Jacob's StoryI came to Youth-Reach as a neglected son addicted to porn. I used to medicate all the pain I felt in my broken, cut-up heart. I was deep in the hole of pornography and I had no way out. I would look up porn whenever, wherever and however I could. I felt as if I needed porn to survive another day; to get through one more night.

Then my addiction was exposed by hackers trying to blackmail me. My dad and his girlfriend gave me the choice to go to Youth-Reach or deal with the authorities, and I chose Youth-Reach. Who wouldn’t?

I woke up one morning in October of 2020 not knowing what to expect. It was my first day at Youth-Reach Houston. This was the first place in a long time where I felt cared for and loved, and I took advantage of that love. I faked my way through the system for my first couple of months and became the fourth highest ranked resident in the program, but then I got greedy and careless. The staff saw through my fake attitude and I was demoted.

At first, I felt devastated, defeated and destroyed. I had fallen from the top. As I worked my way back up through the levels of the program, I realized I was broken and could no longer wear any more masks. I couldn’t hide behind any more lies. I needed help—supernatural help.

On May 26, 2021, we went to a youth group that I really loved. I never missed a single one. However, that night I was … out of order, to say the least. I was distracted by a certain guy from the group and missed the entire service. I was devastated and Christ told me the truth that I had needed to hear my entire life. A voice deep inside of me told me, “If you were distracted by one person, how can you fight seven billion people?”

Just then I realized that I was simply not strong enough. I wasn’t enough; I needed Christ. That night I told a staff member what happened. I told him, “I need Christ, I want to be … to be a Christian,” stuttering and all. That night Christ saved me; He freed me. I was blind, and now I can see. That night I stopped believing the lies that Satan had always told me, and I ran to the Father who has been there for me forever.

Life didn’t become easier, but it became bearable, it became possible. I learned about forgiving others and fought to forgive my dad for neglecting me. After that night I was filled with the joy of the Lord. Now I know I will always be loved by my heavenly Father. When I hit my lows, Christ’s love drives me forward. Ever since that day, I have experienced the joy of the Lord.

I was baptized on December 26, 2021, and now I have a purpose, identity and fulfillment. My purpose is to serve the kingdom of heaven, which is Christ himself. My identity is that of a beloved prodigal son of Christ. I have the call to serve the Lord in ministry, and I still fall short—I still sin. When I fall short, I get up and dust myself off, and I fall at the cross.

If my testimony could be summed up in a verse, it would be Romans 5:17: “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!”

My old chapter is closed and a new chapter has started.