Jonathan’s Journey to & Through Mazatlan
Jonathan spent most of his life growing up in children’s homes. He is a good kid who usually keeps to himself. So, when I presented the idea of going to Mazatlan, MX with our Los Dos team, I was surprised to see Jonathan so excited. Jonathan immediately started working on the requirements to go. Each boy needed to complete at least 40 hours of service on our campus. The young men not a part of the Hope Program anymore needed to pay for most of their way. We wanted kids to have skin in the game even though what they were bringing to the table would not cover the full cost of the trip. Also, we figured while each young man was working they would be welcomed into a mentoring role by the other men working alongside them on campus.
Jonathan continually planned and worked hard to complete his hours. He was so excited to go.
We saw a glimpse of his disciplined heart as he worked toward his goal.
We left for our trip and Jonathan, in general, kept to himself. Yes he laughed and joked around, but nothing much deeper. After our second day in Mazatlan, I saw something start to break open in his heart. We were in debriefing with Rodolfo and Becca Arguello, our co-site directors in Mazatlan, when Jonathan started going deep, “You know, most of my life I was told I would not complete school and I was not good enough.” He continued to talk about the challenges growing up in a children’s home and then said, “I am so thankful that very soon I will complete high school and go on to college.” Rodolfo looked at Jonathan with a knowing smile. Rodolfo was one of our first Hope Program students to graduate college and now he is an integral part of Back2Back’s ministry with his wife and two sons. God has completely changed his legacy and generations after him. Rodolfo looked at Jonathan and said, “You are a child of God, you are smart, and God has made you to be a great man.” Becca and I were about to cry as we saw God use Rodolfo in Jonathans life. We saw a man who came from the same background speaking life into a younger brother.
Later that night, Jonathan and I lie awake talking in depth about life, Jesus, his future, and my experiences. These were by far the deepest conversations I have had with Jonathan. God continued to show me throughout this trip that by taking these young men outside of the children’s home world they knew, outside of their state, and into a new environment, that God was able to use these new experiences as a way to speak to these boys hearts unlike ever before. God was breaking down walls and using safe relationships to go deeper and to build them back up again on the truth of who God says they are.
The next day Jonathan was able to surf for the first time on his 18th birthday. He just hung out on the waves and took life in. I could see hope well up inside him. What a gift.