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Crystal’s Story Looking Back

Hello, my name is Crystal and because of Youth for Christ, I make Brandon a better place. This evening, I want to share with you on how I became a Christian and how Youth for Christ helped bring me to this place of freedom.

I became a Christian when I was 16, and it sure did not come easy. I never grew up in a Christian home or church so the concept of God was foreign to me, I needed a little help and understanding, a place to belong, this is where YFC comes in. I was 14 years old when I walked in the doors of the YFC drop in center, I felt very welcome and the people were amazing. At this time I was already drinking, doing drugs and having sex, and going to the drop in was an escape from life and my current situation, I loved the drop in, I loved being able to actually smile and enjoy my night, and that it was a safe place to go, somewhere that I could forget my problems for at least a night or 2. As I continued to go to the drop in the staff started talking to me about God and that he could help me in my situation and that having him in my life I would never be alone and I could come to him anytime I needed to. Well it all sounded good and everything but I am a stubborn person and had to do things on my own, I didn't want this God controlling my life, so I decided to do things my own way, and my own way was not the right way.  I continued to drink, do drugs and have sex just to numb the pain of what was actually going on in my life, my way was not working at all and I had hit rock bottom….It got so bad that I was almost successful in committing suicide. To this day I strongly believe that God had his hand on me that night because I should have died.

That’s when I decided to believe what my friends at YFC had told me all along.   I decided to make that leap of faith and become a Christian, things were great, I felt free and I finally felt good about myself, I was on fire for God and was loving it, and I thought that all of my problems were solved.

Well bad things started happening in my life again and it felt that no matter how much I prayed to God that nothing was happening and that I was a failure and would never amount to anything, and that is when I started to fall away from God, I got back into my old habits and blamed God for not being there for me when I needed him the most, I was so mad at him and didn't want him in my life, I never understood why he let this all happen to me again and why he allowed me to get into bad relationships where I was abused again. I went back to the drop in because it was a safe place for me to go at the time, I started talking with the staff again trying to get an understanding on why all this was happening again, the staff was there for me through thick and thin and never left my side, they helped me through some of my situations. I ended up recommitting my life to God in 2004, this is when I actually got myself connected in a great church and was learning about God and his great love for me, things were awesome and I was so in love with God and I felt that I could never do anything wrong again.

I soon found out that just because I am a Christian and love God with all my heart doesn't mean that I can't be tempted, well I ended up pregnant and had a child, I was single and felt very alone, I was so upset.  If I loved God so much so why did I allow this to happen? I used to think that because I was a Christian I was immune from bad things happening in my life or that God would magically take my issues and problems away, well that wasn't 100% true. Yes I had God in my life and I loved him, but I still needed to work things out on my own as well, even if that meant going for counseling, asking someone for forgiveness or forgiving others, I realized that God wanted me to work on myself to get closer to him, just becoming a Christian doesn't solve all of life's problems, sometimes God allows us to go through things and work them out on our own so that we can see what he has placed us here for and what he wants for our lives.

I have now been going to great local church since 2004.  I am now married and God has blessed me with a wonderful husband who loves and respects me for who I am, we have 2 amazing beautiful little boys, Isaiah who is 5 years old and Micah who is 20 months old. I have recently gotten involved with the drop in center for YFC, this time as a volunteer.

Maybe I can bring some light to someone else who has gone through a similar situation. Having Youth for Christ in my life has actually saved my life. YFC is where my journey began, and if they were not here I know I would have ended up an alcoholic or a drug addict, the road that my life was on was leading me to my death. I have been on both sides of the fence, I have been where life was so bad that I didn't understand why I existed, to loving God with all of my heart and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I understand the importance of Youth for Christ and why God has planted them in our community. I strongly encourage people to get involved with YFC whether that is volunteering, supporting financially, or even becoming a prayer partner, there are a lot of youth out there that have a similar story to mine and they need our help and they need someone to help them start their journey to freedom