My Story // Josh

Listen to Josh's story

I grew up in a Christian household learning about God, and was going to church every week, but never learned nor desired anything about God. I would try to read, pray, worship, but never found a real relationship with God. During my school years, I would get into trouble a lot, and would hang out with the wrong crowds, which caused a lot of problems. If there was one word that would describe what I was looking for that caused most actions that I had done during that time…it was attention. I was looking to be that popular kid, or the kid that was in stories, or the kid that everyone knew. That was me. And though I had a loving family, who took great care of me, and taught me all the right things, and supported me throughout all my life, it was I who made all the wrong decisions, and still sought out my own desires. I was living a double life.

The summer after my senior year was very tough, and that’s when I started drawing closer to God. I knew that my life needed to change, and was slowly realizing that attention wasn’t worth as much as I thought. That seeking anything of myself and my desires was a waste of time. But seeking God and learning His ways was something new, something that was so much more beautiful and amazing. Being able to see His character, and nature, and learn the way He did things encouraged me to find and seek Him more. Going to college was huge, and it was at UTSA where I found my family away from home. I joined a group called Chi Alpha, and met my small group leader, who discipled me and displayed characteristics of Jesus. Something that I had not seen before outside of my family. As I kept going, I saw that everyone in this organization was like my small group leader. He was so kind, loving, and most importantly, so much in love with Jesus. Soon I became a small group leader myself, and though it was very tough at first, it taught me what it was like to love others, and have a desire to show who Jesus was. To be able to share to other students about who He is and what He has done for us, it was new and such a privilege. But little did I know that I was about to go through the toughest season of my life – and it all happened so suddenly.

In August of 2015, I was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer. It was a shock to all of us , and I knew that a new chapter was going to start. To describe what that experience was like was very simple: hard but beautiful. It was hard because of the pain, and because of the things I was not used to. It was hard because my life was tested and I fell on my face so many times. It was hard because I was relying on my own strength, and that is what God used to make it beautiful. It’s crazy to think that such a terrible time in my life, would be the most treasured time I have ever had with our beautiful God. It was beautiful because I learned so much. It was beautiful because of the support I received from friends and family. It was beautiful because Jesus gave me His strength, and when that happened, I was healed. For two and half years, there was sorrow that became joy, fear that became confidence, and weakness that became strength. What a deep love to receive. What a love to know and have all the time.

Since then, I have had the beautiful opportunity of going out to the mission field, where yet again, I was able to see the heart of God for His people even across the nations. That is something that never changed throughout my life – His love. And it never will. God has given me a desire to love Him and to love people. He has showed me and taught me that there is no one like Him, and nothing like His love. I am forever grateful for our God’s love and pray that this testimony will be able to show who our God really is and just how far He will go to bring you to Him.

Josh Perez