“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn their wicked away, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.” I meditate on this the scripture in 2 Chronicle 7:4 almost every day or every time I am anxious, unhappy, or angry.
My name is Niramol Pihetshote – everyone calls me Ni. I came from Thailand. I grew up a Buddhist. I did not know about God or Jesus. When I was in my country I saw “Christian” churches in Bangkok. I thought they were another religion like Hinduism and Islam. I saw a cross and a statute of a woman in front of the church and I assumed that it was a religious statue like Buddha statues and Hindu statues. Someone told me that the statue was Mother Mary; I thought she is some kind of goddess. I never tried to find out anything about God, Jesus, or the cross.
I came to the United States in 1980. I used to be very concerned about my future. I believed all predictions about my future from fortune cookies in the restaurants to astrology in magazines to a tiny piece of Chiem See paper in the temple.
Cheim See looks like this. On the right side is prediction papers and the left side is a tall bamboo cup with small bamboo sticks. Each stick has a different number. The cup will be shaken by a believer until one of the sticks comes out and you get a prediction paper which has the same number on the stick. The paper tells the believers’ fortunes. I always asked Buddha to give me a good prediction but I never received a good one. My mom said you might have done some things very bad in your previous life, because I always got negative sayings. According to Buddhist belief, in your present life you have to pay the consequences for what you did in a past life.
In 2002, I came back the United States and stayed because I had a business with my younger brother. The business did not do well. In addition, my younger brother tried to get more money from me and verbally abused me. One night I was walking home from work deeply depressed. I walked by a church and heard music and song which drew me into the church. I saw there was a group of ten singers practicing their music in a small room off the auditorium. I went to the auditorium where it was dark and sat in the last row. I saw a big cross in front of the room. I started crying and praying. I said, “I do not know you and what I should call you, but I call you Holy Spirit. Please help me.” I stopped by the auditorium almost every night and sat for one hour in the same seat. Things were getting worse with my brother. He beat me when I refused to give him more money. Eventually he threw me out. I had nowhere to go. I knew only two people. I stayed with a woman for a year. I went to the same church again and prayed to the cross. I said “Holy Spirit! Please help me to find a new place to live. I cannot afford the rent where I am.” A month later, my second older brother came to the United States to have chemotherapy for his colon cancer in Boston. He called me and asked me to come be his medical interpreter. My brother died a few months later. I moved to Lowell and rented a condominium in a mill building close to the high school. I did my laundry at a laundromat on Middlesex Street every weekend. I met Rebecca Goldman there. She said, “I would like to invite you to our church. You can make a lot friends there.” She gave me a small piece of paper with her name and cell phone number on it. I did not say anything and put her paper in my pocket. I carefully considered her invitation. I thought she was a nun, so maybe I could trust her. I called her on Saturday night and told her that I would meet her at the high school on Sunday morning at 10. I went there, but I was late. She waited for me at the front door. I felt I could trust her because she told me that she would wait for me and she kept her commitment. At that time, my English was very poor. I could not understand the sermon, but I thought it was a good lecture because everyone was very serious to listen and took notes. After church service, I asked Rebecca the name of the book which everyone carried because I wanted to borrow it from the library and study it myself. Rebecca said it is a Bible and invited me to Bible study on Sunday mornings. I took her Bible to my place and started reading the book of Genesis. I did not understand it so I went to study the Bible every single Sunday morning before church. I studied the Bible with Tina Macy and Rebecca Goldman. I asked Rebecca a lot of questions to make sure that it was a religion bringing peace to the world. Rebecca answered all my questions. I came to church every single Sunday over a year. I told Rebecca and Tina that I wanted to get married. Their first question was…who is your boyfriend? You never told us. I smiled and said he was Jesus. I was baptized on January 19, 2007. Since I became a disciple I have changed inside my heart and mind. I feel I am not depressed. I have peace and true joy. Before becoming a disciple I was preoccupied with worry about my future. I used to believe fortune cookies and astrology charts. I was always so worried, but the Bible says don’t worry, God will take care of you. (Matthew 6:26-34) I did not understand the scripture about the birds not worrying and that God takes care of them. I read this passage again and again until I understood it. What I really did was choose to believe it. Also, I believed the scripture in Philippians 4: 6-7 that says not to worry, but pray about everything and God will give you peace. I read God’s word about the inner peace he gives me and I believe it. God is helping me to be able to look at the very painful times in my life and see how God has brought good for me from those bad times. “He replied to him, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” –Matthew 12:48-50 Now I have many friends in God’s family who teach me and support me. I live with a Christian family (Hirmers) who are always there to help me. They share their wisdom from God’s word with me and they are a wonderful example of what a disciple is and does. Friends like the Demshars and Yurkos help me with many life issues. I thank God for my true family—his people.