I was born and raised in a Christian home, where my parents and grandparents prayed to God, studied the Bible, and took us to church. Although we came from a traditional Tongan Weslyan Methodist upbringing, my parents sent me to a Christian Catholic school because they had religious education and upheld good morals as oppose to public schools.

During my first two years at the University of Canterbury, I followed the Christian clubs that my friends went to, and eventually I started attending a non-denomination church… all for the wrong reasons. Despite my religious upbringing, I never had a deep relationship with Jesus Christ. I was convinced that following rules and regulations would help me gain favour with God. I believed that going to church, doing good works, and be kind to everyone was pleasing God. But I struggled with anger, loneliness and identity. Deep down inside, I hated the world, I hated myself, I felt I was hated by everyone, particularly my father.

Towards the end of my second year, I came back to Auckland for the holiday break. Sadly, my family was going through major issues that I led me to attempt suicide. I began to ask questions as to why would I want to end my life now after all the success I had with my studies? Eventually, I stopped myself from suicide (at least by the help of God).

Before graduation, I gave my life to Jesus after the pastor invited people to the altar. I didn’t feel anything changed, I went back to the old insecure self—anger, loneliness, rejected and hated by the world. It is not until early 2010 that I heard the testimony of the late former KKK leader Johnny Lee Clary at Elim church, Christchurch. Rev. Clary’s message of forgiveness helped me to love my father and be thankful for the life I have. I understood that forgiveness was shown on the cross of Jesus Christ and He was put in my place so that I may be free from sin.

Since coming to Christ I eventually took up the offer to be mentored by an Every Nation campus pastor (which I was attending at the time), and I never looked back since. My anger and insecurities were replaced with the unconditional love and peace of God. I no longer had the feeling that I was hated by the world because I am loved by the Father. I am convinced that my parents, family or friends cannot give me the love and peace that God can give. I have come to know that His love is unconditional that I don’t need to work my way up to Him to receive His love. He loves me regardless of my mistakes.

Life quote:

‘I am not rejected, I am accepted.’

8 For it is by graceyou have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works,so that no one can boast.10 For we are God’s handiwork,createdin Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-9.

David Lavulo

#PeopleMatter #DiscipleMaking #AcceptedByGod #LoveOfChrist #Forgiveness