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Nathan, 29 years old

My Time At Steps

My three years at Steps has shown me many things, many good and wonderful things. There have also been many challenging and difficult things which have taken me to my knees before God. In all that I have come to do and be at Steps, I thank God that he has placed me here for this time.

Had I been keeping a consistent journal, the first day would have said something about how I am required to learn my job under the guidance of a very strict German. It would also have said that the place is welcoming and that I am excited to learn and grow in this new environment. I would soon meet many of the people in the neighborhood. Fast forward six months, and I would have written something describing my inadequacies and how I don’t understand why there is very little interest in personal growth among the adults of the neighborhood. Thanks be to God for a good staff and excellent outside support! I would also have thrown in there that I wasn’t prepared to be a janitor, admin, and counselor like I am being asked to be.

Hop forward again to a year and a half, and I beginning to think to myself that God must have forgotten to give me the how-to for this part of my training. Perhaps I heard Steps ministries of some other Buffalo? Definitely not. This is the one, the only, and God was working on me as much as anyone he called me to reach. God was ripping out of me the notion that God wants everything perfect in advance of building relationship. I suppose Jesus did come to a world that would not receive him. Some of that unrepentant world existed still inside of me, and, at a year and a half into ministry, I was beginning to see things different. The how-to manual I needed was the rest and reliance in my Lord Jesus Christ. If anyone would hear about the love of Jesus through me, then it would have to be because Jesus was my first ministry despite the insistence from other people that they be put first.

However great the lessons, however strong the examples, three years into my time at Steps has shown me that I have much yielding and humbling to experience yet. The role of a missionary at Steps isn’t to talk at people, but it is found in fixing a squeaky clothes dryer. It is found in sitting down to listen when a youth has an anxiety attack at a church event because they are learning about God and it is scaring them. It is feeling the weight of every soul in your neighborhood and knowing that only God can bear a burden so big. Jesus loves Seneca Babcock, and for reasons only he knows, he put me here. I wish to always fall to my knees and hear from my God. I wish to remember that at Steps God revealed his love to me in a greater way and then asked me to give it away free of charge for three incredible years.”

Matt, 17 years old

“My name is Matt. I was born in Buffalo, and raised in South Buffalo. My life wasn’t the greatest. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. My family wasn’t the wealthiest family. We fought and argued. My parents split up constantly. I got bullied.
I always knew who God was since I was, like, 5 or 6. My dad taught me about god, but he didn’t force him on me. Throughout my childhood, I got in trouble a lot. I was 15 when I came to Steps, and I only went because my friend, Maggie, wanted her cousin (my best friend) to come. He asked me to come so he knew people there, and I did.
I had no intentions of coming back, but I did to give Steps another try, and I’m glad I did! I didn’t get saved right away, it took about 6 months. At Broadway Hope (Steps’ Deeper camping retreat) God really touch my heart. He showed me that he does exist. There is hope! After that day, I gave all my faith, glory, and love to the Lord. Now I always have love and trust in the Lord, instead of leaning on my own understanding.
God works! He loves and helps.You’re all his children, there is hope for all of us!”

Jonathan, 17 years old (started coming to Steps when he was 12)

“In the past, I thought of myself as a nobody, just another face in the crowd. I didn’t know I was different – until I first started coming to Steps. I changed from a nobody to a follower to a worshipper to a leader. If I had never made the decision to walk through the door of Steps, I probably would not be here today.”

Joey, 15 years old (started coming to Steps when he was 12)

“Before I came to  Steps I had a very different mindset. I wouldn’t be thinking about anything good, only hate and garbage. When I look at my friends and see how they live, they don’t know God and they do all this stuff – so I try and invite them.”

Leslie, local resident

“They do what Christians are supposed to do: they do the stuff instead of just talk the stuff.”

Sam, 19 years old

“There was one situation in particular when I needed somebody and the Steps was the only place I could think of going to. I started talking to Ben and he asked if he could pray for me. Pray for me? At the time I was like “What is that gonna do?” but you know – what Ben did for me, what happened there really changed my life.”