I am so excited to share that my friend, Mariana, will be writing for this blog once a week. Mariana was one of the first people I met when I arrived in South Korea. She was a lifesaver and really helped me with the transition. I was so impressed by her wisdom, strong faith and servant’s heart. She is wise beyond her years and I am thrilled that she will be joining me on this blog. Without further adieu, here is Mariana’s testimony.
Hello, my name is Mariana. I’m originally from California but currently living in South Korea working as an English teacher.
I’ve been a Christian since I was six years old. In some ways, I see it as a blessing but often times see it as an insignificant detail of my testimony. The reason I see it that way is because, although I’m thankful I accepted God into my life at such a young age, I don’t want people to think that I have lived a perfect Christian life. I haven’t. That’s why I’m hesitant to mention that part in my testimony. However, I have learned that with a testimony, the main focus is to glorify God even if it means being honest at times when I don’t want to be. On the other hand, I do want people to know that no matter how much I have struggled and how much I will struggle, I have never regretted my decision.
Growing up in a Christian environment has made it easy to live a habitual almost legalistic Christian lifestyle. I somehow avoided the things that many young people were falling into. Although I would pray because I was told I had to pray, or read the Bible because I thought that if I didn’t read the Bible God would disregard me, I didn’t want to fall into drugs, or status within high school, or other things. For my teen years, I felt lonely in the decisions that I made and the life that I lived. Especially in college when I noticed girls chasing after boys because they “finally found a good Christian man,” I tried to avoid it all. It was tempting to fall into that, but I didn’t want to control my life in picking just a random Christian guy or taking matters into my own hands. In addition, because of the little experience I went through, I wasn’t taken seriously when I would give advice or share the Lord’s wisdom. I wanted to be an example like Christ for people, but my quietness and lack of experience made it difficult to speak and to be heard.
Since I was young, I thirsted for something real and true. In high school, the environment of gossip and verbal abuse and teenage immaturity pushed me to dive into the Bible in a way I had never done before. I was sick and tired of how “Christian teenagers” were acting. So, I started applying verses from Proverbs into my daily life, and I noticed a significant change. During college, I studied abroad in South Korea for one semester and that definitely transformed not only my view of the world, but also my view of God. I experienced Him in a way I had never experienced Him before. I saw His provision when I had no money and saw how He works in people’s lives all over the world.
When I went back to the States, I really struggled with going back to my habitual, comfortable life. I had seen to much of God that when I came back to the States, I was so frustrated with the way Christians were living. I stubbornly refused to take advantage of the time I had back home and found myself judging both believers and nonbelievers. Yet, God knew what He was doing when He put me in a time of unemployment after I finished college. I became ashamed of how I acted, and the Lord humbled me. A year later, moving to Korea was a big decision, but a necessary one, especially in breaking free from my comfortable life in the States. And because of God’s grace, He has shown me so much more of who He is and what He has in store for me. God sought me, and in order for me to listen and seek Him, everything and everyone had to be taken away. And even though I am still struggling with that in Korea, I am not the same person I was when I first came.
No other life is better than to serve God. Even now, I am serving Him in new ways such as leading worship and being an English teacher to students who can barely speak English, both of these were things I never thought I’d do. Following Christ is a daily struggle, and it will always be. But, I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t accept Christ as my Savior.
Mariana and I living it up in South Korea
I hope you all enjoyed Mariana’s testimony and look forward to hearing more from her! If you’d like to share your testimony please comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, I love hearing from y’all!