Christians of Claremont no. 2 – Vivian

“I didn’t grow up in a Christian family. My grandmother was going through breast cancer around the time I became a Christian, and I thought it was so incredible how peaceful my family was while she was going through treatment. I don’t think my dad would have gotten through it without God. I think that was my first time experiencing the death of a relative, so I really think that was the best way to go about it.

“I was the first Christian in my family. My art teach from when I was four, was a sixth generation Christian from Taiwan, which is super rare because Taiwan hasn’t been around that long. But she went to church and didn’t like it because she found it to be so hypocritical, like everyone said one thing but their actions said something else. So she met God around that time, and started sharing at church about what God was doing in her life. So I started praying because of my grandmother, and I had a very personal encounter with God that, at the time I didn’t realize, but now I realize that it was a baptism of the Holy Spirit. And that was incredible because I really had no idea. I didn’t read the Bible, I just prayed. And I think that—at the expense of sounding kind of full of myself—God blessed me with a pure heart to see him and be close to him, and that was amazing. And right after that baptism, I just felt so filled with the Holy Spirit. When I prayed for people, I could see visions of the Holy Spirit, and everything just felt so impossible to deny. It felt so real. And my view of the world changed incredibly, because before I thought that there was good love and familial relationships within my family, but I’d go out into the world and ask, ‘why don’t people love the way my family does?’ But after my encounter with God, my eyes were opened. And I could see the bigger purpose and I could see beyond the void in people’s hearts that they can’t fill, because God satisfies my life and my family’s life. I ended up getting baptized on the same day as my mother, and my brother and father also became Christian within a year.

I think people need to know about this—that Jesus is real on this campus. I hope other people don’t think I’m crazy after hearing this, but I was praying one night with the lights dimmer. Something pretty shocking and humiliating had happened to me that day, and there was this thought that just went through my head—’God, are you even real? If you’re real, why would you let me go through that?’ And then, suddenly I saw this really bright light, and the source of that light—a figure in the center. I saw mountains and valleys and a road, and this figure, he was right above that road. I couldn’t see his face but I knew that was Jesus—I just knew that was him. And I felt like I was soaked in liquid love—I just kept crying, and God said to me ‘You know what you did that got you into that situation but I forgive you, and I love you, and I’m there for you, and I’m going to be there for you for the rest of your life.’ I think that whole vision/encounter would be summed up by that verse ‘I am the way, the truth, and the light,’ and I was like, ‘whoa, you are, that’s who you are.’

And that was the first time I met God—in my bedroom, lights off, four years ago.

Christianity is not embedded into Taiwanese culture, and it was hard for me to adjust to how common Christianity is here in the United States—like people know about Jesus, but they don’t know who he is. And that was so heartbreaking for me to see, especially on these campuses. A lot of Christians here talk about doing things; they’re used to being consumers of the church, and it’s very different from the church where I grew up, where everything is very relational and organic.

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