What’s up everyone, my name is Oscar. I’m an Australian-born Chinese student and an English teacher in Tokyo. I was raised in a family of non-believers but I found my way to Christ through many miracles, which led me to more miracles and completely changed my entire character.
How did I become a Christian?
For the first 19 years of my life, my image of Christians was very stereotypical and purely based off movies and dramas. I always thought they were very serious and not very fun to be with, so I was never interested into Christian activities, like going to church. However, I did pray. Whenever I find myself in desperation (usually in a bad situation I put myself in), I would put my hands together and ask for help from the God I did not even believe in. My prayer was not always answered immediately, sometimes not even answered at all, but whenever the situation improved, I completely forget the fact that I prayed and that God was the one who made it better. That repeated countlessly throughout my earlier years. I never praised God. I never acknowledged God’s help. I never thanked God.
When I was 13, I was bullied in high school. I very clearly remember how it started. I had a group of friends (we thought we were the coolest group in the grade) and we would do a lot of things together, good and bad. One day, our teacher told us to form groups for an assignment and my group quickly came together; except, they left one of my friends out of the group for being a little weird. Honestly, I felt superior in the “cool” group I was in but I felt sorry for that friend and did not want him to do a group assignment alone, so I chose to leave the big group to pair up with him. I was excluded from the group from then, and they picked on us for about a year. Even when I prayed for protection, God did not do anything about the bullying. I eventually found a way to climb myself out of unpopularity. Through bullying other people, playing with other peoples’ hearts and making myself the rebel, I was not bullied anymore. Again, I forgot to thank God.
When I was 15, an extreme stage of puberty hit me hard. My face was full of ache, literally over 50 in total, and when one pimple fades, 10 new ones would rise. Every morning I was afraid to look into the mirror and many times I faked an illness to not go to school. For a year and a half, I did not talk to anyone face to face, always looking down to hide my hideous look because I was afraid I would scare them or they would criticize me in anyway. I fell into depression. I lost hope and honestly planned to stay at home for a long, long time. Yes, I did pray. Almost every day I asked God to take this away from me. I definitely made my most desperate prayers to God in that period of depression. Even so, God did not heal me. The road to cure was physically and emotionally painful, and it felt like God did not care. I was never a Christian to begin with, but it felt like I stopped trusting God. I got better after 18months of painful and expensive treatment and medication. After I was cured, I started hanging out with a gang that smoked, did underage drinking and drunk driving. (I never did those things. I just hang out with them at school for the reputation). I never listened in class, if I was even in class, and cursed in almost every sentence I made. I also started singing on stage and started playing basketball again. I felt like my popularity was rocketing so high, especially compared to the previous year. Again, I did not thank God for this. Not that I did not want to. I just did not see it as a miracle.
Many years passed, I have just graduated from high school. A good friend of mine started inviting me to church, every week. For an entire year, he would ask me to visit his church or join his cell-group. I rejected every time.
A year later, my plans to go to Japan were approaching. I finally decided to go to his church just once before I left Australia, with no intentions of going there for a second time. That one time, changed my perspective entirely. Not just my view on Christians, but also my view about my life, about the purpose of everything and most importantly, my view on God. I finally started to thank God.
How did I find OCF and how did it help?
Going to Tokyo was a huge step for me. Not only was the culture different, I was a different person back in Australia. Having only a month of Christian experience, I desperately tried to find a community. I went to different churches and various Christian events to find the ones that I felt most comfortable in, but it was very difficult. I winded up in OCF after a friend from church invited me. I was scared because I had no social skills. I was scared because I knew very little about Japan and Christianity. The friend who invited me was late so I was forced to socialise with a group of people who were very close to each other already. Honestly, I still felt a little nervous after my friend arrived but everyone was very welcoming. The more we talked, the more I realised that they were all like me- foreign students coming here to find a community, to have a fellowship and to meet new friends. They invited me to more Christian events, which led me to more opportunities to meet more people and my network has grown vastly because of this. Thanks to OCF, I found a new family in Tokyo, I found new ways to learn about God and serve God, I found people who I can become very close with and rely on them when I need them (one of them became my significant other). Thanks to OCF, my transition to Tokyo has been made easier and much happier. My social skills, Japanese skills and knowledge about God all originated from OCF. In a way, I’m me in Tokyo because of OFC. I thank God for finding me OCF. Through this friendly community, God changed me to a better person.