In my weak self, I write my testimony about my life with God for His glory.
I was born in Cairo, Egypt to an Egyptian father and a Japanese mother, I was baptised in the Coptic Orthodox church when I was an infant. At the age of seven, my family and I immigrated to Australia. I was brought up in Australia and attended the mass of the Coptic Orthodox church in Australia. My family communicated to each other in English as it was a common language between my parents. Since, my father did not continue speaking to me in Arabic while I was living in Australia, I had naturally forgotten my Arabic. But, I could listen and understand the Coptic and Arabic hymns at the Coptic Orthodox church.
From the age of 20 years old, I started to read His holiness, Pope Shenouda III's books that were translated to English from Arabic. My first book that I read was "Repentance and Purity". This was when I started to think deeply about my life. What is the meaning of life? How is my life going?
I was living a very worldly life that is living thinking about my desires and my needs. I felt this was not pleasing to God. I also started to read many books about the lives of saints, particularly about Coptic Saints. One of the titles was "The Hermit Fathers". When I read these books I saw how the saints had an amazing peace, joy and love in their hearts and in their lives. This was because they decided to live a spiritual life above a worldly life. They chose spiritually over worldly matters. This is how they gained Jesus' fulfilling love and peace in their hearts that this world could never give. Even I had all the money, position and friends, if I was not spiritual, I would still not be happy. Living a spiritual life is like a foundation in our life in good times and bad times we have a steady rock which is Jesus. I realized that Jesus is our true happiness. I was already baptised and I knew this but I wanted to live it and experience the same joy, peace and love as the saints did.
My life did not reflect a Christ-like life that is why I was not happy the way I was living and who I was. This is when I decided to live a life for God and not for myself. I realized that I was living 20 years of my life following my desires and striving for what this world claims a happy life. God opened my eyes and then I made the decision to give fully my heart, my life and everything to God, not just 10% percent of it on Sundays or when I was free during the week.
I repented of all my sins to God. I wanted to be purified and start my life a new this time asking God what He wants of me because I do not want to follow my own desires anymore. I attended a Coptic holy liturgy particularly because it was the feast day of Saint Anba Karas, the Hermit father, on July 15th. I believed that Saint Anba Karas would be present during the mass because it was his feast day. I begged for his prayers that I would live a life for God and become a servant of Jesus Christ. I didn't know how to and what I should do in my life. I knew that I will just live my life for God. I felt through the prayers of Anba Karas, he really helped to take that step. From that day on, I started to go to the Coptic Orthodox church more regularly. I confessed my sins to the Parish priest and I took Holy communion more regularly. I started to fast more seriously. I felt in that period of my life, I needed to live a life of repentance and purify my stained soul.
In every decision I asked Jesus whether this was His will or not. If it was His will that He would open it up for me. If not, may He close the opportunity for me. When I was taking job interviews, I knew that the one God wanted will be opened for me. I just had to keep on trying different job interviews and He will guide me to the one He wants. That is how, I could get a job in Japan. My intention was to see and meet my Japanese grandparents living in Japan. But, God's intention was for me to work for Him in Japan. I was intending to stay in Japan for one year but it was God's purpose for me to marry a Japanese person and serve the Japanese people. Now I have been living in Japan for 7 years. I still see myself as a weak servant of Jesus. But, I can truly testify that walking and following Jesus and praying to Him in the Coptic Orthodox church is truly a spiritual and growing experience in my life. I realized that I need to live my daily life of repentance, giving Him my will, seeking His will and serving Him by loving others.
May the prayers of all the saints, the hermit fathers and the Holy Mother Mary be with us all. Amen.
Glory be to God, forever. Amen.
"Not what I want, but what God wants for me. "