Waves of Change

When I first met Darius in 2014, he was a small, loud, aggressive and completely unrestrained fifth grader. I made many attempts to befriend him, but each time I came away disappointed with whatever strange behavior he used to try to blow me off. In the midst of this, our Young Life team continued praying for Darius.

The following year his mother asked if I could help pick out a surfboard for his birthday and take him surfing on the Eisbach River here in town (Munich). I invited him to a weekly small group connected to the Christian Surfers ministry, where we meet for Bible study and then go surfing. Darius came and experienced the fellowship and friendliness of our group. Besides his natural talent in surfing, Darius also had an interest in the Christian faith.

Darius became a steady part of the small group and felt a sense of belonging there. He surfed every day and continued asking questions about faith. His behavior and his whole being seemed to change. A short time later I asked him if he wanted to help me start a prayer group at his school, where we’d read the Bible and pray together every week before school. He was excited and managed to make it to school 30 minutes early every week to be there. Now we have seven kids from the middle school and high school coming, and we meet for a full hour every Tuesday before school starts.

In the fall of 2015 I’d planned to fly to Spain to visit a family from Christian Surfers. I invited Darius to come with me, but his family had already planned a skiing trip in the mountains. Three days before I left, though, Darius came to me and said, “Hey, Nicki, my parents said there’s not enough snow to ski; can I maybe still come with you to Spain?”

Darius was so excited and nervous because this would be his first flight, first time to Spain and first time surfing in the ocean. My friends in Spain lovingly took us in and I immediately noticed how it affected Darius to be in a Christian family atmosphere. It was the small things like eating three meals a day and the times we all sat together and prayed. Everyone took turns praying, even Darius. We had a blast and surfed a lot.

When we returned to Munich, Darius wanted to go to church with me. That Sunday, as I drove him home after the service, he said he wanted to be baptized. Wow! It’s unbelievable what’s happened in the context of our friendship in the last three years! I’m excited to see how he continues to grow and what God has in store for him.

This experience I’ve had with Darius gives me so much joy, and confirms the work I’m doing with Young Life is right. I love it when kids come to me with questions about faith or wanting to know who Jesus is and what it all means. This doesn’t happen every day, but it does keep happening, and it’s for this reason we’re here to speak the good news to these kids.