Growing up, I was an unusual kid.
When I was only 10, when most children were playing sports or talking with friends, I was inside with my collection of electrical engineering books. I was interested in how things worked, so I would repair anything I could get my hands on from the local home appliance repair shop. In grade school, that same curiosity turned into computer programming when my family got our first computer.
Although Christian morals were established in our home, a lack of reading the Bible and spirit of prophecy triggered in me a misunderstanding of the gospel. Through a diluted gospel taught in church and school and through bad influences from some peers, I began to believe that it was impossible to be without sin—so why try? Why should I have a life-changing relationship with Christ if it was impossible to be like Him?
This, along with my natural curiosity, led me to break into personal computers through the Internet, steal bank account numbers via telephone systems, and create malware applications to aid my curiosity. I never asked myself if it was wrong for me to do these things because I never took other people’s money, bothered people with my creations, or left any trace of my invasions. I simply did it because I wanted to prove that I was powerful and knowledgeable.
In college, my actions were noticed by a graduating senior who asked me to help him with network security in his Hawaiian startup business. After finishing my degree, I spent three years working on the island of Oahu, doing various tasks needed to sustain a web development and hosting company. All along I was thinking that something was missing spiritually, but I felt there was nothing I could do about it. I prayed that God would let me do something for Him with my knowledge.
As I began to pray for something better, the economy collapsed and I was horrified to be left without a job. My trust in God was being tested even as I continued my communication with Him. But I soon learned God was only beginning His plan for my life. During this time, Hawaii lost more than a quarter of their tourism income and every business suffered. But God sustained my journey and allowed me to have an income for six months.
Then one day, a close friend pointed out to me the flaw in my understanding of religion—that Jesus can perfect us and that it is our responsibility to choose to have that transformative relationship with Him. My time away from work allowed me to study this new concept; it was a gift from God to read through the majority of the Bible and spend large quantities of time with Him in prayer over this subject.
During my intense study, I consulted pastors and close friends. I learned from Matthew 5:48, 2 Corinthians 3, Ephesians 4, Revelation 7 that while we have all sinned, we don’t have to continue sinning. God desires to perfect us from glory to glory if we choose to be guided by Him. Amazingly, this same friend of mine offered to pay for my AFCOE education. AFCOE taught me some very powerful things:
- The importance of daily devotion and prayer
- How we are all disciples of Christ who need to spread the gospel
- The dangers of how what we behold can change us
- How incredible “righteousness by faith” really is
- How to give powerful Bible studies and be a solid witness for God
AFCOE also solidified my understanding of doctrine and faith in the spirit of prophecy. Today, I work for Amazing Facts in their IT department doing God’s work – what I had been praying for just before the downturn in the economy. I can honestly say that by looking back on how God has led my life, I can see His leading the whole way.