Sitting on the floor in an old, dusty gym, listening to a message from Chris Fanning, changed my faith. Chris poured into me personal stories so I could experience the love of God through him.
Chris Fanning is the most enthusiastic person I have ever met. During Younglife worship, Chris turns beat red from singing so hard, and gets muscles cramps from jumping erratically; but Chris is also the most down to earth guy. I have never seen someone who is so invested physically, mentally, and financially into his job and the kids he affects. Chris didn’t just become my youth but became one of my close friends.
Then at the age of 14, Chris took me on my first Younglife trip to Saranac Lake in New York. Even after frustration mounted after a 19 hour bus ride, Chris was gentle and calm. After sharing his testimony, Chris challenged me to reflect on my life and my faith. Later that evening, with tears in my eyes, I devoted my life to Christ, asking Christ to come into my life the way he has in Chris.
Chris became a father figure in my life, and a mentor—someone who expected me to do my best and achieve my goals. Chris is one of the most selfless men, giving up his time, and energy to reach as many kids as possible and show them the love of God.
I decided to go on yet another Younglife trip to Frontier Ranch located in Colorado. Gazing up at the stars, I sat on a boulder opening my heart to Chris. Chris may have not known the answers to my millions of questions, or could relate to what I was talking about, but he listened and showed me how much he cared for me and my life.
This past year, I climbed Pearkes Mountain in British Columbia with Chris. I don’t know how he did it, but Chris made a 70 pound pack, no showering, same clothing, not much food, trip so enticing I decided to go. When we reached the summit, Chris pulled out a 12 pack of Coca Cola so we could enjoy it at 6,000 feet on the side of a mountain. He carried the extra weight just so we could share that moment together on the mountain. The team enjoyed something so sweet and satisfying while looking God’s beautiful creation while sitting on top of the summit.
Chris has been one of the most influential people in my life. He is someone I look up to and model my life in Christ after. Chris Fanning, thank you so much for helping me out over the years and for taking care of me as if I were your own son. Thank you for reaching out and thinking of me in my best and worst times. Thank you for being someone who I can look up to and model my life around.