15 year old: A charming time
15岁: 一个迷人的年纪
(Grace Zhenling Liu 翻译)

At age 15, my father did a surprising thing for me. In the British Commonwealth system, it was then common to graduate from high school after the 11th grade (Form 5). As a graduation present I suppose, he allowed me to travel alone for one whole month, in Thailand, from Bangkok to Haadyai in the far south; in Malaysia, from Penang in the far north, to Ipoh, to Kuala Lumpur, to Malacca in the south; then finally to Singapore. During that time, in the 1950s, it was probably safer than today, but I am still shocked that he allowed me to do that, something maybe I would not have agreed, if I was the father! Of course, there were “willing” friends or relatives at each location, and as long as I was escorted to the train station, or got on an intercity multi-person “taxi,” I guess it was reasonably “safe”.
15岁的时候, 我的爸爸让我做了一件令人惊讶的事。 在英联邦制体系中,11年级后从高中毕业很常见(即高中二年级, Form 5). 我想作为一个毕业礼物, 爸爸允许我自己一个人旅行一整个月, 在泰国,从曼谷到最南部的合艾;在马来西亚,从最北部的槟城到怡保,再到吉隆坡,再到南部的马六甲;然后最后到了新加坡。在那个年代,20世纪50年代, 可能比现在安全, 但我仍然很震惊爸爸允许我这样去做, 如果我是爸爸, 也许我都不会同意。当然,在每一个地点都有“愿意”的朋友或亲戚接应我, 而且只要我被押到了火车站,或上了城际间多人坐的出租车, 我猜都是比较“安全”的。

It certainly was a great eye-opener to me, at an impressionable age, and I am certain that the exposure gave me the beginning of a multi-national perspective. I have always loved that area of Southeast Asia ever since, and it was likely a major reason I later focused on the region for foreign missions. And, since my own impact had occurred at age 15, I was eager to encourage other young teenagers to go with me on these “adventures.”
这当然对我来说很开眼, 这个年纪也足以让我印象深刻, 而且我确定这段经历开始给了我一个国际视野。 从那开始我一直很爱东南亚, 这也可能是我后来聚焦外国宣道的主要原因。 既然在15岁的时候就对我产生影响, 我很渴望鼓励其他的青少年和我一起加入这些“旅程”。

Indeed, on many of our mission trips for youth, the youngest members were 15 years old. I thought they were the most impacted among the team members, so young and blessedly impressionable. In fact, often, the younger the better, provided some adult family member could come along and look after the younger ones. Many of our youth are living in a “top 1% of the world” environment, without realizing it at all, and it was great that they could be shocked to see first-hand the reality of life in the rest of the world.
确实,在很多次青少年宣道旅程中, 最年轻的成员就是15岁。 我认为在队员中,他们是受影响最大的,如此的年轻并深深地蒙福。 实际上,通常越年轻越好,一般情况下父母不会一起,只有当他们年龄比15岁更小我就会邀请他们自己的父母一起来照顾他们,(这样一些成年家庭成员就可以一起来并照顾年龄小的)。 我们的很多青少年住在“世界上1%”好的环境中(比世界上99%的居住坏境都好)而且一点没有意识到, 这是一个很棒的经历即他们可以被世界上其他人的一手、真实的生活震撼到。

They had never heard of prayers that they would soon hear among the Thailand Akha tribes, of “pray for my husband, he is in prison for 25 years for drugs, and I am left with the kids”, or “pray for my kids, since their mother just took off with another man”, or “pray for our family, the baby just died”, or “pray for my family, when I go out on the streets to sell trinkets, I just leave the children alone at home”. A more than heavy dose of harsh reality.
他们从来没听到过他们即将听到的在泰国阿卡部落中的祷告, 即“为我的丈夫祷告,他因为毒品在监狱25年,留下我自己和孩子”,或者“为孩子们祷告,因为他们的妈妈刚跟另外一个男的走了”,或者“为我们的家人祷告, 孩子刚刚死了”, “为我的家人祷告,当我出去街上卖小饰品的时候,我就把孩子们单独留在家里”。比严峻的残酷现实更沉重。

One barely 15-year-old on our Thai mission, YL, was highly energized when she visited the tribes. She was vivacious and outgoing, much more it seemed than when she taught children’s Sunday school at our home church. I’m guessing that, the short-term mission trip helped inspire and challenge her, and many other young folk, to blossom beautifully on the field.
在我们短宣中一位刚15岁的(女生), YL, 当她探访这些部落的时候非常活跃。 她看起来比在我们教会教儿童主日学的时候活泼外向很多。我猜这段短宣有助于激发和挑战了她,和其他很多的年轻人,在这片土地上美丽的绽放。

Since she was American raised, I was very surprised that she fluently taught the mountain tribal children in Chinese when needed. She revealed her “secret,” that her parents read to her in Chinese from the Bible every night as a child, and this was deeply ingrained in her mind. On previous trips, our American born teens could barely speak, let alone teach, in Chinese, so it was quite new to me. You find out rather amazing things when you take young people on missions.
让我很惊讶的是, 虽然她在美国长大,在需要的时候却可以流利的教这些山里部落的孩子们中文。她暴露了她的“秘密”,即她小的时候她的父母每晚用中文给她读圣经, 这其实深深地扎根在她心里。 在以前的旅程中,我们在美国出生的青少年很少说中文, 更不用说用中文教了, 这对我来说很新鲜。在你带青年人短宣的时候你会发现很奇妙的事情。

Another young man, ET, at age 15 also blossomed, and even rapidly “took charge,” whenever necessary. Whatever needed to be done, he volunteered to do it. His confidence, maybe even over-confidence, was just refreshing. Often on a mission, we are spontaneously asked, suddenly with next to no warning, to teach a class, give a testimony, or do a skit. It’s part of the informality of tribal life-styles: they don’t have to follow western “scheduling” habits, why would they?
另一个年轻人, ET, 也在15岁的时候绽放,甚至很快在需要的时候就“负责”。 无论需要做什么,他都自愿去做。他的自信,也许甚至过于自信,真的让人耳目一新。 通常在短宣中,我们会几乎没有预警的很自然的去教一堂课, 做一个见证,或者演一个小短剧。 这是部落生活方式中不正式的一部分:他们不需要遵守西方社会“预约”的习惯,为什么要呢?

Also, it’s sort of like, when we’re there, and asked to do something, our response is expected to be “we came on a mission, so, when asked, just do it!” We all have had, back home, hundreds to thousands of hours of bible teaching, often from early childhood, so why hesitate? The spontaneity of local tribal cultures is one great reason I love missions with youth, who tend to do quite well with spontaneity (compared with adults), and sudden plan changes (it’s exciting to them?), and 15 years old is a great age to start.
同样,就像, 当我们在那的时候,被询问去做什么的时候, 我们的回应应该是“我们来宣道,所以,被问到的时候,就去做!”我们在家的时候,通常从婴幼儿时代都有几百到上千个小时的圣经学习, 所以为什么犹豫呢?当地部落文化的自发性是我喜欢与青少年一起宣道的重要原因之一,他们往往在自发性方面和突然改变计划方面(这对他们来说很兴奋?)做得很好(与成年人相比),而且15岁是个开始的好年龄。

Teens definitely don’t complain about 40 hour plane rides (then jumping on stage for their skit), sleeping overnight in the Bangkok airport (on hard benches), or bumpy rides in the back of trucks (with no seat belts). Viva youth!

One of our super-active workers on the field, MJ, had his first missions’ experience of many with me, at age 15, in Costa Rica, before many subsequent Thailand trips. I’m sure the inspiration and impetus during that first trip were critical. When I now see his burning passion in full time work, taking many teams, young and old, into many different fields, I can literally see and relive his young teen trips, and the wide-eyed impact those had on his life’s journey.

Serving at age 13 among tribal Huis in China must be quite an inspiration for life

NC, a “white kid,” was only 13 years old when his father brought him along on one of our medical missions trips to China. He fell in love with China, returned in college to teach English in China, then went into full-time service there, and even married a Chinese girl. I personally know his parents’ impact was powerful, consciously and subconsciously, beginning from very early age. His father, even though attending another church, had even helped start our Chinese Church youth group, so it was like a full circle, to have his son serve in China, and then to return to help serve now in our church.
NC, 一个“白人小孩”, 当他的爸爸带他去我们的一个中国医疗短期的服务时才13岁。 他爱上了中国, 大学时返回中国教英文,然后大学毕业后在那里全职服事, 甚至娶了一个中国姑娘。我个人知道,从很小的时候开始,他父母的影响,有意识和潜意识上,都是非常大的。 他的父亲即便参加另一个教会,也帮助建立了我们华人教会青年团契,所以就像一个完整的圈子一样,他的儿子在中国服事,然后他回来在我们的教会帮忙服事。

Before the days when we could take youth on missions, our fledgling church, with a relatively weak and small youth program, became itself like a continuous mission trip, pushing and inspiring young people to rise up to the challenge in a situation with very few resources, and little direct experience or history. Language complexities, different accented English, Mandarin and Cantonese were all mixed in, because parents, teacher-counselors, and youth came from different countries with different culture, background and language, and the kids had to learn to cope with all of that.
在带着青年人宣道之前的时候, 我们的教会刚刚成型,相对薄弱的青年团契好像通过连续不断的“宣道之旅积累经验”、羽翼渐丰,促使并激励年轻人在资源匮乏的情况下迎接挑战 ,几乎没有很多直接的经验或历史参考来栽培他们。语言的复杂性,不同口音的英语,普通话和广东话都混在一起,因为父母,老师-辅导和青少年都来自不同国家,有着不同的文化,背景和语言,孩子们必须学会应付所有这些。

What better way than to celebrate sweet 15 birthday on the mission field? 

Spontaneity and sudden changes abounded, with numerous short-term volunteer youth directors from many different countries. The trials for the youth, I’m sure, helped to prompt JH in early teenage period to jump in, and serve actively himself, thereby growing rapidly in the fire, and later, to commit his life to fulltime service, and later still, even national leadership of campus ministries. And EC, similarly, to rise to leadership, practically out of necessity within the youth group, and later to become full-time youth and senior minister in California.
自然的和突然的变化到处都是,因有着很多从不同国家来的短期的青年志愿者。对青少年的试炼,我确定, 帮助JH 从青少年时期加入并自己亲自服事,因此在战场上快速成长, 后来奉献自己全职服事,再后来甚至成为美国校园服事的领导。 同样,EC 也是,成长成为领袖, 尤其是在青少年团契需要的时候, 后来成为加州青少年和成人全职传道人。

These young teenagers did not have the “luxury” of a large youth group and many youth counselors, which our church later had. But, in a touching way, our entire church from the beginning was highly focused on full throated evangelism, involving it seemed like nearly every member. See URS “Evangelism,” on Reggietales.org. This background I feel, likely set the stage for faithful young teens to sense the Great Commission clearly for themselves. “All things do (indeed!) work together for the good of those who love the Lord,” including stressed out teens.
这些年轻的青少年当时并没有“奢侈”到有一个很大的青少年团期和很多青少年辅导,我们教会后来才有。但是,很感人的是,我们整个教会一开始就很专注于全面的传福音, 几乎每个成员都参与其中。见Reggietales.org上的“曾叔叔说故事:以传福音为使命 ”。我觉得,这种背景很可能为忠实的青少年提供了一个平台,让他们自己清楚地感受到大使命。 “万事互相效力(确实!),叫爱神的人得益处”包括锻炼我们的青少年承受一些压力,并从压力中得到锻炼。

Missionary Cemetery Macau, where many young missionaries and missionary kids are buried, reflecting that eternal call for young and old to a vision far beyond them
澳门宣教墓地, 在那里埋葬了很多年轻的宣教士和宣教士的孩子,反映了对老老少少的永久呼召,远胜过他们自己

In history, young people are often unsung heroes in the mission field. A most impressive thing hits you, when you visit the Old Protestant Cemetery where the first Protestant missionary to China, Robert Morrison is buried. The cemetery is in Macau, a Special Administrative Region in south China, near Hong Kong. The observant visitor quickly sees that the tombstones are often of very young missionary kids.
在历史上,年轻人通常是宣道领域中的无名英雄。令人印象深刻的是,当您参观澳门的老基督教公墓时,即第一位来华的新教传教士,马礼逊 Robert Morrison被埋葬的地方。细心的访客很快发现墓碑上通常是很小的传教士孩子。

At the time, around 200 years ago, missionaries suffered often from malaria and other potentially fatal infectious diseases, angry villagers, and warring warlords. But, among these intrepid missionaries there were many young ones, who often also lost their lives, in answering the thrilling vision and calling of their families, in a strange and often hostile land. Maybe unsung in our lips and ears, but not in the Creator’s.
在那时,大约两百年前,宣教士们受到疟疾和其他致命传染病,愤怒的村民和交战军阀的困扰。但是,在这些无畏的传教士中,有许多年轻人,他们甚至在陌生而又充满敌意的土地上失去了他们的生命,以回应令人激动的大计划, 和对家人的呼召。也许我们没有用嘴唇和耳朵颂扬这些英雄,但造物主却没有忘记。

Many have read the very famous Chronicles of Narnia, written by legendary CS Lewis, where heroes were young teenagers, forced into leadership of the country they tumbled into, oppressed by the White Witch. They had to make life and death decisions, great moral decisions to stand up to evil and not give up. I’ve always wondered why CS Lewis chose young teenagers as heroes, but I suspect it’s because at that age, teenagers have a great sense of imagination and vision. Unfortunately, when young people “grow up,” and mature, some lose their imagination and vision for life, and just settle into a routine practical life, to get by, survive, or to “be successful.”
许多人都读过由传奇的C·S·路易斯撰写的非常著名的《纳尼亚传奇》. 其中的英雄们都是少年,被迫领导他们所陷入的,并受到了白巫婆压迫的国家。他们必须做出生与死的决定,做出伟大的道德决定,与邪恶斗争并决不放弃。我一直想知道为什么CS Lewis选择年轻人作为英雄,但我想这是因为在那个年龄,青少年具有很好的想象力和远见。不幸的是,当年轻人“长大”并走向成熟时,有些人会失去对生活的想象力和视野,而只是过着例行的稳定生活,凑凑合合,维持生计或 “名利双收”。

As a personal note, one might laugh at the marriage proposal I made at age 15 (!) to my young girlfriend. How ridiculous! But you would agree it had the innocence of childhood, mixed with imaginative idealism and dreams of youth. We discussed and agreed together that we had to wait 10 years until I finished medical school, and she finished college. And somehow, she agreed! “Silly?” but precious. But, what a great plan it was, now looking back decades later! Really long-term planning: 65 years of commitment and 55 years of happy marriage! Today, for most people, we often instinctively cannot trust children and youth to make such important decisions!
作为个人笔记,有人可能笑我15岁(!)向年轻女友提出的求婚。太荒谬了!但是你会同意,它充满童年的童真,充满想象力的理想主义和青年的梦想。我们讨论并达成一致,我们必须等10年直到我读完医学院,和她读完大学。她不知为何同意了! “傻傻的,很天真?”但很珍贵。但是,这是一个多么美好的计划,几十年后回首!真是很长的规划:65年的承诺和55年的幸福婚姻!如今,对于大多数人来说,我们常常本能地不信任儿童和青少年做出如此重要的决定!

Bring back that idealistic imaginative teenage perspective, and “channel” that vivacious energy! Sweet 15, a time to dream, even fantasize, before harsher realities of life start crashing in. A great time to infuse great stories, great traditions and great principles. A good time for adults to learn to “trust them,” while adding character building responsibilities step by step. A time to mentor, encourage and lead them, by being humble and real role models. Don’t miss the opportunities in early youth to inspire our next generations, to make them significant and wonderful!
回想起那段充满理想主义和想象力的青少年的时光,满有青春活力! 甜蜜的15岁,是去拥有梦想,甚至幻想的年纪, 在残酷现实的生活开始进入以先。 是一段活出美好故事, 伟大传统和伟大原则的时候。 也是成年人学习“信任他们”的好时机, 可以塑造品性,一步步建立责任感。 也是谦卑的以身作则去指导、鼓励和引导他们的时候。不要错过在他们年少时去激励我们的下一代的机会,让他们的生命变得有意义和美好!