Dressed in his Sunday best, Junior Damion Huynh is on the purple lit stage at the Grace Family Church spiritually communing with his fellow peers in the crowd. With a smile on his face, he acts out scriptures of the Bible with friends his age.
Growing up, Huynh’s parents had a loose attitude towards the Christian faith, his father being passive because he wasn’t committed to a faith and his mother identified as a Christian because of her upbringing. They did not set strict schedules for church attendance nor did they force God’s teachings onto their children. “They simply didn’t talk about anything religious when I was younger,” Huynh said. During Huynh’s early middle school years, his mentality consisted of strong atheist and skeptical feelings on the faith and its followers for preaching old biblical texts, “I didn’t believe any of [the teachings] because I didn’t see the point in believing in something that wasn’t there,” he said.
As eighth grade year approached, Huynh found himself struggling with the loss of his grandpa. He began to experience a series of sadness and frustration because he was trying to balance his schoolwork and family life. It began to take a toll on his mental health. It took Huynh approximately five months to open himself up to the idea of turning onto faith to overcome those struggles and wanted a set of principles to help him control his reactions to life challenges.
In the following summer of 2018, Huynh attended Clash camp, a summer camp organized by the Grace Family Church in Tampa Bay. His parents signed him up as a camper after they started to attend church more regularly. This opportunity allowed him to befriend peers who are also in the process of establishing their own relationship with God. Forming these new relationships was one of his favorite memories from the trip and the overall experience encouraged him to search for volunteer opportunities on the weekends. The camp consisted of pastors giving messages and live musical performances and for Huynh he said, “The worship was completely out of this world and was definitely one of the first times I’ve felt the presence of God with me.”
“When I got back from camp, I got really plugged in with the church and started carving out my own path,” he said. Huynh’s schedule now consists of youth gatherings on Wednesdays and attends services on Saturdays and Sundays. Every Saturday he volunteers in the Zone, an area where approximately 100-150 children of all ages hangout after the service. On stage Huynh and fellow volunteers conduct games such as, “One Minute to Win it” and reenactments of scriptures from the bible. He enjoys asking his small group questions as he bonds with them over Bible stories. “Since I was new to everything, I was also learning along the side with them,” said Huynh.
Huynh believes that as the years go by, the more his generation distance themselves from faith. “I want to help Generation Z connect with God because it completely changed my life,” he said. Compared to his younger self, he now knows how to deal with his stress and anxiety because he finds comfort in memorized scriptures. In moments where he catches himself becoming insecure, belittling himself, or even lying to himself, he reminds himself of God’s promises and his sacrifices for him.
Huynh decided to be bold and hop on the trend of downloading Tiktok over quarantine last March. The video sharing app attracted young teens and adults into participating in trendy dance challenges and more. “I would describe my videos as a relatable and fun introduction to Christ for our generation” he said. He currently has over 3,000 followers and is considered to be on the #ChristianTok side of the app. Huynh upload videos when he is free and have ideas on how to make the bible’s teachings funny. He uses his platform to converse with other Christian creators for ideas and collaborations and often receives messages from followers thanking him for his inspirational posts. With the new option on the app to receive a creator fund, Huynh said that he is not planning to make any money because it was not his initial goal. He plans to continue making videos to reach the Generation Z audience.
Huynh takes pride in his own path to finding faith and wouldn’t have it any other way. “You have to give it a chance, I will not convince you or fight you on it, you have to be the one to open your mind and heart to it,” he said about Christianity. He acknowledges that it is completely normal for Christians to doubt their beliefs. “I think my doubts only strengthen my beliefs because you’re believing in something you can’t see, there is something special to that,” said Huynh. He added on that, “You don’t feel God. Faith isn’t the same as feeling. Faith will fade if you base it off a feeling and it will not last.”
Along with his participation at the Grace Family Church, Huynh is also the Vice President of the sports ministry called the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) at school. He plans to continue his work with his church and his message to those who are still skeptical or are reluctant to open their mind to faith is, “speaking specifically for Christianity, if you’ve been hurt by the church or Christians, it was that specific person who hurt you, not God or Jesus. Humans are flawed and can inject their own cultural ideas and claim it as ‘what God says’ when that’s not always necessarily the case. I want you to know that you are loved.”