My faith started to grow more independent from my parents’ my sophomore year of high school. It was there where I first heard God speak my true identity over me. I had struggled with depression through middle school, and I didn’t have many friends. Plus, my older brother, Mason, and I never seemed to get along. He’s three years older than me, and we had a lot of classic brother tension between us.
Mason and I fought … a lot. On my end, I said a lot of harsh things – things I wish I could take back – and he was bigger and stronger than I was, so he’d pummel me occasionally. He was getting ready to graduate, and I was invading his friend group … he didn’t like that.
I was always hoping and praying that eventually Mason and I would mend our relationship, but it was one of those things where I let my skepticism in. I watched him walk away from God a bit after he graduated.
It came time for my last MOVE event as a student, and a spot opened up where we needed a volunteer. At first he meant it as a joke, but Mason asked he if could come because he liked CIY. He ended up coming, and by the end of the week we saw him rededicate his life to Christ.
The Holy Spirit also healed our relationship that week.
It was the coolest trip – full of irreplaceable memories. I saw evidence that God is real, and His goodness is something I can follow.
Seeing Mason is now one of my favorite parts of going home. I’ve seen him grow in his faith, and he’s helping with a college ministry near his home. We also have two younger siblings – Caleb is a freshman at Ozark Christian College, and our sister, Bailey, just experienced her first MOVE event this summer as a high school freshman. CIY hasn’t just been a part of my journey – it has been a part of my whole family’s journey.
CIY has taken me from not believing to where I am now – in ministry training at OCC. Looking back, I know this is where God is calling me to be. And because of what happened in my life, I can boldly tell people to not give up on God.
The Holy Spirit is real. The power of the Gospel is real. And anything can be redeemed.
Isaac Lankford is from Warwick, Rhode Island, and is a junior at Ozark Christian College pursuing a Bachelor of Theology as well as a bachelor’s degree in student ministry. He attended MOVE in 2019 as an elective aid and OCC student.