Stone #1 - John from Boise, Idaho

John Hardesty // Boise, Idaho

I'll start ... I gave a Young Life talk awhile back about my testimony. My life. My journey. And I had to do it in ten minutes.

I tried to find one word that would let these kids know who I was. Follower. That's the word I came up with. Always have been, always will. I have always followed people. Whether it was the popular kids at school. The kids on my sports teams. Celebrities. Rock Stars. Etc.. Always the wrong things to follow. The wrong people.

Born and raised in a Christian home. Attending a private, Catholic school. Uniforms and all. But never really following Christ. Went to church every Sunday. But I didn't make everyday Sunday. Didn't read the Word daily. Didn't act like a true follower of Christ.

First Step. The first real step. Wildhorse Canyon Young Life Camp. My brother invited me to go to a leadership weekend with him and some of his friends. Even though I wasn't involved in Young Life at the time I was invited. My brother. Younger brother. There's someone to look up to. Suppose to work the other way around right? Not in my case.

He became the example. The example of what it is like to really be Christian. And how to live with God in mind. That weekend I took up my cross for the first time. It wasn't my parents dragging me to church on Sunday. Or enrolling me in a Catholic school. It was me deciding to be real with God. Wow. Great feeling. Truly amazing.

Following His steps. Since that moment my life has been filtered of things that I thought were so important. People that I thought I wanted to hang around. Activities I thought I wanted to be involved in. And replaced. Replaced with things that are important. God, the Word, helping others, Young Life, family time. Replaced with people that matter to me. God, family, my Young Life team, friends I meet at church. Replaced with activities that will help me serve God. Young Life, bible studies, campaigners, summer camps. Amazing.

You know in school when other kids made fun of you and called you a "follower." I always got so hurt by that. Then tried to change to be just like the bullies that said that. Now. I look forward to the day when someone looks at me and says "Now there's a follower. A real follower of Christ." How cool would that be? Awesome.

Looking back I never thought I would be in the place I am today. Or the city I live in. Or hanging out with the people I do. Or participating in the things I am. He really has worked wonders in my life. I am blessed and grateful. Thank you Father. I look forward to seeing the plans He has laid out for me.


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