My name is Demi. I’m 23, from Bulgaria, but have been living in London for 4 years. I graduated from Middlesex University and since then I have been working as a guitar and piano teacher. I was raised in an Orthodox country where the majority of people identify themselves as Christian, but have no idea what the resurrection of Jesus means, neither what His commandments are. The focus in the Orthodox church is entirely on rituals and superstitions. More attention and honour is given to Mary and various saints, while the name of Jesus is avoided. Those who preach Jesus and reach out to people are considered scary and brainwashed and are avoided like the plague. The practical application of Orthodox Christianity is going to church for 5 minutes every now and then, lighting a candle, praying to a saint or two and kissing the icon of the saint.
This is the Christianity I knew for a long time. However, when I was little, my mum gave me a children’s Bible distributed by Evangelicals. I was fascinated with what I read and fell in love with the Jesus of the Bible. I still had no idea what He had done for me, but I started praying to Him all the time. Around the start of high school, I started reading the real Bible. It was in old Bulgarian and all I understood were the commandments, and instead of focusing on Jesus’ redemptive work, I focused entirely on the commandments and law (including the Old Testament ones) and for years I lived in fear of breaking any of them and losing my salvation. I used to endlessly re-confess my faith in Jesus without knowing what that meant.
Since a very young age, I struggled with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), also known as the doubting disease. Because of the illness, I was tortured by doubts of my salvation and terrifying fear of Hell. Without any idea of what it actually meant, I was convinced that I had committed the unforgivable sin and that I can’t be saved. I was tortured by obsessive thoughts and ruminations. I kept asking God for help and for a revelation of the real Christianity, because by that time I knew the Orthodox church was fake. Then in the summer of 2013, I was led to the online blog of a Canadian Christian who had gone through the same struggles as me. He shared a lot of advice and knowledge, recommended some books on OCD that helped him and advised me that I should study theology and know the Biblical teaching on salvation really well, so that I can be rid of doubts. Through those books, I learned that Martin Luther and John Bunyan had gone through the same struggles and had overcome them by realizing that salvation is through faith alone and not by any efforts on our own. I finally understood what the death of resurrection of Jesus meant for me and for the first time I felt secure of my eternal salvation and felt peace that I’d never felt before. I started reading the Bible in English and understood a lot more. When I moved to Finchley in October 2013 I felt strongly drawn to Kensit Evangelical Church as I was passing by and this is the first church I ever joined. I continued studying the Bible and learning more about God, but kept stumbling in my walk until around June this year when after coming across Jesus’ warnings such as Rev 3:16 which speak of lukewarm Christians and John 3 where Jesus explains the importance of being born again when I realized I was lukewarm, repented and truly received the Holy Spirit in my heart. Ever since then my heart, thoughts and priorities have drastically changed and I continue growing in faith, knowledge and love for God daily.