I was born again four days ago, thanks to The Stranger. I know that this book will be my treasure for the rest of my life. I would like to explain how this book changed my life.
I was born and raised in Japan. All of my family is still there. When I was 18 years old, I came to the USA as an exchange student. I might as well call myself an atheist until four days ago. When I came to the USA, my host family was Christian, so I felt obligated to go to church every Sunday with them and I did that for about a year. I already knew what the Bible said. So I thought.
I used to think, "How can people really believe what the Bible says? Some person could have written it. It is just another story book. Adam and Eve? Don't they know we all came from the monkeys? What are they talking about?!" Even though I respected Christians, I just couldn't really believe that Jesus died for our sins. I had many, many questions about Christianity. But no one gave me satisfactory answers. Why did Jesus have to die? What did his death have to do with our sins? How could people claim to be Christians if they didn't know and understand the whole Bible? Besides, how dare they expect me to even think that my parents would go to hell? No thanks. I decided I was just going to be nice and kind to other people, and to obey the laws, and I would go to Heaven.
About three months ago I had a crisis. For the first time in my life, I didn't know what to do. I started to seek to be saved. I knew that my two neighbors were strong Christians because they often told me about what happened in their lives and they always thanked Jesus. Finally, I approached them. Since I had difficulty believing in God at first, they suggested that I pray, asking God to show me He really existed. I also read John, Matthew, Luke, and Mark as they suggested. I visited their churches. I collected all the publications that I could get my hands on. Still my questions weren't answered. I understood a lot of things in my mind, but my heart wasn't clicking.
About two weeks ago my neighbor gave me The Stranger and its workbook. Since English is my second language, I am a very slow reader. I hate to read, even in Japanese. I read one chapter and did the workbook for that chapter. That was very helpful because I could find out where I didn't understand clearly and it assured me when I understood the message. As I read, I realized exactly where I had problems. One by one, my questions were answered. The amazing thing was that I couldn't wait to read it. For me, I needed to understand the whole picture of the Bible. I doubt that I could have accomplished that even if I could read the whole Bible.
I was very excited to find out what the Bible said. Everything started to fall into place. However, I was still hesitant to jump right in. Chapter 15 changed my life. It answered all of my questions about the fear of becoming a Christian and practicing Christianity: Don't I have to understand the whole Bible before I become a Christian? What about my family in Japan? What should I do if I start to doubt my faith? What am I going to do with my sinful nature?
As I read through chapter 15, I felt like Jesus was telling me, "It is okay, Kaya*. You are doing the right thing. Come to me. I will take care of you. Don't worry." For 31 years, my eyes had been covered. I had been a big-time sinner, without knowing it, by ignoring Jesus. I felt peace in my heart. That was what I was looking for.
Then I realized that He had sent me this book. My prayer had been answered after all. As the book suggested, I am reading it for the second time and underlining the verses in the Bible. I was just born. I don't expect this new life to be easy and perfect, but I try to take it one day at a time. Satan has already asked me, "Are you really sure?" My answer was "yes."
* Name has been changed.
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