Road tripping STRIVE alums celebrate Chris Nocks’s boot camp graduation

Oct 08, 2021|Written By: Richard Feero

An African-American, Black-American, Latino, and White-American walk onto a Marine training base…Chris Nocks boot camp graduation strive road trip

On September 24th, Chris Nocks, STRIVE Class of 2021, graduated from Marine Corps Boot Camp on Parris Island. The journey just to get to Parris Island required sacrifice, strength, and determination. Throughout high school, Chris had served his community: as a 5/8 Club summer intern, a volunteer 5/8 leader, and a meal distributor during COVID. Now he will exercise that same passion and sense of duty to serve his country.

Watching Chris grow up

When I first met Chris back in 2013 he had super long cornrows that hung down past his shoulders. He always had a smile on his face. Sometimes that smile was kind and warm and sometimes mischievous and playful. Regardless, he wore that smile often. It was contagious to others and often a little too large for the face God blessed him with.

Since Chris has been a part of Abundant Life he has stood out to me, guest speakers, and his peers as a thoughtful young man and a leader. He has overcome much on his journey and has developed into the man that many of us foresaw when he was in 5th grade. Chris is blessed with being a part of a wonderful and strong family. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to have spent the last 8 years with him and to be a small part of his beautiful family.

A South Carolina Road Trip

On this trip Abellatif, Manny, Cardale, and I joined Chris’s family and his 11th grade math teacher, Mr. Patterson, to celebrate his achievement. Chris has left a mark on those he has come into contact with. That’s evident by the fact that three of his STRIVE buddies (one who is now an Abundant Life Fellow) didn’t hesitate when I invited them to attend his graduation. The trip down with these recent high school graduates was marked with great conversations about love interests and challenges with health, school, and work. We also shared many great laughs and talked about our faith as we listened to music. The nearly 16 hours we spent together in the car were a ton of fun!

I think in a small yet beautiful way this is what Abundant Life is about. When people of different walks of life come together it’s often met by the world with cynicism or it’s the introduction to a good joke. But in 1 Corinthians 1, Paul reminds the church that God can use anything, even what seems foolish to the world to bring about his purposes. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief has come to kill, steal, and destroy, but I have come so you might have life and have it abundantly.” I believe part of what that looks like is a small rental car filled with guys from all over the globe unified in friendship and faith on a trip to celebrate a friend’s accomplishment. Maybe it’s a small sliver of the Kingdom but I am filled with deep gratitude for the opportunity to share in it.

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