In the expansive hall of our Seventh Day Adventist church is seated the youthful, jovial Pastor Lin who is originally from Taiwan. As a Youth Pastor, he has inspired many especially with his divine sermons, passionate presentations, and delightful approach to initiating helpful projects for his congregation. The Los Angeles Seventh Day Adventist Church was founded in 1960 by a group of ministers. On the Sabbath, we usually gather around in the Church to pray for the word of God and listen to the sermon. And we are all divided into different groups, such as the youths who have a bible study session taught by Pastor Lin, and the elders form their group that has the Sabbath school.
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Situated in the heart of our neighborhood, the Los Angeles Seven day Adventist Church has a seating capacity of 1000 people and is headed by Pastor Lin. As I walked in the far left row, I noticed the 5’7 feet, Pastor Lin, in a white robe standing on the pulpit with a beaming face. The first impression I got was that of a jovial kind-hearted minister noting the almost full capacity church and active participation from the congregation.
Unlike other ministers, he always wears a natural smile in his well-pressed robs and has a commanding voice above other pastors. I slowly moved forward and occupied the third raw from the front where I could get a lucid reflection and view of everything taking place. Pastor Lin has been our minister for quite a long time. I got to know him three years ago when he convinced me to join his church.
Pastor Lin was born in Taiwan and he moved to the U.S twenty years ago due to religious intolerance back in Taiwan. Being a Seventh Day Adventist, he has been active in leading sermons every seventh day of the week which is dedicated to service to God. In the interview, he said, “Back in Taiwan, religious intolerance, especially from the dominant Buddhism religion, limited my space for practicing seventh-day religion.
Specifically, against the doctrines of the seventh religion, Taiwan did not recognize Saturday as a day of worship since schools and other activities proceeded during this special day.” Therefore, to continue with his religious devotion, Pastor Lin and his entire family migrated to America when he was at the age of thirteen.
Knowing Pastor Lin for a couple of years, he seems very unique and different from other pastors. He told me that once he was sent to a Christian school upon arrival in the U.S, the principal of the school interviewed him and he had no idea what he was talking about at that time. The funny part was that he always earned a straight-A in his English class back in Taiwan. However, if you are talking with Pastor Lin now, he has no accent and speaks English as a local. Despite having been in the US for over twenty years, it is apparent that he has lost his Taiwan accent when speaking in English. All the hardships and difficulties on religious intolerance in his home country and language barriers make him unique from other ministers in the LA Adventist Church.
As part of the church doctrine, Pastors often visit the LA Adventist Church and give sermons once in a while. The Youths who worship here often prefer Lin’s sermons since they are presented in the most simple and easy to understand way. For instance, his sermons are characterized by examples of practical life experiences and intelligent humor. During these exchange sessions; in between his role of a youth preacher and a counselor among the young members of the church, he performs the role of an interpreter.
Besides that, Pastor Lin is the leader of the Wednesday bible study sessions which are very interesting as each participant is allowed to lead a session. This could be attributed to his experience with a diverse congregation. The majority of the congregation are the locals consisting of youths and adults. Reflectively, Pastor Lin proposes to better this by inviting more international students with similar backgrounds. Since the church has an institutional affiliation, that is, it is situated within the private religious school of LA Adventist, the majority of worshipers here are members of this school community. In his quest to recruit more faithful, he has made a series of worldwide tours to countries such as Korea, China, and Taiwan.
Pastor Lin is dedicated to the community with his strong religious passion and plays a significant role in the LA Adventist Church. At present, Pastor Lin has initiated a series of youth-related programs within the church. For instance, he is associated with the annual international Seventh Day Christian meeting for youths across the globe which occurs in the church. The annual international Seventh Day Adventist meeting takes place at the LA SDA church on October the 1st.
The meeting generally informs the followers who are from all around the globe to understand the scriptures, God’s love, and appreciate diversity noting that participants are drawn from Africa, Asia, South America, and U.S. Besides, he has constantly been inviting youth fellowship to get involve the religious activities such as bible camping in Yosemite National Park where you can closely feel the nature created by God. During these activities, we all felt holy and encouraged by Pastor Lin. For instance, hiking and camp hunting were the most interesting during one of these camp sessions.
As you are sitting in the church, you will realize that people are organized and jovial like Pastor Lin, and they are actively involved in church activities. At the beginning of the worship service, Pastor Lin announces that the church needs financial support from the people who are among the congregation. Interestingly, no matter what Pastor Lin said, he has some sense of persuasion which makes everyone support him and follow his suggestions on ways for raising funds.
As an active member, Pastor Lin has developed a passion for assisting the unfortunate and being responsible among members of this religious community. At a personal level, I have endeavored to develop strong faith and a clear understanding of Christianity after a series of bible studies presided over by Pastor Lin. Moreover, I have learned to appreciate diversity as a positive thing since our pastor encourages more international fellows with different cultures and languages to participate.
Besides, I have learned to appreciate talent and youth culture which is characterized by interactive forum sessions and field activities. Moreover, the dedication and contribution which Pastor Lin made to the church have been significant and crucial. I have managed to convince my friends to join our church after I shared the story of Pastor Lin and do bring some of them to visit Pastor Lin some time.