“The academy I was attending had these football tournaments with other academies. I was a rusher going in to grab the quarterback's flag. She had handed off the football to another player going the opposite direction. I dove for the quarterback's flag during that exact same time. As I was falling to the ground, I collided with the girl’s knee and cleat. I blacked out and woke up in the hospital with a concussion, orbital fraction, and 9 stitches. After going into surgery for double vision, I came back out with no vision in my eye. I couldn’t open it. Eventually, my nerves healed and I was able to open my eye again but I never gained sight. I had missed my college applications deadlines. I went from honor roll to barely passing my classes.
I don't think I knew things were getting worse probably until near graduation. That’s when I started to realize the prayer of a miracle wasn't going to happen. All the jokes of being blind were actually my reality. I had just laughed and smiled for so long, not knowing that I wasn't actually living my new reality. When It finally hit me that I didn't have the grades to go to the colleges I wanted, and my friends were actually laughing at me and not with me, and my teachers were bullying me- I think that's when it was the worst.
I think all of those events coming together made me realize the life I grew up with wasn't for me. And from that, I just grew mad and hurt at the same time, all fingers pointing to God. So I did what I thought was best for myself- I stepped away from the church and God.
Eventually I just got tired of everything and felt that I needed to do more with my life. I started attending church again and signed up for a mission trip. But it wasn't an easy transition. People kinda judged me and talked bad about me. I felt like I had something to prove. The less partying I was doing, though, the less time my friends wanted to be around me. Eventually they stopped being my friends. I was in a weird place. I didn't fit in the world, but also not in church. Then I went on the mission trip, and I remember just hearing them tell us to just be willing. So I did. I agreed to help out with VBS, and it was there I really had my first real experience with God. It was from there I knew what my purpose was, and I wanted to continue into the youth ministry.
After a few more mission trips and even living in Central America for a little bit, I decided to move into ministry full-time. This is my 5th year now in education. I've enjoyed every moment. Being in the mission field, I see how important it is to spread the message. Being in our schools, I see how important it is to cultivate our youth to keep them in the church. When you work with kids, it's just not about caring about them as a person, but also their salvation. It was from my first mission trip that I finally realized that, and it gave me a reason to live again.”