Twin Billing

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David and Devon
Meeting kids for the first time is all in a day’s work for a Young Life leader, so it’s a rare and welcome surprise when a kid actually approaches them and initiates the conversation. But nothing prepared Austin Robertshaw, Young Life staff in Greenville, North Carolina, for his introduction to brothers David and Devon.

In the stands at a high school football game, the brothers, along with some of their friends, were thinking about after-parties.

“We were all looking around and asking, ‘Hey, where can we get some beer?’” David said.

“We saw this one guy in the student section, kind of old to be in high school,” Devon added, “so we were like, what’s this guy doing?”

“I walked straight up to him,” David said, “and asked, ‘Hey man, what’s your name?’”

“I’m Austin, what’s your name?”

“I’m David. Hey, are you 21?”

“Yeah, I’m definitely 21!”

“Hey, could you buy me some beer?”

“Um, how old are you?”

“I’m 17.”

“Oh, you’re 17? I tell you what — I will … when you’re 21.”

Everyone had a good laugh and after some more small talk, the brothers left Robertshaw to return to their seats.

Unbeknownst to David and Devon, that encounter in the fall of 2016 would provide Robertshaw the opening to introduce them to something far more satisfying than beer … 

The Constant

In the following months, Robertshaw continued to build upon their unique introduction; hanging with the brothers, playing video games at their house and getting to know them over dinners at Chipotle helped him learn about the challenges they’d faced up to that point.

“Growing up, life was difficult,” David admitted. “My mom had us at 16. My father was kind of absent throughout my childhood.” The brothers moved frequently, attending several elementary schools during that time.

Knowing what they were searching for, Robertshaw invited the brothers to Young Life, but they politely declined.

“I was just lost,” David said. “Trying to figure out who I was, who my friends were going to be, where my dad was. I didn’t want to believe in anything at that point. If God was so great, then why was He letting my father be absent from my life? Why was He putting me through the things I was going through at the time?”

Robertshaw welcomed questions like these and just kept showing up. “Austin was a constant,” Devon said. “He was persistent. It was eye-opening — just like God chases after us and pursues us, Austin wants to have a relationship with us.”

Eventually the brothers did show up at club, and nothing would ever be the same.

“After club Devon said to me, ‘Hey, man, I really liked that,’” Robertshaw said.

“Really? What did you like about it?”

“It really resonated with me when you were talking about the brokenness in the world, ’cause we haven’t seen our dad since we were eight.”

“Dang, that’s rough; tell me more about that.”

The conversations continued throughout that school year.

“I was going through a lot,” David said. “I started to turn to a lot of different avenues to try and find happiness — drugs, alcohol, and it wasn’t working. I was getting into fights with my mom and my brother. It just wasn’t clicking.

“When I started coming to Young Life, these light bulbs were going off in my head. It all started to make sense. I finally felt a purpose to my life. I was like, ‘Man, all these things you’re doing on the weekends — you’re having a lot more fun at Young Life than doing that stuff.’ I realized this is what I need to do with my life.”

David was lost no longer; he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt he was ready to follow Jesus.

That summer the area went to SharpTop Cove, Young Life’s camp in Georgia. It was here Devon also realized his need for the Savior.

“I pulled Austin aside,” Devon said, “and we just got to talk about life, what he did when he was growing up in high school and how he got to know Jesus.

“He opened my eyes about how God pursues you constantly over and over again, and how He never gives up on you. He doesn’t turn His back on you even if you turn your back on Him. This is when I hunkered down and decided to follow Jesus. I knew I wanted something deeper.”

Adopting More Brothers

By the fall of 2017, David and Devon began to share what they had found with those around them.

“Since I’ve started following Jesus, my life has really turned around,” David said. “I’ve begun to take interest in my friends, my family and my football team. I want them to see what God has done for me so they can hear the message I’ve heard and have it change their lives the way it’s changed ours.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought, ‘Wow, I would be lost without Young Life and the messages I’ve been hearing.’”

Robertshaw has been blown away with David and Devon’s newfound leadership. “At our Windy Gap fall weekend, they brought eight guys from their football team and even helped lead the cabin times. Before the trip, the group called themselves ‘the brothers’ and came back wanting to adopt even more brothers!

“Beyond that they’ve shown interest in doing work crew, David is looking into being a Capernaum buddy and Devon is leading middle school boys at his church.”

The twins and their leader still smile when they think about the night this whole adventure began. “During one of the club talks at camp,” Robertshaw said, “the speaker emphasized how important first impressions are. Devon and David immediately looked at me and we all just burst out laughing!”

Noah and Caleb
18-Spring-Twin-Billing-Noah-Caleb.jpgUnlike David and Devon, twins Noah and Caleb have only known one home — the house they grew up in in Boise, Idaho.

That is until they found their “second home” 20 minutes away at Boise State University (BSU), a place teeming with family, both old and new. The “old” family consisted of their cousins, Zach and Emily, whom the twins had known all their lives; the “new” family would soon develop in the form of Zach and Emily’s friends.

Zach, two years older than Noah, Caleb and Emily, had been laying the groundwork for the cousins’ reception since his own arrival at BSU. From practically their first few minutes, Zach and his many friends showered the twins with warmth and acceptance.

“I told all my friends and roommates that Noah and Caleb were coming,” said Zach. “They were great at reaching out and befriending them.”

“Right away,” Caleb said, “all of Zach’s roommates were like, ‘What’s up, Caleb? What’s up, Noah? We’ve always wanted to meet you guys!’”

The brothers soon discovered this was more than just a random “welcome wagon” … this was a strong contingent from Young Life College at BSU, a community that’s now grown to over 200 students.

“The folks in Young Life College had heard about us for two years,” Caleb said. “We didn’t know Young Life, but Young Life knew us.”

Open

It was an important introduction for the brothers, as each tried to discern what to make out of the college experience.

Noah, a successful runner on BSU’s track team, was immersed in demands and responsibilities right away. The Young Life College community was a critical part of his transition into college.

“The pressures associated with being a college athlete are significant, and having friends and caring adults who love you for who you are, rather than your physical abilities spoke loudly to Noah,” said Bill Overton, the interim Young Life College director at BSU.

Between his studies and track, Noah’s obligations always gave him “a reason not to go” to Young Life College, but once he started coming to club, he was sold. He began sharing about the experience with his brother.

“As twins we’ve always been close, but we weren’t super open with each other,” Caleb said. “After getting involved in Young Life College, Noah started to open up to me, and by second semester I started going.

“What made me like Young Life so much? I’m a big family person and I’ve always loved socializing and creating relationships with tons of people, and there’s all these amazing people here!”

This Thing Called Faith

Beyond the social aspect, however, was the spiritual attraction. Noah and Caleb knew of their cousins’ faith, but now they understood how relevant it could be in their own lives.

“My family has always been praying for them,” Zach said. “When they came to BSU, I talked to them about my experiences at Young Life camp — serving on work crew, being a boat driver on summer staff and interning at Malibu. After hearing that, they wanted to go on summer staff, and I said, ‘Well you need this thing called faith.’ They were like, ‘What?’”

Throughout the semester, Zach continued to unpack that statement with Noah and Caleb, answering their questions and walking alongside them as they processed all they were learning in Young Life College.

“Zach was strong in his faith,” Noah said. “He, Emily and Bill were a great help; I learned how to get to know God better through them.”

“One day Noah and I talked about life over burgers,” Zach said, “and he mentioned that he went for a run and started by saying, ‘OK, God, let’s do this …’ He talked about wanting to follow God and I said, ‘Let’s pray right now and do that.’ It was a thrilling moment.”

“I knew God was there before, but I never really talked to Him,” Noah said. “I never put in the effort to; I wanted to, but I didn’t know how and I was afraid; every time I tried to pray, I didn’t feel like there was anything happening.

“But now the more I talk to Him and get to know Him, the better I get with trials that come my way. The more I live my life through God, the more my life flows.”

None of this was lost on Caleb, Zach said. “Caleb saw the changes in Noah, and slowly but surely, he also came to realize how much he needed God.”

“It just felt so right, so amazing,” Caleb said. “Hearing how God worked in Noah’s life and all these other people’s lives. When I prayed, everything started to change.”

Today Caleb and Noah share more than just an identical outward appearance and other qualities twins often have in common; they share a spiritual brotherhood in the faith they’ll carry side by side for the rest of their days.

Caleb smiled, “It makes me super happy to know my twin brother whom I love so much is going through this life-changing experience just like me.”