TEXARKANA, Texas — Thousands of area students and community members filled the home side of Pleasant Grove High School's Hawk Stadium on Wednesday to hear powerful testimony on how Jesus Christ has changed the lives of many.
The seventh annual Fields of Faith drew students from across the area, including what organizers said was half of the Spring Hill High School.
Red River Fellowship of Christian Athletes Area Director Eric Akin told the audience the evening's testimonies would change their lives, as well.
"I'm gonna ask you to listen because I believe somebody tonight is going to say something on this stage that is going to change your life forever," he said. "I want you to understand that as event director that we don't put this event together so that we can just have thousands come to this stadium. We don't put blood, sweat and tears and youth pastors and coaches here just for our health and to say we did something. We do it so lives are changed and so Jesus can be lifted up. And that's what we're going to do tonight and these stories that you're going to hear are simply about how he changed their life."
Several students shared their personal testimonies, including 13-year-old Cameron Gordon of Genoa, Arkansas, who plays basketball and competes in the Quiz Bowl.
She shared her personal story of how her parents divorced when she was 4 years old and that her eighth year of life was what she considered to be her worst.
"My dad lost custody of me from child abuse, and my mom started inviting guys over and doing drugs, and I was just scared," she said. "I was alone. I didn't have anyone that I trusted, or I didn't have anyone that loved me. Every night there was just fighting. I couldn't sleep. I didn't get a break."
That changed when she was 10 and a man died in their front yard of a heroin overdose. She was taken from her mother's custody and her grandparents adopted her.
"I was still depressed and felt there was nothing worth living for, and then they started making me go to church," Cameron said. "And after a while, I could hear what they were saying to me. I started trusting and everything since then has been so amazing."
She said she began to appreciate her friends, family and even those like her father.
"I can appreciate the good in people, where everything was so horrible and dull before," Cameron said. "For those of you who feel you have no purpose, there's nothing left worth living for, I have been there. I have come from there. All because of him (Jesus). If you need that last anchor, that last hope, just something, anything to grab onto, just start listening to him. He'll change you. He'll be there for you. His unconditional love is all you need."
Cade Haak of Pleasant Grove High School spoke about how Christ helped him when he struggled with his mother's death from breast cancer just over a year ago, and Liberty-Eylau High School Principal Kendrick Smith spoke about his faith, as well.
"When you make the decision to walk with Christ, it's tough because you have to turn your back to a lot of people," Smith said. "You have to turn your back to a lot of things and you try to strive to be perfect. I think sometimes we get it wrong when we strive to be perfect because the most important thing is making sure that you have (Jesus') presence with you every day in that walk."
Keynote speaker Stephen Mackey, who gave talks at various school assemblies earlier in the week, also gave his personal testimony of how Jesus worked in his life despite the obstacles thrown at him. Biracial and born to a teen mother, Mackey beat the odds to become a first-generation college graduate, character development coach, motivational speaker, husband, and father.
The event was streamed through Facebook Live on Red River FCA's Facebook page.