Raised in atheism

ET staff writer
ET staff writer
01 December, 2002 4 min read

We are from China. We did not believe in God, but now we have been converted and have become Christians. This is our story.

We were raised in atheism and taught from childhood that all religions are superstitions. We believed that we could achieve our objects by our own efforts. When we were at school our parents told us, ‘You should work hard and do your best to be at the top of your class if you wish to have a bright future’.

We followed our parents’ advice. We did it and we made it. Before we came to England, I had my PhD in petroleum engineering, and had been an associate professor for seven years.

My wife was a lecturer in the same university and we both also had administrative positions. We should have been satisfied – good jobs, good salaries, and respectable social positions.

Walking in the dark

However, I felt I was walking in darkness. This feeling became stronger in 1999 when I was about to be appointed as a professor. I asked myself what is the object of my life?

Being a professor? But we all are going to die no matter what we have achieved! So – what is the meaning of life?

In the summer of 1999 I got the opportunity of being an ‘academic visitor’ abroad for six months. So I came to England, to Imperial College, London. The museums and other historic scenes in London attracted me very much.

What had made Britain so important to modern civilisation? Did it, perhaps, relate to the Christian faith? I walked around the streets, and found many different churches. I discussed this with one of my British colleagues in Imperial College.

He told me that less than 3% of Britain people now attend church regularly, and advised me not to get involved. His remark confused me, but I still decided to go to a church and a friend introduced me to one.

I travelled two hours to that church each Sunday evening. I felt peace when I sat in the church. I started reading the Bible, but it was a closed book to me.


One day, I phoned my family. My wife told me our daughter prayed for me every day. I was surprised! She had come to know God through the Lord Jesus Christ by watching a Hong Kong satellite TV channel.

The six months passed very quickly. I needed to know more about Britain and Christianity, so I decided to stay. I took up a PhD studentship in applied mathematics.

In June 2000, I came to Loughborough. I felt lonely. I still had faith problems, and did not know when my family could join me.

But one of my friends introduced me to Holywell Church. I began to read the Bible again. Gradually I accepted that God does exist. But I still did not believe in Jesus Christ!

Peace and joy

My family eventually joined me. My daughter wanted to go to church the first Sunday after she arrived, and we went to Holywell Church. My daughter and wife told me they felt peace and joy when they went to church, even though they could not understand what the minister said because of the language problem.

The next Sunday, we were introduced to the Chinese Bible study group. Since then we have been to the morning service and the Chinese Bible study every week. We learned about God, God’s creation, the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ and the way of salvation.

My wife knew the Bible as early as 1984, but she read it as knowledge, and did not accept it at that time. But now she was soon converted, and felt great peace and joy.

She had to look for part-time jobs to help support our family, but she settled down very quickly. Her health improved and she even got the jobs she wished.

She often told me ‘all of these are from God, to God be glory’. I was surprised and asked her about it. She said to me: ‘Trust the Lord Jesus Christ, accept him as your only Saviour, repent of your sins, and you will have peace and joy’.

Born again

After my wife became a Christian, I felt a bit of pressure. I talked to others about my problem. They said: ‘The Bible is a closed book if you do not truly humble yourself’. Yes, I thought, that was my problem.

I had never really humbled myself before God. But now I did so, receiving Jesus Christ as my Saviour, trusting in him and repenting of my sins.

From that time on, wonderful things happened in my heart! God put his Spirit in me and I knew I was born again! I no longer felt hopeless or that I was walking in darkness – because the Lord Jesus was lighting up the road.

My wife and daughter were very glad when I was converted. Our life is filled with joy and peace, and we feel God’s love and blessing.

We deeply appreciate the ministry of Holywell church, that helps us to understand God’s Word, to walk according to the Christian faith, and to be conformed to Christ in everything.

Yu-Ting Duan was baptised, together with his wife, Chao Xie, and their daughter Ran (Florence) Duan, on 14 October 2001 at Holywell Free Church, Loughborough.

ET staff writer
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