“I have found a place where I have a family and a place I can call home” - Iris
I grew up in FGA and have been attending the Filipino service with my mom since I was young. When I was 17, she and Pastor Rachel encouraged me to go to YM but I never liked going to their services. I only attended YM if I was with my close friends because I felt like an outsider and never felt like I belonged there.
One day, I attended CG Sunday and the leaders there added me to a WhatsApp group. That's when I asked God if He wanted me to join YM and CG. I asked Him to send someone to talk to me if He did. And truly after I said this prayer, one of my leaders messaged me. So I obeyed God and went to CG.
The first time I went for CG on Saturday, I needed to stay for the night to help decorate for the next day’s CG party. At first, I felt lonely and uncomfortable and a few hours later, I was hiding in the toilet, crying and asking God why He even wanted me to join CG in the first place. I didn't know how to blend in. I was so used to being in my comfort zone with my close friends in church that I'd never attend any YM services by myself. But, I wanted to obey God. Although I didn't know what His plans for me were, I decided to persevere and keep going to YM even when I felt so uncomfortable.
And as I obeyed God and stayed in YM, I encountered Him more and more and grew deeper in my relationship with Him. He has shown me His love for me through every YM pastor, leader, and member. They truly care for me, never fail to be there for me, and they make me feel at home. God has given me my identity in Christ, which I struggled with for a while through some experience from the past which I never knew affected me. He has assured me of the plans He has for my future and even directed me to what I should be studying for college when I didn't know what to do. All this happened when I obeyed His call for me to attend YM.
It's only after joining YM that I have experienced and encountered Him like never before. Because of that, I have found my identity and destiny in Christ. I have found a place where I have a family and a place that I can call home.
And I am forever thankful for that.
- Iris Leong