Soon after, I began High School, and while I professed to be a Christian at that time, I really had not trusted Christ with my life. Out of pride, I desired to be the best at everything I did so that everyone would look highly on me. My only desires were my personal success whether it was academics, athletics, or popularity, and I was willing to step on other people or sin in other ways to achieve it. I made friends with unbelievers, and we would often talk about worldly things and encouraged one another to do sinful things together. I lived like this until my senior year in high school when I saw my friends become consumed with a life of drugs and alcohol and aimlessly pursue these pleasures constantly. During these same years, my older brother began attending UCLA; here he was brought under the teachings of John MacArthur. During breaks I saw him grow more and more spiritually and was shocked at how he desired to read the Bible constantly, often call me out on the sins he noticed in my life, and find so much joy walking with Christ. After witnessing the two completely different lifestyles of my friends and my brother, I quickly began a desire to know the gospel more. I found myself reading the Bible more on my own, and here I realized that my sins had left me dead, but God was so merciful to me that he saved me from hell and chose to make His word known to me. One summer night, as I was thinking through the scriptures, I realized that if I were to die today, I would be bound for hell. Scared of this thought, I prayed that Jesus would come into my heart and show me the true direction in this life. For the first time in my life, I truly understood God’s mercy.
At this time, I began my college career here at UCLA. Earnest to learn more about the gospel I quickly joined Grace on Campus at UCLA, signed up for a small group and began attending Grace Community Church. God soon began to teach me more and more about His loving-kindness, which was demonstrated by how He so perfectly planned to send his sinless son Jesus Christ to be the full atonement for our sins. I understood the free gift of salvation and how our own works as humans could never earn us salvation. Through daily reading of the Bible accompanied by prayer, I began trying to eradicate particular habitual sins in my life, and while I still stumbled in my sin, I repented and rejoiced in the forgiveness made available through the Cross. God opened many humbling and sanctifying ministry opportunities for me such as small group leading and outreach at UCLA. My greatest joy is no longer found in the worldly success I once pursued, but it is found in making Christ known to everyone around me through every possible area in my life.
I jumped at the opportunity to go to Japan knowing that it would be a unique way for me to live out that joy. I am excited to see how God works in various ways overseas and serve the church and missionary family there. My prayer and hope is that God will use our team to proclaim Christ all throughout Japan and change the hearts of the people there just like how He changed a hardened sinner like me.