I was born in the year 1999. This was me. (At around 7-8 yrs)
Growing up in my family, I was eldest, so I had everything I wanted. Often overpowering and over-shadowing my younger brother’s voice in the family. I grew up successful. In Primary School, everybody wanted to do well in their CCAs, be popular, and get good grades. I had that. I was the Vice-Captain of my CCA, Badminton. I’d won many awards and medals. I was popular in school, because I was very naughty. I did many things to the extreme. There was once I peed into someone’s water bottle and made him drink it just because I didn’t like him. (He didn’t know it was pee in that bottle up to this day)
I did relatively well in my studies as well. I was integrated into the high-achievers programme for my Math, English and Science. (Chinese was from another planet)
But cut the long story short, my friend invited me into Heart of God Church. I came to church when I was 13. I remember forming a small clique with the people I didn’t even know because we were all connected by a popular game back then, called Vanguard. I remember my leader, Dominic, was so frustrated because every time we wanted to go somewhere after our service, I would be gathering the people to play Vanguard. Let me come back to this story in a while.
It is interesting to look at the world’s perception of youth. Really the world views the youth as people who need to be taken care of, not released in their strength. No one in the world sees any value of young people. Let me illustrate. Say if you are a 13 year-old boy and your parents give you $5000 to book a 3 day suite in Marina Bay Sands. And due to a few hiccups at work, they can only join you a day late, and you have to personally go and book the room. So let’s say, you walk into Marina Bay Sands alone, dressed in your favourite Singlet, Bermudas, and Slippers. How would the people look at you? The people are dressed exceptionally well in suits, prim and proper. Having their executive meetings. Discussing million-dollar deals. And you are sticking out like a sore thumb. What’s more, in their head, they are asking,
“What is he doing here?”
“Oh no, is that little boy lost?”
“Does he need help to look for his parents?”
I will end the story here. My point is, no one really sees young people as people who can be put in their strength, but people who need to be kept busy, or even taken care of. And coming back to my previous story about me coming to Heart of God Church, it was different. Pastors and Leaders always teach;
“Love picks up people in their Weakness, but respect releases them in their Strength.”
I was loved in church. Dominic, on many counts brought me out to eat and believed that I could be a leader. I remember Pastor How called me into his office one day, and believed in me. He said I could be a leader of 100s. I saw how much the youth was valued here. I knew I had value. I was believed in for not what I could do, but who I could be. I knew Heart of God Church was a place for me.
At a more recent stage of my life, God gave me a dream to lead 1000 people before I am 21. I lead 20 people now, and it was a really big dream. That week, I received a text from Dominic and Nicholas, they said they believed in my dream. They had done it before in church, and it is going to be easier because they knew what it took. I still have that dream. And I am still fighting for it. I live and breathe it day by day. I was an insecure 13 year old boy with unusual leadership abilities. I still have relapses of insecurity on many counts and the things I do. But my life was changed in Heart of God Church, and it will never be the same again. I am excited for what the future beholds.
Ending off with a scripture.
Haggai 2:9 (NLT)
“The future glory of this Temple will be greater than the past glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. And in this place, I will bring peace. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies have spoken!”
All the honour and glory to God. My life was changed. And I will rise up… To grow in my character and run towards the future.