I was brought up in the Catholic faith. Religion for my father was his life. He had a very strong faith, being former Church of England he had converted to become a Catholic before I was born. It was very important to my father that my sisters and I had a good Catholic upbringing. We regularly went to Mass and Confession and we had family prayer time, saying the Rosary together every day. But as a child I didn’t embrace the faith, or experience God’s love. I believed everything I was taught by my father, but my focus was always on others, comparing myself with them and being overly concerned about what other people thought of me. I started feeling ashamed when school friends saw us going to Church and when friends came round I was ashamed of the religious items in our home. My friends seemed to have better homes, and they had many luxuries that we didn’t have. I felt different from the rest and wanted to be like everyone else. I wasn’t happy or content with what I had. I didn’t recognise the many blessings I had because my attention was always on other people.


I didn’t think that I could be happy in the way of life my father wanted for me. At that time I hadn’t encountered Jesus on a personal level. God was very distant, I felt unimportant in His eyes and I felt like a nobody. When I left school at 16 I stopped going to church. I started to desire a different lifestyle, like those I saw in television programmes. The beautiful and glamorous girls on TV seemed to be having lots of fun. They had lots of friends and were popular with the boys. I was very image conscience. My friends started going to pubs pretty soon after leaving school, and I started to join them, getting dressed up in short skirts, skimpy tops and high heels. This gave us the opportunity to meet boys. We had to make ourselves look older with lots of make-up so that we would pass for 18. I did my best to hide this from my dad because he wouldn’t have approved so I used to stay over at friends’ houses whose parents didn’t mind us going out late to pubs. I was struggling with a lack of confidence being extremely shy, but I soon learnt that alcohol made me come out of my shell and seem like a fun person. I began to binge drink and rely on alcohol for a good time.


I never felt happy with how I looked, so I always wore makeup and keeping friends was difficult for me. I never felt fully accepted with my friends. I wanted to be loved but I never found this love in any of the boyfriends that I had. After a few years of having one disastrous relationship after another I started to lose hope of ever finding happiness. I was growing ever more aware of my emptiness, I was lonely and my life had no meaning. I was broken in so many ways. One night as I was crying on my bed, feeling my lowest, the image of the Divine Mercy came into my mind. That’s the picture of Jesus with rays issuing from His heart with the words “Jesus I trust in you” inscribed underneath the image. This picture had always been on the wall of my parent’s house for as long as I can remember. I was at the time in a relationship that I wanted to get out of because I knew it wasn’t making me happy, I was inspired to make an act of trust through the image, I prayed the words in desperation “Jesus I Trust in you” and made the decision to break off the relationship with my boyfriend and face the consequences placing my situation in the hands of Jesus.


A few months passed and the feelings of loneliness and misery were still weighing me down, so when an opportunity came up for me to go on a blind date, I took it. Before we met we tried to get to know each other a little, and to my surprise, he asked me, “Are you a practising Catholic?” I had never before found anyone searching for a practising Catholic, one that I thought I could be attracted to. This started me thinking, “Is this how God has answered my plea for help?” I felt drawn to returning to the church again with this date. As I got to know him, it turned out that he too had had a religious upbringing and had turned away from the Church. It was like looking into a mirror. He was in the same situation as me. I started to become more aware of God’s presence in my life, and He became very real to me and very close. After a few dates, he decided to call it off. He said he was still grieving over a previous relationship and was not ready for a new one. I felt very hurt and upset and didn’t understand what this meant. I was frustrated and cried out to God, “Why do this to me when I was ready to turn my life around?” Then I felt God saying to me “Forgive this person for offending you.” I had never really forgiven anyone before. I used to hold grudges against the people who had hurt me. So I swallowed my pride, and forgave the person for the hurt that I felt. Instantly I felt at peace, and my heart felt aglow. I knew that I had done a great thing and I felt free from the bitterness.


After that God was on my mind constantly and I still wanted to go back to Church. When driving to work one morning, God spoke to me in a way that made me realise that I could not delay any longer my return to the Church. It was an urgent call to be reconciled to God in Confession. I went straight to my dad and told him that I wanted to go to Confession and to start praying the Rosary again. At first he was very suspicious because he couldn’t believe my sudden change of heart. The first Mass I went back to with my dad was on Ash Wednesday. I felt very nervous but everything at that Mass seemed to have a personal message for me, God was calling me back to himself in a very beautiful way that made me feel very emotional. God had melted my heart and for the first time I experienced Him pouring out his love for me. It was as though time stood still, and it was just me and God, and we were just gazing at one another. My eyes had been opened and I could see him as he really is, LOVE.


I couldn’t receive Holy Communion at that Mass because l hadn’t made my Confession yet, but I was able to go up to the priest for my ashes. The priest’s words as he marked my forehead with the ashes were, “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.” That was like my first stepping stone back. I got my dad to arrange for me to see a priest and he gave me a book to help me examine my conscience. I was so nervous. I knew I had to do it, but I was fearful of telling the priest all my sins. I started to write them down, smiling to myself thinking how can I tell all this to a holy priest? But I felt someone with me, all the way, encouraging me to make this Confession to the best of my ability. I was inspired by the courage of the martyrs. If they can shed their blood for Christ then I can face my fears and make my Confession. When I had finished my list it was eight pages long! Looking back now I think that Confession was the bravest thing I’ve ever done. Inside the confessional I started to shake in fear and I was close to tears. My hands were shaking as I read out to the priest what I had prepared. When I had finished, there was a long pause, and then the priest said, “Don’t worry.” I smiled and gave a big sigh of relief. As the priest raised his hands to give me absolution, it felt like a shower of raindrops was being poured out into my soul, starting with my head and running into the depths on my being. My spirit felt lifted, as if I was floating and an immense joy filled my heart. A massive burden had left me. I had been washed and restored by the blood and water that issued from the heart of Christ. I had encountered Christ. I knew I had a saviour who had brought me back to life. Jesus is alive!


From that moment on, my whole life changed. I was no longer fearful for the future. I had hope and experienced real happiness. I knew that I was loved with a love that is just so unimaginable. Jesus is now in control of my life. Everything I do now is through Him and for Him. I have thrown out my old wardrobe and let go of being worried about my image. I am no longer trying to impress others and seeking their approval. Him love me for who I am. I have bought new clothes that are plain and let me keep my dignity. I threw out my makeup and the fake tan. Friends couldn’t understand what had happened to me and I got comments like, “You’re starting to dress like my grandmother.” But it doesn’t matter to me. I am so excited about my future with Jesus. He has become such a close and loving friend, full of surprises. Every day He proves His love for me by speaking to me and listening to my every concern, no matter how small and insignificant I think it might be. I can share everything with Jesus and He has an answer for everything. I am so content. I can’t imagine life without him now.

Written by Gillian Prince



As a convert to the Catholic Faith I really struggled with the belief that the Eucharist really is the Body and Blood of Jesus. I could not understand how speaking certain words over the bread and wine that were on the altar could make any difference to them. They looked the same as before and they tasted the same so what had changed? I desperately wanted to believe that I was receiving Jesus in the Eucharist so I prayed that God would show me the truth. Soon afterwards He led me to a seminar at a large gathering of Catholics at Walsingham. The seminar was called “The Real Presence” and when I heard the title I just knew that I had to go and listen to it. It was given by the late Bishop Ambrose Griffiths, who very gently took us through the Scriptures and what Jesus Himself had told us about the Eucharist.


He said that Jesus gave us the Mass. At the Last Supper, when He blessed the bread and gave it to His disciples He said, “This is my Body given up for you.” When He had blessed the wine and passed it round to His disciples He said, “This is my blood, poured out for you.” He did not say that it was a sign of His Body and Blood but that it actually was them. In the same way that Jesus gave His Body and Blood to His disciples He offers himself to us in the Eucharist. Every Mass presents the death and resurrection of Jesus and somehow these events, become present and real to us who join in the celebration.


Jesus also said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live for ever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51) He went on to say, “I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” (John 6:53) By receiving Jesus’ Body and Blood in Holy Communion we receive the life of Christ within us. There was also another promise, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” (John 6:54-55). Jesus leaves us little doubt that he is truly present in Holy Communion. Through the Eucharist we are united with Christ Jesus and become more like him. At the end of the seminar Bishop Ambrose suggested that we reread the verses from John Chapter 6.


The next day as I waited in the long queue for Communion I recited to myself, “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you will not have life within you.” And “my flesh is real food, my blood is real drink.” I remember very clearly as I got to the front of the line, there was one person in front of me receiving Holy Communion when I heard a man’s voice very clearly in my head (but not through my ears) saying, “How much closer can you get to me than to take me into your own body?” At that moment I was in front of the priest and received the Host and I knew, deep down in the depths of my heart, without a shadow of a doubt that I had received the Body of Jesus. The same thing happened with the Chalice. I knew for certain that it was the Blood of Jesus that I had received.


I returned to my seat on a real high and knelt in thanksgiving to Jesus for revealing Himself to me. His words kept going round my head until suddenly I realised what a strange thing He had said. Why did He say, “How much closer can you get to me than to take me into your own body?” He could just have said, “This really is my Body and Blood.” I wondered about this and then suddenly I had a flashback to three days earlier, on the first night, when the Conference Leader asked us to think about why we were there. I decided that it was because I had enjoyed it the previous year so much that I wanted to come back again. Then he said, “Now you know why God had brought you here you should pray for what you want to get out of the coming week’s conference.” I felt a bit of a fraud because I had misunderstood his first question and didn’t want to pray to have a good time so I racked my brain to think of what I wanted to get out of the coming week. I couldn’t really think of anything specific so I quickly shot off the prayer, “I want to get closer to you, Lord.” Then I instantly forgot the prayer. But God didn’t! Three days later He answered my prayer by pointing out that I couldn’t get any closer to Him than by receiving Holy Communion, His Body and Blood, into my own body.


I learnt two very valuable lessons that week: Jesus is truly present in Holy Communion and He always answers our prayers, even if we have forgotten them!

Written by CATHERINE


One of our readers shares how God revealed Himself to her in a very powerful and unexpected way, that transformed her life.



A few years ago, a friend of ours, who we knew from church, told my husband that whenever he started to pray he could see in his mind a picture of my face and my heart. He said that he had no idea what it meant but he felt that it was some sort of warning and suggested that my husband should pray for me. As you can imagine, we were quite disturbed and after praying about it we decided that I should go for a medical checkup, in case God was somehow telling me that I had a problem with my heart. So I had a full examination and all the test results came back as normal. I was relieved that my heart was functioning as it should and we gradually forgot about the friend’s message.


In 2012 I attended a ten day residential retreat run by Sehion Ministries in preparation for Pentecost. I was a very committed Catholic and had attended other retreats but I had never had a personal encounter with God that many of my friends seemed to have experienced. The Pentecost Retreat was led by Fr Binoy, a priest from Kerala in India and he spoke passionately about how the early Apostles had an experience of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. He said that we too could have that experience today and he urged us to earnestly desire an encounter with Jesus. Each talk he gave moved me deeply and I went to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which brought me amazing joy and healing.


It was an incredible time in my life and I didn’t want the ten day retreat to end, without my having had any experience of God. I longed for His presence, but at the same time, I wasn’t sure if my longing for Him was enough. I remember praying “Holy Spirit, Spirit of God, the Power of God, multiply my heartfelt desires a thousand fold, so that they are enough to experience you, because on my own I cannot long for you enough. I am exhausted, but you are my all powerful helper.” Towards the end of the retreat, during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, my loving Father allowed me a divine experience that I will never ever forget. I can only describe what felt like a fleshy heart, surrounded by thorns, being dropped into my body and my insides being shaken. I had an amazing sensation of God being with me.


Now in 2015, my heart is still healthy. Outwardly nothing has changed but inwardly I’ve noticed that my heart is full of love towards God and towards others, even those who persecute me. The Holy Spirit helps me to pray for them, which I was not able to do before. Now, I am trying to live my life as Jesus would want me to and when I fail the Holy Spirit leads me to the Confessional and reminds me of Jesus’ teachings. Before, I could not relate to them in my daily life. Now when I feel hatred, jealousy, pride or selfishness stirring within me I think of Bible verses and I can overcome the feelings. Of course I fall in my weak moments but the Lord helps me to get up and start again. When I am impatient the sweet heart of Jesus calms me down. My circle of prayer has grown from just my family to the Church and to the entire world. Reading the Word of God has started to produce fruit in me, because it is the rich soil given by God Himself. I hope that I am on the way to produce thirty, sixty or hundredfold fruit and the evil one cannot steal what is sown in my heart.


Now I know that my friend’s vision was a prophecy of what God wanted to do in my life. While I was thinking that I might get heart disease, Jesus, my Lord, was planning to give me a new heart. This is what he wants to do for all his people. In the Old Testament He told the people of Israel “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.” (Ezekiel 36:25-28).

Heavenly Father, You are my God. Sacred Heart of Jesus, give me a new heart to love you and a new Spirit of Wisdom to understand your words. Help me to produce the fruit of holiness in my life. Holy Spirit, help me not to harden my heart, when I hear your voice and give me the gifts to understand the secrets of Heaven. Amen.



I attended a School of Evangelisation run by Sehion Ministries in 2013 and it changed my life. The Holy Spirit of God touched me deeply and I experienced the love of my Heavenly Father, Abba in an encounter that was beyond words, just beautiful! Suddenly from nowhere I had a desire to live my life for the Lord and to lead a sinless life, well at least to try to. A week after this experience my parents left to go to India to help with a mission in Arunachel Pradesh with the Sehion team. I was quite worried at the time because I’d be home alone for two weeks, and the chances of me falling into sin were significantly higher than when my parents were around. So I was quite scared thinking about how I was going to cope with two weeks on my own!


The Lord says in Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you”, and “cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) I was very anxious so I gave all my worry to Jesus in prayer. As a result I felt that Jesus, Himself, came to me and He sent His Mother to comfort me. The Holy Spirit inspired me to pray the Rosary as much as I could and I began to pray four Rosaries every day, as well as many other prayers such as the Way of The Cross. I also spent lots of time reading the Bible and memorising Scriptures. I had never been a man of prayer before this, so I couldn’t believe how much time I was spending in prayer! As prayer became a habit for me during these two weeks, sin became nothing to me. I could resist all temptations. Satan could not touch me because Jesus was holding on to me with His victorious right hand! I also realised the power of the Rosary and the protection of our Mother Mary for those who pray the Rosary. Since that time, I have kept the grace that was given to me to pray as many Rosaries as I could, thanks be to God!


After their two week mission, I was to fly to India, by myself, to join my parents. I took a flight to Mumbai and from there had to take another plane to Kochi. When I reached Mumbai, I was very excited to be going back to Kerala and rushed to the gate for my connecting flight. As I approached the gate, I discovered that all the flights to Kochi had been cancelled due to a flood on the runway. I just stood there in shock not knowing what to do. I was completely clueless thinking to myself, okay, I’ll stand here looking miserable and maybe the airport staff will feel sorry for me and arrange a flight somehow just for me!


Suddenly, a stranger appeared to my right and asked me what was wrong. He spoke like an old friend who knew me well. I had been panicking but he was so cool and relaxed. He was very kind and treated me like his own son. He went with me to another desk at the airport to see if there were other options to get me home. He told me not to worry about a thing because he would sort everything out for me. I was amazed. As I walked beside him I was wondering what exactly was going on; some random guy had appeared out of nowhere offering me a five-star service!


After a few hours of waiting in Mumbai, he somehow got us both on to a flight to Coimbatore, in Tamil Nadu. I praised and thanked the Lord during the flight for His extraordinary help from heaven. We arrived in Coimbatore, and to my astonishment, the man told me that he had arranged for his son in law to drive me all the way to my parents in Kerala in his car. I stood in awe thanking God that a second stranger was willing to drive eleven hours there and back from Coimbatore to Kochi just for me! Eventually, I arrived home safe and sound, thanks be to God!


My mom told me that she had been worried about me travelling on my own and had remembered how the Archangel Raphael had accompanied Tobias on his journey to foreign lands in the Book of Tobit, so she prayed to God to send the Archangel Raphael to help me on my journey to Kerala. Later, while I was praying in thanksgiving to the Lord, He revealed to me that He had answered my mom’s prayer and had sent St. Raphael to assist me. I personally believe that it was my Guardian Angel and St. Raphael working together who got me home! After this incident, St. Raphael the Archangel has become my top boy!

Melwin Tomy

The God who does the Impossible

Hi, I’m Brijil, following my dad’s advice, each day before revising for my AS exams I watched an episode of Sehion Abhishekagni which is a Bible teaching in Malayalam (the language of Kerala, India) given by Fr. Xavier Khan Vattayil, that is available online. Each program also included Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and praise and w o r s h i p .

I would place my hands on the books that I was going to revise from whilst watching the program and pray that God would help me to revise.


Everything seemed to be going fine until the middle of my exams, I was taking my maths C2 paper, and the questions were horrendous. I had no idea what I was doing. I can still remember clearly that there were about eight questions on the paper and I could only fully answer the first three questions. I knew that these were only worth between two and six marks each. As I started the fourth question, I began to get worried because I wasn’t sure what to do. So I moved on to the next question, and then to the next but the questions just seemed to get worse and worse. I managed to do parts of the next few questions but the bits that I did were only worth about four marks each compared to the possible twelve marks that I could get if I finished the question. The exam did not go well at all.


As soon as I got home, my dad asked me how it had gone and I burst into tears, because I knew that I had failed that exam. I couldn’t even answer half of the paper. He started to tell me Bible verses of encouragement such as, “Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6: 33) “I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, “Be lifted up and thrown into the sea”, it will be done.” (Matthew 21:21-22) “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27) He then told me to go to the prayer room in our house get down on my knees and thank God for all that had gone wrong in the exam. So I went and did as he said, I knelt down and thanked God. I thanked God, for all the questions that I had not managed to complete. For all the questions that I couldn’t finish because I ran out of time. I thanked God for all the questions that I didn’t know how to approach or what techniques to use. In short I thanked God for everything that had gone wrong. I walked into the prayer room crying, but after thanking God I walked out of the room with so much happiness and peace that I had never felt before. My tears had been changed to a big smile, because I knew that Jesus had a plan for me!


A few days later I remember doing my Biology exams. I was worried afterwards because all my friends seemed to have answered the questions differently to me and they had drawn different graphs. The second Biology paper was even worse. We were expecting only two questions to be about applying our knowledge but every question in the exam paper was an application question that included many calculations and I found it very confusing. I had never had such a hard exam paper, where I was so unsure of what the examiners actually wanted.


“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27


I tried my best to answer all the questions, but I remember just trying to write down anything and everything that might have a link to the question. Afterwards, everyone was discussing the exam and I compared my answers with two of my friends. These were smart girls who always got top marks and I remember they had similar answers to each other but my answers were quite different to theirs. I felt the familiar sadness and worry, knowing I had gone and messed up another exam.


After that exam, at home, I just told Jesus, “You’re going to have to mark the paper, because if the examiners see my answers they won’t even pass me. Jesus you have to fill those examiners with the Holy Spirit.” I just kept praying in faith. Before the results were announced, I was very worried, as I knew that my exams had not gone well. However, by God’s grace and mercy, He awarded me a B in maths and A’s in my other three subjects. I knew God had done the impossible. Because I trusted in Him, He worked for me. When I put God first in my life, He provided the miracle that I needed. All Glory be to Jesus!

Written by Brijil shares



Have you ever been faced with a difficult situation and thought, who can I share this with? Who can I rely on? Will my friends be able to help me? Not many people have a friend that they can tell everything to and many young people don’t feel that they can share everything with their parents. There are certain things that you have to keep to yourself, just for you to know and no one else. Life can feel like a lonely place sometimes but when we stand at a crossroad, wondering which way to go, we do have someone with us. We should not forget that He is there beside us, in our every breath and every step. Yes, I am talking about Jesus.


“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:2) This powerful Bible verse has helped me to get through many difficult times. It tells me that He is there with me through everything and anything, be it moments of turmoil or happiness, our Lord Jesus is always with us! When we have problems we may say, “Why God?” or “Where are you God?” But if you listen carefully, you might just hear him whisper, “I am right here beside you.”


Deciding to move to Romania to study medicine was not easy for me. Homesickness nearly got the better of me. I was literally all alone, as I did not know anyone and I did not know if I had the strength and courage to live so far away from my family. But if it wasn’t for the School of Evangelisation that I attended in August 2013, I wouldn’t have made the decision to move to Romania just two months later. The unconditional love of God that I felt during SOE gave me an inner strength that helped me through many difficulties including finding accommodation, registering for the academic year and the solitary life that I led in a flat. The list of reasons that I had to be depressed just goes on. However, in every situation God was there for me. He showed me the way; He gave me the courage to be able to love the new chapter of my life in Romania. Now, when I look back to last year, I can just sit and smile because Jesus has been so good to me! His presence in my life makes me giddy with happiness! All I want to say to you is keep your faith in Jesus at all times, especially when things get difficult. Remember that He is walking along your journey with you and will never leave you. Jesus loves you way too much! k

Written by Arlyn Maria Augustine



Growing up in an Indian Catholic family I was used to attending Daily Mass, family prayer, retreats and Bible Conventions but I used to dread all these as they seemed so boring and meaningless to me. I always believed there was a God because I found it impossible to say that everything came from nothing, as many people do. But I never really knew much about my faith and that I was called to love God and live for him. Why? Well I thought he was only for older people and he wouldn’t want anything to do with a kid like me. But He has proved me wrong, and He really does care about me and not just me but you also!


Two years ago, I was living as a lukewarm Catholic when I heard about a five day retreat called the School of Evangelisation that was being held for teenagers. So, along with many of my friends, I decided to go and packed my bags. I had no idea that this was all part of God’s plan to change my life along with the sixty nine other teenagers, who also attended. I was excited to be going because I thought that it was going to be some sort of camp, where we would sit round the fire singing Jesus songs and eating marshmallows! But something far greater awaited me.


During the retreat, many teenagers were having extraordinary encounters with Jesus, and a new joy, love and peace filled their hearts. I too met him during those days. Now I feel blessed to call Jesus my first and greatest love. Through the preaching, the Holy Mass, Praise and Worship and times of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament I fell head over heels in love with Jesus. I came to understand a deep truth; that Jesus is not some imaginary friend that Christians have to cope with their daily problems, He is truly alive and He is living now. Yes now in 2015! “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)


I began to wonder if Jesus is alive, why doesn’t everyone in our churches know the fullness of this truth. If Jesus is alive why are so many Christians lukewarm? This wasn’t the case with the early Church when Christians were unimaginably persecuted and killed in many different ways. Christians, who were blamed for burning down the city of Rome by Emperor Nero, were made a public spectacle. They were imprisoned, persecuted, tortured and fed to the lions. No one was spared. While the spectators laughed at them, they never stopped worshipping God throughout their suffering because they knew that God had promised them eternal life. This explained the great joy that radiated from them. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.” (Matthew 5:11-12)


I gave my life to Jesus and like a little baby, I cried for not having known this love earlier. I used to be ashamed in school for being known as a Christian who went to church but Matthew 10:32-33 says, “Anyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge them before my Father and anyone who denies me before others, I will also deny them before my Father.” When I discovered the truth that God sent His only Son for a sinner like me, I was overwhelmed. Jesus died for me and I used to be ashamed to even talk about him. He wasn’t ashamed when he accepted death on the cross for me. Since returning to school there hasn’t been a day without kids making fun of me because of my love of Jesus, but as Paul says, “The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18) So I try to take each of these tiny persecutions and offer them as little gifts to Jesus. I love Jesus greatly, and my life now has a new purpose and reason. I wish that all my brothers and sisters could know this love. St. Joseph Escriva said “Don’t you long to shout to those people around you, Leave those worldly things and come with us in search of love.”


“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9


Written by Jeril John



I was born into a Christian, Catholic family and was raised by my grandparents until the age of 9. Unfortunately my grandparents spoilt me and with the lack of punishment and discipline, I became very rebellious and naughty. My grandparents just loved me too much to tell me off or punish me so I started rebelling against them and blackmailing them to get what I wanted. I wouldn’t eat my meals and wasted so much food when my grandma wasn’t looking. I skipped saying the Rosary with them to watch my favourite TV shows because I thought that the Rosary was boring and I wanted to enjoy myself. I know that I hurt them a lot.


However, everything changed for me after my parents brought me to England. At first, I felt alone and sad because I was by then much closer to my grandparents than to my parents. Everything was very different and I didn’t feel secure or happy any more in this new country. I remember crying one night because I missed my grandparents so much and I asked God never to take them away. But, gradually, I started to settle and get used to my new situation and I was a bright, happy, cheerful kid.


We moved to a new area when I was 10 years old and I started going to a new school and that is when a huge problem hit me. I can’t tell you what the problem was because it is too hard and personal to say but I suffered a lot from it. I lost my childhood innocence. I didn’t understand what was going on. I ignored it at first but as I grew older and started looking at things from a different perspective, it all seemed very wrong. This went on for 4 or 5 years of my life and as I grew it got worse and worse. I didn’t tell anyone. I couldn’t tell anyone. Someone that I had really trusted had hurt me, in such a way that it was impossible to put right.


I cried a lot at night times; it was the only time that I could just open my heart and cry as my sister would be sleeping. I was scared, frightened and alone. I questioned God: “Why me? What have I done? I’m just a kid. I don’t know what to do”. When I was alone and scared, I could not turn to anyone for comfort, no one saw my tears, not my parents or friends. I just couldn’t say anything to them. During the day, I would hide all my tears with a smile and laughter but only the Lord, the one above, saw how weary my eyes were. How much I was crying and suffocating on the inside. “When I walk through the valleys of death, I shall fear no evil for the Lord is with me.” (Psalm 23:4) The once cheerful and happy kid was gone.


It was at this time that my aunty moved nearby because she had a new job and we were really close with her and my cousins. One day we were all together talking about things, and my sister, without realising it, gave away a slight hint about my problem. My aunty guessed something wasn’t quite right with me, so when we were alone, she asked me what was wrong. At first, I resisted, but then I broke down and told her everything. She tried to help as much as she could and although it took a long time, I eventually resolved my problem.


It was a very difficult time but with the help and love of my aunty, I became stronger and more confident. She taught me that I shouldn’t be afraid because God was with me. I had a strength that I thought I could never have again. It was overwhelming. It was the strength of the Lord, the Holy Spirit. I spoke out and I wasn’t afraid anymore. My enemy’s words couldn’t manipulate me anymore. I spoke with such power, that I amazed myself. I began to believe and trust God more than anything, more than my own life. I believed that he was with me, that he wouldn’t let go of my hands. He wouldn’t forsake me. He was my strength. “I was fiercely attacked and was being defeated, but the Lord helped me. The Lord made me powerful and strong; he has saved me” (Psalm 118:14).


I have experienced really difficult times at a very young age, things no child should ever go through and although I thought that I would never be happy again, the impossible is now possible because of the power of God in my life. My strength is coming from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, the one who has counted every hair on my head, who has collected every one of my tears in his jar. My strength is in the Lord. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is impossible for him. He is great, he is amazing, and he is the Lord. I believe it because I have felt him; truly felt him, present in my life.


When I look back now, at all those times that I’ve cried, I realise that the Lord was there. He was standing by my side, watching. Every time I broke done and cried, he hugged me tight, wiped away my tears and gave me strength. That is the love of our Lord and He heard and answered my prayers. HE HAS SAVED ME! He died for me. In the past, I lived because of him. Now I live for him.



As believers, we need community. We need brothers and sisters in Christ who know our struggles and who are walking with us on our journey of faith. We need people who see us wandering from the path of grace and point us back to the gospel. “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1) St Paul wrote: “I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Romans 1:11-12)


My first experience of community was when I was a Church leader during my time at the Bangalore Nursing College. I was constantly moved by the faith of the people around me and God was always giving me the opportunity to meet new people and share the gospel message. After gaining my nursing diploma, I moved to Bhopal in central India where I was working in a small hospital, trying to hang on to my faith in Christ Jesus alone. It was a very challenging time for me, because the nearest church was ten miles away and it could only be reached by rickshaw, which was expensive. I really struggled without a community where I could be encouraged in my Christian faith.


After a year I was moved from Bhopal to Chandigarh, as part of my post-graduate degree. It was another new challenge but I met up with a couple of young people from Kerala, who were part of the Jesus Youth group, actively evangelizing the Hindu people. With these young people I found the community that I had been looking for. I enjoyed their fellowship and their praise and worship. We sang Hindi songs, said the Rosary together and became a close community. We lived, learned, dined together and fellowshipped with other believers each weekend. It was a place where we were nurtured, encouraged, guided, and grew in faith together. I also found a good church and made some wonderful friends, both at work and in church. “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.” (Hebrews 13:1)


When I came to the UK to complete my degree this continued and I got involved in a Youth community called Metanoia, based in Preston. A few years ago, I started attending spiritual retreats and the Second Saturday Catholic Conventions in Birmingham led by Fr. Soji, and Sehion Ministries team, which have introduced me to another wonderful group of likeminded young people. They have really helped my spiritual growth. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) By the grace of God, we are each being moulded to be part of His evangelical mission on earth in different ways.

Written by Prince Paulose