Alex's Story

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I was born and raised on the rez. My parents split when I was about four or five years old.  Shortly after, I was molested sexually by an older family member.  Those two events put together caused me to shut out from a lot of people in my life.  I shut out my Dad, my older brother, sisters, cousins, everyone, even my teachers in school.

When I was nine, I went to my first family funeral. This experience was pretty hard for me, because I didn’t understand death that well. Since then, I have been to at least one family funeral every year of my life.  I can’t remember a year without a funeral. When I was fourteen, life got real hard.  I tried committing suicide three times.

It got so dark in my life, I didn’t expect any hope. I didn’t expect anything good to come out of this life.  I felt like there was nothing to live for in this life. Around that same time, a good friend of mine told me I should check out church with him. I thought, “Ain’t nothing better going on today. You know, just same old rez town. Same old rez things going on.  Why not go to church?” That day actually shed a new light upon my life.

I saw a light I had never seen before, and heard about a hope I had never heard before.  It was through Jesus Christ that I first heard that hope. It wasn’t a white man telling me how I am supposed to live, or some white guy telling me what I’m supposed to do. It was just Jesus Christ telling me, “Joe, you’re my son and I love you.” At first I didn’t know what to do with it. It felt good for the moment, and then I wandered away slowly. I got into drinking, drugs, all kinds of bad stuff.  I couldn’t live with myself for the longest time.   I still felt empty inside; I still felt hopeless. Nothing I did brought me the hope I was looking for, or the love that I needed.

The one thing that never left my mind was that Jesus Christ loved me.  I held onto the fact  that Jesus cared so much for me that He would die a brutal death for me. One day a man brought this Good News back to me. He reminded me that no matter how bad my sin, and no matter how bad the things I’ve ever done, that Jesus would never lose that love for me.  I realized that I couldn’t do everything myself and that it was Jesus’ love that I was missing. Right then I declared, “All right, that’s it. I’m going to live for you, God. I’m going to live for you, Jesus.  I’m Yours.” From that very moment my life has never been the same.

I still experience funerals.  There are still deaths in my family. But I don’t need to drink, smoke, or shut people out. I’m able to go to God. I’m able to go to Jesus, and my fellow brothers and sisters are there to help me. That hope that I never had growing up is the main thing I’m holding onto right now, and that hope is only found in Jesus Christ. That’s what I’m here to share today. Thanks.