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The Teenagers With A Secret They Wanted Mom To Find Out

Creeana Crosland's Story


At a special live-recorded event in August 2014, Creeana Crosland​ had the opportunity to say “thank you” to NewSpring owners for giving to the church that changed her family's life forever. Watch her remarkable video from that day, and read the story behind her story ...

A slice of pizza was all it took.

Shakirah, the eldest daughter, had been invited to NewSpring’s Fuse student ministry by one of her high school friends. When she came home that night, the then 15-year-old marched straight into her twin brothers’ bedroom, serious as a heart attack, with a single question on her mind: “What are you doing next week?”

"You need to come to Fuse,” she said. “If you go, I’ll get pizza, and so will you.”

That was all Sharif and Naji needed to hear. The twins went the first week, and they kept coming back — with friends — knowing that the promise of pizza stood every time they brought a first-time visitor to the Fuse "Jump Off” hospitality area.

To see kids go to church and feel comfortable praising God, that for me is ‘wow!' It’s unmeasurable for me - Creeana

“We really wanted pizza,” Sharif says. "Eventually I started paying attention to the messages and what they would mean. I felt like I really wanted to know more about God and who he was, and what he wanted me to do in my life.”

A Saving Grace

It only took a month for Sharif to become the first of the Crosland children to sense a desire for a relationship with Jesus.  The hunger to know more was so powerful, in fact, that he wasn’t fazed when one of the Fuse volunteers suggested he hitch a ride with him at 5:30 a.m. on Sundays to set up the portable campus at the Florence Civic Center, stay for a service and then load out. Oh, and there would be lunch afterwards.

It was just a few weeks before Naji was coming along — again for the food.

On Easter 2011, Sharif, Naji, and a friend they had invited, all asked Jesus into their lives. Shakirah eventually convinced her mom to drive her to church on Sundays, and she made a commitment to Jesus, too.


 

I have met children who have lost their way, even people in my generation, and I wish they could experience NewSpring. It’s a saving grace - Creeana

Before long all three were volunteering in KidSpring, and taking along their youngest sibling, Shadiyah, so she could experience the fun of learning about Jesus on her level.

The kids asked their mother, Creeana, to check out the church repeatedly. "Maybe I’ll think about it," she would always say.

An Unbelievable Difference

What NewSpring was doing in the lives of her children was unbelievable. She couldn’t deny that. For any teenagers to get up before the crack of dawn was crazy enough, but for church?

During summer breaks, when other kids might be planning mischief, her boys most days would roll out of bed, get dressed, and head straight to the church offices, just a stone’s throw from their apartment, to help with whatever tasks there were.

She was curious, no doubt. But she thought she didn’t need to go to church have a relationship with God. It just wasn’t for her, she told herself.

I was all about me. If I don’t get mine, you ain’t getting yours. Now, I’ll put others before me - Sharif

Then, more than a year later, Creeana was dropping off the youngest at KidSpring and was walking back to the parking lot when she heard God speak to her heart: “Turn around and go back to church.”

That day, Creeana turned around, entered the auditorium, and at the end of the service, gave her life to Jesus.

Her children’s example has led the way for her to volunteer, also in KidSpring, and even to give the first 10 percent of her income back to God, too.

"They have inspired me on many levels,” Creeana says about her children. "To see kids go to church and feel comfortable praising God, that for me is ‘wow!' It’s unmeasurable for me. I really honestly wish that NewSpring was in so many more places. I have met children who have lost their way, even people in my generation, and I wish they could experience NewSpring. It’s a saving grace.”

Change Of Heart

Sharif says his life has changed dramatically since NewSpring entered the picture, so much so that he has plans after graduation to attend the church’s newly launched ministry school, NewSpring College.

"I had a temper. You could say something the wrong way or walk by me the wrong way I would cuss at you, or maybe hit you. I’ve seen a significant change: I think twice about what I say, and how I take situations,” he says. "Jesus was patient with me and I want to be patient with others. That’s one of the things he taught me. I was all about me. If I don’t get mine, you ain’t getting yours. Now, I’ll put others before me."

That's what happens when you've walked with Christ. You’ve seen how he served you and you just want to serve others - Sharif

Sharif has noticed his mom has changed, too. She’s more at peace, relaxed, patient. She spends more time with the kids, whether it’s hanging out watching TV or getting involved with their activities. She’s now a proud parent in the boys' high school marching band, making sure everyone is fed, prepped and ready to perform for every competition.

"She’s had a change of heart,” Sharif explains. “That's what happens when you've walked with Christ. You’ve seen how he served you, and you just want to serve others."

Want to see more stories from that day? Check out the full message, "Not From You, For You." 

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