This is a paper i wrote for English, it’s am Autobiographical Narrative.
The room seemed so gigantic and the people seemed so old. I quietly followed my mother through the large oak wood door into the youth room of the Scottsdale First Assembly Dream Center. Never before in my short twelve years of life had I felt so minute. Yet despite how intimidated I felt, deep inside there was excitement; a foreshadowing of something greater than I had ever imagined. This was the birth of the new me, I was unaware at the time that I was about to step out of my shy, sheltered world; stepping into an outgoing, radical lifestyle.
Fear prevented me from introducing myself to the high school kids all around me. I didn’t know what to think, I didn’t know how to relate to them with such a large age difference; luckily for me Regan did. My mother quickly introduced me to the youth pastor’s wife. She was twenty-three, not tall, yet not short. She had blonde hair that went down slightly past her shoulders and a smile that could make anyone feel like they belonged.
“Hey, what’s your name?” Regan kindly asked.
“Brandon,” I quietly responded.
“Nice to meet you, let me introduce you to Sean,” she said enthusiastically.
I said goodbye to my mother as she left the room, headed down the hall, and went to church in the main sanctuary.
The walk across the room was an eternity, past the kids that towered over me. Finally reaching the end of the room I looked around and wondered which giant was Sean. A little nervous I wondered why she was so eager to introduce me to him. Once I met Sean, I felt certain why she chose to introduce me to him first. He was tall and in pretty good shape. I could tell that he was a basketball player from the white basketball shorts and the Shadow Mountain Varsity Jersey he was wearing. His hair was brown, yet in the back on his right side there was a blonde spot, a birth mark I was informed.
“Hi, I’m Sean, what’s your name?”
“My name Is Brandon”
“Hey nice to meet you,” he replied, “would you like something to drink?”
“Sure.” I awkwardly replied, “I’ll have a Brisk.”
Taking the Brisk from Sean I began to realize, it had begun, the transformation that I was going through. With the feeling of acceptance I was beginning to burst out of my cocoon into The Refuge. The care and concern that I was feeling wrapped around me and I felt at home. Little did I know that this was merely the beginning of my revolution.
Sean readily introduced me to Eric.
“Hey buddy!” Sean yelled.
Eric came walking across the room, now standing before the buffest man I had ever seen in person, I truly was intimidated,. His legs weren’t that strong, but his upper body intimidated me. This tall, blonde guy, wearing a tank top and some shorts was clearly able to bench a couple hundred pounds.
“Hey dude, what’s up?” Eric asked
“This is Brandon, it’s his first time here tonight,” Sean replied.
It was evident from the way that Sean and Eric talked that they were close friends. They almost had their own code, clearly they knew the same songs, movie quotes, and were best friends.
“Hey Brandon, I’m Eric, how are you liking The Refuge so far?” he asked.
“It’s pretty cool, I think I like it,” I honestly responded, yet slightly afraid to respond any other way.
“That’s awesome!” Eric said, “How would you like to sit with us tonight,” He asked.
Excitedly I told him “I’d love to sit with you guys, you both seem pretty cool.”
“Thanks, well it looks like service is about to start, we’re sitting up front, let’s go grab a seat.” Sean announced.
I followed them to the front, once again I was feeling intimidated. If anything I had planned to sit in the back of the room, hopefully unnoticed. Yet now I found myself sitting at the front of the room, violently ripped from my comfort zone. This time I felt as if I was no longer suppose to reside where I was comfortable. I felt like something was tugging at me on the inside; crying out to my spirit.
Now that service was starting I was expecting a man to come to the front of the room, talk about stuff I didn’t understand, and then dismiss us. To my surprise, Pastor Dan started by asking if there were any first time visitors to The Refuge that night. Silently, I slipped my hand into the air dreading what may come next.
“Can all of the first time visitors proceed to the back of the room?” Pastor Dan asked.
Dan was a shorter, stockier man, yet he was still rather buff. His brown goatee matched his collared shirt and shorts. His appearance was not very intimidating, yet his request scared me.
I then frightfully began to put my hand down until Sean and Eric started to walk to the back of the room and told me to follow. Obediently I followed towards the back and out the rear door, still clueless to what would happen next. Soon I found myself filling out a paper revealing my name, school, and birthday. As I was finishing the paper I heard music begin to play inside and I was informed that I was to run down the center isle with whoever had brought me. Since my mother brought me I was slightly confused on who to run down with, but Sean and Eric told me they would run down with me.
“I’ve got a cool idea,” Sean said “get on our shoulders, this should be pretty fun.”
Hesitantly I asked him if he was sure that this was a good idea. I was quickly reassured that everything would be fine and that I would have a lot of fun. Fearfully I climbed upon a shoulder of Sean and Eric and we made our way towards the door.
“Watch your head as we go inside,” Eric warned.
Quickly I ducked my head and in awe we made our way down the aisle amongst the visitors who had already made their way to the front. At the front, I jumped off of their shoulders dazed and thrilled. As all the kids walked by and shook my hand I felt as if I had been a part of The Refuge all of my life. I assumed that this was what it was all about. I didn’t know what more The Refuge could possibly have to offer, I was already hooked.
Pastor Dan walked onto the stage as we sat down. Giddy from all the excitement, I took my seat, unsure how I was going to hold in my joy; feeling as a small child at Chuck E. Cheeses. As he made the announcements, I sat there bewildered; I knew nothing of the events he was speaking of. When the announcements were finished, praise and worship began. The worship band came up onto the stage and everyone stood up. Not knowing what to do, I stood up as well, not wanting to look foolish. This was new to me, I felt something pulling inside of me. There was a sense of something I needed, like there was something missing inside of me. I had finally found the only thing that could fill that gap. God wanted a personal relationship with me, but I was still confused.
People were clapping and raising their hands, this was all foreign to me. I had attended a Catholic Church when I was a child, but it seemed too routine. Like religion that had bored me as a child; as if God were nothing more than a teacher sitting on His throne demanding that His rules be followed. This was quite a different experience, it seemed real, and unlike religion. I could tell that these people had a genuine relationship with God. They didn’t simply believe in Him, they knew Him, and I wanted to know Him how they did.
Pastor Dan was getting ready to preach the message. I sat there hoping to learn of the God that everyone around me knew, The God that had created me and desired to know me. Now I wanted to know Him as well.
God created everything, I had always known that, but now this head knowledge was being turned into heart knowledge. My knowledge was changing into something more, Pastor Dan’s message was birthing belief; which unlike knowledge it had the power of compassion. I had always been told about Jesus, but I knew very little about this Jew who lived a long time ago. The extent of my knowledge was that He was born to a virgin and later in his life he was killed. Now I believed it, I could feel God’s presence all around me and I knew it was real.
“Hey Brandon, did you know that in Romans 10:9 it says ‘That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’ Sean said as he leaned over to talk to me.
The service had ended and the worship band was playing again. People all around me were praying and I thinking about all that had happened that night. The lights were dimmed and the music wasn’t too loud, it was a peaceful environment. I looked at Sean and asked him if it was really that simple. If God, being so complex could really save my soul for eternity if I simply believed it and accepted it.
He assured me that it was that simple, and from the way he said it I knew he meant it. I believed it, truly in my heart for the first time I believed it. I now knew what my eternity would hold when I died. It felt amazing to finally have something true, not a relative truth, an absolute truth. I learned that prayer is simple and when I talk to God, He listens and has already responded through the Bible. Never again could I be the same, that night had changed me forever. Not only for the rest of my life, but forever, long after my life is over. Now, I daily converse with God. I have hatched out of the shyness and security that had imprisoned me, but more than that, I have found the only thing that can save my soul.