Diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder in his early childhood, Sam struggled to form strong connections with others, and only had a few friends as he struggled with identity due to being abandoned as a child. Prior to engaging with our programmes at Youth Encounter, a representative from his School recognised the lack of value that Sam had for himself and sought to find an initiative that would assist him with finding purpose in life and having hope for the future. Sam also has a speech impediment that considerably impacted his self-confidence.
Sam engaged well in Youth Encounter's therapy programme and there was significant growth through this counselling process. Then he was matched with a mentor to continue supporting his social and life skills development. Through his Youth Encounter mentor, Sam was informed about one of our upcoming teen camps and asked his foster parents if he could attend.
At the beginning of the camp, it was clear that Sam had reservations about introducing himself to others and struggled to show us his true self. On Sam's second night of camp, when one of the camp leaders was speaking about Jesus and his importance, he was extremely receptive to the idea that Jesus wants to form a connection with our true selves. He wrestled with this information during the rest of the talk and mustered the courage to speak about it to his mentor. He said, “I want to know more about this Jesus.” Ecstatic to hear this, his mentor found him a Bible and showed him where to start reading.
Over the next 24 hours, Sam was reading the Bible at every chance he could get. During the last night of camp, there was a call for campers, who wanted to experience Jesus and the Holy Spirit, to posture themselves to be vulnerable and open to Jesus. Not fully understanding the concept of this, Sam relaxed and waited. A camp leader noticed Sam waiting and prayed for him. He felt the love of God as a good Father fall on him and experienced what it was to have this true connection. After this experience, we saw an excitement in Sam that we had never seen before. Throughout the camp Sam made significant progress towards spiritual growth and through this, we saw a strengthening of his mana. Sam has developed a newfound confidence, hope for the future, and eagerness to live life wide open.
"Youth Encounter has helped me focus forward to get stuff done even if I don't want to, I am focusing more on my future" "I feel much happier now".
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