My Story: Shawn
"My heart just changed, and I believed–just from reading Genesis."
I came to Australia from New Zealand to study aerospace engineering. I didn’t know anyone, but I was quite excited about the freedom I suddenly had. One of my friends was partying hard and knew where the clubs and the girls were. We partied heaps.
About the same time I met another guy who was a Christian, and I was interested in learning from him about God. He and I loved dancing. Sometimes we’d finish at three in the morning and while driving home, we would have deep conversations about life, death and God. We’d go on for hours about creation versus big bang theories. He couldn’t always defend his views because he was growing as a Christian, but it was his testimony that won me over.
So second year arrived, and my passion for studying was in a downward spiral. Sometimes I’d skip the whole week of classes. So this Christian friend asked me if I wanted to do Christianity Explained (CE)—a one-on-one Bible study. I said, “Yes, I want to learn about Jesus and how He works because I’m from a Hindu background.” So he introduced me to Michael Grace, one of the Student Life missionaries at Monash University, who taught me CE.
But I was uncomfortable because he was asking deep questions, and I really didn’t know him. I started avoiding him and finally told him I just needed some space. He thanked me and said he understood—didn’t pressure me or anything.
After that I hit rock bottom over the Christmas holidays. I had all that free time at home by myself, with no school or work stress, to think about all these conversations and all this Christian material I had been given. Over the next nine months I found myself praying about this conflict inside of me between the call of the Holy Spirit and the call of the world.
One day I was reading 'A Case for Christ' when I realized I didn’t know anything about Jesus. I had not read the Word, so what was I comparing this book against? I started searching my house for the Bible I got from Mike. I found it and started reading at the beginning, and it was like, wow! My heart just changed, and I believed—just from reading Genesis.
So I gave Christ control of my life. My mind was not renewed straight away, but faith came first. It was like God just grabbed my hand, and I gave in, and I went on to read Exodus. I thought, Wow, what is this? I needed understanding, and I felt like God told me to start on the New Testament and contact Michael. So I texted him and said, “Hey man, I just finished the Gospel of John, what do I do next?”
I started Luke and Mark, and I finished them the next night. I just wanted to read the Word, to keep on reading. Then I said, “Mike, I gave my life to God, but I want to know more about a relationship with Him. I want to meet with you every week!”
Before that, it was all about me. When I helped people I had selfish expectations. God has just totally changed my life in the opposite direction. Now I’m praying, “Use me for your kingdom, Lord.” I feel very passionate about how I can help others now. I just want to love people like Christ.
I need to be sharing my testimony with non-Christians so that God can use me to help them. I realized I had been spending all my time with believers and kind of abandoned my old friends. We have different views now, but I still need to love them. So I just approach anyone I know—people who knew how I used to be. I just share my testimony with them, and it’s amazing—they actually listen. These are people I thought would mock me, and they just listen. I know God is using that to work in their hearts like He did with me.
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