ATTENTION: I would love for you to sit down, relax, and take 7 minutes out of your day to read this post. I think it will be a great blessing to your life today. If you skim it, great, but you aren't going to get the full affect of what's going on. Then, after you read it, take 15 minutes and just meditate on God's grace. Meditate on the grace that has been given to you, meditate on the fact that God has saved you and given you eternal life, meditate on the fact that God is SO alive today and that He truly is, mighty to save!
I had the privilege of meeting up with a friend of mine for "coffee" last night (we met in a coffee shop, but I had a mango smoothie). This friend does have a name; Trey Allen is what you can call him. So right off the bat, you know he's a good guy...how can you go wrong with the last name "Allen"?
Trey is a Bible major, and this is basically how I met him (through Bible classes and people and all). He was also "the" guy who spoke in Afterdark chapel last semester. So, everytime someone found out I was going to speak in Afterdark, they would say, "Oh that's awesome! Were you there when Trey spoke? Because he was awesome. Aaaand, he was in a gang." I quickly was very intimidated by this. I tried to think of someway to make myself believe that I was truly in a gang so I could compete with that kind of "testimonial competition"...but quickly realized that I couldn't, and wanted to hear more about how God moved to bring this young man to Biola.
Trey started by telling me he was from "Southern Texas". The picture that came to my mind was just that tip of the state which sticks out on all the maps. He said it was near Corpus Christi. Then he said, "Maybe you've heard of it, because it's where 'Selena' was from." Well, of course I knew where that was; I shed many tears over that J-Lo movie. Trey also mentioned that they had built a memorial and statue in her honor; I had to give you a picture of it:
You can see that there is a statue on the right hand side. I was going to give you a close up of the statue, but I must say, she is dressed kind of scandalously in her signature outfit, so I opted for the far away picture.
Anyway, after our discussion about Selena, we talked theology a bit, but got to business...I wanted some gang stories. I hope I don't butcher this story in anyway, and I won't be able to tell it to its fullness, but I hope you are blessed by it.
Trey grew up with "hippie" parents who went to college, and 2 older brothers. He played football because he lived in Texas and lived a pretty normal life up until the end of 6th grade. After this he began to smoke marijuana which eventually led to an addiction to crack. After awhile he realized he couldn't keep up his habit and so he started to sell drugs. He got into business with some friends and they all started to make a lot of money. They had so much money that by the time he was in 7th grade, he partially owned a house, and owned a car. He said that one time he and his friends got the idea of trying to never wear the same clothes twice; basically, they were rolling in drug money.
This went on for awhile. At one point, his best friend was shot in the head and was believed to be dead, but he couldn't even know for sure because he didn't want to look connected to him. A couple months later, his friend got out of the hospital and everyone was quite shocked (unfortunately this friend eventually was stabbed to death). Trey and his friends were making a lot of deals in and out of Mexico because the drugs were so cheap. At one point, he took a trip down there (alone) to buy a lot of drugs (therefore, having a lot of money is his possession) and he was jumped, robbed, and left for dead in the middle of the desert. Some people found him and nursed him back to help and got him to the border. He went straight to the drug house to only get jumped again because his friends had heard from the Mexico contact that Trey had taken all the drugs and kept all the money. Luckily, Trey made it out of the house and into his car where he just drove and drove. He had a gun on him and put it up to his head a few times, contemplating suicide. Yet, something kept coming to his mind; something that one of the drug dealers (ironic) kept telling him: "Before you die, you need to get right with the Lord". Eventually he called his family to come pick him up because he just couldn't drive anymore. Trey decided he would go home and go straight to church, to search for this "Lord".
The closest one by was a Jehovah' Witness church and it didn't take long for him to realize that he didn't belong there. Eventually he called a friend (you know the kind of friends that were the one's who always went to church on Sunday, so if you spent the night at there house on Saturday, you knew you were going to church...it was that friend) to see if he could go to church with his family. They of course said yes and began to pick him up every Sunday. He liked it there, but the population was mostly older people, and he wanted to find a youth group (or at least that is what someone suggested to him). So one day while he was driving (and smoking a blunt), he pulled over to a baptist church, walked inside, and asked for the youth pastor. The youth pastor came out, and immediately recognized that he was high, so he bought Trey some food and they just sat and talked about life. The youth pastor invited Trey to come on Friday to youth group and Trey reluctantly accepted. Trey went to youth group on Friday night (and it was Good Friday!...but Trey didn't know that). So, you all can assume what kind of message was preached that night. It hit Trey to the core. He began to cry and got scared because no one had seen him cry for years, and he walked out the door. But as he was walking out, the youth pastor came running after him (he had grabbed one of the leaders to keep youth group rolling). The youth pastor stopped Trey, took him into his office, and Trey gave his life to the Lord (I am literally tearing up as I write this because God is just SO good...I felt awkward crying in front of Trey last night, but trust me, I wanted too). Trey gave the youth pastor his gun and his drugs (except for the marijuana...he said he wanted just one last smoke...I love how this just shows how desperately we need a Savior...we will never be perfect until His consummation).
Trey went on a whirlwind (a lot like my testimony) and he began to study the Bible like crazy. He had dropped out of school, so he had a lot of spare time. The youth pastor set it up for him so everyday there would be someone in the church to meet with him and answer his questions. So Trey would get up at 8am, read the Bible, write down all his questions, and then talk about them with a pastor, and then do it all over again (Ahh, the glory days of opening up God's word for the first time...good stuff). One night before youth group, Trey told his youth pastor that he felt like he needed share something. He spoke for 5 minutes in front of everyone about loving each other, and that spiraled into a weekly Bible reading with Trey before the youth pastor's message. Eventually over the summer at camp, Trey felt a calling into ministry. He shared with his youth pastor who confirmed the calling, and Trey began to speak as much as he possibly could. Eventually, Trey went back to high school, and he started going to a Saturday night service at a church that was closer to home.
One Saturday, the pastor announced that they were moving their service to Sunday and canceling the Saturday service. After service the pastor came up to Trey and asked him if he had a vision for the service on Saturday nights. Trey said yes, and that he would like to make it into a youth night. The pastor handed him the key to the church (which Trey still has on his keyring today) and Trey started a youth service. For the first one, they invited out everyone. They made flyers which said that "Trey Allen would be speaking". Well, everyone knew that Trey Allen used to sell drugs...what could he possible be doing at church?! So, on that first Saturday night, 250 people came out to the service. Trey taught for a whole 50 minutes (oh yeeah), presented the Gospel, and 60 people came to the Lord that night. He had to call the pastor at his home and ask for help because they just didn't have enough people there to pray with the new believers! It seemed to me that a mini revival had broken out.
Trey told me one fruitful story from all of this: the mormons started to get saved. And eventually, 2 of the head mormons of the church in the town gave their lives the Christ and completely split and disintegrated the mormon church out there! How amazing is that?!
Eventually, Trey's name started getting out into the Christian world and he was getting invited to speak everywhere. He went on a summer tour and spoke all of the time. Well, someone from Biola was in that audience for one of those messages, and they called Trey and asked him to come to Biola on a speaking scholarship (he was 17 at the time). Trey passed his GED, flew out to California and preached a message in front of a board of people at Biola for the scholarship, and landed here for his freshman year of college.
He is coming up on his 5 year birthday of being a Christ follower. I am close; it will be 6 for me in June.
Come on now...isn't God amazing!!!
Currently listening to "Hosanna" from Hillsong, meditating on the moment that Jesus came riding in on that donkey, being worshipped, though He knew people would turn on Him and He would die a horrible death. Sometimes I try to imagine what He was thinking as He was riding along.
I think He was thinking of all the "Trey's" He was about to save.