Sunday, February 02, 2014

A decision that changed his life - Orlando Franklin in the Superbowl

As my faithful athensBLOG readers will remember, we used to work at Bridlegrove Bible Chapel in Scarborough. We were responsible for youth and community outreach in the Finch/Pharmacy area and made many great connections in the community. We ran a Friday night basketball drop in at the church and hosted various events and retreats. That was 10 years ago. One of the connections we made was with a troubled youth named Orlando Franklin. He was referred to us by the folks at Guelph Bible Camp and had recently got into some trouble with the law. At that camp and one of our youth retreats he gave his life to Jesus and decided to turn his life around. The picture below is from 10 years ago when Orlando was at our place for our youth Superbowl party:
Orlando, center, with other youth from Bridlegrove Bible Chapel
As the New York Post article recalls, Orlando, after getting out of jail made a promise to his mom to turn his life around, and dedicate himself to football. Those who have been following his career know he did just that. Soon after he was involved with our youth, he moved with his mom to Florida, then played for the University of Miami Hurricanes and finally was drafted by the Denver Broncos! He's been a starting offensive lineman for the past 3 years. Today's Superbowl will be the culmination of his promise 10 years ago.
We're very proud of Orlando and what God has done in his life. We continue to track with many of the youth like him that we have known for over 10 years now. It's a good reminder that with any goal you set, it takes time. With discipleship, it takes time. If you want to reach out to others and invest your life in something it will take time. We can't expect that our church/ministry/life will be an overnight success. Don't believe that lie. Instead commit yourself, like Orlando did to getting your hands dirty loving what you do, loving people, making a goal that may take a long long time. 
God is waiting for you to hit rock bottom and make a decision that will change your life. Have the courage to call out to God and ask him to change you. You never know where you might end up.