I’ve been coming to Living Hope for as long as I can remember because both my mom and dad are very involved in the church. I grew up going to the children’s fellowships, learning the basics of the bible and going to all the different events: the family camps, the royal family reunions, workshops, classes, and teen camps.
When I really decided to make my faith my own was at one of the teen camps about four years ago. Up until that time, I would say I was going mostly because I did believe in God but my faith wasn’t really my own. I didn’t really have a strong belief and determination that there was a God. So this Teen Camp I was there and I had doubts about God and was trying to figure out whether or not it was real. I never shared any of these doubts with anyone: my family, my brother, or any of the leaders. I didn’t want anyone to look down on me or try to talk me out of something I didn’t want to believe in. I had to believe in it myself.
So one of these nights I finally just said, “God, show me if you are real or not. You have twenty-four hours.” Today I’m not exactly proud of that method, but it worked. That night we had a time to go and pray with the pastors. So I went forward with all of this stuff rolling around in my mind—not just my doubts but different personal things that were weighing on my soul. I went up and one of the pastors prayed for me. He just started listing out all the things and praying for these things that I was dealing with. I was just sitting there the whole time thinking that he’s like reading my soul; he’s reading my thoughts; how does he know these things that have been bothering me? I felt warmed and experienced a real relationship with my God. I knew he was there walking me through my doubts. I knew I was loved rather than disliked. He helped me get rid of all my doubts and feelings of not being liked and not feeling good enough and that he was there and he did care about me and wanted a relationship with me. Since then, I have come to realize and believe in my heart there is a God and I’ve looked at the different reasons and have sound arguments for God and creation.
The reason I have chosen to stay at Living Hope is because they base their teachings and workshops on the bible. I know that if the bible says one thing that we have previously disagreed with, then we are going to change. I know I am going to go to a church that what they believe is based on what they have read in the bible and they aren’t afraid to change. They aren’t afraid if you ask questions. If you talk to one of the elders or someone who has been there for a while, they are not going to give you an excuse or some weak answer if they don’t know something. They are going to look at it and think about it and try to come up with the best answer to your question to help you out.
I love the people and I love the fact that the teachings are based on the bible. When you go, you are looking at the verses. The sermons are 45 minutes and it is easy to see where they are getting their points from in the bible.
But in terms of music and the different things that young people look for like fancy lighting, that doesn’t matter to me. As long as I am singing and praising my God I don’t care if the music is from the 70s or 2010. I want it to be an offering and a genuine praise to my God. I use the time to think about my relationship with God. I try to work on things that I need to work on regarding my walk and Christianity. If I am not singing, if I am not praising, if I am not evangelizing, if I am just focusing on being a good person without God then that’s kind of selfish of me to not want to do anything in return for what God has done for me. So for me it’s not the contemporary music or whatever, it’s that I have an opportunity to praise God and to pay back what has been given to me.
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