Ulla Fewster is Swedish and has been a missionary in Thailand. After meeting her English husband, David, she worked with him for a couple of years in Laos and then, after the country closed to missionaries, worked in Thailand until 2001.
One night Karin shared my bedroom, because her sister with whom she usually shared a room had chicken pox. The date was 30th January, 1951.That night God used my friend, Karin, to persuade me to become a Christian. She was only thirteen and a half then like myself. We were chatting together in bed, as young girls are prone to do when they should be trying to go to sleep when Karin asked me, “What do you want most in life, Ulla?” I can’t remember if I had a single big wish or not, but she said, “Most of all I want to see you saved, Ulla.” I was thunderstruck!
“How can this be so important to you?” I asked. “You are my friend. This should be the most important matter for you to think about, too, and to do something about”, said Karin. "But I can’t ask Jesus to save me, for I have promised myself never to become a Christian!” Karin really cared, and she had good arguments which she used to make me understand that I was being very foolish. We talked for a long, long time. The end result was that I committed my life to the Lord that night. I asked the Lord Jesus to forgive me all the wrong things I had done. Karin prayed for me, and I prayed after her. She was both an evangelist and a pastor, that young girl! I am still proud to know her and so thankful to God for bringing us together at that time, so that my life could receive input from God and be directed by Him.
“Now”, said Karin, “tomorrow morning you must tell somebody that you have made this decision to follow Jesus!” So, the next morning I told Aunt Edith, Karin's Mum, and was she ever pleased! “I thought you girls were talking in bed and talking till very late”, she said. “I thought I must go in and tell you to stop talking and go off to sleep, but somehow I experienced a check in my spirit to leave you alone.”
Praise the Lord! I am so very glad and grateful that she obeyed the Holy Spirit.
I also told my parents that I had become a Christian, and at school it didn't take my classmates long to find out either.
To start with I can’t say that I felt any different from before, and I don’t think I can say that I felt the joy or excitement that comes into your heart when the Lord touches you, but it was the first step on the right way. I knew I had done the right thing.
But oh, how difficult it was to be a Christian! I mustn't do this, and I mustn't do that. Yes, it was hard to change. I tried and tried, but it wasn't the kind of life anyone would rave over. It was a start, but I don’t think I was born again yet “Karin”, I said, so many, many times, “As soon as I have asked the Lord to forgive me for something I do it again without thinking, so I have to ask for His forgiveness again and again. It is hopeless for me to be a Christian, Karin”. However, I knew that the next step was to ask to be baptised, for this was in obedience to God’s Word.
I was baptised by full immersion on 8th April, 1951, and I can remember that my parents were present for this occasion.
A bit later on, Karin and I shared the same bedroom again one night. As we were talking together, I took the opportunity to complain how impossible I was finding this “glorious” Christian life that I had heard so much about. I was near giving up. It didn’t seem worth trying any more. It can’t have been much fun for Karin either. She must have felt like tearing her hair. Karin has told me that she, too, can clearly remember this particular evening, especially as she felt cast upon the Lord. She was at her wits' end. What on earth was she to say to me that she hadn't said already? It was then that the Lord gave her a scripture, which she pointed out to me, a scripture which was such a blessing and revelation that night and has been so from then on throughout my life. It was Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it” (Good News Bible).
By grace! Not by works! This was indeed a rhema, God’s “word” spoken directly to me! The light of understanding shone into my heart. It was literally bright and as if the heavens had opened to pour down God’s blessings on my soul. I was so happy! Gloriously happy! “Dear Lord Jesus! Now I can see that it is going to be possible even for someone like me to be saved!” Up till then I had really come to believe that I was more difficult for God to deal with than anybody else. What a relief now when I understood that it didn't depend on me after all! Salvation was a gift of God. I had never understood this before, although I must have heard it many times. It was as if heaven had come down. I suddenly “understood”. I believe this was the moment when the miracle of the new birth took place in my life. I had really been struggling up till this point. Since then I have often gone back to that scripture, and how grateful I am for it! I know for a certainty that if I had to be saved through works I could never ever be saved.
At last I felt that I was a new creature in Jesus Christ and that all things had indeed become new (2 Cor. 5:17). I just marveled at the beauty and generosity of it all. I couldn't get over it. At last I felt that I had contact with God and could really talk to Him in prayer. This was another turning point for me. I also started to notice that my behaviour was changing as a result.