My name is Paul Olise. This is the story of how God changed my life. I became a Christian in 1979 in Jordan, in the Middle East. I have not always been a Christian. I come from a home where no one was really interested in religion. My parents had a passing interest in the things of God. Consequently, my brothers and sisters had no interest at all in religion.
I went to a Roman Catholic primary school where I heard about God and developed an interest in religion. This was followed by another five years of secondary education at another Roman Catholic School. All through my secondary school days my interest in God increased. I became a very zealous young man. I did all I was told to do, like attend confessions, church twice on Sundays, give money to the church and observe all the saint’ days etc. I expected to have a sense of purpose and fulfilment.
However, despite my religion, there was dissatisfaction, a vacuum in my life. I felt I was looking for something, which eluded me. In trying to find this something, I tried all sorts of things that didn't work. I even tried other religions believing that Roman Catholicism wasn't the right one. All the other religions I tried had one thing in common - they believed that observing certain rituals will eventually bring you to your desired haven. In the end I concluded that there was no God and there was no purpose to life. At this point, I decided to enjoy my life as best as I could before the end of my life. For the next three years, I travelled all over Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. During my travels, all I thought about was enjoying myself. God had other plans for me, which I didn't know at that time. Prior to my time in the East, I had spent some time in France studying the Bible with missionaries. There was something attractive about them. They claimed to have a personal relationship with God, something I didn't understand at that time. They impressed upon me the fact that the Bible is God's Word. From then on I carried a Bible with me wherever I went.
One day, walking down a road in Amman, Jordan, I was given an invitation to a Christian meeting. I went along and found what I had been looking for all those years. For the first time in my life I heard I was a sinner, something I was never told in the Catholic Church. The preacher explained what sin was. Although I had never committed any crime, I knew I was a sinner according to God's Word. I had lied, taken God's Name in vain, been proud, disobeyed my parents, had lustful thoughts, been bitter, angry, etc. The preacher went on to say there was nothing we could do about our sin. No amount of good works, Church attendance or charity could remove our sins. He explained that the only person that can take away our sin was Jesus Christ. The preacher explained that Jesus Christ had died in the place of the sinner. Lastly he urged us to cast ourselves on the Lord Jesus Christ, to beg for His forgiveness and a new life. The hall was packed but as far as I was concerned, there was just God and myself in the hall. It was as if the speaker knew all about my life and was speaking to me.
I didn't think too long about what the preacher said because I knew it was true. I did what he urged us to do - ask Jesus for forgiveness for my sins. My life changed drastically from then on. I experienced God's peace for the first time. There was a spiritual and moral change in my life. I began reading the Bible in earnest and joined a good evangelical Church and attended Bible studies regularly. I learned more about God and myself. After about three years, I went to Bible College in Wales. I now work full-time with Birmingham City Mission, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ my Saviour.