Hi. I am Randy, Dominican, 20 years old, going to Western right now for a degree in education.
I cannot begin to tell you how different my life was before I met Christ. It was completely different from how I perceive things now. I was very shy, even if you cannot believe it, and to some extent, there is still a little bit of shyness in me. I was not the one to put myself out there and was very reserved unless I was home. My family is poor, it has always been, but we never lacked what we needed. My mom made sure that my brother and I would have something to eat and wear. Even if it was borrowed, we technically had it all. I never complained and I still do not. Despite all that, going to school was not the greatest. We changed schools every single year, which just totally sucked, but that was the drill. I never really had a friend for more than a year. I was bullied a lot when I was younger, either because I was weak or weird – I didn’t really know what went through those people’s heads. Even around my closest friends, which were my cousins, I had trouble being myself because of social pressure. I did go to church in the Dominican Republic but I never really cared that we went. We only did it because my mother took us.
In 2014 I moved to the US and started 8th grade. I started learning about Christ for myself freshman year when I was invited to go to Youth for Christ. At first there was food and games so that’s what really got my attention and kept me coming. I was always really good at those games, I won many shirts to prove it. The more I went, the more I got to know my peers and leaders and their love for Christ. That brought us together and I started going more to learn about Jesus than to just hang out.
Life started to get better from there. I accepted Jesus during camp at an Immersion mission trip. Being surrounded by people who loved God 24/7 filled my spirit with love for God also. I think at that point I started to change and really live the way God designed me. My worry faded and I was filled with joy.
There are still struggles, but now I can see them through God’s perspective. I do have to say that life was a bit easier before Christ when it came to not acknowledging sin. Once I started to learn more about the Bible and how broken sin makes us, it made me realize how wrong I was and changing habits IS still very hard because sadly I still sin.
But compared to before Christ I can say that I have become much more confident in myself because I know that God is the only one that can judge and he knows me full well. He knows what my weaknesses and strengths are and my deepest thoughts. I do not need the approval of others anymore to be myself. I can be myself because I know God loves me for who I am and I know he always will.
My desire in getting an education degree is to make God known to my students. I really want to be like Ms Smith, my tenth grade English teacher, who was also a Campus Life leader. Her room was always open to students as a safe place, and she went beyond just teaching to let us know that she really loved us. She spent time with students outside of school at Campus Life and she let us work on a house with her dad. I want to be a teacher that goes above and beyond to love my students and point them to Jesus.
Randy’s leader, Jon, says he is blown away by the life transformation he has seen in Randy’s life. As he shared, he laughed as he said, “Randy now calls me out to make sure I am filtering everything – all of my questions and decisions – through scripture. He holds me accountable to making sure scripture is what is guiding my life.”
It is our hope at YFC that students become lifelong followers of Jesus, like Randy. If you’d like to make a difference in a teen’s life, check out our Join page to see opportunities available.