Matthew closely followed his mother as she took off her shoes by the temple’s gate. His little bare feet felt the cold ceramic of the floor as they walked towards the Buddha murals. He knelt beside his mom and mimicked her action as she went through the motions of her prayers.
Matthew was born in Malaysia to a Buddhist family. He was a talented dancer at a very young age. Therefore, his parents enrolled him in a dance school at a Christian academy, having no idea the impact this would have on his life.
At the dance school, Matthew met the nicest people he had ever known. He wondered what made his friends at the dance school so different from his other friends. His fellow students were different on the inside than he was. He realized that the unique thing his friends had was Jesus.
Matthew started to try out Jesus, secretly. “I spent my childhood going to temples, worshipping idols, and I never felt anything. It was a numb, religious experience. But when I tried Jesus, I felt peace, joy, and, eventually, my life changed,” he says.
Matthew used to sneak to church on Saturdays because if he went on Sundays, his parents would be suspicious. However, he couldn’t keep his secret long. When his mother found a Bible in his closet, she cried, scorned him, and slapped herself in anger. She begged him to turn back to Buddhism for her sake. Matthew tried to explain his new belief to his mother, but to no avail. His parents perceived his decision as disrespect to his family, culture, and tradition. Though his family and relatives persecuted Matthew, he kept sneaking out to go to a Saturday youth service, where he grew in his faith.
Matthew was determined to show his parents that he had found truth and peace through his life. He continued, quietly, to attend church. During that time, his church found out that he had great gifts in media and the arts (Matthew is a self-taught graphic designer and also does photography and videography). Despite his gifts and interest, however, he still needed training to elevate his abilities.
Matthew heard about MediaLight and decided to enroll, thinking it is just a media school. “While attending the program, I realized it was not just media. I also learned about leadership skills, character development, and attitude.” Matthew discovered how deep the program was, and it changed him. The experiences, like story necklaces and the making of gospel videos, changed his priorities in life. “My priority in life was used to be just to make more money. But now I want to talk to people about Jesus using media. It is hard for me to talk with people face to face, but now I can speak through media.”
Matthew has tried to share the gospel with his parents many times. Every time, he has been rejected. He now believes he can share it with them through the testimony of his life and his media skills. Matthew, after graduating from MediaLight, is planning to create media for young people in Asia, especially teens like those in his church’s outreach ministry. These teens are all from broken families, who discontinue school for different reasons including finances, behavioral problems, and learning impairments. He plans to reach them through visual stories they can easily understand.
MediaLight empowers the persecuted and voiceless in Asia by giving them the ability to share their stories with their nations. These stories give comfort and boldness to others who have been rejected and oppressed by their society, and hope to those who have never heard how Jesus can change their lives. If you need a community that will stand behind you and equip you to share your story with your people, MediaLight is here for you. Join the network at Medialightonline.com and receive free training in media, leadership, personal life management and the teachings of Jesus.
This story is originally published on emergemissions.org