January 9, 2020

New Beginnings

This article was published in the Lake Union Herald, August 2017

I grew up attending church every Sabbath, but didn’t truly understand much about Adventism. The lack of understanding of my faith combined with enrollment in public schooling led to my draw and conformity towards the unhealthy social dynamics of my environment. The conformity started out innocently, from dress choices to sports, but soon imperceptibly transformed my speech, attitude and lifestyle habits. The change was gradual, but by my senior year I was heavily involved with drugs, late night social outings, a poor selection of friends and worldly pursuits.  

When I began my college experience at Michigan State University, there came a point where I did not care about God, only about carnal pleasures. It is grievous to think that although our parents raise us to the best of their ability, to walk in the right path, children frequently end up making the wrong decisions.  

During my sophomore year, my older brother, who had been baptized the prior year, encouraged me to become a literature evangelist. I had many objections but, through his persuasive skills and a number of other incidents, I naively decided to commit the summer of 2015 with the now-named Michigan Conference Youth Rush canvassing program. I remember telling my friends that I was going to “prison” for the summer, but would be back to continue life as usual. Little did I know that my plans were in subjection to a far greater plan.  

Through exposure in the canvassing work, I realized a few things: all of the selfish pursuits and gains to which I was hopelessly enslaved were ultimately meaningless. God had something better in store for my life, and service for him and obedience to his law is not a restriction but actually the only source of true fulfillment and purpose.  

I ended up finishing the program, took a year off to study theology at Ouachita Hills College, learned about our Adventist message and its true attractiveness, and was baptized on April 9, 2016. I am currently back at MSU and involved with the public campus ministries in East Lansing, Michigan.  

Do I wake up every morning feelingon fire for God and ready to work for him? No. Every day is a battle and a struggle with sin. However, I would rather struggle with God than live a vain life in the world. When we fall into sin, there are certain texts to remember: Mark 2:17, Proverbs 24:16, John 15:4, 5.  

I will end with a quote: “What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself” (Special Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, Vol. 9, p. 62.1). It is not what we can do, but what God can do for us. Jesus is doing a very special work in the heavenly sanctuary, and we can trust that he will complete the work he has started in me, and in you.  

Andrew Park, a 22-year-old junior at Michigan State University studying packaging engineering, attends the University Church in East Lansing, Michigan. Andrew received a $100 scholarship for this article. If you’d like to submit an article for consideration, please email: herald@lakeunion.org.