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Hi I’m Olivia, I’m 17 years old and I have known God my whole life.
Y0u can follow me on Facebook HERE.
I was born into the Christian church in Syracuse, NY n 1997. I have two younger brothers and a younger sister. A lot of my family is christian so I had the chance to be with my cousins a lot. We went to Sunday school together and just moved up from there, we were all really close. I prayed a lot as a child, but mostly for things like a pony, a puppy, etc but there was one thing I remember praying for and that was to live in the country.
One day we were visiting some friends and they lived in a small town called Red Creek. My parents were talking with them and they had mentioned that they had a house that they were selling. My parents decided to look at it so we drove over there and when I stepped out of our van I saw this huge green house! It had three barns, woods all around, and plenty of space to run. It was a dream come true for me. All of us begged my parents if we could live there, we even picked out our rooms. I think my parents said they would think about it, so we drove home and I thought about that house a lot. Days went by and I kept asking if we could go back. But one day, my parents gave us the news that we are moving! I was so happy, I couldn’t believe we were actually going. Weeks went by and we were all settled into our new home.
We were also new home schoolers when we moved. We were home-schooled for a year in North Syracuse as well before we moved. My Mom was searching for a homeschool program for us to meet new friends so one day she found one a we went. I was always pretty shy but I made a couple friends and they helped me open up. It was a Christian home school program, but our very good friends that we met there , were Messianic Jewish. I never really heard much about what that was when I was in church. I also didn’t think much of it either when I was playing with my best friend, Easton. My family went over to their house a lot and they were always talking about the Bible. We went to other friends houses, too that were also Messianic Jewish and we would stay at all of their houses almost every night and until 1:00am or even later. It was fun though as a kid, but I always wondered why they were there so much?
One day we were all sitting down at dinner and my parents announced that we weren’t going to church anymore. I started to cry, because I thought that meant they didn’t love God anymore. I was so upset, but they were telling us about what we were going to do. We were going to go to our friends’ synagogue. I was like ” Synagogue??” But we did go and it was kinda cool. But it was very traditional, girls on one side and boys on the 0ther. We didn’t stay there for long and eventually we started having little meetings in our house with friends. We even had our first Sukkot in our yard, it was actually really fun. But every night the adults would sit around he fire and all they would talk about was end of the world type stuff.
I’ m going to jump forward a bit. The friends we Sukkoted with fell away sadly.Not all of them, but most. We were hurt by all the problems that came with fellowship so we stopped congregating for about a year to figure out stuff. I remember that year off hurt a lot. I even questioned the existence of God.
After our break and the constant begging of others for us to start leading again, we moved to a church building in Clyde NY. And that’s where we came up with the name ” Messianic Family Fellowship (or MFF).” My Dad was the congregational leader and he always had a teaching of some sort and he also led worship. We met new people and reconnected with some old friends. At that time my Mom was running her own home school gathering in North Rose in an old school building, we called it ” VC ” which stood for Vineyard Conservatory.
MFF eventually moved out of that building in Clyde due to some issues with one of the owners, but our friends owned a big apartment building and they had store front that they said we could use. We were there for few months on and off and eventually stopped congregating there. Then my best friend Easton’s family had their two-car garage available. Her Dad was still kinda new to the faith but he was learning a lot and he offered his garage and sound equipment to us for fellowship. They wanted us to start something steady. We had our Sukkot there in their backyard.
Our synagogue was growing a lot. We were there for almost two years and the next Sukkot we had was at a place called “Dates’ Pond.” That was a really fun Sukkot. The times we had at the synagogue or ” Synagarage” as we called it, were bringing me back to believing. I believed but I was confused. I was about 13 when our youth group got Bar/Bat Mitzvaed all at once. It was an awesome party.
But it was more than just a party, it was where I become a women of the commandments. Its where I declared that I now had the responsibility to keep them and no more goofing off. It was time to take my relationship with God to the next level. I, of course, still didn’t fully understand. Then again I was only 13. But I still didn’t care too much about what God expected of me. I heard the words. I knew all the stuff but I still didn’t really care. I’ve seen people hurt by the faith and the shunning we got from our family was the worst. I love my aunts and uncles and cousins and everyone. When they heard about our ” religion” change, we were the now called ” black sheep” of the family. To me, that was hurtful. I felt awkward hanging out with my cousins. They would ask me questions that I didn’t have answers to about what we were doing. “Why can’t you eat that?” And all of that. I was too young to know, but now I know what is true and I know where I stand, and I know, that I know, that I know, that what we are doing as a family, is right.
Anyway, after I was was Bat Mitzvaed, I thought about things a little differently, but I still didn’t surrender to what I knew God wanted me to do. I wrote a lot of stuff on Facebook (mostly about how I couldn’t stand animal abuse, or relationship problems). I laugh a little now when I think of my 14 year old self, writing about relationships, because what the heck did I know? Not much. I had never been in a relationship at that time.
We had a lot of great times at the Synagarge, we had a lot of visitors, new members joined and we even had guest speakers come. But we rented building because the garage wasn’t big enough for all the people that wanted to come. Our congregation was growing a lot. When I was 15, we moved synagarge to our very own building in Wolcott NY. It was an old movie rental store and tanning salon. We had to fix it up a lot and build a room and paint and build a stage. But when we had it all finished, it looked awesome! We had a lot of ups and downs with our members, miscommunication, and belief differences. But we were able to work things out, and some people left. But we are all like a big family now and still growing.
I am now one of the worship leaders and years ago I would have been terrified to even stand on the stage. But after a lot of praying and constant embarrassing practices, I finally got used to it, well, not fully. But I am still learning. I am also starting my training in leading discussions at our youth group, so one day I can maybe start to teach.
I led worship for the first time after Sukkot of 2013, but then I wasn’t truly worshiping or even knowing what it truly meant to worship our Father. Even though I had been to my first Camp Yeshua that year, I still struggled to actually worship, especially in front of our congregation. Months went by and I still played music, I started only listening to worship music. I stopped listening to the other stuff. In April, 2014, on Shavuot, I had the opportunity to lead worship and actually worship God with no fear. I was nervous beforehand, we prayed before service, and the fear left me.
In the bible it says God doesn’t give us the spirit of fear. And I thought about that a lot, so I started to put it into action. Now I am still learning, still growing in my faith, just like you. I long for the Father to use me and my writing and my music ability, to reach others and be a light unto the world.