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father in heaven Archives - Tony Ward Studio

Esther Tong: Faith Hope Love

Asian male in Christian prayer

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Posted on February 25, 2015 by Esther Tong

Jin is a sophomore who studies economics at Penn. He is also a follower of Christ. People describe him as a very gentle, kind and friendly person. However, if you know who he was before, you would never imagine this is the same person you meet now.  As a very good friend of Jin, I want to share his story and tell you how Christ changed his life.

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Jin used to live in a well-off family in New York. When he was four, his dad lost a law case which caused his family to lose millions of dollars. His mom decided to take care of his younger brother and  sent Jin to a private boarding school in China. He spent two years by himself, lonely in the school until one day he received a phone call from his dad.

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He was full of excitement and expectations coming back to the States. However, when he went returned to New York, everything changed. His parents got separated and his dad lived in an apartment that he shared with another woman. He became an alcoholic and very cynical. Once his father almost turned the knife towards Jin and tried to kill him while he was drunk. Growing up in this circumstance, Jin became very emotionless and had no understanding about what love really meant for him. He became very angry about life and didn’t understand why all these terrible things happened to him.

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However, when he encountered God at the age of 15, his world flipped upside down. Even though he did not receive the love from his own father on this earth, he understands how much the father in heaven has so loved him that he sent his own son to die for us. Jin started to change unintentionally.  He is no longer emotionless and has become passionate to Christ. He understands how God really loves him and he became a caring and loving person because he really believes he received the love and grace from the Lord and wants to share it with others.

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While he was studying at Upenn during his freshman year, God instilled the thought of missionary work in his heart.  He was praying about where God was leading him and got a chance to join a mission group to Turkey.  He went with a team of five people during a recent winter break. The trip was unforgettable for him. Especially during the time while he and his teammate were walking in zero degree snowy weather, and were trying to find a place to stay.  Random people just came to them and invited them to their house and provided free food and a place to sleep. Jin was able to experience God’s faithfulness and love strongly in that place.

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Coming back from Turkey’s trip, Jin became more mature and he has grown so much more in his faith  and has greater vision. Now he is ready to work wholeheartedly with God until the day Jesus come back again.

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Photography and Fiction by Esther Tong, Copyright 2015

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About the Author: Esther Tong is a senior enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2015.