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Jack’s very big year

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Jack Chen, 23, is from Shan Xi in Central China and is living in Melbourne. In November 2012, Jack was baptised at Christ Church Hawthorn, after deciding to become a follower of Jesus. The following month he graduated from RMIT University with a Masters of Public Accounting.

I did a Diploma of Electronics and Automation in China but I wanted to study accounting. It was cheaper to study in Australia than in many other countries and my parents were happy for me to come here. My sister lives in Sydney.

Two years ago I didn’t know who Jesus was. When I came to Australia I heard people use the name, Jesus, as a swear word in movies and in conversation. I didn’t even know that Jesus Christ was someone to believe in; I thought it was just something people said, like ‘Oh My God’.

When I studied my undergraduate degree, I was sharing a house with other students in Glen Waverley and commuting to uni. After finishing, I decided to continue with the Masters degree and changed location to a place on my own.

In the winter vacation I went to see my sister in Sydney. We met some young American missionaries on the street who talked to us about believing in Jesus Christ. We went with them and visited their church a few times.

They showed us such hospitality and kindness: talking to them was like talking to old friends. They were very interesting, especially when they told us what they believed and how following Jesus had changed their lives. I was fascinated about what could make them so faithful and so enthusiastic about their faith.

I wanted to know more about what they believed. My sister kept going to church with them in Sydney and I returned to Melbourne and started looking for a church near me. I found Christ Church, Hawthorn (CCH) on Google. It was very close and I thought the building was just beautiful—I wanted to know what was inside.

CCH is very different to the church I went to in Sydney—instead of all young people, I think most people in the 6.00pm service are about 10 years older than me.
The people at CCH are experienced in their faith and are used to reading the Bible. They aren’t bothered by the language difference.

Nat Clarke, the assistant minister, led my Bible study group and got me a Chinese language Bible on eBay. It has been good to learn more about why Jesus came, and about God’s bigger picture for the world: the logical links between the Old Testament and the New Testament. I love studying the Bible.

I made the decision to be baptised to show that I had given my life to Jesus. I have new life because of him and I want to be guided by him. My baptism was very special, in a pool outside our church, surrounded by lots of my church family. It was sunny, but not very warm!

One of my friends from university, Danny, came to my baptism. He’s not a Christian and I don’t know if it made him think about Jesus, but he came to show his support for me and that means a lot. He is about to go back to China forever. I hope he remembers what he heard about Jesus.

My parents are Buddhists. They don’t really mind if I am a Christian because they think it’s good to believe in something. One day I have to talk to them about the difference between a Buddhist belief and being a Christian.

I can see now that it was God’s plan for me to be born (Jack is the second child in his family born in 1989 when the one-child policy was well underway). My life is a blessing from the Lord.

It was God’s plan that my sister and I would come to Australia to study. If we had stayed in China I don’t think we would have ever known about Jesus. I can see that it was God’s hand that led me to stay in Melbourne and to search for a church. Because of that, I have made strong Christian friends who prayed for me at my baptism and who will look after me like my family.

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