Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve always wanted to have a brother. After my sisters were born, I asked my parents if they were going to have another kid. They responded with, “We might have one.” Years later, I asked again but I never got an answer. My parents decided to not have any more children.

When I was 20, my mom and I were sitting in the living room talking about the future and family. I’ve always told her I wasn’t going to have kids. Today she asked why and I told her I was very nervous about starting a family and I thought I wasn’t going to be a good enough father. She looked me in the eye and told me I was going to be a great father and that my kids will love me. 

After our long conversation, I asked why she and dad never had another kid. She explained to me that she wanted a boy, but sadly the baby died in a miscarriage and they didn’t try again. They never found out the sex of the baby, but if it was a boy they would’ve named him Matthew. In my immediate response, I decided if I have a boy, I would name him Matthew, in their honor. 

Before I did my DTS at Port YWAM, I found myself alone and didn’t have many friends. The people I spent my time with were not Christians; they often led me down the wrong path, brought me down, and never encouraged me to step out and be me. Since I’m diagnosed with Autism, I’ve had a hard time being around guys. They would either trick me into being friends with them or bully me, which led me to never see myself as a man of God. 

When I got accepted into YWAM Ships Kona, I felt as if something wasn’t right. My doubts often told me I would never fit in and that I was going to be an outcast. When I actually got to Hawaii, I found myself having a hard time finding my place in the community. I often asked God, “Why am I here?” Then, over the next few weeks, I noticed that my roommates were starting to pay attention to me and actually see ME. I started to connect with the guys around me and began to build deep-rooted friendships. 

One evening, my roommate and I got back from a ministry night and we sat down on the sea wall and he opened up to me about what was on his mind. The evening’s message was about adoption and it spoke to his heart. He explained how he eventually wants to adopt a little kid from Cambodia. That’s when he turned to me, put his hand on my shoulder and said, “I’ve always seen you as a little brother and I’m going to adopt you as my little brother, meaning, I will take care of you and you will always have a place in my heart.” Even though we were the same age, I looked up to him as a big brother. 

That night, I thanked God for him, for that conversation, and I prayed that our relationship would remain strong. With this friendship, God fulfilled my desire of having a brother.

God put me into YWAM because he knew I would find brothers in Christ that would support me and help me through life. The brothers I have found will always be in my prayers, even when we’re miles apart and in old age. They have helped to shape me into the man I am today and I’m so thankful for each and every one of them. 

Brandon Gray
Port YWAM Kona, Volunteer

Click here to learn more about DTS with YWAM Ships Kona!

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