in university, I know the struggle of students, and love to help them.
Lavender International Student in New Zealand