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Stephanie, 14

Friendship is one of the greatest gifts anyone can ever receive from a person. Just walking up to a person and saying hello, introducing yourself, and continuing to do that can change a person's whole life. I have moved at least 4-5 times in the past 8 years. I am 14 at the moment and am living in OH. And in those times of moving I have had to make new friends, I am always the new kid... there has not been a time in the past 8 years of my life when I have not been the new kid.

I know, I know; your thinking no big deal right. I am home schooled and a lot of people think that because I am home schooled that I don't go through peer pressure, violence, and .... I see violence around me every single day in this world. And as for peer pressure, I get made fun of and picked on by kids for not dressing like them and saying the words that they say, or doing what they do. And you know what these kids were kids at church.

So many of people have told me that for me to be a Christian I have to go to church and be a member of the church. In fact in the past 6 months I have been attending a southern Baptist church.... and we were pressured to join, what is even more sad was that not many of the people there were very nice. They seemed cold and distant, basically the message was "we have friends and don't have time to make new ones or welcome you into our community. That's not right... I no longer go to that southern Baptist church, it broke my heart that I couldn't go anymore because I had met a few very nice youth.

I know what your thinking, no big deal that she got made fun of. She'll live, right? Wrong! Every night I cried my self to sleep because my life was falling apart. My family really wasn't a family, ever since my little brother died in birth all my Dad ever does is yell at us because we were so imperfect. I know he loves me but it scarred me badly and permanently. He still yells. That will probably never change. I basically got to a point in my life where I just wanted to end it all, I thought about it day and night.

Shortly after the time I started feeling this way we moved again, that depressed me more than anything because everything just got worse and more worse. One day we were driving down a road in this beautiful neighborhood and my Dad stopped and started to talk to this guy who lived there. The guy invited us in to meet his family and see his house. It was not a coincidence that he had two girls around my age, it was not a coincidence that they were also home schooled. Those two girls are now my best friends, if it were not for them I don't believe I would be here writing this. I would have eventually ended my life I think. These two girls are the strongest Christian I know, and you know what?? They don't even go to church! They have made me realize that there is hope. It was not a coincidence, God was looking out for me, though I don't feel like that most of the time. I do know that things will be all right.

So, I challenge time in youth group or school or anyplace you see someone new or someone you don't know, go up to that person and talk to him/her. You can change a person's life or look at life in a instant! Don't miss an opportunity, if you don't do something there might never be another chance because it will be to late!