I led Antwan to Christ during "teen church" at El Vista. He was 14 and rode the bus to church. When I met him, he had experience smoking, stealing, being locked up, committing fornication - once with a girl who's name he didn't know, and he had a very short fuse. Some kids respect "church people," but he even had trouble with that.
I told him I didn't know how I could help him, but I would always be his friend. He moved away, but I stayed in contact with him, even driving 2 hours to visit him a couple times/year. He has since fathered a daughter, moved back to Peoria, been suspended from high school and is currently on probation. I recently asked him if he knew his dad and his reply was, "What do you mean? Do I know his name, or what he looks like?"
Antwan is now 17 years old and tells me he loves me, unashamedly hugs me, NEVER disrespects me, and listens when I speak to him. His countenance lights up when I tell him I believe he is a good man, but has weaknesses to overcome, and that God has a great future in store for him. He grins when I tell him I believe He will be a good father to his daughter.
Honestly, I don't know how to motivate him to even finish school. He wants a job so I took him to fill out applications - some of them were like a foreign language to him. I hoped that would help him see the importance of finishing high school. His mom is afraid to put him back in school because if he gets in another fight, which he likely would, he'll have to go back to jail for violating probation - again.
I love Antwan and have decided to treat him as I would my own son in any given situation. I don't always know what to do, but the other day his mom called and said their furnace was down and could I possibly bring them some blankets or a space heater. My first thought was "how can I get out of this," but then the Lord reminded me that if Antwan was my son, I would be sure he was warm, whether or not I believed his mother and even if I was inconvenienced.
I can pray for Antwan. I can be there for Antwan when it doesn't keep me from my first family (biological) or my work. I can teach Antwan to take the next step. I don't have to figure out how he will get out of the tough situations he is in. I just need to help him discover the "next step" he needs to work on this week. By God's grace, Antwan will become a godly husband and father...one step at a time.
Antwan knows I am starting Next Step and enthusiastically gave me permission to share his story.
Would you take a moment to ask God to provide for, protect, and guide Antwan?