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Having been in and out of jail, Ezekiel once again found himself in the detention centre. “2018 was definitely going to be one of the years I would never forget. I got locked up. Feeling really lost, really hopeless. Ashamed of what I was doing with my life,” he said. “I was in a really helpless spot, a time where I didn’t really care what happened to me.”

For Ezekiel, it became a life-changing time as God entered in through Youth for Christ. Kansas City YFC, like many other Youth for Christ programmes across the US and other nations, has a ministry to high-risk teens, including those in detention centres and group homes. Youth for Christ offers chapel services, Bible studies, and life-skills classes, building relationships with young people, and helping them develop a way of life as taught by Jesus Christ.

“We are not a normal youth ministry,” said Alex Mathews, Executive Director of Youth for Christ Kansas City. “And so, as we work with high-risk youth from juvenile offenders to teen parents, we want to have authentic Christ-sharing relationships.”

“Everybody needs that sense of no matter how much I mess up, I got somebody that will continue to love me, that will continue to just embrace me, without judgement. And I think Youth for Christ brings that non-judgmental love of God,” said Stephanie.

For Ezekiel those relationships led to life-change. “It was in Youth for Christ chapel, in detention centre, when I just really started to feel the Lord’s presence,” said Ezekiel. “I found a sense of peace and hope.”

Experiencing the new birth of a soul is a powerful thing said Curtis Wright, the Juvenile Justice Ministry Director. “Those moments are the moments we live for! Because it is God showing up. It is not a man; it is not a TED talk. It’s the Holy Spirit actually impacting the hearts of kids. And that’s only God that can do that.”

Watching Ezekiel change and grow has been inspiring. Alex said, “Now I know that we were planting seeds. And to see them grow now as he is turning into a man of God has been so encouraging.”

Since getting out of detention centre and off house arrest, Ezekiel has been maintaining a full-time job, and has a place of his own. “I feel like God really accepted my yes and brought me into his family,” said Ezekiel. His desire is to go into full-time ministry. “It’s inspiring knowing where I was a couple years ago and knowing that I’m not alone. I’m just thankful.”

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