We Will Be Heard
I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to give my testimony today, on behalf of the youth. For many years, I have felt silenced, because the adults shared the mindset that: “They are merely kids, what do they know?” But we do. We see things that adults do not take the time to observe, to truly see. Our church has been through a time of struggle and weakness. For us to watch a congregation barely held together by a few coworkers on the verge of quitting, was painful.
Lunch was a stop ‘n go, when people just snatched what looked good and took off. Clean-up was basically begging the remaining to help. We kids had to step up to do things that we as kids ought not to do. We should have been the ones to paint the entrance to the church, to slip a cockroach or roaches in Auntie Lisa’s soups. Instead we were the ones to mop the floor, to help the kitchen crew clean up after those who left all their trash all over the place.
But, in the recent two years, change for the better has thawed my cold and bitter heart. We can see that something is different. People are more willing to help to clean up the church. There are friendships, genuine friendships between the people. The peals of laughter resonate through the walls. At some point, we could feel a shift in the spirits inside of people. People are now more open to speak about personal things, signifying that the bonds between our church have strengthened.
And also, our youth group. Over the years we have grown closer. Some of us still have some work to do, but I was happy to see progress, to see our room looking fuller every Sunday. I used to feel coming church waste my time. Now I can look forward every Sunday to see familiar and new faces. We too have grown, in numbers and in connection. We talk about things that once would have been forbidden to even mention accidentally about. We pray for each other. And with Auntie Zhao Juan, we have a motherly and spiritual figure that we can seek if problems arise that we cannot help each other with. And we laugh as well, although I think it is me that is hear most often by the adults…as I am a tad bit loud…
And our voice. Every Sunday Pastor Mok and Julie and countless other adults greet us. It was not always like this before. Now we are asked about the sermon and how our week was. Usually to wave the questions off and make the conversation short, we say, “It was good,” and the talk would end. But you know, it makes us feel good inside, that someone would take their time to talk to the Youth, as if we matter. And I feel that now, we are finally being heard and treated as a part of this church. Our Sunday program has improved significantly. With Post-It notes, we write down secrets, sometimes deep ones, that we are ashamed to say out loud, and give them to our Sunday class teacher so that she can pray for us. But this is a method through which we can confess, even if it is in 3 words, our sin, so that someone can help us get through it or them. And it is also beneficial to Auntie Zhao Juan because through these notes, although we do it “anonymously” even though it’s not hard to guess which handwriting belongs to whom as there are only 9 of us, she can see a part of us, who we truly are under the skin we put up in public.
The Church has hit bedrock, and we have been there for the ride, ups and downs. But in Psalms 71:20, it states, “You who have shown me many troubles and distresses will revive me again, and will bring me up again from the depths of the earth.” Has God not lifted us up from the deep pits?
Andfor the youth, let this be our motto, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12.