THIS MAN IS MY CHOSEN INSTRUMENT: JOACHIM D, LIFE TESTIMONY 2011
“But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.’” (Acts 9,15)
Part 1: A meaningless pleasure seeking life
My early days and my family
Hello, my name is Joachim D; I am from Bonn, Germany. I was born in 1962 as the one and only son between one older and one younger sister in an idyllic village in the midst of Germany. During my childhood and youth this region was considered the end of the earth, because before the reunification of East and West Germany in 1989, the iron curtain was very close to this place. My father was an official at the post office. He was a gregarious, good-natured and humorous man who knew everyone in our village and always wanted the center of attention. My mother was not as gregarious as my father. She was a hardworking and loving housewife who did her best for the welfare of their children and the whole family.
My elementary school
When I entered elementary school I was very proud to be a pupil. My achievements were very good; my teacher liked me and gave me much attention. From the third grade on boys and girls were separated in physical education and I got a new gym teacher. Sometimes he teased me because physically I was one of the weakest. Also some of my classmates made fun of me, which hurt me deep in my heart. I didn't understand why the other boys had more power and bones, almost twice as thick as I had. From that time on an inferiority complex developed. I became reserved and was afraid of people. Also my school performance decreased gradually.
My family was confronted with death
In 1981 I did my A-levels just barely. At that time my family was confronted with death. We were shocked when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 42. Her dream of domestic happiness was suddenly broken. She was despaired and cried a lot and no one was able to comfort her. At that time all our family members did their best to help her. My older sister infiltrated her with esoteric ideas, but my mother resisted these. Meanwhile I had to do my military service and one weekend when I came home I heard my mother singing songs of Jesus. Until now I don’t know exactly what happened and how she came to faith in Jesus, but she held fast onto him as her only hope and about two month later she died with this faith.
My college life without orientation
After her death my father was overwhelmed with his job and the education of my younger sister, who was at the age of puberty. After finishing my military service I was without orientation. Because most of my friends entered the university I too made this step and enrolled at the University of Braunschweig for biology. I chose biology not because I would become a famous biologist, but because I thought it would be the easiest way for me. During the week I studied hard and had only superficial contact to fellow students.
Part 2: You are my chosen instrument
God heard the inner cry of my heart
Although I studied biology, I had no clear orientation for my life. After my mother’s death, my heart was more and more occupied by the question of the meaning of life. During my studies I learned a lot about the theory of evolution. I believed in this theory, but I could not find any deep sense in it. Therefore I started to read philosophical books and some esoteric literature. But this caused me only many headaches and confused my thoughts. Finally it was God who heard the inner cry of my heart.
“Do you believe in God?”
In the early spring of 1987 he sent Msn. Mary Shin to this lost sinner. In the canteen she asked me with strong accentuated German, “Do you believe in God?” I was completely surprised and wanted to give her some wise answer, saying, “Oh, this depends on the definition of God.” She said, “Hmm,” and then invited me to study the Bible. She also wanted me to give her my address or phone number, but I rejected and said, “I have nothing to write with!” Unfortunately she had something to write with. Finally I found another excuse not to give her my address, but she gave me her address. It was God’s grace that despite my doubts he led me to Bible study. Through John’s gospel God worked in my heart.
God opened my eyes through John 4:13
John 4:13 opened my eyes and let me come to know that I was a very thirsty person, who vainly tried to quench his thirst with all kinds of worldly pleasures and human love. I realized that the meaninglessness of my life was the result of not knowing God and missing his good aim for my life. At the spring conference in 1987 God planted three passages into my heart: John 20:29, John 19:30, and Isaiah 53:4-6. Through these words God convinced me about the truth of his Word and his unconditional and forgiving love to me. I accepted myself as an unbelieving and lost sinner, who actually had deserved the punishment and wrath of God. It was the Holy Spirit who helped me to accept God’s love, which quenched the thirst of my soul fully. I received God’s grace of forgiveness and as a result of this, true peace and heavenly joy came into my heart. God also freed me from my fear of men and inferiority complex so that I began to witness to God’s love to my old friends, family members, and others. But it seemed to me that their ears were deaf. Through continued Bible study, writing testimonies, and attending the Sunday worship service, God helped me step by step to grow as a shepherd.
I struggled with my fixed ideas about Darwin’s theory of evolution
Although I had experienced Jesus’ one-sided grace, I had to struggle hard with my fixed ideas about Darwin’s theory of evolution. But when I held on to the words of God which I already had received, the Holy Spirit helped me to identify this theory as a false teaching and lie of Satan. And in the following period God blessed me with his promise given in Matthew 6:33. Out of faith I tried to obey this command and did my best. I came to early morning prayer, wrote daily bread testimonies, attended every meeting and also invited his sheep. I moved out of my apartment in the dormitory and began common life with other shepherds and Msn. Peter Chang’s family in our prayer house. Through common life God helped me to realize my sins of egoistic individualism, that I actually was not able to bear the sins of others and have common life with them. But through the spiritual help and prayer of Msn. Mary Shin, Msn. Peter and Sarah Chang, God helped me to come to the cross of Jesus again and again and to grow deeper in a love relationship with Jesus and to be changed.
My shepherd life
When I held on to Matthew 6:33, God was with me and entrusted to me some of his sheep. One of them was a physics student. He lived a dark life in selfishness, sinful desire, and loneliness. One day when I visited his apartment I was shocked, because I found nothing else than a full garbage can. Through Bible study he accepted Jesus as his Savior and the light of life shone into his heart. It wasn’t until almost one year when he admitted that he already had given up his studies a long time ago. He got enmeshed in his lies and all his relationships with others were broken. But through faith in Jesus his relationship with his family was restored and through God’s grace he also could continue his studies. After graduation, however, he stopped studying the Bible with me and ran away. I was very disappointed. Through this God taught me Jesus’ broken shepherd heart to rebellious sinners even to his enemies.
God kept his promise from Matthew 6:33 in my life
When I held on to Matthew 6:33 and sought first his kingdom and his righteousness I really experienced some miraculous signs. God helped me to complete my studies and to graduate with excellent grades, although there had been many obstacles and problems. In 1995 God blessed me by establishing a beautiful house church with the most suitable woman of faith, Sh. Elke from Köln UBF. Just after marriage, the contract with my job at the university expired. I could have found another job in another city far away from Bonn, but through Matthew 6:33, by faith, I decided to stay in Bonn and to live as a campus shepherd for his flock. Although I was unemployed for almost one year and we did not have enough money, God gave us all we needed. Moreover, when I prayed to God, he gave me a big loan from the bank in order to support the purchase of our shepherd house. It should have been impossible to get it, because of my unemployment at that time. But later God granted me a new job located very close to the campus.
God’s one-sided love for me through his servants
Through the division of our church in 2001, I was tempted by Satan to lay down my cross and seek a more comfortable Christian life. I fell into spiritual blindness and even let myself be persuaded to spread lies about our community and even to slander God’s people. At that time I was a source of pain for many people. But they continued praying for me and served me with unconditional and devoted love. Out of her shepherd heart, Msn. Mary Shin spared no expense and came several times from Korea to Germany to have Bible study with me and to pray for me. Finally, God led me to repentance through John 21:15. I deserved to be rejected and to be condemned forever, but Jesus still loved such a terrible sinner like me. He newly built me up and with Acts 9:15, he helped me to renew the call of God in my heart.
I decided to suffer for Jesus’ name’s sake
Through my sins I had caused many hardships to others; but because of the grace of Jesus, I decided to suffer for the sake of Jesus’ name as a debtor for all people and to be God’s chosen instrument to bring his name to the students in the world and to rise disciples of Jesus among them, wherever God wanted to use me.
Despite all my shortcomings and failures, God blessed my life of faith and my house church abundantly and led us to his good goal. God blessed my house church with three beautiful children, Rebekah, Paul, and Johanna, who are growing gradually in the love of Jesus. He blessed our prayer and Bible study and raised Christoph Tornau and Martin Schreck as shepherds, Bible teachers, and future spiritual leaders. God allowed us to open our apartment for common life together with Sh. Martin since 2007 and to serve him spiritually. During this time God is also working in the hearts of two further students, Jonas and Julian, through Bible study. God gave me precious messenger training through Dr. Peter Chang and raised me as one of four preachers at our Sunday worship service. God also worked mightily through his Word and Holy Spirit through the ABC Fellowship, a fellowship designed for children of missionaries and newcomers, which meets on Wednesdays and for which my house church is responsible. Looking back on my shepherd life I praise God for his marvelous guidance according to his will and plan for me and my family. There have been many ups and downs in my life, but God used everything for me to grow in faith and to be changed into the image of a good shepherd for his flock.
To hold on to my life key verse, Matthew 6:33, and to trust in almighty God in all circumstances and to fulfill my mission.
For good coworking with Dr. Peter Chang and the leading staff members for German and European Campus mission; for pioneering 360 universities in Germany and 1700 in Europe.
For Bible study: to live as God’s chosen instrument and become a shepherd for 12 students.
One word: This is my chosen instrument.