Dear Alumni and Friends,
I sat alone in my room thinking, “I should be dead right now.”
My friends and I had been smoking marijuana while driving to a party, and we had a head-on collision that totaled three cars. I’ve never been so scared. I really thought my life was about to end.
I didn’t come to Bryan because it was a Christian college. I came to play baseball. I put up walls to hide my “stuff”, but they eventually came down, and that’s when I was called into Coach Hasty’s office. He warned me that if I got into trouble one more time, he would have to kick me off the team. This was before the wreck.
I couldn’t get kicked out of school. That would be just one more disappointment for my mom. She loves me so much, but she expects me to be perfect. And when I’m not, she says some really hurtful things.
I lied about the wreck. I told people at school that my friend just fell asleep at the wheel and hit another car. Then I sat in my room and didn’t talk to anybody. I wondered why I was still alive. That wreck should’ve killed me.
Not long after that, I met four baseball players from our team and started hanging out with them. There was something different about these guys. We would get into deep conversations about real life issues, and soon other guys from the dorm would come and join the conversation. Before long, they would be sharing their testimonies. I got the feeling that these guys genuinely cared about ME. Not about going out and getting drunk with me, or getting into some other kind of trouble with me, but just me.
I trusted these people more than any friend I’d ever had. I wondered what it was about these guys that made me trust them. They were strong followers of Christ, but they didn’t at all fit the stereotype I had defined in my head as “Christians.”
One night they told me they had prayed for me while they were at a Passion Conference. I was overwhelmed. I thought, “You know what? I’m going to give this a try.” At first I was just going to toe the water, but then I decided to just jump in.
There was a crazy, radical conversion! My whole lifestyle of promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, insecurity, shallowness, and even badmouthing other people just stopped! Yes, I still have a way to go, but there was a radical conversion.
Even my baseball game was affected. If I strike out, I no longer think I’m the worst player in the world, because I no longer find my identity in baseball. My grades were affected too. I had a 2.9 GPA my freshman year because I missed classes when I had a hangover, and I didn’t do homework because I spent my nights partying. 2.9 isn’t horrible, but I was capable of so much more. I got saved at the end of that year, and in my sophomore year, my GPA was 3.8.
I no longer feel that I have to be perfect or have all the answers. I just try to be myself while allowing God to prune away what doesn’t need to be in me. That is so freeing from the insecurities that go with perfectionist expectations.
I used to think that getting saved was just a way to get to Heaven, but God has shown me it’s so much more.
Three weeks after I gave my life to Christ, one of my “partying” friends came over. I talked to him about the prodigal son in Luke 15. I told him that whatever he had done didn’t disqualify him for the gift from God, because you can’t unearn something you never deserved in the first place. My friend gave his life to Christ that night!
Why am I telling you all this? I want to thank you for giving to the scholarship fund at Bryan College! I believe that my scholarship made it possible for me to know Jesus. Without the scholarship, I would probably be in jail or dead. Without the scholarship, my mom would have made me go to a cheaper, non-Christian school.
I can’t think of a better way to honor Christ than to make it possible for others to know Him. Bryan College is equipping students to go out into the world and spread the gospel.
When I was told that “Gifts for the King” is a yearly tradition since the 40’s, my heart was warmed. That’s 70 something years that friends and alumni of Bryan College have been honoring the Christ of Christmas with a gift to keep the gospel message spreading around the world. Thank you!
There are so many more kids like myself who need to know Jesus. Will you continue the tradition with your Gift for the King? We look forward to hearing from you.
May God’s richest blessings be upon you and your family during this Christmas season!
Brookes Jones Junior at Bryan College
P.S. Thank you in advance for your 2014 Gift for the King!