Why I avoided Christianity
I was brought up in a Christian family, though I never cared about beliefs of any religion, especially Christianity. In my mid-20s I felt that Christianity was a hindrance to every enjoyment of life and even in pursuing my dreams. To me, the Bible and Christian teachings were full of “dos and don’ts” that forbid a lot of what I wanted to do. So I made up my mind that I would avoid them, live my life as I wished without pricking my conscience.
But, God in His mercy waited for me 24 years to come to Him. Jesus came into my life as my Saviour and Lord on 29th October 2006 at a youth camp. When I received Christ, I was ushered into the joy of living a life of grace and forgiveness in Him. For the first time, my doubts about Christianity were proved wrong. I had peace and a sense of complete satisfaction. The emptiness that was in my heart overflowed with the warm assurance of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Bitterness slowly waned. It was a total transformation, a turning point in my life.
After that youth camp, I faced lots of challenges living among non-Christians. Meeting old friends of other faiths and keeping up with them was quite difficult. I intentionally kept busy in order to avoid their festivals and other religious ceremonies, rites and rituals. I also struggled to give up alcohol and tobacco in their company. But, I thank God who freed me and gave me the strength to shun all those unhealthy social and peer group influences. When I completely surrendered to His will, He put me in the path of righteousness and holy pursuits.
The Holy Spirit continued to work in my life, eventually prompting me to pursue full-time ministry. So in order to equip myself, I went to Union Biblical Seminary (UBS), Pune in India for my Bachelor of Divinity and then to Singapore Bible College (SBC) for my Master of Arts in Biblical studies. My training, especially at Singapore Bible College was quite rewarding (for which I am thankful to goEast for sponsoring me). It gave me a deeper understanding of God’s Word. I was reaffirmed with sound doctrine, exposed to different cultures which in turn broadened my vision for missions. It prepared me to get fully engaged with preaching, teaching, counselling and focused group Bible studies.
While I was pondering what next after my training at SBC, God led me to see those in need–people from broken homes and experiencing shattered relationships, youths who have lost direction in their lives and ill-equipped pastors and mission workers who needed a deeper understanding of God’s Word. These burdens caused me to look with the eyes of compassion to instruct, to teach and to feed God’s people with His Word. As a pastor I counsel youths, conduct Bible studies with my church members and fellow workers (pastors/missionaries/evangelist), preach (twice a month) and go on home visits to pray for the sick and their various needs. It is a humbling experience to see the community of God’s people through the compassionate eyes of Christ.
One of my challenges as a pastor is engaging wisely with many intellectuals in my congregation who like to debate on various biblical and theological issues (some of which are perhaps trivial), trying to prove their intelligence. I often pray for a strong presence of mind and discernment from God that will help me to deal with them wisely (sometimes, without losing my temper or my patience). Also, I believe in engaging in further studies to sharpen me for future ministry, so I continue to pray and hope that God will open up the way for this.
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Please pray for Themshang and his ministry in India. He has recently been engaged to Christie. Pray for provision and wisdom as he engages in various ministry work and prepares for his upcoming wedding.