If there’s one thing Jon Silva has learned to appreciate, it’s the value of friendship. At the age of two, Jon and his family moved from Brazil to America and never truly settled in one town for most of his life. That made it tough to stay involved in most activities, both as a student and as a Christian. Finally, in the middle of high school, his family settled in the Avon area of Massachusetts and he started hearing about the student group at Grace Church. Being new to the area, he was nervous about going and not knowing anyone. But it was his newfound friendship with another student named Garrett that gave him the confidence to give it a shot. “I wouldn’t have gone if I didn’t know a familiar face,” says Jon, “Since I knew him, he made it an easier transition.”

He soon got to know the leaders at Grace Students, and it was clear they cared. “As much time as I put in, they were willing to give back to me,” says Jon. Because of that, Grace Students became a place he wanted to keep coming back to. Not too long after his first time coming to Grace Students, he heard about an opportunity for students there to take a service trip to Guatemala. He decided to hop on board and take the trip. Little did he know that experience would change his whole perspective on life. “Seeing where people were coming from made me realize how good I had it here,” Jon says, “The biggest problem here is my charger won’t reach. [Other people are] worrying about food!” It sparked a new sense of urgency in Jon to start giving back however he could. “Wherever I was needed, I was willing to go,” says Jon.

As soon as Jon graduated high school, he realized one way he could give back was by serving in the very type of group that helped him discover his desire to serve: Grace Students! Plus, it would suit his high-energy personality perfectly. Says Jon, “Being willing to be sweaty from running around after the night is over is just something I love to do!” These days, he volunteers his time leading middle school students. “I like working with that age group because they are honestly just starting to figure it out and beginning to know what it means to take faith on for themselves,” he says. Having been a student himself not so long ago, he knows just how much of a difference it can make for them. Says Jon, “If they know you are truly investing into them and actually care about them, they care back!”

To learn more about our student ministry, check out thatsgrace.org/students. Want to start making a different in students’ lives by volunteering? Let us know by emailing students@thatsgrace.org.

By: Megan Botelho, Volunteer Writer