Jamal is no stranger to the hardships that come along with growing up fatherless. By God’s grace, we became connected to Jamal during his freshman year in high school, and since then he’s built Life-on-Life relationships with mentors that he prays will last a lifetime. Read the following interview with Jamal, and learn about his Life-on-Life relationship with his mentor, Mike. This story is just one of many from our “Year of Life-on-Life” campaign. Click here to learn more.
Year in School: Senior at Wells High School
Memories growing up: My dad was never around—I remember wondering, “Where is he?” “Why did he just let me go through that?” “Why did I have to become a man by myself?” My mom was also un t to care for my sister and me when we were little. Eventually we were taken into foster care. About a year later, my aunt found us and we moved in with her. My upbringing was tough, but I’m thankful I got connected with GRIP The School.
How did you get connected to GRIP The School (GTS): During my freshman year of high school at Wells I went to a GRIP program called The Lab. At The Lab we learned about God through spoken-word and hip-hop based on the book of Psalms in the Bible. The Lab was my first encounter with God and Christians—they showed me love that I couldn’t nd anywhere else.
What do you like most about GRIP The School?: GTS is where I met Jesus. It started when they shared the verse in John with me, which says, “Abide in Me, and I in you… I am the vine; you are the branches.” Soon after that I began to fully understand that Jesus died on the cross so that I could be saved from sin. Now, I continue drawing closer to God and learning more about Him.
Best memory with your mentor: Last summer my mentor, Mike, connected me with a summer program called The Bridge. It’s a summer-long college experience at Wheaton College where students live on campus, get mentored by a RA, learn how to engage with God and prepare for college. I was nervous to attend, but Mike really pushed me. He went with me to visit the program, helped me apply, and encouraged me along the way.
An impactful moment in high school: While I was at The Bridge I met another teen there named Israel. Israel was raised Catholic and was never close or intimate with God. He asked me how to become close with God and how to become a Christian. I explained to Israel that you had to be convicted of your sin and realize that you can’t live this life on your own without God. We then prayed together and Israel gave his life to the Lord!
Future Goal: I am currently living one of my goals–graduating from high school this year. I know I’m making my aunt and family proud. I also have a passion for law enforcement because I want to protect people. I never really felt protected myself. If I’m in law enforcement then I can help people feel protected and serve my community.
Prayer Request: God is continually showing me how sinful I am. I just want to draw close to God. Pray that I remain faithful to God and am motivated to pursue my goals.