Ron Alford – Seattle Pacific University
We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts. -Romans 5:3-5
My greatest fear in life is to be average, to be “one of many”…. no way.
As most 19 year olds….I was searching. Lost and full of misdirection making stupid choices and hanging with those that accepted my lame rationalizations and even encouraging them.
I’m not going to say that Southwestern Advantage saved me….it just gave me a chance to shine. An environment where people believed in me and pushed me…unconditionally.
I was put on earth to serve, and as long as I am here I hope to rise above, to shock the world, to be….great. We all have different interpretations of that word….mine means that I simply use ALL of what God has given me. I follow where He leads me and I ignore people who roll their eyes, have no belief, and want to suck me into being average like them. Psssshhhhhooooooot no.
I heard about Southwestern Advantagejust going into finals at a dead end community college….just biding time to make a real decision….scared and full of what I’d call a “false confidence” like many 19 year olds. It was as simple as a buddy of mine who had never sold books saying you gotta check this out….”I’m gonna do it this summer and it’s a CRAZY ADVENTURE …. sell something, somewhere, with someone…and you can compete with thousands of other’s on an even playing field and see what you’re made of” THAT got me….
I called the company and the local leader drove 90 minutes out of his way to meet me…I told my best friend as well and before you know it, just 5 days later we are both off to Nashville, TN for a summer to see what we were made of….a summer to see who is all talk and who is all walk.
I believe there are certain opportunities in life that you take or you don’t and those decisions determine who you are and the life you will lead. And once the decision is made it then needs to be made great.
18 years later, I am still with the Southwestern Advantage. I have peace. I have joy. Unconditional JOY….not happiness that just comes and goes with the events of each day…but true joy for living life to its fullest….serving others and doing something that constantly scares me….something that forces me to rise up and be great, to be my personal best. I will never let the people I work with down, never. They know they have my best. I sincerely believe I have no special talents…… but I got crazy heart and I got crazy desire and I got crazy belief and I got crazy faith and no one can take that away.
REJOICE IN YOUR SUFFERINGS. Those words will never make sense to most of mankind. Working with youth that are lacking direction and belief just as I was…..giving youth an opportunity and believing in them until it hurts…believing in them when they don’t even know why….YES!! Every day I have frustration and I have doubts just like everyone….but above all that, I have laughter and I have humility and I have tremendous amounts of gratitude…and I always ….. REJOICE.