Austin Surina, Class of 2015 - Bottom of the Ninth #103

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Bottom of the 9th - Austin Surina

Austin Surina, Class of 2015

John 20:30-31, "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

I was told by many people at a young age that I would be nothing, that I would accomplish nothing. I was told that I would be a hinderance on society and my family, that all I would do is cause them stress. This rang true for a while in my life. At the age of two I went in for a usual immunization, the MMR shot to be specific, and I had a seizure that lasted a couple of minutes in reaction to it. After the seizure, I lost all of my social and verbal skills; it was as if I was a newborn baby again. The struggle my family went through was a burden, but they kept their faith in me and in God.The reason why their faith was so strong was because of a message they received from my older sister, Alex, she was about 5 at the time. She had a dream in which Jesus told her to tell my parents that He was going to heal me and that they had nothing to worry about anymore. After receiving this good news my parents decided to keep fighting on for me and to never give up hope. The doctors told my parents to put me in a mental institution because all I was doing was causing them trouble in life. They told my parents I would not even make it to high school mentally or academically. My parents chose to keep fighting on and never gave up on me because of the message they received from Alex.

At the age of four, I was selected as one of the two kids in the whole country to partake in a double-blind placebo study to see if there is a correlation between autism and the stomach. I went through this experimental study and I improved the ever so slightly, but since it was a slight change, it was the hope by parents needed to continue fighting for me. They got me more doctor visits and I would eventually say my first word at the age of five. I would start kindergarten on time with my age group and class and this was a miracle indeed.

I would go through my elementary years not knowing I was autistic until my parents sat me down and explained that I am autistic. This was news to me and answered some questions I had as to why I was different from the other kids, and that it is okay to be different. In that fifth grade year, my little sister, Macarley, would be born completely deaf. This was tough and shocking news to my family. To have one special needs child in a family is a lot of work, but TWO is an unimaginable amount of work. My little sister would be able to get a surgery called Cochlear Implants that allows her to hear as we do, but she remains completely deaf if she is not wearing it.

In the sixth grade, my Grandma passed away and this was devastating on for me. She was one of the biggest influences on me religiously. Grandma fed my unusual desire for a 12 year old to learn about God and who God is. When she passed away, I was angry with God and confused because why would a God take away someone who meant so much to me. This would left puzzled and confused about if a God really cared about us.

In the seventh grade I was assaulted by a kid for no good reason at a track meet. We do not know why he chose to attack me that day, it could have been for a multitude of reasons, but for some reason on that day I was his target. I was really traumatized by this event and it made me even resent a God who supposedly cared about His creation even more. Why would a God allow such a horrific event happen?

That next year we moved  to Colorado for my little sister because the best services for her hearing needs are in Denver. They train the surgeons for the Cochlear Implants here. The transition was rough on me and coming from Texas to Colorado was a major culture shock.  I left everything I knew behind me. I went through some slight depression through this move, and from the tough challenges that happened in my life, I believed that no God could be there for us because He let so much bad into this world.

My eighth grade year would come and go, and then my freshman year would come and it was a fun year. I went to school with my older sister, who was a senior, and this made my first year quite enjoyable. While I did socially and athletically enjoy my first year at Chapparal High School in Parker,CO,  there was a major breaking point for me. I had two teachers who chose to not help me, they actually hated the fact that I was different from the other kids. I had a teacher who refused to help me, and told me that I should figure out the material on my own. Another teacher would publicly mock me because I was not verbally strong yet. That teacher constantly attacked me for my struggles.  Finally, one day I broke down and started crying and decided enough was enough, and I found out what it would take to transfer to Valor and I started that process. The reason I wanted to go to Valor was because I figured that at a Christian school the teachers would actually care about me. I gave my parents all the paperwork needed and all the appointments needed to go to Valor and I would be able to transfer to Valor.

The summer before Valor I would decide to give my life to Christ because I finally realized  after 15 years that my God is not against me, but He is always for me! My sophomore and junior at Valor would be full of fun and growth, but I got lost in the crowd. I gave my life to Christ, but I did not understand what it meant to be a follower of Christ. It would not be until the summer before my senior year that God gave me a revelation. The revelation was that I was not living a life that glorified God, and I was not being the man that God wanted me to be. He made me realize that I need to make amends with my past and surrender my life fully to Him. While I did give my life to Christ the summer before sophomore year, I never fully surrendered my life to Him until the summer before my senior year. God made it evident that my calling in life is to become a pastor, and while I ran away form His voice for years, I finally was obedient and ran to his voice.

I finally started living a life God intended for me to live. I was blessed to go on recruiting visits for baseball and eventually choose Mid-America Nazarene University to be the place I would play ball for the next four years while studying pastoral ministries to become a pastor. Man, were those doctors wrong about me never making it to high school! I am now going to play college baseball and become a pastor to share the good news of Jesus Christ and that He is always there for you and will never abandon you. Baseball has taught me that not everything in life will be fair. Baseball has taught me that there will be slumps in life, that there will be bad calls, there will be decisions you disagree with, there will be victories, and there will be devastating losses. Baseball is like life because you need a steady rock to help keep you above the treacherous waves of life, and our rock, God.

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