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lenten inverviews - part 2

Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use. 1 Timothy 4:12-14

Carolyn Hanscom

Tell us your name, age, and current background (job, family, school, etc.). 
I’m Carolyn Hanscom. I’m thirteen years old and go to New Augusta North Junior High. I have a younger brother and sister.

When did Jesus become real to you? Tell us what led to that. 
Last year when I got baptized. I felt a little bit close to God before that but definitely more after I got baptized. We were going to my grandpa’s beach, and I am close to him. My brother and sister had already been baptized, and I wanted to get baptized at the beach with my grandpa since we are close and he’s special to me.

I was scared to do it. I don’t know why. I didn’t want to but once I got there, God reminded me it was going to be ok, and it was not something to be scared of. It was on a public beach. Random people were saying congratulations. Jesus has become more real to me since then.

How do you experience Him on a day to say basis? 
I think I experience God by watching some of my teachers. They aren’t allowed to mention their religion, but my social studies teacher, I can just tell she loves God. Our class is always getting in trouble. There’s a group that doesn’t do what they should, and she just kind of shows God to them without actually saying anything about Him.  Several of those kids struggle with ADHD and autism, and they have trouble focusing in class. They get mad and thrown off track really easily. She’s loose about it. She’s not sending them out; she’s including them. I experience God watching her teach those kids.

There are also gay people at our school, and some people aren’t used to it, so they are mean to them. It just sets me off and gets me mad. Ok, so they have a different love interest…they’re still a person. They don’t get treated like equals or actual people. They get treated different, but they’re just trying to figure life out. There are people who make fun of them and call them names. Then there are people who are nice to them and show them Jesus. I can see that through what they do…they’re nice to them and stand up for them.

What do you think is God’s place for you in all that? 
God wants me to be a leader and not a follower. Don’t go with what other people are doing because it’s cool. Don’t be afraid to be the only one not doing something bad. Everybody feels like they don’t wanna be their own person because they’re afraid of what others will think or say or they won’t be popular or liked as well. I’m not really concerned with that.

There’s a substitute teacher who gives good advice and counsels people. She says that there are going to be people who will make bad choices but you don’t have to make bad choices with them. They won’t get you anywhere in life. Good choices and good friends will get you places and will make you better instead of worse as you get older.

Have you ever felt really far from God? 
Not really. On Mondays I feel close to God because I just went to church on Sunday, but throughout the week, I’m not far from Him even though He still feels a little more distant. Every morning, my family reads Jesus Calling and some scriptures. Mom’s always telling us to weave the scriptures and what we read that morning into our day and to figure out how to apply what we read. She asks us when we get home how we experienced God throughout the day. That’s when I think about it most. I do a lot of things out of habit or reaction that are showing God but I don’t notice if it showed God to others or made Him happy until I get home and really think about it.

What is one thing that makes you feel close to Jesus? 
Reading Jesus Calling every morning. That helps. I have a teacher that I don’t really like, and I have to stay calm in her class and ask God to help me through the class. Mom’s always telling me, you’re not going to like all your teachers and you have to learn to get along. She says you’re not necessarily going to like every person you run into in life.

Sometimes I have dreams and then they happen in real life, so my mom says I’m a prophet. Sometimes I write them down, but knowing that maybe God speaks to me in dreams makes me feel close to God.

There’s also a homeless guy we are friends with. His name is Alexander and he’s a veteran, and we always talk to him. Mom memorizes a lot of scriptures and says them to him. He doesn’t notice, but we make him feel included, not like he’s just living on the street. We bring him food, give him money, and talk to him.

Sometimes I read my Bible before bed if I can’t sleep. And I pray before bed.

When you have doubts, how do you stay focused on Him? 
I pray about it. Mom says anything can be overcome, just pray and don’t worry about it too much. It probably won’t be that big of a deal. Take it to God.