“Happiness and acceptance were always my main goals in life. Drinking and partying made finding acceptance from others a little easier. But when the fun was over, I always looked for something else to satisfy me.” – Sonja Samson
Broken families, shattered trust, depression, and discontentment – Sonja Samson, Jermaine Harrison, and Graham Walton wouldn’t have written any of those things into the story of their lives. Yet God used some of their most painful seasons to move them towards a trusting relationship with Christ. Today, each one of them have turned their pain into a platform for sharing about God’s grace and faithfulness.
“God used a broken family and shattered trust, dreams, and relationships to bring me to Him. He took a kid who was born to a 16-year-old mother all the way from Jamaica to Texas to tell students about the hope we have in Christ.
“My mother worked very hard to make a better life for my brother and me. My biological father wasn’t around, so when I was three my mother moved to St. Maarten where there were more opportunities. Three years later, I joined her there. At the time my stepfather was not a believer, but he soon trusted Christ and his whole life was transformed. He and my mother began reading through the Bible with my brother and me early in the morning and after dinner at night.
“After high school, I worked for an ice cream company to save money for college. But after Hurricane Ivan, I was laid off and spent months looking for a job. Frustrated, I often wondered why God allowed this to happen. Eventually I went to a Bible college in St. Thomas, and later moved to Dallas. All along the way, God was preparing me to pursue vocational ministry.
“In 2012, I came to Watermark. The people I met were friendly and valued authenticity and walking with Christ in community. I started serving in Watermark Student Ministries, and teaching students as well. It’s a privilege to tell students that the world has a void that can only be filled by Christ.
“Now when my circumstances seem to go awry I look at Matthew 7:9-11 and reflect on God’s faithful hand at work giving me good gifts – even if they didn’t seem good in the moment. Whether it was my broken family or a change in my career plans, God has worked all things for good in my life. He has written my story so much better than I ever could have.”
“Happiness and acceptance were always my main goals in life. Drinking and partying made finding acceptance from others a little easier. But when the fun was over, I always looked for something else to satisfy me.
“I considered Christianity as part of my identity, but I didn’t think it was the most important thing. My sophomore year in college, I attended the Passion Conference in Atlanta. I could see that the Holy Spirit was alive and working in people around me. Unfortunately, I was not ready to give up the kingdom I had built for myself.
“One night, I saw just how pointless my life was becoming. I cried out to the Lord in prayer and made a decision to devote myself to pursuing God. I started reading God’s Word, going through the four Gospels and learning stories about Jesus I’d never heard before.
“Thanks to God’s work in my life, things are different today. I serve in Children’s Ministry and help teach children important aspects of God’s character. It’s a privilege to share God’s grace with kids so they can avoid making some of the same mistakes I made. After years of searching, I can truly say that only in God’s presence was I ever able to find security, peace, and fullness of joy.”
“I figured there would be time for God later, so I lived for this life and everything that the world says is good – my beautiful wife whom I married in 2010, a solid real estate career, money, and status. Then one day, after I closed a significant real estate deal, my excitement was greeted with the news that she didn’t love me and wanted a divorce. Every day after that was a living hell.
“One day, I met with a client about selling his property. Midway through our meeting, he asked me if I had a faith. Although I claimed to be a Christian, nothing in my life reflected Christ. That conversation was the catalyst for a chain reaction in my heart. Later, my twin brother explained God’s grace to me, and I finally understood that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me (Romans 5:8). God wasn’t waiting for me to be good enough to earn His favor. He’d been right there with me, loving me in spite of my imperfections.
“I started attending Watermark Fort Worth and soon became part of a community group. Those guys walked with me through the entire process of finalizing the divorce – sticking in there when I was at my lowest low. Some people claim that when you come to Christ your life or your circumstances suddenly get better. But God does not promise that. I live every day now knowing that life with Christ is better than any fairy tale ending of a story here on earth. I have eternal life now, and it’s worth whatever I had to endure to have a relationship with Christ.”