look book

The Eighth-Grader Who’s Visiting on a Church Trip

“We want other people to know that we are Christians.” Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

Payton Benion, Eighth-Grader

How’s it going?
I’m doing well, thank the Lord. How are you?

Am great. Thanks! There are a lot of people dressed like you and singing — what are you doing?
Me and members of our church, the Church of God, are here in New York spreading the Gospel. We sing, we testify, we do street preaching, and we all wear these outfits because we believe that the Bible teaches modesty, and it keeps us separate. We believe that there should be a distinct line separating Christians from the rest of the world.

Meaning you shouldn’t interact with anyone else?
No, ma’am, it’s more that we want other people to know that we are Christians and for what’s in our heart to come out.

Where do you live?
Outside of Chicago, but we spend half the week in Indiana, where our church is, and go to a school there, and then the rest of the week we are back in Illinois, where our mom homeschools us. It’s pretty busy, but whatever the Lord wants!

Lightning Round
: 13.
Siblings: A younger brother and younger sister.
Favorite TV show: “I don’t watch TV.”
Favorite subject: Math.
Reading: A Trailblazer book about missionary Amy Carmichael.
Pets: “Three cats and a fish — one cat’s name is Daffodil Picklestick!”
Thoughts on politics: “Am aware of what’s going on but don’t really follow it. We vote for God.”

*This article appears in the September 4, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.

The Eighth-Grader Who’s Visiting on a Church Trip