I grew up in East Germany under Communism. The first time that I heard about the Lord Jesus Christ was at the age of nine. I had a classmate who used to go to Bible Class on Saturdays and, because I was nosy, I joined her and I started to enjoy listening to the stories. When my dad found out why I was always late for lunch on Saturdays he gave me a good hiding and forbade me to visit those classes again.
When I was a teenager and started to think for myself , I noticed that Christians had a much harder life in East Germany than unbelievers. My mum was so scared of the system that she ripped a necklace with a little cross from my neck as she was afraid that someone would notice it. Another example of the anti-religious regime was that one of my friends, the daughter of a Church cantor, was not allowed to do her ‘A-levels’. I could not study furniture design as I refused to become a member of the Communist Party. Instead I went on to work in a nursery and soon realised how much I enjoyed teaching children.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall the demand for nursery places went down drastically and I lost my job. After studying architecture for a year I began work in a children’s home. The home was taken over by the State Church which insisted that I join it in order to keep my job. That reminded me of my experience under the Communist regime: so I refused again and became unemployed but not for long. Soon, I saw an advertisement in the job-centre: ‘German Nursery in London is looking for a teacher’. I applied and started my new job in January 1998.
After a succession of jobs in England I was ready to return to Germany to do a year’s study to enable me to teach German as a Foreign Language. Some of my possessions were already on their way to Hamburg when I met a young German lady who invited me to Amyand Park Chapel (APC). It was one of the most important moments in my life. I now know that the Lord was calling me to come to Him. I was like a dry sponge thrown into nice, cool, clear water. That is why I did not miss a single service at the Church during the remaining weeks that I had in England.
I went back to Germany and during that year I was continuously looking for a job in London as I desired to return to England as soon as possible. I could not find any. I became very sad when I realised that I would have to look for a permanent job in Germany which meant that I had to forget about England. But I could not find a job in Germany either!
To make things worse I could not claim benefits because I had been in the UK for too long. I felt helpless and turned to Horoscopes, Tarot Cards and Feng Shui, but of course these did not help. Finally I did what I had never done before. I fell on my knees and called out to God in deep despair. The next day I went again to the job-centre. I found an advertisement: ’English nursery near Gatwick Airport is looking for a teacher’. I got the job!
So, in 2001 I returned to my beloved England. I spent every Sunday in Twickenham attending the services at APC and began to read my Bible earnestly.
Although it was not always easy to understand, there were always Christians who could answer the many questions I had. God brought me to see my sins and to an understanding that Jesus had died in my place taking the punishment which I deserved. Now I love and trust Him as my Lord and Saviour.
My life has completely changed: from spending my spare time in selfish pursuits, I now cannot wait for Sundays to wet the ‘sponge’ again with living water. I wonder how I could ever have wasted so much time in the past. Now my greatest desire is to give the rest of my life to my dear Jesus, to serve Him with all my heart wherever He wants me to be. I only started seeking later in life but what I found is overwhelming.
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.