I was born in Wilmington, and I was around 4 years old when my parents separated. My parents decided that we should go through counseling so that there would be a better transition and help us get the “perfect schedule”. It took us around two years. My mom raised me for 7 years by herself. We moved to Leland, but I still got to see my dad, and life was pretty good. My mom remarried a couple years ago.
I grew up going to a regular Catholic Church until I went to the PC3. Catholic Church was extremely different when I first started going. I went to Saint Marks in First Grade, which was connected to the church. All we did was listen to scripture and then it would seem like that was it. There would be no other meaning behind it. I had never really enjoyed church until I started going to PC3. I remember sitting in the school gymnasium in Leland, they had just opened the church campus there. I did the Tsunami program there and absolutely loved it. I really liked that there was only a small group of us, I had a better way of expressing myself and talking about my faith with them. They made me feel as if I was truly home and appreciated there. I think I started truly thinking that the idea of being a part of the church community all started because of TSU in 8th grade. I started of Ripple Effect my freshman year at the Leland Campus until my mom and I decided to move back to Wilmington. I wanted to go to Hoggard for highschool and my mom had gotten a new job, so it seemed to fit well. The change from the Leland to the Wilmington campus was a big change. I felt like I was upgrading to a University version of the church. It was probably the best change I have ever been through. I have been going to PC3 Wilmington ever since, and going to PC3 for the past 10 years is what started my journey with God.
Freshman year was a struggle for me. I was trying to get used to coming back and living in Wilmington again. It was a little different and I had a hard time connecting with the people around me. I did not go to church as much and I was just trying to find people I could connect with. I became friends with some people at school who started drinking. Slowly, I began to join them. I think that sophmore year was the worst part, I went overboard with drinking and other things. For example alcohol and weed those are the biggest factors. Another big thing that really made it hard for me to get through sophomore year was peer pressure. After that I decided to change my ways and focus more on myself. I stopped everything and began to focus on staying healthy and working on my relationship with God.
It wasn't until my Sophomore and Junior years of Highschool that I started to want to have a deeper connection and a better walk with God. I believe that Ripple Effect and the church had made me more of an open person during that time, and I wanted to be connected with its peers. My leaders Elliotte and Chad had been extremely helpful, because I could relate to them. Outside of the church, God has made me make decisions on my own and focus on my gut feelings with him around. Highschool has affected me in many ways- It surely changed me from a shy child to the outgoing guy I am today. I started getting into sports and I think that football was a huge part of the my change in who I am today, because the religious connection in which they partake has given me confidence in my beliefs as well and has helped me in my walk with God.
This year, Chris Sasser invited me to help host a Podcast for the students of Ripple Effect, and I thought this was an amazing opportunity to jump in. I wanted to tell people about my story and for others to tell theirs. It helps us to know one another and for us to better understand the connections we all have in our own walks with God. The stories that I have heard so far have made such an impact on my life. One of the biggest things that has changed me was when one of the people whom we have interviewed said,” We should not run away from God, but we need to walk towards him.” I hope to make this podcast more than just an thing in our community, and help it spread around the US in the future, to connect what we do here at the church to others in need. I want teens to come to church and start a walk with God on their own free will, instead of by parents decisions. It makes their journeys so much more meaningful.
Life is too short, we need to make the most of it!