I didn’t grow up in a Christian family, and not even in a Christian country. Back in the day, people in my country weren’t very in tune with the concept of Christian and any foreign religion. My mom spent a lot of time working, and I was a ‘do whatever I want kid.’ If you know what I meant.
Not just my grades were in the D’s…… I, myself, was the D’s—disrespectful, delinquent, destructive, dreadful tomboy. I would hate to have an untamed kid like me ya know. I was such a bad kid that’s why I’m so afraid of having kids, aside from the money issue.
My bad behavior really showed in public when I went out and play in the playground, and neighbors parents told their kids to stay away from me. But when things reached into middle school, having no friends and being a social outcast truly struck me hard. I realized that the isolation was real and very painful. My life really went from D to F. My grades were failing and I was frantic and forlorn, and I wake up feeling that every day. I’ve had thoughts of suicide and several incidents. Life to me was like death until someone invited me to attend a Christian church in Taiwan.
It was my mom’s co-worker’s told her that her daughter was a youth leader and she really encouraged me to come to church. I was around 12 at the time and that was the first time in my life that anyone ever invited me to anything. All of my classmates disliked me back in middle school, and one of my classmates was also at the same church too. I can tell ya she really had a disgust on her face when she saw me at the church for the first time. She was an honor student at my class and was also talented with dancing and playing instrument. I went to the church with the simple concept of making friends, and I never would have imagined it became a part of my life.
My behavior was reshaped as I learned how important it was to be thankful and show gratitude to everyone around me. Life to me was like death, but once I understood what it was like to feel thankful, I realize there are so many things to be thankful about. Going to church also made me realize how important to help others and love others. I stop becoming so self-centered when I let God took my place in my heart. My classmate who used to dislike me started seeing the good side of me, wanting to do better. My wanting to do better intention continued to stick with me outside of the church and going to my school, my classroom and my house. Slowly, I started to be invited to social activities and when I try to get close to my peers, they don’t all avoid and ignore me.
Things started to look up in my social life, but academically I was still struggling. My grades were still failing and it was hard to catch up because of the rigorous academic competition. I did really bad on my high school entrance exam and was left with nowhere good to go. When my sister came to America and became under the guardianship of my aunt and uncle, it really prompted the idea to come over here since it’s a country of opportunity, plus no national high school entrance exam. Students have clubs and sports organization to participate in addition to just producing good grades.
The idea of moving to America has been with my family for many years. My dad was a salesman who went on many business trips to California, and my mom was a government worker who came to Oklahoma to complete her MBA. They wrote to each other about their dream of having a permanent life in America, but the dream had to take a 15-year detour since my dad passed away and it became really hard on my mom to maintain the family. Nevertheless, my mom was able to receive a green card, and she started the application for me and my sister even before I was born. I received my green card a year before 911 happened; after I completed middle school, I decided to come to the U.S. to obtain further education with the potential of permanently staying here.
Due to the language barrier and cultural difference, I had a hard time making friends. I was hanging out with my sister most of the time, and when she left town to go to UGA, I knew that I really had to step up the game and socialize with others. I continued going to the Chinese American church in America while I was in high school. A friend of my aunt and uncle was a pastor and his daughter invited me to go to church as soon as I came to Georgia. The church I went to was Bethlehem Advent Christian Church on Central Avenue, and as I continue to learn more about God’s way, I also learned American culture and English. Even though no one else in my family is going to church with me, I continued to go to church. I was baptized in 2010.
God has always taken me down a treacherous path but he always guides me along the way. Often times I feel that wow maybe god has really abandoned me. God had given me the most challenging way to complete my education, a secure social life, find the right boyfriend, and becoming an American citizen.
Attending American college as an immigrant of a foreign country was incredibly challenging beyond words, especially managing my finances on my own. Not to mention things only went harder from there. It took me 4 years of balancing between part-time jobs and classes to obtain my bachelor’s degree, 5 years of being in the wrong romantic relationships to find the right one, over 7 years of working experience and 25 interviews to find one job, 10 years of headache and thousands of dollars just to become an American citizen. With all these challenges that God present to me, I have become stronger. I came from being a lonely, class-failing social outcast, crying in my bed every day to a working professional with a degree and a family here today testifying for god.
God’s love is infinite, and he will always continue his amazing work in everyone’s life.