My Baptism Testimony

Nzma5pplEditorial note: Nianzu Ma is a graduate student at UIC (the University of Illinois at Chicago) studying for his Ph.D in computer science. He fellowships with many friends in UICCCF (Univision in Christ Chicago Chinese Fellowship) at UIC and attends West Loop Church. He shared this testimony before his baptism on Sat Aug 23, 2014 on a beach by Lake Shore Drive.

I. Pre­-Conversion

I think that every human being would seek God, if his conscience has not been seared as with a hot iron (1 Tim 4:2). God made us from one man. God made us to seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him because he is not far from each one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being. We are God’s offspring  (Ac 17:26-28). I am a man who is a wretch (Rom 7:24). (I could write ten pages to describe in detail what a wretch I am, but I think it is better to keep it between me and God, because he knows my heart. But if someone is interested we could discuss it).

NianzuCityThough I am wretch, yet I am a man who has the consciousness to seek God. I was a Buddhist. True Buddhists never worship Buddha, but they treat him as a wise man, as he told us.  It took me a very long time–in the first year after I converted to Christianity–to figure out why Buddhism has so much similarities to Christianity. It confused me for quite a long time. But what I am very sure about is the reason why Buddhism was so attractive to me and why it made me more motivated to seek God. The reason is that I saw a glimpse of God’s glory through Buddha’s teaching. But my heart could not be filled. I was not being loved. I felt as though I was still an orphan in the universe. But that glimpse of God’s glory opened my heart to Jesus. He is the son of Man, and the Son of God, whom I wish to marry today during my baptism.

II. Conversion

Rather than say it is my conversion, I would say how I came to know more about God. I believe there is only one true God. My favorite song is “You raise me up,“ even when I was a Buddhist. Strange, huh? But it is true. I am influenced quite a lot by a prestigious monk in China. He even teaches the Rosary, which is a form of prayer used in the Catholic Church. I believe God is everywhere, and he led me even though I was not a Christian.

I thank God that God brought me to Chicago. God brought me to UICCCF, the Chinese Christian fellowship at UIC. And I thank every servant of God servant in the fellowship. I made a confession to Jesus in this fellowship. I have come to know more about God during Bible reading, praying with brothers and sisters, through fellowship, through every life influence and life experience, and through the miracle that God has done in my heart and life.

Then I found a lovely church – West Loop Church. The diversity of this church shows God’s glory. We have more than 12 different nationalities, ethnicities or backgrounds. It truly shows that God’s love, God’s grace and the gospel is universal.

Thanks to Dr. Ben and Rhoel and Hannah. We have had lots of Bible studies and meetings. I really enjoyed and benefited a lot from all that I learned in our conversations. Whenever I was worried about something and really wanted to know how God’s will would lead me, I could talk to them. And every such conversation and prayer makes me know more about God. God gives us the church. God wants to let “life influence life,” and as a young Christian, I am influenced a lot by them.

III. Dreams and Goals in Christ

My dreams and goals in Christ are to pray to God that God could use me to be his loyal servant with a firm faith and that I could be an influential person on the campus. I pray to be the blessing to others, and to be respected even by atheists. I pray to be a witness of Jesus Christ to everyone who knows me.

I thank God for all things, for every verse, every song, every prayer, every friend, every hardship and every manna that God gives me and touches me with. I am your son. Please make me holy and be the noble prince that you created me to be.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost but now I am found

Was blind but now I see.

I am ready, and please baptize me. Amen!


  1. Thank you for sharing Nianzu! I’m really happy and rather excited to learn that the Christian rite of baptism is being expressed, respected and honored. God bless your continued journey of life.

  2. forestsfailyou

    Thanks for the inspiring message. I know God will be with you in all your days if you earnestly seek him.

    • Two things I’ve learned from a deeper look at Scripture:

      1. It is not necessary or healthy to constantly view myself as a wretch.

      2. God is found on a much more profound level when I stop “earnestly seeking Him” and surrender to grace.

    • So all people are a mixture of both good and bad. Some lean toward the bad and need to primarily realize that at the cross of Jesus the bad things they did do not count against them. Others lean toward the good and need to primarily realize that at the cross of Jesus the good things they did do not count for them. Eventually all human beings will have much more joy and hope from realizing both realities.

      God is not a god of “hide and seek”. Can God be found? I say yes. Once God is found, the transformation continues.

    • I agree with both of your sentiments here. One of my favorite Bible passages is Acts 17 where Paul explains how God orchestrates our search for him:

      24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”

    • That’s a great passage David, thanks for sharing. To claim that God can be found and that God lives inside me may sound “new age-ish” and indeed I see a difference between “god is in everything; Star Wars force” type ideologies and the cross of Jesus.

      But there are some similarities and Luke doesn’t hesitate to record that in verse 28: “‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.'”

      So instead of fighting the culture wars I think Christians would be far better off affirming things that are indeed good and correct in the world. Does it really matter if a new age poet says something that is correct and matches the Christian gospel? If it is the gospel, it is the gospel.

    • And just to ensure my heretic label :)

      I’ve read parts of the Quran, and the gospel of Jesus can be found there. You can find the gospel in many places, even in the bible.

    • I concur, Brian, we needn’t shun everything outside of Christian thought, deeming it as evil and dangerous. We actually have much to learn from other world views. As it turns out, I’m preaching on Acts 17 this Friday. Hopefully I’m going to shock everyone and be labeled as a heretic by showing that Paul actually affirmed some of the beliefs and tenets of “wicked and godless philosophers” (the Epicureans and Stoics). Maybe afterward, I’ll post it here on ubfriends for a friendly critique :)

    • Would love to read that David!

      I find that the gospel can be found in some odd places. For example I’ve found the following:

      1. The official Church of Satan espouses a few beliefs that match what I see Jesus and the Apostles condoning in regard to social justice.

      2. Some Ozzy Osbourne songs, namely “Crazy Train” contain the gospel message about love overcoming hate.

      3. Some Eminem lyrics speak hope to the soul in a way that must have been similar to Jesus, namely “I’m not afraid”.

      And if you REALLY want to be shocking… quote something from that book “Rest Unleashed: The Raven Narratives” :)

    • Whoa, Brian I wouldn’t go touting the Raven Narratives in public like that, you know young impressionable people read this blog :) My wife and I have begun to realize that some of the secular movies we watch contain themes which resonate with the very real, funny and distressing aspects of every day life. We recently saw Five Year Engagement. It was so hilarious and at the same time so relatable. Some of the relationships contained gospel themes of unconditional love and perseverance.

    • Yea, you got that right :) I heard someone ordered my books and they spontaneously combusted upon arrival….

  3. Very inspiring, Nianzu. Thanks for sharing your journey of faith. Perhaps we can fellowship some time together at UIC :)

  4. Brian, I love this!: “Some lean toward the bad and need to primarily realize that at the cross of Jesus the bad things they did do not count against them. Others lean toward the good and need to primarily realize that at the cross of Jesus the good things they did do not count for them.” – See more at:

    I definitely resonate with the latter (Isa 64:6), since there is Pharisee blood flowing through my veins every morning when I wake up!

    The former is “harder” to realize, because when (not if) we sin, Satan simply launches into the “wretched sinner that we are” and never lets up. As you implied, beholding the cross is literally and virtually everything and the only thing needed (2 Cor 3:18).

    • 2 Corinthians 3:18 is another gem to ask a ubf director… Do you want glory? Then remove your veil. Publicly.