This weekend, thousands of young adults in their 20s and 30s will gather at Watermark to worship and be equipped in God’s Word. As you read Trey’s story, be thinking of ways you can pray for transformation in the hearts of young adults you know and for Awaken attendees from all over the country. We are hopeful and excited to see how the Lord works in and through Awaken and The Porch this year.
“I felt like I was robbed of my youth,” said Trey Mapes. “My parents divorced when I was young, so I spent most of my time with my mom and would stay with my dad on the weekends. I didn’t have very consistent friendships. At a very early age, I was diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy and later in middle school diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. While neither of these left me debilitated, I still wasn’t able to do a lot of the things kids around me were doing, like sports.
“When my mom became a Christian, she started bringing my brother and me along to church. We would pray every morning before school and at the dinner table. She was instilling in us the best she could for us to follow the Lord. I look back now and see that as such protection in my life.
“A couple of years later I made the decision to give my life to the Lord and understood that He died on the cross for my sins (1 Peter 2:24). I wanted to follow Him faithfully.
“Even through the hardships that came with my parents’ divorce and the frustrations from my health issues, I remember many nights meditating on Romans 8:28 knowing that God was going to take everything I’d experienced and use it for my good and His glory. I learned so early – between my diseases and my parents’ divorce – that I did not have control over my life.
“In college, I desired control and found myself striving for success academically. Success came, but the Lord quickly convicted me during my freshman year of college that I was serving myself instead of Him and others. By His grace, I was able to find Christian friends to serve and do student ministry with.
“I think God used that to protect me from so many things that can happen in that 18- to 22-year-old range in a college environment. I grew closer to Him, and He used me to help other students who faced similar trials. I was able to see things the Lord was doing, not on my timeline but on His.
“Around this same time, I befriended a pastor who invited a group of other young adults and me to spend every Monday night with his family. We would have dinner, study the Bible, pray, and simply do life together. He welcomed us into his family, and I was able to experience true, authentic relationships between Christians.
“That experience of biblical family and community was so influential in my walk with the Lord, and I desired that so deeply when I moved to Dallas for a job.
“I moved to Dallas knowing no one but was able to get connected and involved at Watermark through The Porch, Watermark’s ministry for young adults. After attending a few times, I met some of the nicest and most welcoming people. They were so kind to pursue me and invite me to different events. I quickly saw how authentic and open the Christians at Watermark were living, and I wanted to be a part of that.
“Fast forward a few years, and I’m at The Porch every Tuesday welcoming newcomers and leading volunteers on Team Curbside. The Porch truly is an entrance for young adults to the church, and the way we love, welcome, and host can really point someone to Christ. There are so many other places these people could be on a Tuesday night, but God brings them here. Being able to see the transformation and heart changes in young adults, in my team, and in myself is just so sweet and so humbling.
“I’ve seen the Lord’s faithfulness through His protection and provision over my life in so many ways. I am thankful that I knew the Lord so young because I can see how He has carried me through all of my life. Romans 5:8 says, ‘but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ That means even before I knew Him; He died for me. He takes care of me in ways I couldn’t even write myself. He redeems everything for His glory.
“In my adolescence, I felt like I just didn’t belong, but God redeems me and calls my name. I know I belong to Him, and I anchor myself to that truth.”