Lack of Direction

Having a tremendous lack of direction and focus starting high school quickly put me on a downward spiral as I sought to fill a large void in my life that only a relationship with Christ could fulfill. Seeking to fill this large void, I turned to the sinful junk of the world. Making such poor decisions lead me to pursue a path of selfishness, which turned me into a very troublesome individual that induced great pain and hurt on others who were close to me. From freshman year to second semester of junior year of high school, my life consisted of hanging out with the wrong crowd, smoking and dealing marijuana, drinking alcohol, being suspended for drug related causes, going to parties, being arrested, receiving various traffic violations and tickets, getting into car accidents, and after a long drug investigation initiated by the local authorities and my school, I ended up being expelled. My life spun out of control and I was in desperate need of help. Taking courageous steps to love and help me, my parents sought help from Shelterwood.

Although it was an extremely difficult transition moving from Chicago to Missouri to enroll at Shelterwood, I now couldn’t be more grateful for the divine opportunity.  At Shelterwood, I was able to reflect on my wrong doings and begin to understand just how much pain I had inflicted on others and myself.  Shelterwood gave me a platform to start anew, as I worked on my relationship with Jesus, my family, and others who I had hurt along the way.  God used the wonderful people and place of Shelterwood to transform my life. I learned what it means to be diligent in the small things and take responsibility for my life.  I learned to manage my time, money, and resources as I worked in the kitchen and continued my high school studies. I began to understand what it meant to truly love God with all my heart, serve others, and grow in a dynamic community. Also, through God’s provision and the guiding help of my counselor, the relationship between my parents and I drastically improved.  Transparency evolved, trust was developed again, and our relationship became healthy and strong. My family and I often talk about Shelterwood as it was used in such a powerful way to reveal what God has intended for our lives.

Since graduating from Shelterwood, I’ve had various opportunities to travel and do mission based work in Haiti, working with orphans and the poor.  I then attended an intensive discipleship program that consisted of learning from various Bible teachers nationwide, actively growing in a small group of guys, and studying abroad in Fiji.  Although I have a few occupational thoughts in mind, I truly look forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for my life!

I believe that God has placed each teen and their family in Shelterwood specifically for this chapter of their lives.  No matter how difficult the journey can be at times, I learned the importance of persevering and maximizing each moment.  When in relationship with God, I am better able to maintain an eternal perspective which helps me fight for healing.  And although Shelterwood will eventually only be a short chapter in my life, it has been very powerful and helped set me on God’s course for my life.

Giovanni S.