Big Heart Authentic Boldness

Posted on by Vince Sarfraz

The following story was written by a member of the Youth For Christ USA Cities Pursuit Community. These are real stories and pieces showing how God is using YFC USA as a vehicle in raising up lifelong followers of Jesus all across the nation.

Meeting kids at camp is one of my favorite places in the world. Everyone is out of their ordinary environment and trying to fit in to different groups. They are not sure how to act or what “life costume” to wear to fit in to whichever group seems easiest. Tough guy seems to be a popular. But John seemed to just be wearing a “John” costume. He always just rolled with stuff and had no problem sharing what was on his mind in the cabin discussions. I saw an innocence in the way he carried himself. He was honest and didn’t seem to care what others thought when he would share what he believed. It also seemed that the other guys respected him for his sincerity.

When I found out that I was going to be paired with John in a Christ-sharing relationship, I was excited. I wanted to know more about this kid with the big heart and authentic boldness. To be completely honest, I thought, “How could this kid have had any type of difficulty in his life? How hard could it have been?”

When John was very young, he remembers the Police SWAT team coming and taking his mom and dad away. Not one parent, but both parents. He was left with no one to look after him, love him, and tell him that “it was going to be alright.” The safety and comfort of his own bed was taken from him. He remembers how scared he was as he was moved to several different foster homes. In one home, he remembers sleeping on two dining chairs pushed together because there were so many other foster kids there they were out of beds. A lot of John’s family is or has been incarcerated, leaving him with very little family to care for him. Finally, through a long fight with the county, John’s grandma and great-grandma were able to take him in, their husbands no longer with them. John recalls at a young age each of them becoming very sick and he had to take care of them, from changing sheets, getting them dressed, and making meals.

John has had to learn a lot of life skills most people don’t learn until they have fully grown, and some don’t learn at all. He has a clear example of what not to do in life and a very positive list of goals. He is very blessed right now to be living with his grandma and aunt. I am so excited to be a male role model in his life and get to know him more, to encourage him, and be encouraged by him.


Josh Collier is the Executive Director of Youth For Christ San Diego, and has been with YFC since 2003.

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