I first heard about Cabramatta Anglican Church through my younger brother, who frequently played badminton there on a weekly basis with a good friend, who happened to be a devout churchgoer at the same church. My thoughtful younger brother introduced me to his friend, in the hopes that I could gain some more understanding and Christian support with locating a church where I could feel strongly connected to God. His friend kindly invited me to the Christmas service and even offered to drive me there, as I was unfamiliar with the Cabramatta area.
When I first entered the church, I was struck by how simple and casual the environment was. People happily welcomed me, patiently chatted and informed me about the church and the day’s events, and the best part of this lovely day, was how I was not expected to know what to do, and that I did not have to immediately commit to joining the church. There have been some churches in the past where I always felt condemned and judged for not being part of their original community, as if “outsiders” were unwanted.
Contrary to those past experiences, I was excited; buzzing with what was possibly a sense of religious exhilaration. I was invited to attend the following week and quite eagerly accepted, thoroughly enjoying the lovely music and the biblical knowledge and understanding I had gained from just a single service. One of the other churchgoers gave me their number, so that I could have someone to answer any queries I had with attending the church.
Each service allowed some degree of comfort and growth to occur, whilst also increasing my awareness about some of my more selfish lifestyle choices and other obstacles that encountered, and still encounter on my journey to improving myself. Yet, I felt that as a Christian that had been raised in a Buddhist household, there were many crucial Christian milestones I had missed, which had left me feeling inadequate in my pursuit to understanding the Bible, and how to worship God. And to answer this insecurity of mine, the pastors of the church announced a starters group for biblical study, Christianity Explained (CE).
I could not help but be thoroughly relieved and amused, thinking, “Well, that was a quick reply from God. Ask and you shall receive, right?”
Joining CE was a great educational experience. The organiser and pastor running this program did not shy away from any questions, even when we asked the most controversial of questions, such as; “If God can do everything and is so powerful, why did He elect to only save some of us? Doesn’t this mean He is just willfully condemning others?” And the group I was a part of, I thank them for having such inquisitive minds, for asking those difficult questions which are often answered so vaguely with “It was God’s will, accept it.”
The content we covered in CE was simple to understand, but could be arguably stated to be as equally difficult to accept. Freely having faith in something so intangible and without visual proof often makes believing the hardest thing to do, especially when you are honestly explained that to be Christian is to have many rewards, but to also suffer as well. I do not believe that I am alone in thinking that a stress-free life is desirable, nobody likes to suffer after all, and sometimes, it is so much easier to avoid confronting issues, to not even consider the trickier choices with obstacles, to just pick that nicer, wider, and smoother path.
And this is where the self- reflection and self- awareness that you develop with each session, can forcibly pull you out of your ignorant mindset. It’s also through analysing the Bible, God’s actions, His intentions, that I found some measure of comfort and reassurance. I still have plenty of doubts. I am still ignorant to many things, but I also acknowledge that I am a work- in- progress, and I feel that even though I will trip and fall a lot, I am still moving forward, towards God, with each session and church service I attend.
I feel welcome, and well- connected with God at Cabramatta Anglican Church. I am always learning something new, or viewing previously studied passages with a different perspective. The community here is so lovely, relatable, and willing to reach out to those that want to belong to a Christian family. And unless these conditions change at any point during my stay, I would like to remain securely in acceptance at my new home church, Cabramatta Anglican Church.