New Beginnings

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“I began to see that the things I owned, owned me.”
By Michael, from Canada

As the son of a successful corporate lawyer, growing up was pleasant for me. In my early teens my parents sent me to an elite private boarding school. Due to my great interest in art, I was then sent to a high school specializing in art and academic studies. My artwork and academic achievements there won me a scholarship at the Ontario College of Art, Canada’s most prestigious art college.

When I entered college, I was placed in the third year of the four-year art course—only the second student in the history of the college to receive this placement. At the end of my fourth year, I was given another scholarship and a grant to travel. After returning from extensive travels in Europe, I was hired by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where I worked for four years as a graphic designer. I also did freelance illustrations for a top agency in New York and for major newspapers, magazines, book publishers, TV, and animation companies.

I had climbed the ladder of success in my field, but it wasn’t enough; my heart was not satisfied. I began to understand that “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). I began to see that the things I owned, owned me. I wanted to find the true meaning of life.

Then one cold winter night on the downtown streets of Toronto, Canada, I met a total stranger who, in less than an hour, explained passages to me from the Bible that changed my life in the most profound way. That night I asked Jesus into my heart and found the greatest of all riches—Jesus and the Word of God.

“I traded bitterness and confusion for peace and love.”
By Shirley, from India

Am I doing the right thing? Is this what’s going to make me truly happy? What if…? I was on my way to an interview for a job overseas, and my mind was plagued with uncertainty about my future. I was still reeling from a broken relationship, and my family and friends agreed that a change would do me good; my colleagues at work called me an escapist.

I had been raised to believe in God, but had become upset, bitter, and resentful toward Him after my father died in spite of the deals I tried to make with Him. Now when I faced this life-changing decision, I didn’t know who else to call on. I decided to give God one more chance to prove Himself. Walking to that appointment, I prayed, “God, if You’re real, help me with this decision.”

As my mind returned to that crowded Mumbai sidewalk, I saw him—a stranger with a bright smile and sparkling eyes. He stopped me and asked for directions. Something about him struck me as unusual. How did he manage to stay so cool, unperturbed, and untouched by the near-chaos around us? We talked, and the conversation turned to choices and decision-making, God and the Bible. He showed me from the Bible how I too could have the peace that he had found by inviting the Prince of Peace, Jesus, into my heart. I prayed with that stranger right there on the sidewalk, and immediately felt a wonderful inner peace—and I forgot all about that interview!

That was the beginning of a deeper and more personal relationship with my Creator, Friend, and Companion. As I got to know Him better, I didn’t want to keep it to myself. Now I live to help others experience the love, joy, happiness, and hope that Jesus has given me.

 

 

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