This is a story I find myself struggling to tell. I wish I weren’t so close to it, but I am. I want to find a way to share it without sounding like a proud father, convinced that he has the most beautiful baby in the world. That’s probably . . . impossible.
As you all know, I am a missionary who takes students overseas to plant churches. Every child needs to experience a rite of passage-a clearly defined line that distinguishes childhood from adulthood. Our organization, Awe Star Ministries, provides mission trips intentionally designed to serve as rite of passage events.
Nearly four years ago, I met B.J. Higgins, a young man who wanted to experience this kind of journey. At just 14 years of age, he begged his parents to let him go to Peru as part of an Awe Star team. Upon arrival at our mission training camp, Awe Star University, he left adolescence behind and embraced adulthood with everything he had.
B.J. went to Peru, taking on the job of a man. He traveled from city to city, witnessing and lifting up the name of Jesus Christ. Everywhere he went, he called people to repent and accept the Good News. God’s hand was upon him, and the Peruvians knew it. In spite of his small size and youthful appearance, grown men and women listened to what he said. Many of them came to know Jesus through his obedience. Although he was the youngest and smallest of the group, his teammates recognized him as their spiritual leader. B.J. had become . . . a man.
At 15, God called B.J. to Peru once more. Again, he and his peers traveled to share the Gospel and begin churches. Again, he acted as a man. One day, several teenage gang members began making fun of one of the women on the team. B.J. moved to protect her. At that point, God laid it on his heart to share the Gospel. He wrote later that he was “mucho scardios,” but every one of the gang members came to know Christ.
Not long after arriving home from this second trip to Peru, B.J. became ill. Doctors treated him with antibiotics, but within a few weeks, he lay fighting for his life. During his illness, his family posted regular updates (including many of B.J.’s own amazing journal entries) on a blog site visited by thousands scattered across the globe.
When he first learned that he would be admitted to the hospital, B.J. told his father, “Dad, I know you’re scared. I believe the Lord will deliver me through this. But if He doesn’t, I’m going home to be with Him, and that’s OK with me.” His faith in a sovereign God prepared him to face whatever lay ahead. Six weeks later, B.J. went home to be with Jesus.
Many of you Baptist Messenger readers prayed for him. Many you walked beside the Higgins family and followed B.J.’s journey on www.prayforbj.com. Now, you can read his words and story for yourself in I Would Die For You: One Student’s Story of Passion, Service, and Faith by Brent and Deanna Higgins with excerpts from the journals of B.J. Higgins. This new release from Revell Books takes its title from a song written and recorded by Bart Millard, lead singer of MercyMe. Bart met B.J. several years ago, and was one of the many bloggers touched by his inspiring story and message.
A free downloadable companion I Would Die For You study guide designed especially for students and student ministries will soon be available at www.revellbooks.com. You can order the book there, at www.amazon.com, at www.christianbook.com and other online sources or find it at your local bookstore. For an autographed copy, contact Awe Star Ministries, www.awestar.org, 800/AWE STAR (800/293-7827) or 918/664-3500.
This world, with its headlines full of teenagers who have gone astray, needs to learn about one young man who did it right. Every parent and every student should read this story of the incredible things God can do with a heart fully surrendered to . . . His.