“Guys, get up! Breakfast is being served in a half hour. You’ve already missed the morning service!”
I groaned. My whopping three hours of sleep had not served me well. I rolled over and saw Andrew looking up at me. Andrew had dark hair, a yellowish tone of skin and eyes with a slight slant to them—Asian. In fact, everyone in the room was Asian, excluding myself.
It seemed a strange idea initially, but when my friend Alvin invited me to come on a previous retreat of the Cincinnati Chinese Church six months before I figured it was better than gazing at a glowing monitor all weekend. I had been having trouble making friends at my family’s church; they just weren’t the kind of people I fit in with. The youth at my parent’s church seemed to me the perfect stereotype of teenagers—no ambition, only caring about the moment, and doing everything for the sole purpose of fitting in. I dreaded going to church each Sunday; I didn’t want to become one of these people. The Cincinnati Chinese Church offered a fresh start.
I was amazed at how quickly I assimilated into the social world of the Chinese Church. It was the first time I had ever felt “popular,” so naturally I continued to return. It was a wonderful atmosphere—a place where I could worship the God I loved and enjoy the company of the people who seemed like me—not externally, but internally. As I continued to return to the Chinese church, a lot of my “friends” made fun of me. They called me an “inverse Twinkie,” a clever racial slur referring to Caucasian people who are under the impression that they’re Asian. I simply smiled and played along. I found that I cared less and less what they thought—I had discovered a place I loved, a place I belonged, and I was happy. The reason I fit in so well with the youth group was a bit oblique at first, but eventually it became obvious to me. They’re scholarly people, intelligent; they love God and have a knack for computers—which also happens to be a perfect description of myself. I climbed out of bed and got dressed. I was sore from the previous night’s festivities—nothing quite like Frisbee Football, or Ultimate Frisbee as my Oriental friends had dubbed the game. I smiled to myself as I walked down the dimly-lit hallways of the campus. “I am at home,” I thought.