Brett’s dad left years ago and had little contact with him. That didn’t dull the pain when his father died a few years later as a result of alcoholism. Brett’s life turned dark in his thoughts, activities and attire. He contemplated ending his life as he withdrew to his basement to self-medicate through excessively playing video games.
One of Brett’s teachers convinced him to get a mentor through Kalamazoo Youth for Christ’s mentoring program. Through YFC’s Merge Mentoring Ministry, he was matched with Jerry – an average guy who loved God and was willing to walk with Brett in a one-on-one relationship.
Slowly Brett began to open up. Eventually he decided to show up at a YFC Bible study. Every once in a while, he would actually engage in the discussions. Soon he let an occasional smile pass his lips. It turned out Brett had an incredible sense of humor and an even better laugh.
Brett came to know Jesus as his personal savior during his freshman year. The next summer he served on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. What?! This formerly dark and depressed young man signed up to get on a plane, live in uncomfortable surroundings, and serve children he didn’t know. He was playing with the kids, laughing with them, pushing them on the merry-go-round and carrying them on his shoulders.
During the trip, everyone on the team had the chance to share their testimony. Brett spoke some unforgettable words. He said, “If I hadn’t met Youth for Christ, I’d either be in a mental hospital, in jail, or dead.” Later in his time of sharing he said, “So I smashed my bong and decided to give my life to God.”
Jerry is a mentor with Kalamazoo YFC. Their Executive Director attended CAYM’s training in 2005.