During my first weeks at university in London, one of my hall mates became a fast friend. Angie was very friendly and I knew she was a Christian and went to church at St. Helen’s. She would always invite me.
I kept turning her down and always said no until one time she invited me to a Christmas service. I thought I should at least say yes once, so out of guilt, I said yes and went with her.
Angie was going to meet me at the service, but she was late. I was on time but didn’t go in.
I felt awkward. I had never been to church. I didn’t know how to act or stand or behave.
The welcome team saw me and though I felt like an outsider, they didn’t ignore me or put pressure on me. They made me feel really comfortable.
A lady came along and stopped to talk to me. My first impression was I thought she was a lost tourist roaming around the church. She came up, said, “Hi,” and asked if I was okay, then she stood with me until Angie came.
Everyone was so nice. I just kept thinking, the Christians here are different from the people I normally meet. I felt like whatever God was doing it must be good.
The whole experience really opened my heart to God and be willing to know more about him.
The next semester, I took up an extra class dealing with theology and philosophy. It wasn’t a coincidence that the first module we went through as a class was the Bible.
I began reading the Bible and had a lot of questions. Angie was there to help me. We had time and opportunity after class to discuss the Bible and it was a gradual process.
I had a lot of questions.
One of my questions was a struggle I had with sin and why Jesus died when he was innocent and we are sinful. I didn’t understand how a murderer or someone who does horrible crimes could just ask forgiveness and Jesus would forgive them. That was hard for me to grasp.
At first it was a struggle. The question lingered in my mind, Why are people sinful? At first I would have told you I’m a good person. I give to donation drives, I help old people cross the road, I’m a good person in general. I’m not sinful. Why do I need God?
When I started to learn more from reading the Bible I realized that the sins the Bible talked about were not things I thought were sin. I used to be very self-centered and self-reliant.
Then I learned about how to put God on the throne of my life, letting Him sit in the chair and be in charge; not me.
I remember going through the Knowing God Personally book with Angie … it was a time when I was going through the Bible and I didn’t want to say yes unless I was totally sure.
We went through the book together and when we read the prayer I had really decided I wanted Jesus in my life.
He’s infallible, invincible and loving. It felt really good to know that even though I falter and fail, there is always God.
When I get discouraged, I think about how bold Angie was at talking to people about her faith. I learned how to not give up and keep talking to people about my faith because of her.
The depth of love that God has for us, to forgive us and send His own Son to die for us … that’s incredible. That’s a lot to grasp.
Xinjia Li is from Singapore and is attending King’s College in London. She is entering her second year of Pharmacy School and upon graduation will work until she decides about graduate school. When not busy with her studies, Xinjia likes to walk around London, grocery shop, travel when she can and visit with her friends on campus.