I Was Very Alone & So Broken

“Three years ago I attended YoungLives Huntington Beach Club for the very first time. I had just turned eighteen years old and I was seven months pregnant with my daughter. I was very alone, and so broken. 

After my very long, exhausting, and complicated week of giving birth, I had Maria Jude. I took her to YoungLives camp when she was only six weeks old, and that is where I asked Jesus to take control of my life and my broken heart.”

These are a few of the details I shared at Huntington Club this past Thursday night. I was given the opportunity to share my testimony alongside three other volunteers and it was amazing. I was hesitant to open myself up on a stage, in front of teenagers, and share such intimate details of my story. 

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• What if they couldn’t relate to me?  •What if I didn’t say what they needed to hear? •What if I had something in my teeth?!

These thoughts ran through my head beforehand, but as I began sharing they disappeared. 

I looked into the crowd as I spoke and felt overwhelmed by the amount of compassion these teenagers had for ME! What a shock! As a volunteer I find deeper admiration and compassion for these young parents at every single club I attend, but I never thought that I would receive that back from them. 

Seeing that many of the mothers at club could relate to my story just affirmed even more that YoungLives is where I am called to serve. 

I entered the evening nervous about what everybody would think of me, but I drove home that night with a full heart and spirit. Sharing my testimony blessed me so far beyond my expectations. 

I often look back on my own time spent at club as a teen mom, and I remember every testimony that was shared so clearly. When somebody would share their story with us, it stuck. I saw the way God worked in their life, and it encouraged me to wait and see how He was going to work in my own life. Hearing testimonies of others has a huge impact on planting the seeds of faith, and I think they are so important to YoungLives and the community we serve. 

I want to encourage you, if you are ever asked to share your testimony, to prayerfully consider saying YES! For me, it brought joy from depths I didn’t know existed. 

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Transformational

What a beautiful night our last Santa Ana Club Gathering was for the school year! Everything about the night was very intimate and intentional. The evening started with a delicious taco & nacho bar dinner and such sweet conversations amongst volunteers and teens about life updates and plans for the upcoming summer season!

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The game for the evening really brought out the “kid” in all of us. I have never heard so much laughter and seen such carefree spirits from everyone.

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The rest of the evening was filled with hearing four transformational life stories. It was such an honor to be able to hear how God divinely showed up in each individual’s lives during different hardships. They shared about how God’s unconditional love impacted their lives in powerful and unique ways. They openly shared with us about how their lives were before knowing God, how they came to encounter God and how having a personal relationship with God has changed their lives. It was such a Holy moment to see the teens so engaged in the testimonies and be able to connect with some of the stories.

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While I was sitting there, my prayer for the teens was that they would be able to walk away from the night with a sense of hope and truly know that there is a God that loves each and every one of them unconditionally and that He cares for them abundantly.

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I was able to talk to some of the teens about their thoughts from hearing the testimonies, some of them were able to relate to some of the situations that were shared and truly see that God cares for them even during the hard times in life. One of the teens shared how they are in a season of trusting God with a difficult situation they are in the midst of and that hearing the testimonies gave them hope that life is not always going to be like this and that they are never alone. She was so thankful that she was a part of YoungLives because she knows that there are people who are always there for her when she needs a listening ear and will always be shown love, respect and care no matter what. She said that every time she comes to Club, she leaves so encouraged and amazed by how caring and loving everyone is. Hearing that from her, made me realize that these teens just want to be loved and cared for and what an honor it is that God has allowed us as volunteers in the ministry to be able to display His love to them because He first loved us.

Adrienne Garcia, YoungLives Staff