David Piper’s faith has come full circle.
This summer, he’s taken the youth pastor position at Dungeness Community Church, 45 Eberle Lane, where he attended as a youth.
The 27-year-old Sequim graduate finished his theology bachelor’s degree this summer in New Zealand and took a call from the Sequim church where he’ll lead more than 50 youths in junior and senior high.
He follows the departure of former youth pastor Daniel Conner.
Yet, Piper said he wasn’t always on this path.
He said it took him awhile to get where he is today after losing a close friend and struggling with his faith. Piper took to teaching English in China and traveling the world — six continents and 27 countries total with more likely to come.
While in Guatemala, Piper said he had a moment of realization about his commitment to Jesus.
“For a few years I did whatever I felt like doing and then it stopped working,” he said.
Piper had a near death experience before having his gallbladder taken out in 2008. He began interning for D.C.C. which lasted two years before going to Laidlaw College in New Zealand to finish his theology degree. There he also worked with students.
Piper said the opportunity to work at his home church came from Associate Pastor Wayne Yamamoto, who was his youth pastor as a student. But Piper said he didn’t think the job was for him until three months later when an elder asked him again and he felt the timing was right and that working with youth was what he wanted to do.
Since taking the position, Piper said he’s about building relationships.
“From my experience a lot of the people in their later years have their scars from this age (junior/senior high). I want to build those relationships so that when a student is having a hard time or their parents are going through a divorce, for example, I hope they will trust me enough enough to talk to me about it,” he said.
His goals are to build trust and be inclusive.
Each Wednesday he opens his kitchen to high schoolers for pancake, bacon and eggs.
He’s also created a servant leader program where an adult mentors a high schooler who in turn works with a junior higher on their faith for at least four hours a month.
“It’s the idea that Jesus teaches his disciples and he told them to go out,” he said.
While Piper could take that advice and go back to traveling, he intends to stay awhile in Sequim.
To talk to Piper, call him at 683-7333.
Question 3: Who is your favorite person?
Piper: The tank man from the Tiananmen Square protest sitting in front of the tanks in 1989. He had a fighting spirit. Also I like Athanasius who was exiled several times for his beliefs in Orthodox Christianity. He was willing to die for what he believed. I like the people who stand up and say no to things that are explicitly wrong.
Question 29: Who is your favorite artist/writer/ musician?
Question 35: Do you have pets?
Question 42: What’s your best or first memory of Sequim?