Loving the Outcast

     Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong? Have you ever been treated like there’s something wrong with you because you are different? I’ve discovered a very common theme among those who are creative, artistic, and “geeky.” I had the opportunity to capture the testimony of Nick, a professional animator and video game designer who has been serving on my team:

     “I was really shy and I heard things like, ‘you’re into Pokémon and drawing cartoons? Aren’t you twelve now? You should be into girls and stuff!’ You have no idea how many times I was asked, ‘are you gay?’ in much more colorful language, usually by my dad and people who questioned whether I was acting right. I grew very resentful.”

     The judgment Nick felt in the church caused him to pull away from God. He figured that God either didn’t exist or didn’t care. Things started to change during Nick’s freshman year, when he met AJ. “He was just like me in so many ways, but actually took pursuing God seriously.”

     AJ’s sincere faith, kind heart, and common interest stirred Nick to truly dig into exploring whether God was real. AJ couldn’t convince Nick of God’s existence, because Nick felt he had to experience it for himself; but their friendship brought Nick to a place where he knew he had to take a step of faith. He said, “I’ve never seen it yet, but I’m gonna give it a real shot.” Nick sealed this decision by “handing over to God” his most prized possession, the sketchbook he carried everywhere and which brought him so much ridicule.

     He noticed a change in his heart very quickly. “I didn’t resent people for thinking I was weird all the time anymore. That was huge to me! All of a sudden, I didn’t have that tension, always feeling left out and ignored. I can be me, even if people don’t get it. God gets me and that’s actually enough.” From then on, Nick pursued God while drawing and telling stories—which has led to an active career and ministry.

     Nick and his wife are now working with us—producing gospel animations, video games, and developing a strategy to reach those within a gaming or “nerd” culture. In order to continue to send students like AJ as missionaries to the outcast, Karen and I are trusting the Lord to provide special gifts to help fully fund our ministry in 2023 and increase our impact on the next generation. Would you prayerfully consider helping to meet this need right now with a one-time or monthly gift of the amount which God puts on your heart?

     Whether you are able to help meet this need or not, we want to express our deepest appreciation for your partnership. Through your generous giving and prayers, we and many young people have been truly blessed. Thank you for serving with us to bring the gospel to the whole world through the next generation!

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