I use quotation marks because those are the exact words Joe Kuphal used to describe his "brother"- Dusty White. (Joe on left, Dusty on right)
I'm re-telling this story that I told last night, because I think there are people that need to hear those words again, "There is hope for you. If you will lay hold of Him with all your heart, Jesus Christ will change everything."
Dusty grew up in Omaha with his grandparents, and occasionally a drunk, abusive father and strung out uncle. By God's good providence, only a small open lot separated Dusty from the Kuphal family.
"He took shelter at our house many times... I remember he spent the night at our house after his drunk father threw a brick at him," Joe told me in a text conversation yesterday.
I asked Dusty for a picture of himself when he was little. His response, "That's assuming anyone took pictures of me when I was little."
It was not the broken voice of a victim who spoke those words. It was the grace-filled chuckle of a confident man.
Dusty was basically adopted by the Kuphal family, where he was constantly confronted with the good news about Jesus, not just in words, but action. Dusty's house was a war zone, the Kuphal home a refuge.
When Dusty was in sixth grade, the Kuphals moved to Indiana. Sally, the Kuphal matriarch, pulled Jeff Thune aside and said, "Make sure Dusty gets to church every week."
"He just kept coming," Dusty said with tears.
During those teen years, surrounded by his church family, Dusty continued to put his stake in the ground for Christ. As a senior, I drove the scrawny freshman to school in my old Accord, rocking out to Keith Green on the way to Burke High. Poised to change the world, our mustard seed faith and love for Jesus propelled us into that school with good news.
Fast forward to today.
A couple years ago, he told me how his dad was taking advantage of his grandparents. Dusty manned up on his own dad and kicked him out of the house, making him homeless. Every so often, he would take his dad his mail.
"How do you know where to find him?" I asked.
Dusty simply replied, "I know where he parks."
Dusty is a modern day Josiah- a reminder that every person has access to newness of life. When Jesus Christ comes into a person, He changes everything.
He exhorted me to "Preach it! Tell them college kids to get a vision for their life, to shrug off all the dang excuses, and get busy living for the kingdom!"
"Dusty, a dude completely set up with every ingredient in life for a batch of disaster and ruin..." Joe said, ending his text with the simple triumphant proclamation...
To the praise of his glorious grace!