The following is a communion testimony from the Kuching, Malaysia church.

Good morning, brothers, sisters and friends. My name is Olivia and today I will be sharing the communion with you. Recently, I celebrated my 13th spiritual birthday, or the anniversary of my baptism. As I reflect back on those 13 years as a disciple, I see how the grace of God worked in my life throughout the years. From someone who was so unsure about her life’s direction and constantly felt like she didn’t belong anywhere, God redeemed me from my lostness and called me as his own.

I was born into a family of five and I am the youngest of my three siblings. There is a huge age gap between my sisters and I. Because of the age differences, I often got left out in their fun activities. As a result, I often felt lonely and rejected. On top of this struggle, my family often moved to different towns due to my parents’ jobs. I changed school several times and had difficulties forming close friendship. My parents rarely had time for me because they were hardly at home. These experiences enforced my sense of isolation and loneliness. But despite this struggle, I was a bright child and did very well in school. When I was 12 years old I received an offer to further my studies at a boarding school for students who excelled academically. My parents didn’t think it was a good idea for me to be far away from the family but I was excited to go. I thought I could start a new life in a new environment with new friends, and finally I could find a place where I was accepted and belonged. I did very well in that school and had so many friends. However, despite having good friendships, I still didn’t feel like I belonged, especially among the more popular kids who excelled in sports or extracurricular activities. I felt insecure and to compensate for my sense of lacking, I studied harder than most people and managed to achieve top results in my exams. When I furthered my studies in the university and later as a working adult, this sense of being an outsider and alienation continued to haunt me. I tried all kinds of ways to be accepted by friends including resorting to sinful behavior. I thought that by behaving certain ways I would be loved and admired by everyone. These actions often made me feel shallow and I hated myself for not being able to measure up to my friends’ standard. I often felt empty and lost. Even though I was in a roomful of people and appeared to be having fun, deep down I longed to be somewhere or with someone who fully accepted me as I am and free me from the need to put on different masks to please people.

When I studied the Bible with the first Kuching mission team in 2006, I realized thatJesus has so much in common with me. Jesus is the ultimate outsider, a misfit thatdoesn’t belong to this world. He was born outside in the stable because there was noroom in the inn for his family. Jesus grew up in Nazareth, a tiny insignificant ruralvillage that people often ridiculed. He was rejected by his people and looked downupon. Throughout the years of his ministry Jesus lived outside; in Matthew 8:20 hesaid, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to layhis head.”

What convicted me the most was the fact that Jesus, the “great insider of heaven,” set aside his majesty to become the “ultimate outsider,” to save sinners from eternalrejection from God. In Jesus, I finally found someone my soul longed for, someonewho accepts and loves me completely despite my sins and weaknesses. In Hebrews 13:10-14 (NLT), it says: ” We have an altar from which the priests in theTabernacle have no right to eat. Under the old system, the high priest brought theblood of animals into the Holy Place as a sacrifice for sin, and the bodies of theanimals were burned outside the camp. So also Jesus suffered and died outside thecity gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood. So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore. For this world is not our permanenthome; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. ” Jesus was willing to be treated shamefully, rejected by everyone and faced the mosthumiliating death through crucifixion outside the walls of Jerusalem, so that we havethe chance to be accepted into his Kingdom and reconciled with God.

Olivia Julius Dunggat is a famous Malaysian indigenous artist from the state of Sabah, Malaysia. Her adult art books are also available on Amazon.