I was raised in a loving Ethiopian home in South East London that would class itself as a part of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. In spite of this, we never read the Bible, prayed or regularly go to church. Christianity was something that was ingrained in our culture therefore it was part of who we were despite not actually having a relationship with Jesus.
I was fortunate enough to go to a high Church of England primary school where I first heard Bible stories read aloud at assembly or Mass. I wasn’t a stranger to the Church, however I was still distant from it. During my childhood and adolescence, deaths occurred almost yearly (sometimes more than once a year) to people that were relatively young. This made me ask deep questions that I couldn’t find the solutions to. In search for answers, I started to frequently attend the church I was raised in but couldn’t understand anything due to the fact the liturgy was in an archaic Ethiopian language. By coincidence, I met a Priest at a relative’s house and barraged him with questions until his wife stepped in and said, ‘These are questions that are not to be asked’. I thought if that’s the case then clearly God doesn’t exist.
Years later after living a life of nonchalance, being depressed and accepting my life had no meaning, God started to call me. I’d seen interviews of popular liberal pastors wearing leather jackets and skinny jeans. I thought that if God does exist, then surely their attire and way of worship must be a sin. All that I had been exposed to was various forms of high Church. This made me want to see what a Pentecostal service looked like (at this point, I thought there were only Catholics, Pentecostals and Cults in Christianity). I made a deal with myself that I’d keep coming back to see if there was a God - and if there wasn’t, I wouldn’t have lost anything. The first service I attended had a band and not just an organ or traditional Ethiopian drums which was an eye opener. As a result, I thought the modernness of the service was why Christians were flocking to Church. I also thought that all church people whether pastors, priests or the congregation were there for the money. I was certain it had nothing to do with Jesus. Despite this, I kept attending. The church was theologically weak and were only preaching feel-good topical sermons with no mention of sin. Luckily, my cousin who I was going to church with told me to listen to John Piper, Matt Chandler, David Platt and Francis Chan. I’d listen to these faithful Christian men at any chance I got. I heard the Gospel being preached several times a day. I tried ever so hard to find holes in the faith and was trying to prove to myself that it was all made up, but the Word stood firm. I read the New Testament bar Revelation during my short lunch breaks at work and would ask a colleague, who was a Christian, any questions I had during our shift. After months of fighting it, I understood the weight of my sin and repented. I then decided I needed to get baptised. Seeing as I wasn’t part of a real church, I asked my cousin to baptise me in a bath of a friend’s house with my friends and family in attendance.
Whilst I was struggling to find a church that held conservative values, I studied at a theology institute for a year. There my pastoral leader, who had similar values, recommended The Globe Church and I haven’t looked back since. My walk with Christ has improved immensely since I’ve been here through the preaching, Focus groups and fellowship. I’m currently a Ministry Trainee and loving the experience. I’m very grateful that God’s grace and providence has allowed me to be a member of this church where I have been welcomed and that the people have always been kind, honest and gracious towards me.