Hungry For More

Youth For Christ leaders and volunteers would see Gene around sometimes: in the halls of the high school, in the cafeteria, or even occasionally at YFC Campus Life which met in the choir room. But Gene never stayed around long enough for anyone to get to know him.

Rumors spread that Gene’s family would pick up roadkill off the side of the road — for dinner. And it was well known that Gene didn’t do well in school. He missed so much school that his GPA suffered, regularly missing important lessons. He barely graduated high school last May.

“Right as the year was ending, we talked to Gene about YFC Camp,” says Cameron, site director of YFC Campus Life at Gene’s high school, “And he wanted to come.”

There was no way Gene’s family could afford to send him and his two siblings to camp. But thankfully, because of the generous contributions of donors, they were all able to attend. And, for Gene, everything was about to change.

“When we got to camp, it was fun watching the kids explore and discover everything there is to do, like zip-lining. A lot of these kids had never even been out of the state before,” explains Cameron. Along with fun activities at YFC Camp, students listened to intense testimonies from leaders who testified how Christ redeemed their lives from brokenness.

Near the end of the camp week, Cameron and Gene sat talking about what Gene thought about salvation. Gene was unsure. He guessed that salvation comes from saying prayers the right way and avoiding sin.

Hearing Gene’s uncertainty, Cameron knew it was time to share the whole gospel story with Gene, so that he could see the beautiful picture of it all. Cameron carefully explained how Jesus is the only way to salvation – that only through Jesus can we be saved.

Later that same day, the camp speaker presented the gospel and invited the camp to pray with him. In those moments, Gene raised his hand to receive Christ as his Savior.

Today, nine months after camp ended, it is clear that Gene understood the gravity of his commitment - that the choice he made was life-changing, not just a temporary camp high.

“Sometimes you wonder, ‘Did they really get it?’” says Cameron.

But with Gene, that has never crossed his mind. “When you see the changes he’s making in his life, there’s no doubt - he’s on fire for God. Even just soaking in information about God, about Jesus, about the Bible… when we came back from camp, he asked if I would teach him how to read the Bible. We met weekly and I showed him how to navigate God’s word. He is so hungry for more, hungry to know who God is.”

In the past nine months, Gene has joined a local church and plugged himself into its mission. He attends the young adult ministry and also leads a small group for high school students. He is also enrolled in leadership courses for evangelism. Cameron and Gene still see each other often as they attend a men’s Bible study together. Gene is now looking into doing full-time ministry work in the future.

For the young man named Gene who almost didn’t graduate high school because learning didn’t appeal to him, learning about God and being in relationship with Him is a desire and a thirst that will not soon be quenched in his heart.

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