Not long ago we sent a small team to start a location of Hope City Church in the teaming, bustling city of Kuala Lumpur under the leadership of Joel and Emma Burden. This is how they met Shaun, and this is his story.

I’m 24 years old and I work as a videographer and editor for In A Nutshell. I grew up, with my brother and sister in a Buddhist family in Kuala Lumpur. I didn’t know any different and had never learnt about God growing up.

We took part in a lot of ceremonious rituals and practices. Our home wasn’t a happy one and when my parents got divorced, I struggled to come to terms with it.

My lack of faith in the people around me lead me to believe that it would be quite impossible to have a healthy family life

It had resulted in us all having to make compromises to make the new family set up work and it brought a lot of difficulties with it. I felt mostly alone and even sometimes, unloved. With no one to guide me, I lived in constant fear of inheriting the same life for myself with no role models to base my own future relationship or family on.

My lack of faith in the people around me lead me to believe that it would be quite impossible to have a healthy family life – much less, a lasting relationship.

During my time at college, I made friends with some Christians who first introduced me to God. One day, out of boredom, I decided to accompany my friend to a prayer meeting, and for some reason, my phone refused to work so I had no choice but to pay attention.

Somehow, halfway through, I felt an overwhelming feeling of comfort. I can only describe it as feeling like a hug from a Father to a child; a type of warmth I never felt before. It was that night that I accepted Christ.

I met an amazing girl called Sophira and started attending her family church but I couldn’t settle. I was at a wedding filming for some mutual friends of Ps Joel and Emma and first heard of Hope City KL. I suggested to Sophia that we try it out.

We have since made it home and found it to be somewhere we could grow and be challenged. I still hadn’t been baptised and that felt like the next step but I didn’t want to do it without my family there. I plucked up the courage to tell them I’d become a Christian. To my amazement my Dad and Brother came to witness my baptism and my brother made a decision for Christ at the end of the service.

I’m still on a journey with my Dad but he’s been back and even brought my sister with him. Building a relationship with God has helped me realise that I don’t have to work life out alone.

Sophira and I are now engaged and getting married next year. We both had the same worries of repeating history in our own new family – worries that we won’t know how to do it a different way, or will fall into the same traps but we’re choosing to trust God.

Being a part of Hope City has given us other role models to inspire us to build family as God designed it to be.