EU Gradsfund

Bible Reading to Believer: Aileen’s Story

by EU Graduates Fund

Evangelising to our non-Christian friends and inviting them to EU events can seem like a daunting task. At times, it can feel discouraging, awkward, and perhaps a bit pointless – will they ever say yes? Will it even change them, or will they just think I’m weird?

We recently chatted to Aileen, who read the Bible with a friend from the EU during her time at university. While she didn’t become a Christian immediately, she continued to investigate and last year gave her life to Christ!

Galatians 6:9 encourages us, ‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’ Aileen’s story is a great encouragement that the work we do serving the Lord and preaching the Gospel is not fruitless. Even though we may never see the outcome, the seeds that are planted may help someone on their journey to being saved. What a privilege to be part of God’s salvation plan!

What was your experience of religion growing up?

I grew up in a half atheist, half culturally Jewish household. We never really celebrated Easter or Christmas but we would go away every holiday and not have raised bread during Passover. My mum is Chinese and my birth dad is also Chinese, so I’d been to some Chinese Buddhist temples to burn incense and give offerings to the dead.

Pre becoming a Christian, I didn’t give faith much thought. I had lots of moments of questioning what our purpose is, why we’re here, and what the goal is. Are we supposed to just enjoy our time as much as possible? Get the coolest cars, the biggest house, hang out with the coolest people and go to the maddest parties? I definitely thought Christians lived a boring life.

How did you start investigating Christianity?

When I went on exchange to Germany, there was a girl called Sophie from the EU who was there at the same time. We started hanging out and she mentioned that she goes to church. I was like, ‘what’s that like? I don’t know anybody who goes to church.’

When we got back to Australia she offered to start reading the Bible with me. I thought, this is weird but why not! Got nothing to lose, at worst I learn something. In the later years of uni, I met friends like Amelia and reconnected with old friends like Christine, and they invited me along to different EU outreach events.

When we got back to Australia she offered to start reading the Bible with me. I thought, this is weird but why not!

That happened for about 5 years. During that time, the things we read seemed to make sense but they just weren’t for me. For a really long time, I thought I couldn’t be accepted by Christ because I wasn’t born to a Christian family. I remember so many times saying to Sophie, ‘your parents are Christian and you were born into it, so of course you are, but I can’t change!’ During those few years, I had started visiting a home group on Sundays just to learn a bit more. There were other people there like Muslims, Jews and Atheists, so you could just openly ask questions and learn.

Pre-lockdown, there was a church that I really enjoyed visiting but it was quite far geographically. When Covid hit and church services were mostly streamed online, I could then tune in every week. After a couple of months of that, I decided I needed to find a church I could commit to going to in person. I remember the man who used to lead the home group had said to me a couple of years ago, ‘hey, if you’re ever looking for an inner city church you should check out Vine [Church].’ So I went along to Vine and stuck around.

What were the main things that helped you investigate Christianity?

Having people around me who were willing to spend time reading the Bible with me and answer all of the questions. People inviting me along to things that I otherwise wouldn’t have heard of, like the home group, to church or to EU events.

I think the one on one Bible reading with my friend from the EU helped explain it. I remember opening the Gospel of John, and I thought, I have no idea what this means. The Word is a person? But she was willing to take the time and help me get familiar with [the Bible].

How has your life changed since becoming a Christian?

At first, I felt a massive burden had been lifted off my shoulders. I remember thinking before, man, my life is going to be so restricted. But this is what freedom actually feels like. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on the ‘good’ things I thought I would have been, because God has created us and knows what’s best for us. It was also just really good to know that my purpose and worth aren’t founded in what I do or what I have.

I [feel] so relieved that I am forgiven. I’m not perfect, I’m in a broken world, but I’ve got something else to look forward to.

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