In addition to celebrating our 12th Wedding anniversary yesterday, I also had the privilege of Baptising a young man I have worked with for the same amount of time.
I met Matt (not his real name) when I went to pick up his older brother for an after school club. The brother was 11 and attended the group regularly, Matt was 4 and not old enough to come. They’d both been locked out on their own while mum went into town. As a result, Matt started coming along quite regularly!
My colleagues and I have supported the family through a number of difficulties. As Matt explained on Sunday when he got baptised, they always had a social worker and were constantly under threat of being taken into care. As he got older, he started helping at some clubs for younger children, attending some youth activities (including church residential weekends), and then went to the Soul Survivor festival last summer. He says “that’s where God finally got me”!
Twelve years of ups and downs, hardships and joys, but now this young man has made a decision to follow Jesus. To be clear, I’d be just as proud of him if he hadn’t become a Christian because of the positive choices he has made and is making. But it was a very special and emotional moment to watch him publicly state his faith and to pray over him.
Working with young people long-term is frustrating, painful and mostly thankless, but there are some moments that make it all worthwhile!