“I Have Never Been Able to Live a Normal Life”

Posted on by COYFC

            Have you ever thought about how your story with Christ began? We’re often blessed to see these stories begin with the teens we serve. Sometimes it’s a conversation with a staff or volunteer. Sometimes it’s at a camp or a retreat. And more often than you think, it begins during time served in juvenile detention. That’s what happened with “Kevin,” a teen incarcerated at the Multi-County Juvenile Detention Center. YFC Chaplain, Steve Telfer, shares his story below.

            Kevin was being brutally honest with me. It was the second time we had met individually during his sentence at the detention center. He said, “I have never been able to live a normal life.” As a chaplain, these moments are precious gifts from God which I treasure deeply.

            Why had life not been “normal” for Kevin? As so often with probationary teens, illegal drug use enters the picture. His dad was an addict - “a tweaker”- as he put it. This destructive behavior led Kevin to begin abusing drugs during his teen years.

            Attending school was also difficult for Kevin. Because he lives in a rural area, his family’s situation was known in the community. Other students made fun of him frequently. They singled him out for supposedly not being “normal.” He acted out physically toward others leading to various suspensions for fighting at school. Eventually he was arrested, placed on probation by the juvenile court and sent to serve a sentence at MCJDC.

            Kevin was attracted to the grace-filled message of the gospel. It made sense to him, especially how it was so different from the materialistic message he constantly heard in society. He was probably, for the first time, thinking deeply about his life and wanted a new direction. Kevin decided to make a first-time profession of faith in Christ.

            I was able to connect Kevin with a Bridge Builder volunteer from his area who met with him in detention and reached out to him after he was released from MCJDC. Since then, Kevin has been attending a YFC Campus Life Club, where the volunteer with whom he began a relationship serves. Kevin even invited a friend to join him at the club the second time he came!

            At Central Ohio YFC we believe every spiritual journey has a beginning point. With Juvenile Justice Ministry, very often it is serving a sentence at a detention center. For Kevin, this was certainly the case.

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