We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Viana, a member of the OneLove committee. In this interview Viana shares how she became a Christian upon her migration to Australia, how knowing Jesus has impacted her work at MS Australia, and the way she confronts some of the challenges facing Christian millennials today.
1. How did you become a Christian?
from the day i was born my mum and dad would wake up or stay up to pray for my sister and i to know christ personally.
The question of 'how' has always been an interesting one, very often I am tempted to conclude that one single catalyst led to my conversion. However, as I contemplated on the major factors that played and contributed toward me becoming a Christian, I resolved to two themes that echoed throughout my journey; through the faithful prayers of many and by the word of God penetrating my heart.
The faithful prayers were made by my parents. From the day I was born, my mum and dad would wake up or stay up to pray for my sister and I to know Christ personally, because it was only by God’s grace and power that my heart could change. This was coupled by my family’s migration from Hong Kong to Australia. At the time, I did not understand why we moved or why I had to learn a new language and culture. However, my parents later told me that it was because they wanted my sister and I to escape from the self-success work mentality that characterised Hong Kong, toward an environment that would cultivate a better growth in knowing God as Lord and Saviour.
This migration for my sister and I came at a cost to my parents. They had to give up their comfortable well-paid jobs, their proximity to family, and had to learn a new language. But as I reflected on their sacrifice, I realised that their sacrifice was motivated by a love that originates from God who sacrificed his own son Jesus so that we can live a new life in him.
"I was confronted by the challenge to either be '100% in with christ or 100% out', there was no '50% christian' option."
The constant prayers and sacrifice of my parents came to fruition when at one youth camp, I was confronted by the challenge to either be "100% IN with Christ or 100% OUT", there was no "50% Christian" option. Thankfully, Romans 8 spoke to my soul, where the inseparable love of God, salvation through Christ and his demand for Lordship over my life finally dawned on me. By the grace of God, the triangulation of these factors led to my commitment to a life lived for Christ, an identity defined by Christ and a righteousness given by Christ. I am very thankful to God for his grace upon me through using my parents to show me his love.
2. What do you think are some of the challenges facing younger Christian women in Australia - in particular millennials?
with mirrors which we call instagram, facebook, pinterest and snapchat, christian women are constantly bombarded with the desire to shape oneself towards the 'perfection' of flawless beauty, exciting life experiences and fulfilling social relationships.
In a world captivated by the allures of instant gratification, reflections from mass media mirrors and the pursuit of personal success, Christian women are faced with voices left, right and centre that distract us from the true voice of God.
The temptations of instant gratification calls women to be near sighted in their decisions, giving into the lie that there is no consequences to actions and that self control is not worth it. Christian women today are faced everyday with the decision to not give in to the fleeting pleasures of sin and instead be refreshed daily with the eyes which see eternity and the steadfast truths of God that promise us everlasting joy and satisfaction in him. This refocus on God helps us to step in faith to fight against sin, steward well our time and money and grow in our hope for his return.
we get distracted with comparisons on mass media that calls us to work tirelessly for approval, love and identity, the very thing things we've already received by god!
With mirrors which we call Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Snapchat, Christian women are constantly bombarded with the desire to shape oneself towards the ‘perfection’ of flawless beauty, exciting life experiences and fulfilling social relationships. This endless strive to manufacture one’s identity wars with the identity that has already been given by God, and hence we are forced daily to choose which metaphorical ‘mirror’ to look at for our identity. It is tempting to look at the identity that God has given us; daughters and heirs loved with his unfailing love, cleansed of sins by his precious blood and fully accepted and approved in the sight of God, and forget this as soon as we get distracted with comparisons on mass media that call us to work tirelessly for approval, love and identity, the very things we’ve already received by God! Hence, Christian women have a challenge every day, to choose between reminding ourselves daily of the unshakable identity we have in Christ, or to give in and strive to achieve an unattainable ‘perfection’ created by the world.
‘Listen and do what your heart says!’ has been the chorus of our generation, calling for women in the world to stay ‘true’ to their feelings and impulses as a guide to how to live their lives. This phrase often clashes with the calling for Christian women to listen and follow what God says. How will we as Christian women respond when the world calls us to do what is best for us, whether that be sacrificing relationships to climb the ladder of success, or to place the needs ourselves above the needs of others? We need to stand firm against these challenges with the belt of God’s truth around our waist, reminding us of the Godly calling to love one another with his love, lay down our lives for others and listen to his voice of true guidance.
'listen and do what your heart says!' has been the chorus of our generation...this phrase often clashes with the calling for christian women to listen and follow what god says.
3. How did your faith in Jesus impact your work at MS Australia last year?
In my time working for MS Australia as a physiotherapy assistant, my knowledge of eternity and ultimate salvation impacted my view of disability, hope and true healing. Due to the current poor prognosis and devastating life-long symptoms faced by many people who suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS), I was constantly challenged with the futility of life and sufferings of the world.
As a Christian, facing multiple stories of pain and death poses as a refreshing yet frightening reminder that there is an urgency to preach the good news of Jesus to all, but it also serves as a hopeful reminder that there is a future without pain or suffering, and an eternal healing that is offered through the cleansing by Jesus Christ’s blood. This shapes my work ethic in serving faithfully in work, for the approval of God rather than man, not to work with minimal effort but to sincerely love those I help with all that I can. It also shapes my prayers for each of my clients, that they would not only be healed physically, but to receive ultimate spiritual healing from God.
4. You also volunteer as a committee member for OneLove conference. What does the work involve and why do you think women should consider attending conferences like OneLove?
My time as a committee member has been nothing but amazing! There is something wonderful about turning up every month or two to see a group of women so zealous for the Lord, fervent in prayer and devoted in delighting in his word. Our work consists of prayer for the women and their churches, careful brainstorming of how to encourage and build up women at OneLove and organising every means to help achieve that goal.
As Christian women, we are often caught up in the busyness of life, whether that be in busy studying, or working, balancing relationships or taking care of families. In the midst of many distractions, it is easy to feel alone the fight to live boldly as a Christian and to be a witness in front of unbelievers. However, OneLove serves to be the refreshing reminder that we all need, a unity as sisters in Christ spurring each other on through worship in singing, listening and praying. It also serves as a friendly and inviting platform to invite our unbelieving friends and family to hear God’s word being preached! There’s no doubt about it that conferences like OneLove are worth it, good for your soul and the souls of others!