Imagine being a young man with no positive male role models in your life, being raised by a single mother, moving away from your family and friends for a “better life.” However, mom is in an abusive relationship with a man who pays the bills. A normal night is filled with yelling fights, which traumatizes you on the inside, but outwardly you keep it together. How are you to learn what being a “man” looks like? How are you to create a vision of what “success” should look like? You don’t! Instead, you become angry and bitter inside, lacking the ability to trust people — men specifically. The only time you can temporarily free yourself from the trauma is through the game of basketball. Yet, anger can so easily take over you because you are always feeling like it’s you against the world. One morning your older sister gets into a serious fight with this man your mother is with, and feels her life is in danger. She goes to school that day and encounters a person from a place called YFC City Life in the lunchroom who SEES her and CARES about her well-being. This person finds out about her homelife, then the man mom was seeing is arrested and removed from the home. The same person from City Life invites your family to church.
This is God stepping in up-close and personal. However, this young man still was very angry (on the inside), but consistently comes to City Life! During his Sophomore year, this young man had an opportunity to go on a Spring Break trip to Florida with City Life. Later that summer, he was also given an opportunity to attend a discipleship experience in Colorado where he heard the gospel for the first time and surrendered his life to Christ. He began to give God room in his heart to change. He took these experiences and turned them into lifestyle practices. Changing things like his attitude, his happiness, and how hard he worked in basketball. He also developed mentoring relationships with a few of the male leaders at City Life. Today, this young man is a senior and has shown immense growth in his leadership. He is on the basketball team and mentoring younger men on and off the court. When he comes into his second home (City Life) he brings an infectious smile and a desire to love others well. He is speaking up and leading discussions about Jesus among his peers. He is embodying Indigenous Leadership — living and leading in his community. We are so excited and grateful for what God has done in this young man’s life and what He will continue to do!
– Reggie Blackmon, City Life Director 46807