All in.

Anthony did not grow up in a Christian home. His parents had a negative experience in a “church” that did not preach from the Bible. But God has a plan for Anthony, and he used Anthony’s best friend Jade to tug him in the right direction.

Jade knew Anthony’s family didn’t believe in Christianity, but she pursued him, repeatedly asking him to join fun activities and inviting him to Youth For Christ Club meetings. Throughout high school, Jade kept inviting him. In February of his junior year, Anthony finally agreed to attend a Valentine’s Day game night for students who didn’t want to go on a date. He was shy and distant during the event, but he unexpectedly came to Club the following week. Jade and YFC leaders were hopeful for how Anthony’s heart may open, but as soon as Club began to wrap up with the spiritual lesson, Anthony seemed to shut down.

Nevertheless, Anthony kept coming to Club nights and special events. He even signed up for the Florida Spring Break Trip where he was connected with one of the senior guys. And although willing to participate, he continued to appear turned off to any of the God-focused conversation. He wouldn’t look anyone in the eye or speak in small group discussions.

Still, Anthony never missed a meeting. He did EVERYTHING. All through his senior year, he was involved in all the activities.

YFC leaders prayed diligently for Anthony’s heart.

In February of his senior year, leaders highlighted a series on relationships. Having just ended a rough relationship, it piqued Anthony’s interest. He was intrigued by the idea of a positive side to relationships, and when he came to the small group, leaders witnessed a change they couldn’t have imagined. Anthony’s new connection was physically evident on his face. No more looking down, avoiding eye contact. For the first time, Anthony was “all in” for the discussion.

From then on, Anthony was not only involved in the relationship small group, but was open to other spiritual discussions. As he had never attended church—and resisted it based on his parents’ experiences—he wasn’t interested until the week he volunteered to help with the church nursery. He eventually came to the service and was completely surprised by his experience there. He called his leaders later that afternoon and said, “I liked church… and I don’t know what to do about it. Can you help me?”

Now ready and open, Anthony listened intently as leaders shared details of the Bible and church history. They were able to clarify the difference between Bible-believing churches and the negative experiences in a non-Bible-believing church his parents were avoiding. The following Sundays, YFC leaders met with Anthony and two other students before church to go through a Josh McDowell book and historical evidence for the Bible.

When asked if he had other questions about what they’d discussed, he said, “That kind of nailed it.” Leaders again witnessed a change as his analytical brain made the connection his heart somehow already knew. The following week leaders presented the gospel at Club. This wasn’t the first time he had heard the message, but this time Anthony made the commitment to follow Christ!

Now a freshman in college, Anthony continues volunteering with YFC and never misses church or club.

Pray for kids like Anthony who might not otherwise enter a church to hear the gospel or understand the message and hope of Christ. Pray for continued persistence for kids to share Christ’s love with friends and for leaders as they journey with students in their walk toward a loving relationship with Christ.

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