Courtesy Irma Raymond | Empowering Goa
At 15 I moved with my family from England to Australia.
Four years later when I started college in 2014, I struggled to fit in and make friends. I generally hated the place, my courses and constantly being alone.
Then one of my high school friends, Celia, invited me to a campus ministry. It was the best thing she could have done because I suddenly had a handful of new friends and a regular extra curricular activity to keep me sane.
As the end of the first semester approached, I’d met a couple more ministry members. One invited me to attend a Mid-Year Conference during winter. I immediately said, “I’ll think about it,” but I didn’t intend to go.
I was a really shy person around new people and was terrified of being forced to live with people I didn’t know for a whole week. But after some thought and convincing from my friends, I decided to sign up.
During that week I was completely overwhelmed by how undeserving I was of God’s grace and love. I realized how strongly Jesus had been calling me since 2010, and how He persisted for years despite the fact I completely ignored Him that entire time.
I grew up actively disliking God. The first 15 years of my life were spent denying Him outright and laughing at those who chose to believe in what I thought was a fantasy. Those years of denial and ignorance hit me all at once that night, and I just broke down and cried uncontrollably.
One evening, I skipped the activities and went straight to my room to cry, pray, repent, read the Bible and cry more as the full weight of my past decisions crushed me.
I sat with my head in my hands, tears flowing for hours, confessing everything I’d done wrong to God. After that really long prayer, I felt a million times lighter and I knew Jesus had taken all those heavy burdens to the cross with Him. Through Him, I had been forgiven.
I now know God brought me to Australia all the way from London so I would come to know Him. I’m so grateful for His devotion and persistence in doing so because He truly turned my life around.
I’ve made so many unexpected friends and discovered my love for Evangelism and Worship. I joined a Church and God continues to challenge me everyday, reminding me that He never fails and His plan is way better than my own. I can finally proudly call myself a Christian and know what that truly means.
by Hannah V
“So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
– John 21:3-6