Mark was at a disadvantage prior to his birth. He was exposed to drugs in-utero and the first 2½ years of his life were defined by abuse and extreme darkness. Although he was removed from his home and eventually adopted at age 5, Mark had significant behavioral difficulties and needed serious intervention.

When Mark arrived at Holston Home he was a teenager with little to no trust regarding the people around him. It was heartbreaking to see this six-foot tall young man come to us terrified of the dark due to his past abuse. Over the next few months, Mark formed relationships with caring adults at Holston Home and discovered the truth about God’s great love for him. After giving his life to Jesus Christ, Mark made a profession of faith and began to see the world differently.

Although Mark could stay trapped in fear and hopelessness from his past, he chooses to focus on the future with Christ at the helm. Mark gave a beautiful summary of his feelings in the following poem he submitted as an assignment for River Academy.

When you hear autumn what do you feel?
What do you say?
What are the expressions on your face,
or the faces around you?
The feelings that occur throughout my body
and the things I think are,
“Am I going to have a family this year?”

But really what hits my mind
is the beautiful scenery
and the way that God expresses
His feelings through the seasons,
showing us the power He has,
but also the peace that flows through Him

It’s an amazing thing,
this beautiful time of year.
This year is almost over,
but for some of us,
life is just beginning.
The chance to live life is just around the corner!