Written By Vilcon Tauning, Malaysia
I was raised in a broken family. Since a young age, I was exposed to hatred, jealousy, anger, and many other unhealthy emotions that worsened my family situation. My parents always threatened to go through a divorce but because all of us were still young, my mum did not agree to it.
When I was 11, my elder brother and sister ran away from home because they could not stand facing all the problems anymore. My family did not subscribe to any particular belief system or religion and I was a non-believer at that time. Although I had many Christian friends then, I didn’t know about Jesus at all.
When I was in secondary school, my parents wanted to get a divorce. But what got me really angry and disappointed was that my younger sister and brother became the victims of their anger. On one occasion, my younger sister stayed in my aunt’s house for a couple of months and my younger brother was almost adopted by a married couple (but my mum refused to give him to them eventually). My uncle took it upon himself to look after my brother to ensure nothing undesirable happened to him if he stayed in the house. Whenever my parents fought, my mum would stay overnight or a few days in her brother’s house. When I reached the age of 13, I moved to a hostel far from home but I always felt hurt whenever I thought about my family. I felt trapped in a hopeless situation.
One day, I went to a Christian friend’s room and borrowed his mobile phone to listen to some music. Most of the songs were gospel songs since he is a Christian and also a musician at church. When I heard the song, “Shout to the Lord” by Hillsong, I immediately felt better and calmer. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what was happening to me but I was touched and began to cry. I started borrowing my friend’s phone to listen to the song regularly and every time I heard it, I felt better and comforted.
When I was 14, I went to church for the very first time. I remember the preacher sharing about the hope for mankind. When he said he was going to pray for all those who needed hope in their life, I stood up. Imitating my friends, I closed my eyes, but I didn’t know what to say as I had never prayed before and did not know how. When the preacher prayed, I started crying non-stop and felt better immediately. I realized something was happening to me but I didn’t understand what.
From then on, I went to church regularly to learn more about Jesus and also to attend Sunday school to listen to stories about Jesus. The more I learned about Jesus, the more I experienced the hope that I had been searching for many years. I finally decided to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior at the age of 15 after I realized He was the one true hope that could change my life.
Becoming a new believer brought along with it many obstacles. When I told my parents that I wanted to get baptized and asked if my mum could be my baptism witness, my dad got so mad! He even mentioned that he would kick me out of the house if I became a Christian. When I tried to explain to him that the family will only be healed in Jesus’ name, he gave me a slap across my face. But I kept going to church and prayed regularly that my family would open their hearts to the truth and accept the gospel.
One day, I asked my dad if he preferred my old self (consuming alcohol, vandalizing things, ruining his name, and always answering back) or my new self (attending fellowship and prayer meeting, leaving my bad attitudes, quitting alcohol and smoking). I told him that I respect him as my dad, as Jesus taught us to respect our parents. I thank God that he eventually accepted my faith in Jesus and even asked my mum to represent him as witness on my baptism day. From then on, I kept sharing the hope that Jesus brings to my siblings and mum. I told them that our family can be healed if we believe in Jesus and lean on His hope. My siblings started to attend church and my mum accepted Jesus as her Savior when she saw the changes in the family. Throughout this period, we kept encouraging each other and praying for each other. I saw visible improvements in our family.
Now, eight years later, I can confidently say that my family is truly healed by the grace and mercies of the Lord Jesus Christ! My mum likes to say, “the past is past, the new will be coming.” My dad has started attending church and my mum prays for him every so often. She is now serving in the church committee, and my sisters are in the music and youth ministries. I am currently serving in my church as a worship leader, musician, and former president of a youth outreach ministry.
I was once a hopeless guy but I found hope in Jesus who strengthens me. For me, my salvation story started with the song “Shout to the Lord”; now I’m 100 percent convinced that Jesus is my strength, my Lord, my Savior, and my eternal hope. I hope my sharing has been living proof that God is so powerful! He can heal us regardless of our situations; He is the hope for the hopeless.
If you’re facing problems or feel that there is no more hope, trust and lean on Jesus! You will find that He is the hope that you’re looking for.
Photo Credit: Vilcon Castro