I have known Deacon Yemane for a long time and he has grown to be a wonderful young man who is devoted to God. I find him to be phenomenal, inspiring, kind and considerate. Therefore, I asked him a few questions on how he stays strong in our faith. He was so kind in taking time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions. He also provides great examples of what young people can do to put God first in their life. I hope you learn from what he has generously shared.
Below are the questions I presented to Deacon Yemane… Enjoy!
People invest time and energy into developing their career, their bodies and relationships, but often neglect the spiritual dimension of their lives. How do you actively pursue spiritual growth?
❖ Through the guidance of my priest, I am learning more about my faith and my family are great supporter and encouraging as well. I think the first thing is to understand the profit of gaining worldly and spiritually. If I spent my time pursuing to gain the best career, best fit, or other worldly things eventually they will come to pass. My career will end (retire), and my body will end up in the ground, so I gain nothing from investing my time into these things. on the contrary, I will gain eternal peace, grace and life when I invest my time and take care my soul first.
Why did you become a Deacon?
❖ I honestly don’t know why I became a deacon. Every Sunday I would attend church and helped our priest, at that time we didn’t have any deacons and whenever Te’Amre Mariam and the Holy Gospel was read, I would help out with mslam. That’s how my interest started but I started to take it more seriously and wanted to learn about my faith when other deacons would visit and give sermon at my church. Among those deacons at time was of course Father (Qesis) Hermon. I remember every time he visited and gave lessons, afterwards I would ask him lots of questions about deaconhood, especially qidasie. Ever since than, I fell in love with our faith and eventually by the grace of God, I became deacon.
Do you find that faith and spiritual values play a role in your (work) (day) (school) (perspective on life) etc?
❖ I do think that faith and spiritual values play a role in every aspect of my life. It is through God’s will and grace that I’m able to have different perspective on life. Whenever I started my day with God first and thanking Him in the morning for that day, I would have a great and productive day. My work is fruitful and I would do well in school. As king David said in his psalm, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” and as Jeremiah the prophet said, ” Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I truly believe that we will go further in our abilities and talents when we make God part of our lives. Not only is it a guarantee that we will have a blessed day and we will do well in our work and school, but our lives also will be more rewarding and fulfilling when we are in relationship with our creator.
What helps you to stay strong in your faith?
❖ What helps me to stay strong in my faith is studying the faith, knowing what we as Tewahdo believers believe and why we do certain things helped me to gain more in sight. The strong support of my family (especially my dad), my friends and attending various spiritual events such as nigdets and conferences also helps me. As well as reading and understanding the Holy Bible, the source of all.
What are things you would recommend for the young adults to do to stay strong in their faith?
❖ Things I would recommend for the young adults to do to stay strong in their faith is always to stay connected to the church. Always attend Qidasie (Divine Liturgy), have and hangout with people that are in your faith, friends that attend Divine Liturgy every Sunday (if not, often), people that read the bible and discuss spiritual topics as well as attend spiritual events; conferences and nigdets. The last one and the most important one that I would recommend is to make sure to have a confessional father that they can reach out any time they wish to and thanks to God we are now blessed to have fathers that can speak and are able to understand English.
What helps you to deal with difficult times, difficult people, etc?
❖ Whenever I ran into difficulty in any situation, prayer helps me a lot. I ask God for wisdom in order to make the best choice and to speak wisely. I usually reach out to my priest, family, and my friends. I truly thank God for providing me wise and reliable supporters who advise me and point me to the right direction.
Who would you say has been instrumental in your Tewahedo Orthodox walk/who has helped you in Christian walk?
❖ Thank God, throughout my life I had great people that were strong and instrumental in my Tewahdo Orthodox faith. While my parents and my Sunday school teachers (when you were here in Indy) are the core/foundation of my faith, but the people that are still walking in my daily life are my two closest friends. The three of us really bonded ever since we started our deaconhood. The funny part is that one of them lives in a different states and we would study through the phone almost every day, even to this day. They helped and inspired me to be strong in my Tewahdo Orthodox faith.
How would you describe your friends? People you spend time with?
❖ I have great and wise friends. We have known each other for more than 10 years and became good friends. Our Sunday school is the core of our friendship, through learning about our faith helped us to stay connected. They are very active in their faith and whenever there is nigdet and gubae happening, we would all go together. Another great activity that helped connect us more was sports (soccer).
Any advice you would like to give to the youth, young females who are single and patiently waiting on God?
❖ My advice for young females who are single and patiently waiting on God is to make sure their relationship with God is strong and solid first. Her relationship with God should be so strong that man must seek God first in order to find her heart. For God is love and understanding that love will help not only females but males as well. keep praying about it and I strongly suggest that they talk to their confessional father to ensure they are making the right choices and not acting on emotions.
May Glory Be to God Almighty, thank you Deacon Yemane for sharing your experience with us!