Hi, my name is Avery Browning, I am a 10th grader at West Forsyth High School. You may know my family, my parents Kit and Doug Browning or even my grandmother Sallie Burley. My siblings are Sierra and Spencer Browning.
Today I am going to tell you my story … When I was 8 years old I was baptized. I had done Mission Friends, Bible Buddies, and Mother Daughter Camp. I could make my faith stronger and grow to know Jesus. I would also get to go and spend a week or so in the summer with my grandparents. Every night there we would do a devotion and a prayer before we would go to bed. This is where I first learned the Lord’s Prayer because my grandfather would say it every night as our prayer and tell us to say it with him. My grandfather was one of the most influential Christians on my life. He had such a big impact on helping me on my faith journey. He would tell anyone he saw about God and try to witness as much to them as possible. He would go to the jail and witness as a leader of the Gideon’s. I remember one time my grandmother and I dropped him off and I asked why he was going to the jail. He told me to help those in tough times find the best way out and to do what God called us to do. It was very impactful for me and I knew that I wanted to be just like him. He died in 2010 when I was in second grade, he had cancer and got to live in our basement with us for a couple of months before moving to the hospice home. I got to hear lots of his stories and even then, he was always smiling and telling us the best thing that we can do is to help others and be like a Christian. He never wanted to stop helping others even when he was the one that needed the help. He and my grandmother always did this thing when they saw someone out on the streets or someone who they thought they could witness to. They would put a dollar in a Gideon Bible at John 3:16. This taught me that you should love everyone and God cares for even those who aren’t like you. My grandmother still to this day does that and I think that is a wonderful idea. I love how she shares the word of Christ anyway she can. She would always tell me that we don’t know if they would read the verse or not but they have it in their hand and it could end up changing their life. We would rather have one person’s life change than miss that one person that needed a change in their life.
Another person in my life was my other grandfather, he always had a joyful song to sing. Even when he was sick towards the end he would always talk about his church growing up and these great stories. He died last year and was still singing and smiling as much as he could till the very end. He would always give us a quarter every time that we would come to visit or anytime he saw someone do something nice. He gave people more than just a quarter though, he would stop and say a compliment with the quarter that makes a person smile. Even though the value of the quarter lessens over time the love of that quarter still increased. I always thought giving people hope was an amazing thing, this helped my faith grow stronger. My grandmother still spreads the word and goes to that same church that he sang in the choir for and would go visit him in the nursing home every day. She would have a smile and the best thing to say thank you to the nurses and everyone there.
Both people had a big impact on making my faith stronger and teaching me the right things to do. I didn’t understand why God would take the people we care about away. This made me ask questions and ended up what helped me make my faith stronger and my decision to get baptized. After my grandfather died in 2010, the next year I was baptized and it was because of him something sad happening that I couldn’t understand all the good things that come of this. I then realized the good and know to always look toward the positives. This also helps me with being able to share my faith story with others as well.
Everyone in my life has helped me on my faith journey. Being a Christian has made my life the best it can be. Every adventure is the start of something else. I love being able to express my faith even through song and dance for the things that I work with musicals and athletic training on the side of the football field. Everything I do … youth events, retreats, choir at church, and leading children’s hand chimes is a way to make my faith grow. I’m glad I get to share my story and know that I can make an impact on someone around us. Even though I was baptized I know my journey is not over and my faith still has room to grow.
– Avery Browning