“i’m gonna choke that motherf***in b***h!” screamed a large young man as he came storming down the street from the building where our youth group was meeting. he had overheard another young lady speaking about him and he began making threats. much of the youth group just watched him explode. another youth leader tried to speak with him but he just kept on walking. i don’t know what came over me but i acted on the impulse to hug him as my heart broke watching this scene unfold. he pushed me aside yelling “get the f*** offa me!”
he apologized to me and the youth leaders the next day but, needless to say, after this incident that happened about this time last year, the church leaders had to make the tough decision of banning him from youth group for a month. this is when God opened the door for me to begin meeting up with him one-on-one.
this young man’s name is ese. ese, has grown up in a notorious public housing project in our community. he has struggled with abuse as a child, violence, substance abuse, his sexual orientation, sexual promiscuity, trouble with the law, and dropped out of high school a couple years ago. he started going to our church a couple years ago as well but was unable to make it through a service, frequently getting into arguments with other people at church. however, the youth leaders started focused praying for ese and he started to receive curious visions/dreams from God, that soon led to him accepting Jesus into his life. since giving his life over to Jesus in the winter of 2012 it has been a privilege to witness the transformation of his life.
before he didn’t feel connected to God. now he hears from Him regularly.
before he wouldn’t talk to Jesus. now he talks to him in prayer…even for others.
before he could not sit through a sermon or bible study at church. now he engages with the Word.
before he would get into damaging sexual relationships. now he has been sexually sober for over a year.
before he would balk at the idea of speaking publicly before his peers. now he has experienced publicly sharing a very personal poem on the mic to his peers.
before he would explode on people and get into fights. now he has learned to walk away from such situations.
before he would not engage with peers his age. now he attends our post high school bible study…and likes it.
before he would start arguments with people at church. now he faithfully sets up and cleans up for church service every sunday, even becoming a set-up captain.
in fact, contrary to what anyone (even myself) would have believed, out of all my mentoring relationships this past year, ese has been the most faithful. ese still has a long way to go but i know that God is working in Him. i have seen it with my very own eyes. only God makes everything beautiful in His time.