When I joined AAIV, I didn’t know anyone. I thought that was normal until I looked around the room and saw that everyone had their own friends and their own circles, and I was just alone. Large group was the worst. It’s crazy feeling alone in a room of 100 happy and laughing people. I never felt like I fit in. I’m adopted, grew up in a white family, in a white area, going to a white church. All my life I felt like an outsider for being Asian, but here at AAIV, I didn’t feel Asian enough, or even Asian American enough. There seemed to be a mold that everyone fit into except me. The only thing that kept me going was guilt. My small group leaders were so nice that I felt bad not going. By the grace of God, I continued to go to AAIV.
About a year into going to AAIV, I realized that a lot of people don’t feel like they fit in. Whether it’s feeling too Asian, too American, not Christian enough or whatever else, a lot of people question if they truly belong.
WHAT THE? How can a fellowship of 200 people feel so lonely and isolated?
I don’t blame anyone who left AAIV. But if you’re here and reading this, I urge you to dig deeper. I started meeting up with people and hearing their stories. Over time, all those empty smiling faces became people with thoughts and feelings behind them. They had lives filled with love and pain, joy and hardship. I would be there for them, and they would be there for me.
It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve done, and it’s stretched me more than I ever would have imagined. But, as dorky as it sounds, it’s worth it.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if AAIV became a place in which no one felt alone or outcast? I don’t know if it’s possible, and I’m only one person, but at least I’ll try.