As 16-year-old Jillian listened to her friend, Reghan’s invitation, her curiosity grew. Jillian had wanted to see how Christians celebrated Christmas, though she had never understood Reghan’s faith. In fact, Jillian hadn’t been a fan of Christians.
Born and Raised in Staunch Belief
Jillian belonged to a traditional household where she grew up learning the faith of her parents and grandparents. Everything she practiced filled her with a sense of fulfillment and happiness; her parents were proud of her faith and her sense of duty to their beliefs.
Jillian’s Christian friend, Reghan, frequently mentioned Jesus and told their classmates about His love. This irritated Jillian. With growing frustration, Jillian confronted Reghan one day and began to dislike her friend.
Yet when Reghan invited Jillian to the church’s Christmas program for children and youth, Jillian accepted. Jillian’s curiosity about how Christians celebrated their holidays won over her irritation.
A Gradual Change of Heart
At the Christmas program, Jillian sat with Reghan and listened to Gospel for Asia (GFA) pastor Joaquin share from the Holy Scriptures. As Pastor Joaquin taught from John 3:16, proclaiming “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” Jillian was skeptical. Did Reghan’s God really send His only Son to die for her?
That one question sent sparks of other questions through Jillian’s mind. What little she knew about Reghan’s God had been upended. What else didn’t she know? She decided to visit the church regularly, but Jillian’s mother ordered her not to.
Though Jillian submitted, she still wanted answers to her questions. She needed answers.
The Desire to Learn
But the answers to Jillian’s questions couldn’t be found sitting at home. From time to time, Jillian prayed to Jesus, asking if she could experience His love in her heart. Then one day, Jillian told Reghan that the program had piqued her interest in Jesus. So, Reghan gave her a New Testament; with it, Jillian could begin to sate her curiosity. And maybe she could attend services to learn more.
Despite her mother’s opposition, Jillian eventually did visit the church again. With each subsequent church service, Jillian began to change. She relied less and less on her previous beliefs and began turning to Reghan’s God. As the days passed, Jillian grew ever more joyful and lively, and that joy bubbled over. Her mother noticed the odd but positive changes in her daughter.
Jillian’s desire to please her parents warred with her desire to learn more about Christ. As time passed, the teenager felt more and more confident that Reghan’s God was the one true God. But she worried about her family’s reaction.
Jillian sought Pastor Joaquin’s advice. What was she to do?
The pastor prayed for Jillian and encouraged her from Scripture, which filled her with confidence and strength. Jillian then made her decision: She would follow Christ.
While Jillian’s heart had once been set against Christianity, she began to think differently after seeing the loving examples of Reghan and Pastor Joaquin. After finding God’s love, Jillian joined Pastor Joaquin’s church where she now joyfully fellowships with Reghan and other fellow believers. And, while Jillian knows the road ahead may be challenging, peace and joy dwell in her heart; God is with her.
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