The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The power of faith and community

Discovering hope through Christianity
My+Brazil+mission+trip+team+smiles+at+the+camera+for+our+last+group+picture+before+leaving+Hope+Unlimiteds+Campinas+site+where+we+hosted+a+summer+camp+for+the+children+there.+Photo+courtesy+of+Fernanda+Marques+%7C+Used+with+permission
My Brazil mission trip team smiles at the camera for our last group picture before leaving Hope Unlimited’s Campinas site where we hosted a summer camp for the children there. Photo courtesy of Fernanda Marques | Used with permission

When my mother first encouraged me to join Menlo Students, the middle and high school ministry program at Menlo Church, I was hesitant. I had asked her why, and she said it was time I joined some kind of community in order to delve deeper into my faith and connect with those around me.

Faith has always been a significant part of my life, especially since it’s something my family values. As a child, I went to Sunday school and attended church service every week. However, despite sitting through weekly Bible lessons with other children and attending occasional church retreats, I didn’t feel a particularly strong connection to the community, nor did I fully commit to my faith. I’d simply attend because I was told to.

Entering my freshman year, when the world fell into major chaos due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I felt extremely isolated and hopeless, not knowing if life would ever return to normal. Additionally, having to do everything online added to this sense of loneliness. With this feeling of isolation, I possessed little hope that people could truly connect with one another through computer screens. Internally, my mind voiced that the Zoom software would only give me constant headaches and no valid reason to attend online church programs. 

Even with this internal conflict, I decided to give the Menlo Students’ online program a chance. Approaching a screen of many new faces, I felt intimidated and unfamiliar with the program in general. The pastor even called me out to turn on my Zoom camera, putting me on the spot.

But later, the directors split us into breakout rooms by grade, and to my surprise, my life group leader welcomed me into our life group. In a simple sense, as conveyed by its name, life groups are groups that go through life in fellowship together, studying Scripture and uplifting one another with prayer and encouragement. Upon joining, I suddenly came to the realization that all the girls in my group were in the same boat as me, just trying to live through a busy school life and deal with the struggles of motivation during the pandemic.

As I continued to attend the online program every week, I began to realize how important the power of community was, not only for strengthening my faith, but also to grasp the concept of hope. My life group committed to coming each week, where we discussed what we learned from the sermon that day and updated each other on our lives, sharing our highs and lows for the week as well as specific prayer requests. This brought an encouraging, loving environment for us to be vulnerable and uplift one another in the face of adversity, without the fear of being judged.

In addition, sermons about certain Bible stories, verses or lessons provided different and more positive perspectives about hardship, allowing me to relate with others, pray for one another and simply be there for each other. Worship songs were also comforting reminders throughout the day, showering me with hope that things will ultimately get better. A Christian song titled “Take Your Time” by Joseph O’Brien often allowed me to calm down when college stress crept in, providing an uplifting tune filled with words of encouragement. The lyrics were particularly powerful: “But even if you take your time, even if you say I gotta wait in line/ Go ahead and do what you gotta do, God I’m giving you control/ Cause even if it’s hard to see, I believe you’re doing something good in me/ Go ahead cause you’re doing it with love, and you’re not gonna rush my life”.

As time passed, I got much more involved in my church community, joining the Student Leadership Team alongside my life group members, filming for online church services, connecting with other staff, striving to fulfill the mission of spreading the love and hope of Christ.

Fast forward a few years and we’ve returned to school (and life) in-person, I am still heavily involved with my church community. I am a student leader and volunteer with both the adults and students on the worship team and a three-time missionary to Fairbanks, Alaska; Chico, California; and São Paulo, Brazil. My life group and I have grown incredibly close, continuing to meet during students’ program every week and be each other’s sense of love and support. Ultimately, I’ve discovered an immense amount of hope through Christianity and now view my problems and the world around me in a positive light, surrounded by a lifelong community of friends.

About the Contributor
Lindsey Tang, Staff Writer
Lindsey Tang is a senior and staff writer for El Estoque. She enjoys playing violin, basketball, listening to music and going on fun adventures with her friends.
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