I have been meeting with the local church for over twenty-five years. Looking back, my experience with the Lord could be divided into three periods.
First, there was the period before I met any other believers. My family had moved to a remote community. They were not believers. At twelve years old, I was inspired to seek the Lord by asking myself, "What is the purpose of my life?" Obtaining a Bible and reading it, I was profoundly changed and enjoyed His rich presence. However, as far as fellowship with other Christians, I was an orphan. As I passed through my teenage years I became distracted by eastern religions and the pursuit of a social life.
Second, there was the period of contacting other Christians. In my second year at university I was in full pursuit of enjoying the social life on campus and practicing transcendental meditation. But at the same time I met a dedicated Christian group and was eventually attracted by the Lord through them. One night a Christian brother led me to pray and confess to the Lord. This open confession made my salvation solid. I renounced my past and pursued the Lord with them. However, as time went on I felt like something was missing. Even when I spoke to others about the Lord I felt dry and unsatisfied. I wondered where I could find the church as it was in the book of Acts. In the words of the Song of Songs 1:7 a question was within me: "Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where do you pasture your flock? ...Why should I be like one who is veiled beside the flocks of your companions?" I was still an orphan.
In the third period, I was an orphan brought home. After some time I began to meet with the local church. One evening, a Christian brother I was staying with came back from a conference meeting he had been invited to. He had taken two others, one of whom had fallen asleep in the meeting, the other who had been offended. But he himself was really excited. I accompanied him to the next conference meeting. I was astounded by the correspondence of the word that was spoken with my Christian experience. Furthermore, I saw a group of believers really experiencing Christ. During the next period of time the truth of the Bible began to unfold and become living to me. Not only so, but His words were Spirit and life to me (John 6:36). I had a deep sense in my innermost part that I was home. My whole life became "normalized". I began to experience the issue and reality of the question "What is the purpose of my life?" The issue and reality was that I would know and experience not only Christ, but also the church (Eph. 5:32), "which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all." (Ephesians 1:23) Whereas the church to me previously was something outward and little esteemed in my concept, now it had the place the Bible assigned to it. I would never have been fulfilled unless I knew Christ not only as the head but also His Body.