TEEN TUESDAY #3 (DANIEL)
What I loved about knowing Daniel during his teen years was getting to watch a transformation take place in his life. I watched him go from a peer-pleasing-follower his freshman year to a follower-of-God-who-wasn’t-ashamed-to-lead by his senior year. I always learn something from Daniel, and I think you will, too!
Tell us about yourself. Include how long it has been since you have been a teen!
My name is Daniel Onoe and I am a senior at Biola University. I’ve never thought about how long I haven’t been a teen (I’m starting to feel old!), but it has been three years now.
Random facts about yourself?
I’m studying Psychology at Biola. My ancestor was a samurai in Japan. I have a fear of heights.
Can you tell us about your background?
My favorite question! I’m a Brazilian of Japanese descent but grew up in Bangkok, Thailand as a missionary kid. I spent most of my life cycling between speaking Portuguese at home, Thai at church, and English at my international school, ICS.
Please tell us a little about your spiritual journey.
Not only did I grow up in a Christian household, I grew up as a missionary and pastor’s kid, having radical faith modeled to me by my parents. However, by the time I was in middle school I no longer wanted to identify as a Christian because I felt it was “uncool”. I lived that way for a few years until one day I went on a mission trip where I was surrounded by older Christian guys who I thought were “cool”. From that day, I decided I wanted to be like them and began to return to the Lord and step into his grace for me! God changed my heart and I cared less and less about what others thought of me and more and more about what they thought of God.
During your teen years, what were your biggest areas of vulnerability that Satan used to hurt you?
Pride and addiction were the two biggest struggles I had during my time as a teenager. I mentioned before that I became less concerned about what others thought of me, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t struggle with thoughts of being better than people or judging others to feel better about myself. Moreover, in my early teens I was first introduced to pornography and struggled for many years in the destructive cycle that comes with addiction.
What has God taught you through that journey?
In the midst of these struggles, I found strength and comfort from spending personal time with the Lord and through a strong community of guys. I challenged myself to be in the Word daily and pray regularly and found that my heart was constantly being transformed to be more humble. In addition, I learned that this journey cannot be done alone and so sought to find accountability in other guys. Together, we would encourage each other daily, pray for each other, read the word together, and hold each other accountable. I conquered many victories and grew tremendously through these things and God blessed our efforts to rely more and more on him.
What would you like to say to encourage teens?
Being a teenager can often feel like having to be the perfect person all the time in order to fit in. This lie can lead you to hide your insecurities and flaws, trapping you in sin. Don’t believe that lie. Instead, I want to encourage you to “be vulnerable” – not just honest (telling the truth), but vulnerable (getting uncomfortable with the truth). That means coming to God with your brokenness and sharing that with those closest to you. “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1 Peter 2:16)
The best way to contact Daniel is through e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org