Growing up, the catholic christian religion deeply invested my parents. They only worshipped it because other Hispanics/Latinos believed in it. My parents still get ask if they’re catholic because, well, they’re of Mexican descent so they have to practice Catholicism right? Following my parents to every service and congregation, I was skeptical of the catholic faith.
In 2009 and 2018, Christianity found new meaning for me and my parents' life. New meaning changing our lives for many years to come.
It was a cold and gloomy Sunday winter in Texas in 2009. My parents decidedly headed to church as this church became the talk of the town. I for one didn’t want to spend my Sunday listening to someone singing and talk of much they love Jesus. I rather go back home and play my PS3 till the sun does down.
We arrived late to the first service, so my parents patiently waited in the lobby for the following one. As they waited, I scoped the lobby. Two women were sitting at an elevated table, speaking to each other as one ate a muffin with a plastic fork. I notice one guy with glasses contently approach the women, and he game the one eating a muffin a massive hug. This isn’t your usual church, I thought.
After a couple of minutes, people popped out in droves from double doors where they greeted and talked in the decent size lobby. These people appeared content. Man, their preacher is a miracle worker, I thought as my eyes illuminated seeing everyone's chatter. I felt uncomfortable being around these scary cheerful people, so my parents and I walked inside the auditorium to let the preacher's grace fall upon us.
Before we could hear the preacher’s grace, an ensemble of people came on stage and start singing. Ah, no, I didn’t sign up for this; I thought. The group of people played christian songs with a rock edge. They had a drummer, guitarist, bassist, keyboard, and the vocalist jumping up-and-down. It’s a full-blown concert. While the band played, the audience were dancing, singing along, and lifting their hands. My parents and I didn’t follow because it felt alien to us. I for one would never get accustomed to such practices, but I was wrong.
After the band played, the church rolled their announcements on the projection screen. A jubilee young woman told the audience the events for the year. Then the screen went black, and a design appeared on the screen, and everyone got up to cheer for a tall, muscular man with messy brown hair, black button up, and blue jeans. He railed to the audience as he walked closer to center stage, and the audience grew ever louder. Wow, this isn’t church, this is a show.
The tall, muscular man made it center stage, and the audience immediately sat down. The man told everyone how delighted he is they came as the design turn into the cameras. His name appears on the screen, Keith. He’s a 50-year-old man who had a near death appearance with he was a baby, and that grew him closer to the christian religion.
As he spoke I didn’t care what came out, but the way he communicated he knew how to provoke others. His passion for what he declare spoke in volumes and was difficult not believe it.
When the service was over, I felt overwhelmed, but I would not give in to this God stuff, I’m above it. Within a couple of months, I gave in, and Christianity became part of my life. I started listening to Christian Rock, the songs they played in church were too slow, and I joined events. My parents did the same, and we enjoyed many years of belief in an omnipotent begin.
Our faith diminished when my father grew severely depressed, and my parents had faith the church would help him. They couldn’t, and my parents lost the hope of the church which restore their faith. I wanted to keep going, but I knew it was no use, I never was really part of the church. I never got to meet people and join the services for youth. I spent most of my time with high school friends doing stupid activities.
My parents tried a new church, they enjoyed it, but it was all fake. We only went to church to make ourselves feel better. Our faux attitude catch up to us as we moved from Texas to go back to California to help my grandparents. Here, we would jump between churches to find one which worked for us. But the problem wasn’t the church, it was us.
After I finished helping my grandparents, we moved further away from them to a place I didn’t like being in. I disliked it so much; I wanted to take my life. I could’ve ended it all if I didn’t go to the church one faithful spring morning in 2018.
I told my mom we should check out a new church as we have been so far away from something positive in our lives, going to church was a safe bet. We went to a church with a similar vibe to the one in Texas. A band would play, announcements, and service. The church led the service by a thin, proper man sporting a navy blue suit and black shoes to compliment. He spoke throughly, and I thought my family and I would not enjoy. His wit and knowledge pulled us in with our faith slowing coming back.
In the pamphlet they handed out, I noticed they had a service for the young adults on Wednesday night and I thought maybe I should try it. Wednesday night came, and I headed out to the Young Adult's service, Above entering, I see many young people who look out of place with their trendy clothes. They appeared as if they don’t belong in this town. Given my introvert behavior, I waited until someone approached me. One person did, and they swiftly headed back to talk to their friends. I continued walking around to see who would speak to me, and one guy said hi. I talked with him for a while as something about him drew me in. Maybe he’s read Dale Carnegie’s book.
I talked with him until the service begun, and young adults service introduced me to a guy similar to Keith. Muscular and dressed like a rockstar. The message that day, he spoke about how our brain blocks anything positive and we only see the negative. It was a coincidence he spoke of such topic as it was on racing in my mind.
From that moment, I regained my faith and believed in a better life. I didn’t repeat my mistakes in Texas. This time I went to service every day, joined the young adults group, and started reading the bible. Being heavily involved, I joined the Young Adults for a camping event. The camping event would bring new life to my faith.
Camp’s a three day four night's event where we get to know our fellow young adults and grow In faith. After the camp activities, we had service which broke down into deep worship where anything could happen. I noticed my fellow young adults crying, shouting, bowing, and speaking in tongues. I let myself fall into their fellowship and bowed and spoke in tongues.
I was so withdrawn; I joined the online college program to grow deeper in my faith. The online program didn’t workout as I continued to my old ways of schooling. As I left the online program, I continued to join them for events and camping trips. A positive came out of online college, I made friends with two people. I would go to too many concerts (mainly metal) with one and hang out at his house with the other.
To this day I continue to go to young adults even though I’m struggling with my faith. The books I’ve read recently, and the virus made it happen. I enjoy these people’s company, and I feel a gut feeling to know someone there more. They absolutely love God compared to me, but it doesn’t matter; I need to join their world.
No matter what your faith is, find something to help you or get to know someone as it’s about relationships with others no matter what they believe in because that’s the key to a fruitful life, relationships.