The first guest blog in the Cultural Perspectives series is by a lady originally from the Middle East but now living in Britain:
For a person like me, who became a Christian from another religion and hated religiosity, it was difficult to find the right church that doesn’t make people run away!
I personally like Charismatic churches which are alive and where you can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the atmosphere. Also you can see the action of the Holy Spirit and the lives of people changed. Also, the way of worshiping God is so important for me and a prayerful atmosphere. Good preaching and teaching are important too. When I lived in Germany I went to some churches that were Charismatic and I loved to be in that atmosphere.
However, the first time I visited a church in the UK I didn’t have any idea about churches here. I chose the church because it was near my home, so I went there and found the people were really friendly and kind. I only attended that church for couple of months because it was not what I had expected.
I tried to find out about other churches and how they differed so I attended some others but none of them were what I was used to. I spoke to a lady who was from that first church and she kindly helped me and didn’t get upset about my decision to leave their church.
She sent me to the church that I am now a member of. The first time you experience something is very important for someone, and the first time I went to the new church there was a lady who was so friendly and accepting. She came to me and started to speak to me. She touched my heart and I felt like I was at home!
I think it was God’s plan for me to find this church which now is my home and family! Before that day I was so desperate and was thinking I couldn’t settle in the UK because church for me is like my home and it’s sooo important for me to be in the right one. I am glad and thankful for being a member of this church and they bless me a lot. Their kindness and mercy touch my heart, in fact they are good examples of Christians who I can learn from them.
Because I was a Muslim before, I had lots of fear that maybe God would leave me or get angry with me but by attending church in the UK I’ve learnt even more about our God and his mercy than before. I feel free now from all of those lies which religion and society in my home country taught me!
Also, I went to some christian conferences which built me up and I’ve learnt a lot about being a community in Christianity. I am still learning and love this adventurous life which Jesus gave me. Every day living with him is like a gift and I love to find out what’s waiting for me in it. Sometimes I can’t wait or be patient to find out his plan for my life but I trust in him so I know anything that happened to me was for a reason and I let him work on me to become that shape which he wants me to be!