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09 February 2017

Life in a changing world – a pupil gives her perspective

Life in a changing world – a pupil gives her perspective

by Sophia Eng, a pupil at Thames Christian College, age 14 years

The world is changing. We can't deny it. From politics to technology, and controversial views to personal relationships, we all have to deal with change. As a teenager, I haven't had much time to go through change, but nowadays, even for a 14-year-old, there is a lot of adjustment to cope with. This can cause bewilderment, and it may even be a little alarming for some, but we know "Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever". (Hebrews 13:8)

We all know what is happening now in politics. Donald Trump is the new American president, 'the most powerful man in the world'. Anything can happen now, can't it? Times are changing more and more quickly: Britain is leaving the EU and floods of people are flowing to different countries. But now, more than ever, I think that we should be encouraged by these changes to spread the joy of God, His message and gift of love and grace towards us. He is Almighty and Psalm 96:3 reminds us to "declare His glory among the nations, His marvellous works among all the peoples!"

Religion is also changing. There are many other beliefs that are growing and people's views are changing for each one. There are about 2.2 billion Christians in the world today, which is about 31 per cent of the world. But as Jesus loves everyone, we should accept people of other religions and backgrounds too, listening to their ideas and showing love in this changing time. Moreover, because of change, there are also many challenges we must face. Especially now, Christians may be faced with difficulty or even persecution. In other countries, there are many Christians being persecuted for their beliefs in Jesus.

However, I believe that faith is the most important thing to cling on to in our struggles, difficulties and deepest valleys. For Jesus said: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." We know that when the time is right, God will give us strength, help and hope. He knows what we can and can't handle. "For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 2:10)

Can change be for the better? How am I changed? Recently, I went on a school trip to Tanzania. I was personally changed by this trip, as I have never been to a third world country before. I met many people, one of whom was named Esther. The thing that really changed me and my mindset is the fact that Esther is just like me. She is a girl of 14, who has a quiet personality and a lovely smile, yet the only difference between me and her is that she has nothing. Her father died two years ago, and her house has no water. Esther was kicked out of school because her uniform was threadbare and filthy and she had no money to buy a new one. Every day she walks 10k to go to school and 10k back and she was falling behind in class because she couldn't go to lessons. Suddenly, her life changed. I was one of two students who had the privilege to go with Esther to buy her new clothes, new shoes and schoolbooks. She is also able to go and have tutoring every day and eat porridge in the morning. I'm so thankful to God for opening my eyes to what the rest of the world is like and changing my heart. I hope and pray that other young people my age can also be changed in the same way.

I believe that prayer is probably the most important way of dealing with the changes in our world. Despite our weakness, God gives us strength and, most importantly, prayer. We can go to Him whenever we need him, which is a great blessing, and pray for anything: His peace, for those who don't know Him and for the world and its changes. We can also pray for the future and the difficulties we will face in the challenges of tomorrow. Philippians 4:6-7 says: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Therefore, as Christians, we should accept change. Pray to God today for our lives in this changing world, and listen and love others who do not know God. Encourage others and spread God's love in your surroundings, being a light of joy and grace. Whether changes in our lives are good or bad, we should be thankful, grateful, and positively rejoicing in God for our many blessings in every circumstance.

For further information about Thames Christian College and the pupils' inspirational trip to Tanzania with charity, Go MAD in Tanzania please
visit www.thameschristiancollege.org.uk