My testimony in Uganda september 2017 (English/Luganda)
My testimony: The love of Christ
I read from Ephesians 3:16-19
6I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
I would like to give a small testimony and I have called it “the love of Christ”.
My name is Konrad Nyström and I was born 1971 in the northern part of Sweden. I was born as number two in a family of five children. My mother and father have been believers in Christ all their lives and my grandparents were all firm and true believers in Jesus Christ and their lives with Him and deep roots. I am what we in Sweden call “a child of prayers”, because they all prayed for their grandchildren.
In the nineteen eighties I grew up in Byske, 800 km north of Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. The winters in those days were cold and severe, and from the beginning of January to the end of February we had between minus 15-30 degrees Celsius every day, and me and my brother went to school on bikes wearing masks to protect our faces.
My home was warm. It was filled with the Spirit of Christ. We had enthusiasm, commitment, inspiration and overwhelming joy from my father. We had a deep and profound love of Christ from my mother, also full of patience and long suffering. As children we were all very talented, we had some of the best grades in school. We were quick learners and also studied quite a lot, inspired by my father.
As a child a was a little bit of many things. I was on one side very headstrong, very determined. I had a strong, strong will and I would not easily give up. A friend of mine in those years once gave me the nickname Konrad “I never quit” Nyström. I kind of liked that name. I have always been a fighter.
I was also ready to speak my mind and what was on my heart, even if I knew I was on my own, that no one would agree with me. I once debated with a teacher some of the actions of The United States and defended them before the entire class. I was gentle and kind, not rude, but determined and with strong arguments. All of a sudden the teacher realized that he wouldn’t beat me, turned silent, looked at the class and said: class 8B, do as Konrad: get yourself an opinion and fight for it!
I also had a belief that there was a God and I called myself a believer in Jesus, but I was not born again, I had not yet really met Him. But I still today believe that I then was a child of God.
But I also had another side of my personality. I was sensitive, very eager not to hurt other people. I was very sensitive to other people’s feelings and atmospheres in gatherings. I was also weak, because I was so sensitive. I was always very afraid if my dad or teachers would get angry at me. It didn’t happen so often, but when it did it would make deep marks in me for a long time.
I also had somewhat of a melancholy. I often felt that life was quite dull and I was carrying some kind of burden. I somewhere inside of me felt that there was no true meaning to life. I suffered from some kind of depression already from childhood.
But in my later teenage years I started to slide away from God. I did my military service in the most prestigious unit of Sweden, in the Special Forces. About 1000 totally voluntary applicants and 120 of them were given a place to start the training, and I was one if them. The training was unspeakably tough with almost no sleep or rest, and the stress was immense. After three days about ten were gone, and after three weeks we were down to around 90. I was close to quitting after three days, but I decided to stay one more hour, and then another and so forth. Ten months later about 80 people had completed the training and were fully trained elite soldiers, and I was one of them.
I chose to continue and became a part time officer and was also trained into an almost fluent Russian speaking soldier. I was not extremely good in the very beginning, but after about ten months I was in the upper part, after fifteen months one of the better and a few years later I was considered one of the absolute best soldiers and patrol leaders in this unit. I was extremely fit physically and trained to serve in winter, forest, without sleep and no food and long, long marches with heavy rucksacks.
I was at the top, but I was so, so lonely. I suffered from depression and loneliness. I was so full of fear and anxiety that I would start to tremble and shiver if I was to speak to even more than one person. It is hard for me to think or talk about those years. I was so unhappy, had no inner life.
But in 2005 I hit a brick wall, and I praise God for it, because it was an act of Mercy, it was amazing grace. I had nowhere to go and I wrote a letter to my mother and I told her: my life is in a crisis and I have nowhere to go and I am longing to get out. She asked: what do you mean longing to get out? Out of myself, I am held captive in a cage within myself. She asked the key question: what’s your relationship with Jesus? I said: I believe I have none. Start reading this book, and she gave me this one, by a great man of God from Sweden from about 1850. I remember this as if it was yesterday.
I started to read and pray, but very little happened. One night I was so tired because the spiritual battle was so hard, and I just looked up in the ceiling and said: here I am. I see no future, no hope, no light, no life, only darkness, but here I am.
The very same night I had a dream. I dreamt that I was sitting in a radio communications central and there was a call on one of the channels. I picked up the microphone and a voice said: hello, this is from the Mountain, how are things? I said: here everything is totally dead. The voice said: here’s a lot of life coming your way.
I woke up and the dream was very clear, but I couldn’t understand it so I forgot about it. Three weeks later I took some days off and went to a Christian retreat center which I got to know later on had a nickname: the mountain.
A priest said a few words after lunch. He said that the previous week he had received two letters from the dentist, one for his son, and one for him. To him the headline was “calling”, and on his son: invitation. He said it is the same way with the Kingdom of God. It is both a calling and an invitation. I thought to myself: those were very wise words, I want to speak to him on my own tomorrow night. I signed up a time for Friday night.
I entered the room, shook his hand and said “Konrad”, and he said “John”. I sat down and told him briefly about my life and my crisis. And he just told me, straight from his heart: but Konrad, you have so much to thank God for! The meaning was: don’t you see that? The words pierced right through me and I said: yes, I guess you are right, and we finished the conversation and I went to my room.
I laid down on my bed, calmed down, closed my eyes and started to think about my life. I thought of my parents, and was filled with love and gratitude and said: thank God for my parents. I thought of the rest of my family, and was filled even more and I said: thank God for my family. I thought of all my many friends and I said: thank God for my friends. I thought of my job and my good economy and I said: thank God for my job and economy.
By this time I was full of love, thankfulness and joy, and my heart was crying out: I have all the things that one can ask for and over more. I am blessed, not cursed!
Then I thought to myself: but, if I have all things, what is it that I today don’t have that I would like to have? I thought: I wish that my heart was burning with love for God and people! But why doesn’t it then? I still, silent wind whispered to me: because you don’t have life itself. I asked: but where is life found? The whisper came once more: life is found in the Son of God.
But then why don’t I have the Son of God? I immediately thought of the parable of Jesus about the wedding and all the invited people who turned the invitation down, busy with so many other things, and the whisper said: because you don’t want to come! I cried out, full of longing: I want to! I want to! I want to! What should I do? The whisper came back, but stronger this time: no, you should do nothing, you should just go to the Savior! And I just leaned my head on the bosom of Jesus.
Immediately my body, which had been so tense after several weeks of hard struggle, just became fully relaxed. I felt something, like some kind of oil being painted in my heart, and my heart was filled with an overwhelming, heavenly joy and my lips started to say: He lives! He lives! He lives! I just knew in my entire being that Jesus lived. I had an inner vision where I saw the grave before me and the stone was rolled away.
The next day I wrote a postcard to my mother and I finished it with the words: Jesus lives! Then the Lord spoke to her and said: now Konrad is not going to make any important decisions, because from now on, I take over.
I came back to Stockholm and I was still very weary of all the inner struggle, and my father insisted that I should be sick and not work for three weeks. I protested, but after some discussion I said ok. I talked to my mother almost everyday on the phone and almost every time she said, in some context: the church of Sankta Klara. I started to go there.
One day I got a SMS from my mother with a word from the Lord: seek My Face, and she explained that it meant: come to Me in prayers. I went to Klara church and sat down at the front. I looked around for someone to pray for me. I saw a man, sitting with his eyes closed in deep prayer, and I thought: that man knows Jesus Christ. I will ask him.
I went to Him and asked if he could pray for me and he said yes. We approached the altar rails, kneeled down and closed our eyes. He put his arm around my shoulder and started to pray: Lord, I thank you for my brother and so forth. I just tried to make myself small and think about Jesus.
Then I saw Jesus, in a clear vision, standing like ten meters in front of me and His arms stretched out like this. And Tobbe prayed: and I am so glad because The Spirit says that you are a child of God and that The Lord has a plan for your life, so you don’t have to worry.
He stopped praying and we looked at each other. He was crying and his face was full of joy. He said: brother, I got so happy and glad. You know, brother, that as believers in Christ we are a new race of humans, and everything written in the Bible is true. And my heart said: amen.
The next day I thought that I would use these weeks for good, so I approached a woman, a deacon, and said I was off sick for three weeks and I was willing to serve at the church. Good, she said, tomorrow at eight o’clock prayers and praise! I thought to myself: oh, eight o’clock, I can hardly sleep due to the battle, but if society helps me economically during these weeks, I will do my part. I decided to go.
The next morning I entered a small room where about twenty people sat and sang praises. I sat down and started to sing. A man was sitting down, playing on a guitar with his eyes closed. After a few songs he started to speak. He said: I feel that today there are some small flower buds here, but there are also birds of prey here. There is someone sitting in here today that…
And he started to speak prophetic words straight from my life. He described my present situation, some decisions that I was considering and told me exactly what to do and not to do. He said: you should not go on a road that someone tells you is good for the soul, you should neither lean on any method, no, you shall come HERE! You shall come to Me, says the Lord. I will heal you, I will deliver you, I will establish you. I want you to come to Me and I will do the whole work, because I want all the glory for it to Myself and My cross.
When the singing was over I felt totally overwhelmed, revealed. I thought: where can I run? Where can I hide? He knows everything about me, although I understood that it was God, because I didn’t know him at that time. I approached him like a small school boy and said: hi, I believe that you were speaking about me? Yes, he said, I sensed you. You are rather sensitive, aren’t you? Yes, I said. Is there any hope for me? Yes, he said, this is already in the Hands of the Lord.
After that followed about six months at that church for me. I took time off from my work and visited the church almost daily and I had several wonderful meetings with Jesus, but there was also an immense spiritual battle.
Sometimes the spiritual confrontations would be hard, other times the presence of Jesus Christ would be just sweet, wonderful and strong. When I talk about these days I get totally different feelings than when I talk about my old life. Yes, it was a hard battle, but the memories are still sweet and precious to me. I love to think and speak about this time of my life.
And then, after a really hard battle that lasted a couple of weeks, I finally met Jesus Christ for my salvation. I was in a corner and I was really desperate. I prayed for my life all through the night, but I didn’t say a word. I just stretched out to Jesus and thought: Jesus, when You come with Your Kingdom, think of me!
That night the Lord spoke to my mother: light will break through into the darkness, I will do it!
My grace is sufficient for you, because strength is made perfect in weakness.
Just pour out your heart before Me and I will bless you.
I cried like a child when I entered my apartment. I bent my knees at the side of my bed, said the Name: “Jesus. Jesus”, twice, with love in my heart and voice. I jumped into my bed and I felt like I landed in a big, firm, loving Hand and was embedded and surrounded with cotton.
I reached out for my Bible, pressed it to my chest and looked up in the ceiling and said: Holy Spirit, guide me in my reading! I opened my Bible and “by chance” I opened the gospel of John, chapter one. I started to read:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcomea it.
As I read the first words, I literally saw light breaking through filling my body. The Light of the world entered my body. I kept on reading, and I was filled with Jesus Christ and His abundant love, joy, grace and peace. As I was close to the end of the gospel of John I silently started to pray for the Sankta Klara Church and the city of Stockholm. I prayed:
“‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’
As I prayed it dawned on me: Jesus is the Lord! And I was filled with the love of Christ. The joy in my heart was unspeakable. It says that He will give you the desires of your heart. I had been longing for and searching for love my entire life, and finally I found it in Jesus Christ. I met the love of Jesus Christ.
And I was totally changed, totally made new. It was both an instant change, but also a gradual process. But Jesus Christ living inside of me through His Holy Spirit, changed me with His love. I changed from a strong, powerful, hard, part-time officer in the Swedish Special Forces, into a soft, quite gentle, caring and loving follower of Jesus Christ. His love filled me, touched me and changed me.
But here something happened that I am totally convinced was not part of the original plan of the Lord for my life. I fell sick only 1,5 months later in OCD, and for ten years I struggled hard. I was at a psychiatric hospital for about three years. Some periods I didn’t dare to move, I just laid down still in my bed.
But the Lord remains faithful, no matter what we face. He kept me and led me through. Today I am almost totally well and healed, by God’s grace. I am today a testimony also to the preserving power of Jesus Christ. Today I stand here, again serving the Lord. And I believe that Jesus again has touched me and filled me with His abundant love. Not by my merit or works, but by His grace.
His love within me makes me care for others more than myself, or at least most of the time. I have been given, by grace, a heart of compassion and love for others. It is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received from the Lord. I was very, very selfish in my old life. I wanted to care for others, I wanted to help others, I wanted to be a good and loyal friend, but as soon as the goings got tough, meaning that times started to be rough, my big words about my own loyalty, courage, great character and care for others turned out to be empty. I ran away. I had nothing in me that would make me stand. That is the truth.
I know today that I have nothing to boast about. If anything good is found in me, if you find anything in my character that is good, it is not from me. It is not thanks to me. It is the work of Christ within me. And if the times get rough again in my life or in the life of my brother, I don’t rely upon myself. I need Jesus to help me, give me strength, give me character, give me courage. I have nothing of myself to boast about, but the love and cross of Jesus Christ. That is what I boast about.
24but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,”
That is my joy, my boasting, it is all found in Jesus. I have nothing in or of myself to boast about. But I boast in the cross of Jesus Christ and I speak, think about His love very, very often.
And there is still nothing about Jesus Christ that attracts me and draws me to His Heart as much as His love. I am not made perfect in the love of Christ, I know that,
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. That is the way we should think, all who are mature.
I admire and love many things about Jesus, for instance His humility, His wisdom, His Majesty, His strength, His peace, His patience, His long suffering, and all the other things that dwell in Him. But nothing is dearer to me, more precious or more sweet to me than the love of Jesus Christ. I long to get to know it, to walk in it, to be filled with it, to act driven by it. I am amazed by His love. There is nothing like it.
I often pray: Jesus, give me of your love. Give me more of your love. Fill me with your love. Teach me what true love is. Give me a heart full of love for You, my brothers and sisters and all men, all people. I believe that is a prayer that the Lord is more than willing to answer, because it’s a prayer after His Heart. I have still a long way to go, but it is written in Matthew 7:7:
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
William Carrol, TSC, was a person sleeping in the streets of New York City, homeless and having nothing. He was saved and is today a great preacher and teacher at TSC. Once I was working in the forest, walking around with my chainsaw and in the meantime listening to one of his sermons. All of a sudden he said the words: the love of Christ. He said them with such tenderness, such love, such empathy, that I as touched deep, deep inside of my heart, in the innermost of my personality. My knees were almost made weak, I almost wanted to just bow down. It was like being touched by Jesus Christ by those mere words. I felt: this man knows the love of Christ. This man is a follower of Jesus Christ. This man knows Jesus Christ.
Today I am once again living in Byske where I grew up. I work part time with forestry. I preach through a homepage and in different places. I have the last two years traveled to Spain, Bangladesh and twice to Uganda, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is amazing how the Lord has once more restored me and raised me up as a voice for Him and His Kingdom.
I believe that I am today a testimony of the keeping and preserving power of Jesus Christ. And I also believe that I am a testimony of the transforming power of Jesus Christ. And I believe that I am, at least a little bit, a bearer of the love of Jesus Christ. I often feel His love flowing in me and through me, and He moves me with compassion and love for others. All that is His work, but it is wonderful to be given the grace to be a part of it. Jesus Christ has given me so many great and precious gifts, but the one I am most happy and thankful for is the love of Christ within me. It is not a heart that was given to me, just because I asked Him for it, and I thank Him for it.
I am once again happy in Christ. I still have some battles that I fight, but as a whole I am made new.
And my heart is once occupied with Jesus Christ. I can’t hide what’s inside of me. I know that this is all made by Him, by His grace, and I give Him all the glory, for it is all by Him and through Him. All the glory goes to Jesus Christ.
The love of Christ has totally changed my life. He has changed my heart, and He has given me a heart full of love for Him and my fellow man.