Born and raised in China, I didn’t know much about Christianity till I came to the U.S. However, I did believe there was a higher being. Soon after I came to the University of Florida for my PhD, I met my husband and started attending church with him. At that time, I didn’t understand the Bible and I did not know God personally.
A couple of crises in my life started me on a spiritual journey to discover the meaning of life. Several years ago, my father-in-law was diagnosed with the most malignant type of brain cancer. There was no effective treatment for it. The expected survival was 6 months. When the doctor explained his condition and his options, his response was ‘I had a great life, if that’s God’s plan for me, I accept it.’ He decided to forego treatment. He deteriorated quickly and went peacefully to be with Jesus on Easter Sunday of the next year.
Watching the whole process made me realize how fragile human life is. I also was impressed by the way he handled the situation; he seemed confident about where he was going after death. I knew that this was because of his faith. At his funeral, the pastor referenced the Final Judgment and the Book of Life. It was all new to me and I was ready to find out more about God.
The opportunity came when the church had a welcome party for new students. The speaker was a UF professor. He talked about God's love and forgiveness for our sins which can be defined as our failure to meet His perfect standards. He also explained how a person can know God personally. That weekend I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
My worldview has completely changed since then. Before I knew Jesus, I worked hard to gain worldly success in my career. Now I still work hard to excel but it’s become secondary to my desire to know and honor God in all I do. Now to me, success is to do the work God has created me to do.
Looking back, I know it was not a coincidence that I came to the U.S. Rather, God led me here and He forever changed the destiny of my family. Last year, my daughter and my mother were baptized. My mother had the privilege to share her faith with her mom right before she passed away. Even though the rest of my extended family are not believers yet, I know God will reveal Himself to them in due time. I have peace knowing that I will spend eternity with my family in God’s Kingdom.
It's my joy to share my story with you. I want to give God the praise ‘To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy- to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.’
Proverb 16:9. The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
My undergrad alma mater
West China University of Medical Sciences, Chengdu, China
My worst subject in school
My research is in the area of pharmacogenomics of drug-induced adverse events and Cardio-Oncology. For more information, please visit my website: https://pharmacy.ufl.edu/faculty/yan-gong/
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