The young adult members of the Valencia Christian Center welcomed a young and inspiring face into their Sunday youth service – 12-year-old musician, minister and author Kaleya Kerr-Ervin.
Every fifth Sunday, the church hosts its “Free Look Youth Takeover” where members of the church 30 years old and younger host all the services and occasionally invite special guests like Kerr-Ervin to come speak.
“Ever since the first time I heard about Kaleya, I though I just had to get her to our church, and I didn’t know where to begin, said senior pastor Swanzi Saunders. “I bought a copy of her book and talked to her publisher. I just knew she had something special about her and I wanted our young people to benefit from it.”
In the midst of the singing, worship and dancing, Kerr-Ervin, who lives in Long Beach, took the stage with church elder Jevin Smith for a question and answer discussion about the young girl’s hardships and road to success. Kerr-Ervin spoke about her struggles with Salzmann’s Nodular Degeneration, which caused her to go almost completely blind at the age of three. She spoke of her time in foster care, how she was adopted by her aunt and uncle and the importance that creative outlets like music and writing have had in her life.
“I’ve travelled all across the country as a minister for the last six years and it felt really good to come to the church because God is using me to minister to these people,” Kerr-Ervin said. “I also made new friends and it makes me really happy to see people so positive and enjoying church service. Faith is one of the most important things you need, like eating or drinking water. What’s the point of life without faith?”
After they spoke, the young girl hopped on the piano and performed for the crowd.
Kerr-Ervin was also came to Free Look to promote her book, “Now I See: Wonder Child’s Gifts of Vision and Music,” which is about her life story. In the book, she discusses her visual impairment, the treatment she received and her belief in a God-given foresight. After the service, the young author had a book signing and a meet and greet session with church attendees.
“I hope that people left the service today encouraged, inspired and motivated to keep pushing forward to what God has intended for their lives all along, and I think that has been accomplished,” Saunders said.
Kerr-Ervin will spend her summer break from school to perform with other musicians and appear at other public engagements like throwing the first pitch at professional baseball games. She enjoys sharing her story with other young people to help combat negativity and preoccupation with trivial matters, like popularity.
“I like to speak to the youth because everyone is doing crazy things and trying to be the most popular and I just want to touch their hearts,” she said. “It’s my heart’s desire to touch the hearts of as many people as I can with my story across the world. A single person in the audience may be going through something rough and they might just need that extra push to keep them going forward.”
The Valencia Christian Center hosts weekly worship on Sundays at 10 a.m. at The Canyon, 24201 Valencia Blvd #1351, Valencia.