Tag Archives: witness

Podcast 23: Greg Hoyte-Immigration, Violence and Grace: An American Story

I am so honored to post this podcast! Listen in as Greg Hoyte shares his story with us.  (Greg is next to his sister in the above picture.)

You will be fascinated by Greg’s story. He shares his journey from his childhood in Guyana, South America to Brooklyn, New York. He moved to New York when he was 14 years old after his parents worked in the US for years to earn enough money for the kids to join them. Initially excited and feeling like a dream came true, he found himself caught up in the violence of the Brooklyn streets as a teenager, filled with fear and rage and thinking there was no way out. But God showed up and provided a way. Looking back Greg can see that God never left him. This is a story of family, immigration, violence, fear, grace and hope. This is an American story.

As he talked, I just sat listening, fascinated.  He “puts skin on” so many things we talk about today – immigration, violence, public education in American cities, gangs, family, friendship, God, faith, race, respect, discipline, the American dream, fear, hope.

Greg lives in Wisconsin now with his beautiful wife Amy and their three amazing kids.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.  -Psalm 23:4

 

 

 

Your life…a movie?

I read somewhere to think of your life as a movie and to think of God as the audience.

Uh oh.

Really? 

Well, I can see that.  I do know He is watching and I do hope He is pleased.  I guess it’s a reminder.

I wonder what genre my life would fall under.  Is it a drama…a comedy…a tragedy?

Is He falling asleep with boredom?  Is He laughing? Is He confused, wondering “Why would she say that?” Is He angry, thinking “Seriously, she’s doing that again?  When will she learn?”

Is He frantically trying to rewrite the script?  Does He need an intermission? Is He embarrassed? Shocked? Annoyed? Does He get annoyed?

This really has me thinking. 

If this is my movie and I’m the main character, then is God the director?  Is He the director and the audience? 

Who is in charge here?

The more I think about it, I like this idea.  In a movie, there is usually a small core group of people that are integral to the story.  These are the lifelong friends, the family-people who the main character knows intimately. 

Sometimes we get so focused on other people and what they are doing and their opinions, it’s not productive.  If it’s my movie, I get to decide who the core people will be.  If I remember I’m the main character who is hopefully by the end of the movie, going to evolve and grow and be happy, then I can stay focused on my journey. 

I went on a retreat once and I had to write a witness talk.  This is where you write down the details of your faith journey and then share it with the group.  I loved writing the witness but when it came time to say it out loud, I could barely get the words out.  I was reading it to my husband and he said, “Sue, I can’t hear a word you are saying through the tears.” 

I practiced and read it to a group of about 20 women.  The other women in my group did the same.  It was a defining moment for me.  The writing, the telling, and the listening were so powerful, if I wrote my witness story now that experience would be in there for sure.   

It’s a moving exercise to look back on your life and pick out the defining moments.  It’s fascinating and very reassuring to recognize God’s presence all along your journey. 

Try it.  What’s your story?  What’s the general theme?  Who are the main characters? What role does your faith play in it?  What are the conflicts?  When have you changed?  What are the defining moments? Where’s this headed? What about the ending? 

C’mon, it’s your story…what do you want it to be?

©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved