We're really encouraged that Simeon has applied to become a member of the Village Church. In his own words, here is his testimony of God's grace in his life...
I had the privilege to be brought up by strong Christian parents, and so from a young age I attended church and heard about Jesus. My parents also read the bible and prayed with me on a daily basis. I can remember one evening, when I was around 5 years old, my mum was praying with me and thanking God that he sent Jesus to earth to die for our sins, to take our place. I think this is the first time I really grasped the Gospel, I realised that I was a sinner and needed a saviour and saw that Jesus came to be that saviour. I prayed that night that Jesus would forgive my sins and change my heart. Although this sounds like a simple prayer, and I was very young, I believe that this is when my faith in Jesus began. At this time I didn’t understand everything, and I still don’t, but I knew enough.
But being raised in a Christian household, I wasn’t exposed to so many of the temptations of the world and my faith was rarely tested. Growing up through school though, I soon became a ‘Sunday Christian’. I knew all the answers in Sunday school and acted in a Christian way around home and church, but at school and around my friends I got distracted and didn't have the courage to stand out as being different for Jesus. As I grew older this distinction became more obvious. Most of my friends at school knew I was a Christian, but no more. I knew that Christ had made a change in my life, but I never really understood the significance of this change, that following Jesus meant surrendering my whole life to Him, that he might work through me by his grace. I still wanted to be in control of my life to a certain extent. But I was growing as a Christian, through going to church weekly and things like summer camps, I was able to find out more of what it really means to be forgiven.
I’ve heard it said that University can either make you flourish or flounder as a Christian, and it’s certainly true for me that when I had the opportunity of a new start with new people around me, I changed massively for good. I think the main change was that I got more stuck into the Bible. I had always read the Bible and learnt from it, but when I came to university I started to love and cherish it. Through reading God’s word, his Spirit pointed out areas of my life that needed to change and gave me the power to defeat sin that still resided within me. This is an ongoing process.
As I look back on all that God has done in my life, I am grateful to him that I have done none of it by myself. With all my efforts I couldn’t change my heart in the slightest. It is only by God’s grace and mercy that I could have even heard about him! I also thank God that because of what he has done for me in the past, I can trust him for my future. I know that he has a plan for my life and even though it isn’t easy, I know that it ends with him, forever. In the meantime, he has given me his Spirit as a guarantee of what’s to come, so that I can be changed to be more like his Son and to help me share what’s been given to me with others.