Emma-Leigh Basson is only 14 but has already discovered a source of unconditional love that "is the best feeling imaginable".
She was brought up in a Christian home, going to church regularly and hearing Bible stories from her mother, who is a Sunday school teacher, but at just five years old she realised that living a good moral life and going to church is not the same as personally committing your life to Jesus.
"Growing up in the home I did and with the parents I have, fortunately I wasn't exposed to smoking, drugs and alcohol," she explains.
However, she knows that sin is not only the things we do but the things we think and say.
"We are all born into a sinful nature, so of course I sinned. Nobody is perfect," she admits.
"At five years old I was sitting on our couch one night after school and I just quietly in my heart asked Jesus to be my best friend and my Saviour. I committed my life to Him and told Him that from that day onwards I would like for Him to use my talents in honour of Him," she recalls.
Even at such a young age, she felt she "just had to have a part of the incredible assurance [Christian's have] that we are unconditionally loved and that we are dead to sin [no longer under the power of our temptations and wrongdoings]."
“It was the best decision ever”Emma-Leigh admits, though, that some aspects of Christianity are hard to live out.
"I struggle with forgiving others, mending relationships, saying sorry and accepting others' apologies," she confesses. "But I know that my God is a forgiving God and that He will forgive us no matter what, so that makes it much easier to forgive someone else."
She particularly likes the Bible verse that says "Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart" (Proverbs 3:3) because "this reminds me that I should treat people with love and kindness," she explains.
Emma-Leigh knows that although her life didn't change dramatically when she made the decision to become a Christian nine years ago, it is the best decision she has ever made and it is one she intends to follow through on in the future.
"Jesus has been my everything since I was five years old, and He still is now!" she states joyfully.•