All my life I have been surrounded by Christian influences. My immediate family and many of my wider family are Christians. I have always attended church regularly and have been to Christian youth groups and camps.
However, from an early age, I knew that these things did not make me a Christian. I had heard about heaven and hell and, naturally, I wanted to go to heaven, so I decided that I would have to be a good boy and do ‘good works’ to get there.
Bearing in mind I have three sisters, you can imagine the difficulty I had with this task! In fact, it wasn’t long before I realised that I could never be good enough for heaven on my own.
After much searching and asking questions about becoming a Christian, I was getting frustrated that I still didn’t seem to be getting a definitive answer. So during a Bible time, I asked my dad a straight question about how I could become a Christian. He told me to be truly sorry for all my sins, ask God to forgive them and believe in Christ for ever.
I couldn’t believe how simple it was. I didn’t have to do anything except pray! And so at eight years old, I became a Christian.
In the months after my conversion, I had doubts as to whether I had done everything required to be a Christian. But, as I grew in understanding, I came to realise that nothing I had done had made me a Christian, and that it was only through Jesus’ death and resurrection and God’s merciful gift of faith, through the Holy Spirit, that I was able to be saved from the punishment I deserved for my sins.
Being a Christian changed my attitude towards sin but it still didn’t make me perfect and it became increasingly difficult at school to stand up for what the Bible says, especially in front of friends. But God strengthened me and gave me courage to make a stand.
In recent years my faith has grown, even though at times it felt as if it was going backwards. Since doing my GCSEs God has led me down a totally different path to what I had planned.
From aiming to go to university to study aeronautical engineering, I am now attending Cornerstone Bible College in the Netherlands. But God has guided and helped me along the way.
Earlier this year I got baptised, along with my little sister, which was a real blessing; and it was so encouraging to see so many non-Christians given a clear gospel message at the baptismal service. God also gave me the courage and desire to be part of a UBM (United Beach Missions) team last summer, which was my first real taste of public mission work.
It wasn’t easy, but being a Christian isn’t always easy. There are good and bad times. But since I was converted I have had total satisfaction and peace in my heart that whatever happens in my life, God is in control. And I know that when I die, I will have everlasting life in heaven with Christ!