I would think that many people who might read this blog probably know my brother Brad. Some of you may not, so here is a little summary to get you up to speed. Brad is one of my younger brothers. He is 30 years old. I would love to tell you all about my wonderful memories of him and how he is an amazing brother and uncle. The truth is that Brad and I spent the majority of our adult lives living about 20 minutes away from each other, yet we only saw one another maybe once a year. The thing I would always tell people was just that his lifestyle was so different. He was into the partying and drinking scene. We would usually see him at Christmas. Otis and I have always been very active and committed to church & our faith….that didn’t exactly matter too much to him. He would be invited to our kids birthday parties and things like that, but most of the time he just skipped out. It did make me sad. He would call us once in a while when he was feeling especially down. I remember telling him on more than one occasion that the difference in my life and his life was Christ. I felt like He knew what he needed to do to turn things around. He just wasn’t ready.
I’ve spent many hours praying over Brad. God spoke to me and told me that Brad was going to find salvation again. I wish I would tell you the exact date. I do have it written down in what was my current Bible at the time. I still have that Bible, but somewhere in our two moves it ended up packed away. I know it’s here….I just haven’t been able to put my hands on it yet. I would be lying if over the years I didn’t have thoughts of doubt over that promise made so many years ago. I mean, this was something that God spoke like 10 or 11 years ago. Over all those years, I have been praying those desperate kind of prayers. You know the kind–just praying that God would keep him safe despite poor judgement and decisions….I prayed that God would get his attention by whatever means necessary…even if that meant him getting sick. I knew that my brother was an alcoholic…..and yes, I prayed that it would make him sick— sick enough to be a wake up call.
Now let’s get to September of 2014. Brad entered our lives again. He had hit rock bottom and didn’t know what to do. He had spent a few days sleeping in the woods and under bridges as a homeless person and decided that it was time to go home. He walked all the way to my dads house. I didn’t see him in the condition that he was in, but my dad and Otis did. Both said that he was unrecognizeable. Brad spent a few days at my dads house getting cleaned up. Talk was happening about what the next phase would be and my dad brought up Teen Challenge.
Brad started the Teen Challenge program in Georgetown that same month. He was surrounded by Christian men that were pouring into him constantly. Brad and I wrote letters almost daily. The change that I see in him just overwhelms me. For him to stand in front of a group singing ‘I am redeemed/you set me free/so I’ll shake off these heavy chains/ wipe away every stain/I’m not who I used to be/ I am redeemed.” We are so proud of him. He has been taking numerous classes and meets with mentors as part of the program. This guy writes me now and wants to know how youth is. He tells me that he is praying for us. He is truly a changed person.
He is now in Alabama finishing out the rest of the program at a center in Selma. I am excited for life after the program. I’m excited to see what God has in store for him. I know that this is only the beginning of the journey. God has brought him so far and I know that the plan for Brad’s life is an amazing one. The Brad that I see now even looks completely different than before. He is glowing. His joy has been restored.
As part of the program, the group travels around to different churches and share testimonies, skits, and songs. That guy in that picture above is a walking testimony- a walking promise.
Brad called me yesterday to share an opportunity that he has been presented with. He has the chance to go on a week long missions trip to the dream center in California. This trip would be in June. Brad was one of only three guys chosen for this trip. Just like he told me on the phone, nothing is by chance. Everything is ordained by God and he believes that this is a God opportunity. Like all missions trips, this is going to cost money. The cost is going to be around $1500 for airfare, lodging, food, rental cars, and everything. If you are interested & able and would like to contribute to Brad being able to go on this trip, Please let me know- I will be able to send all funds to him. Above all else, please pray for him. Pray for this trip. Pray for his classes. Pray for the fundraisers that they will be doing to work toward making this possible. Pray for his steps to be ordered and that he will be guided by Christ when it is time to leave the program.
We are covering him in prayer and are thankful for all the prayers and financial contributions!
God is so very faithful!