Growing up, I was raised in a Christian household. We were a typical religious family, except for the fact that my father was a pastor at the church (Boston Chinese Evangelical Church) we went to. I went to church every Sunday from 9:15 - 12:30, attended a youth group every Friday, prayer meetings, etc. It was all like a religious rotating schedule for me.
As the “pastor’s kid,” I carry an invisible but heavy burden when I’m at church. I feel obligated to set a good example and be someone who possesses qualities and attributes of Jesus. In order to achieve this, I did things like answering questions that were asked, participating in community service run by the church, helping set up for Sunday School, passing out Bibles, and more. After doing these good deeds Sunday after Sunday, I told myself that I was thoroughly fulfilling my duties as the pastor’s kid. However, this thinking was about to forever change.
My church held this event known as Vacation Bible Study (VBS) in summer of 2019. VBS was an event for children who wanted to learn more about God and meet new people. The youth minister announced how they needed volunteers for small group leaders and assistants. I immediately signed up as a small group leader because I knew this would also be a good opportunity to set a good example for the younger kids. I was assigned with Romy, another volunteer, as the small group leader of the first and second graders. My partner and I would take five hours after church preparing the crafts and lessons that we were going to give to the kids. It took a tremendous amount of patience and endurance to cut and sort everything in preparation for the lessons. After three weeks, the time finally came. We waited in the fellowship hall for the children we would be spending our whole week with. When everybody arrived, we did a round of icebreakers, asking questions about names and favorite ice cream flavors. After the round of icebreakers, I had learned the names of everybody in my group: Eugene, Christopher, Adrial, Eason, and Adrianna. Once we settled down, we went straight to the small room that we prepared for our lesson. The lesson for that day was coincidentally the characteristics of Jesus Christ. I remembered asking them what qualities they knew, and they responded with the regular church answers: strong, powerful, amazing, and cool. My partner and I noticed that Eason wasn’t participating in the discussion, so we asked him if he knew any. For some reason, he refused to answer and continued to play with his food. I wasn’t sure what we had done wrong to deserve his non-attentiveness after spending countless hours of preparation.
Once the day was over, I went home to reflect on what had happened. After talking to my partner, I realized that Eason was just like me. By taking part in VBS, I was able to find out that I myself was blind to how I distracted myself during sermons our pastors would preach and was ignorant to the fact that they also spent countless hours preparing for those one-hour sermons. It changed the way I used to think about myself. I realized that I was not a good example of a good Christian. I didn’t live up to the certain standard of showing the younger kids what a true believer is. In fact, I was actually the opposite because of how I didn’t put myself in the shoes of others and try to understand how they would see me as a so-called “perfect example.” After VBS ended, I was able to learn a lot about how to truly be a good example and not be ignorant of others. Overall, I am really grateful that I was able to go through this life-changing event and be able to change to be a better person.
© Caleb Lam. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.