Friday, July 8, 2011

Testimony of a Teen: I Am Understood ~By Dakota William Reasoner

"And sometimes I'm so thankful for your loyalty,
Your love regardless of the mistakes I make will spoil me,
My confidence is, in a sense, a gift you've given me
And I'm satisfied to realize you're all I'll ever need"

Those are some of the lyrics to Reliant K's song: I Am Understood. I picked up that CD at about nine years old having no idea that they were a Christian group at all. Seven years later that’s my favorite song. It’s like it describes my faith for me. I can’t believe how well I relate to it. God uses that song to remind me that no matter how many of those mistakes I make he still loves me regardless. And it also relates to my testimony, so let me share it with you.

My name is Dakota William Reasoner, (But you already know that). I was born on January 9, 1995 in Joplin, Missouri. I currently attend Abundant Life Christian Center in Joplin, where I’ve attended since 2007. When I was growing up on the west side of town, my Dad worked for CFI and my Mom ran a day-care at home. Things were alright at home during the day with the other kids, but once my dad got home there would be lots of screaming and yelling. My Dad and my Sister (who has a different father) didn’t get along at all, and eventually my Sister left to stay with our Aunt.

When I was about five, my Mom told me her and my Dad weren’t going to be married anymore. At the time I didn’t understand what exactly this meant. But thankfully, my Mom and Dad got along, and still do, so I was able to spend time with both of them. My Mom remarried and we moved across town. I started elementary school, got on a school bus for the first time, and sat down next to some red-headed kid. His name was Spencer. That day we became best friends.

I remember Spencer telling me and our friends about the things he had learned at Church, and we laughed at him. I went to Church with my Mom, where we sang a few hymns, took Communion and then left. I didn’t like going at all. But Spencer was telling me of this Jesus fellow who I had not really heard of. He invited me to come to Church with him multiple times, but naturally I declined. When I think back, the other guys were pretty mean to him about it, and I never stood up for him. Eventually it got bad enough, Spencer had to change schools. But then middle school came and we were going to school together again and we found out Jr. High was rough. We certainly did not fit the expectations for being “cool” or “popular”. But of course we had to try, so you could find us at ‘The Bridge’ unsuccessfully hitting on girls we had just met, cussing and laughing and talking about stupid things we didn’t actually know anything about. We thought we were real big shots.

Then there was a girl. She invited me to Church with her. And I said “sure.” You know, ‘cause she would be there. And once I went, it wasn’t so bad! In fact, I rather enjoyed it. Church was all of a sudden fun... and crawling with girls!

Yup, I was goin’ to Church for the girls. I could’ve cared less about pleasing God at that point in my life. But some of the guys from school were at that church and they didn’t like me and wanted to make sure I didn’t come back. So I didn’t. A few weeks later Spencer asked me to come to his church one more time. So I did. I was hoping it would be close to the same thing, and it was. But... Oh Crap... Now I have to sit through an hour of the youth pastor, Bryan, talking. I didn’t like Bryan all too well. I was very quick to judge him. I was willing to sit through that though since I enjoyed the social time before Service.

After a few Wednesday night services I decided to start listening to him, and what he had to say intrigued me. I had never heard of this God who created the whole universe yet wanted a personal relationship with... me. All I had ever heard of was the creating the universe part. I just didn’t think that God would be interested in somebody who wasn’t even accepted at church! I also refused to believe that I was accepted at this church. It only took one individual making it clear that he didn’t like me for me to tell Spencer that I was leaving and I was never coming back.

During that time away from church I changed schools because of rejection. And I also decided that I didn’t want to live anymore. I had intentions of slitting my own throat, and I was really going to do it. But, as I was starting to go through with it I realized I didn’t know where I was going to go when I died. I didn’t know what it took to get into Heaven, and I was too afraid of Hell to take that chance.

I just wanted somebody to walk in on me and see what I was contemplating doing and for hours nobody came despite my yelling. And finally, after my lungs had given out, somebody came to save me, and I passed out on the floor. I woke up the next morning and told myself I had to get back to church. I had found something there. Naturally, Spencer called me up and invited me to a Friday Night Hang-out. Go- Ministries from Minnesota was there and they were really cool. One of the “Go Interns” from Kentucky, Cody, sat down with me and explained to me who Jesus Christ is and who gets into Heaven. He explained to me that nobody is an accident, not even me and my seemingly worthless life. Cody and Spencer convinced me to go to the youth camp that next weekend called Lake Invasion. I went and I gained a desire to apply the things that Bryan, the youth pastor, had talked about to my life.

For the first time, I truly believed in this God I had heard so much about. It felt so happy. I guess that’s what being in God’s presence will do. The next Sunday, May 15, 2008 Pastor Larry Bjorklund ended his sermon with an altar call and I gave my life to Jesus Christ.

From that moment on there was nothing more important than my relationship with Christ. All I want to do now is serve Him and worship Him. And I hope to continue doing that by joining the Go Ministries Internship program in Minnesota. And then later becoming a pastor and showing people that same love that snagged me before I threw my young life away completely. And by the way, the youth pastor Bryan, that I didn’t care for at first, is now one of my closest friends and somebody I look up to. I’ve never felt more accepted anywhere as I do at Abundant Life Christian Center, where I’ve gained a Faith Family and more importantly, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Finally, I Am Understood.

Dakota William Reasoner, Joplin, Missouri

Note from Ronda~

Dear Dakota William Reasoner,

I am *OVERJOYED* that God’s love snagged you too.

Life is not easy when you are a teenager; kids are mean. I remember when we first moved to Joplin and came to Abundant Life you were SO welcoming to us. You have always been a ball of friendly energy. We liked you immediately. We are so grateful to have you in our lives and we love your company, and your friendship.

I know that you are going to do amazing things for Jesus by sharing your love for Him with others. You have a powerful testimony that you can minister to others who have felt the sting of rejection, the taunting of peers, the cruelty of this time and place… Don’t let anything snuff that light. You shine SO bright!

You are such a blessing.

Your Sister in Christ,


Also, Happy Birthday to Sam.  I love you Honey.

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