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Thursday, September 16, 2004

My First "Standing up for Christ" Experience - The Day After.

The day after that encounter I was in my room, sitting up in my bed, with my history text in front of me. I wasn't reading it, though. I was praying, very hard! I heard my mom's footsteps come into my room. She walked across to the shelves where all the incense and joss sticks are stored (since it had been my duty to perform these rites at home, it was convenient to have these items stored in my room). I was trembling, as I thought another confrontation was about to take place. I wasn't sure I was able to stand up for my Lord again. Although I felt condemned, I was also longing for forgiveness and redemption. I remember having prayed for forgiveness many many times that day, thinking that if I was persistent, perhaps God would surely answer.

I heard the rustle of the paper as Mom took the joss sticks from the package and heard her strike a match to light up the joss sticks. As the fragrance of the incense filled the room, I heard Mom walked out of the room. No words had exchanged between us. I still had my history text in front of me, pretending to be reading. I breathed out a sigh of relief and gave thanks to God. From that day on, my mother took over the offering of incense and no longer put the pressure on me to do any of that task. Tears ran down my cheeks again as I felt the full wash of the forgiveness and God's miraculous intervention in my life.

Mom did not discuss the incident but from that day on, I began to sense a little more acceptance of my commitment to Christ. In fact, soon after, during one of the religious festivals when we used to celebrate over a meal of chicken, roast pork and other food that had been offered to the different gods, Mom specially prepared food that hadn't been so offered for me. She allowed me to go to church openly.

In the past I had to sneak out of home to go to church. For the longest time, I did not attend Sunday services because Mom forbade it, but I was able to go to youth group by telling her a white lie - I would tell her that I was going to a friend's house to study. I would then ride my bicycle to my friend's place, study for 15 minutes and excuse myself to go to church, and return immediately after the youth services. But, since that incident with the joss sticks, she allowed me to even go on Sundays!

Six months later, I asked to be baptized, and she not only gave her blessings, but came along to the services! God works in mysterious ways!