A Saint’s Testimony from Sri Lanka 斯里兰卡一位圣徒的见证

I was born to a Roman Catholic family. My parents being God fearing people ,took extra care to give me primary education in Catholic schools, away from home, from age five onwards ,so that they could offer me as a priest to God.I entered the junior seminary at age 10 to pursue both education and pre-priestly training.Both the seminary and the college were run by American  missionary priests (called the jesuites of R.C.Church).The american priest who was my trainer in the seminary, was a great example to me.He got us to always read the four gospels and the book of Acts of the new testament.Seminary (though junior) life was severely strict,no room for earthly pleasures.Always prayer and study.Sports were allowed for physical fitness for only 45 minutes, after school in the seminary grounds.Our character and studies were closely monitored.Serious failure in these matters, would incur dismissal from the seminary.
Nevertheless this particular American priest whom God put me under was an extraordinary godly man.Today, looking back, I will not hesitate to mention, that he is the first true christian I had met in my life at such an early age.He himself practised all what he asked us to do, and much more, yet he was not an extremist,he loved people and lived a humble life.He is unlike any catholic priest I had met.He is truly an overcomer in the thyatirian church.I imitated him and was lead by him to fear God with a good conscience and not please man.
I began to seek God desperately and  faithfully.I wanted to be the finest priest like my mentor Fr.Meyer.
In the year 1968,after seven years in the junior seminary, I was graduated to the Major seminary, to pursue a further seven year course of priestly studies, comprising three years of philosophy and four years of theology.All my priest professors were degree holding locals and europeans .Here God caused me to consider things in an open and balanced way, rather than in a narrow and biased way of the romish thinking.This made my conscience feel better,life was too comfortable,many companions to be cheerful.But deep within I began to be insecure,too much comforts made me happy but also guilty,too much free thinking gave me no sense of proper direction,religious observanses became meaningless and tiresome.But I strived to be good and perfect.I got on well with the staff and the students.I avoided being popular or ambitious.I was a shy and introvert person, though everyone respected me.Deep within me I began to be empty and lacking in reality.Roman catholic ideologies did not impress me any longer.A big spiritual vacuum was gaining in me.At this time I happened to read a book written by a famous evangelical leader,founder of the campus crusade for Christ.It simply told me to go to Christ and, open up to Him genuinely like a child and ,accept Him as my redeemer and God.In 1974 October, one evening in the seminary chapel,all alone, I did just that.This time I prayed in my spirit,I really felt the Lord’s presence.I claimed Mathew 11:28.I touched the Lord of glory,I felt unspeakable joy.The faith who is Christ raised me up to the heavenlies that evening.I joyfully confessed all my sins.Satanic fetters fell off to the ground.Robe of false righteousness was torn apart.A new and heavenly robe of righteousness covered all my nakedness.For the first time I partook of the heavenly banquet.I was born anew.This experience is rich enough to guide me like the star all the way up to New Jerusalem.If not for the reality of the sevenfold intensified Spirit helping me in this hour of degradation of the church,I don’t think I would have exercised my spirit to touch the saviour, and receive His glory and joy at that instant.This all happened within half an hour.I now realize that all this time, the so called spiritual exercises transpired only within my soul for so long a time,but,eventually the word and the oppressions of my soul helped me to turn to my spirit even without knowing the distinction between the soul and the spirit at that time.I continue this practise even to this day.All this was directly between me and the Lord only.No one else was their to shepherd me even though my knowledge of the Truth was far less.My only handbook was the gospel of John, especially chapters 14-16. My prayer life gave much satisfaction.
In 1976 I was ordained a R.C priest.The ordination ceremony did not mean anything to me.I took a small dose of hard liqour,which I willfully purchased, to be taken before the ceremony, just to stay immune to the details of the ritual and yet stay sober without offending anyone.During the two years that I served as a “priest” I began to see more and more the futility of catholicism but I loved my fellow priests and the people.The Bishop cinsidered me his favourite priest.I was the youngest and the newest but I had the best jeep,driver,gardener and cook to serve me.Five mission stations were entrusted to my care.This time I also met my wife and her people.She delighted my soul,but my enjoyment of the Lord continued.
After having searched my conscience prayerfully about six months it was clear to me that I must leave.I discussed the matter with all relevant R.C superiors and left not only that priesthood but also the Roman Catholic church after submitting papers officially to the papal office in the Vatican.Thereafter I worked for a reputed firm for my living and got married .I never went to any ‘church‘,neither did I know anyone except the romish church.Lord was sufficient for me.After seven years ,despite
 attractive worldly offers I could not be there any longer.I joined a non pentecostal christian group,accepted pastor position and shortly after that joined another christian group to work with an American pastor.But before long, I was again loosing inner peace, as evangelical churches also ,in practise, did not differ much from the romish system ,even though they claimed to be biblical.During this period I chanced to read three of brother Watchman Nee’s books ,amongst many other books.I did not have genuine christian fellowship anywhere except my personal fellowship with the Lord.
In the year 2000 I met Brother Jerusalem at a meeting in the city not far from where I was.He gave me  copies of new testament recovery version and ‘Economy of God‘.I began to read them with great interest.They also subsequently invited me together with about seventy pastors to a three day residential conference in the city of Kandy.I met several saints from the Lord’s recovery and was very encouraged.For about a year I read much recovery literature while keeping close company with two co-worker families who stayed in Colombo.They were a great inspiration to me.I enjoyed their fellowship.my congregation rose up to nearly 80 members due to preaching of recovery truths. Many were baptized.We (all the congregation) participated in yet another three day conference organized by the saints  from Thaiwan.This time I read the book on ‘ground of the church’ and realized that I must leave dinominations.Around April 2001 I left my position as pastor, and dinominations after 15 years, to join the Lords recovery.In August that year I visited many churches in Thaiwan during my 23 day  visit and ,spent two and a half months in the training center in Philppines.I attended the international conference in Manila that year.On my way back I spent 5 days with the saints in Singapore also.I was beyond doubt convinced and, full of joy ,over having seen Lord’s presence in His recovering ministry.I am fully convinced that brothers Watchman Nee and Witness Lee have been appointed by the Lord, as the ones in the present age to conclude this ministry ,to build up His body to usher in the millenial kingdom of Christ.Praise and glory be to Christ Jesus for His great mercy and love to me and to my family.
Lionel Kotuwila