AA Senior Leland H. Delivers Chapel Talk
2017, January 2 – Most teen-agers must overcome obstacles as they mature into young adults. However, some deal with greater challenges that any adult would find daunting. Such has been the case in the life of Leland H., an AA senior who delivered his Chapel Talk on Dec. 7, 2016.
Leland courageously shared two incidents in his life that served to increase his faith in God who is with him in all things. “No matter what happens,” he said, “you should be comforted by the love of Jesus Christ and lean on Him in times of need, loneliness, and despair.”
During the AAU season two years ago, Leland said that he was playing well and looking forward to playing at the college level. Then, he hit “rock bottom” when he tore the ACL in his knee during the last game of the season. “I thought I’d never see myself reaching the goals I had planned for since I was six years old,” Leland said.
Then, one night in a dream, “He [Jesus Chris] came and wiped my tears away and just smiled as if to say everything was going to be alright.” The next morning, Leland said that he felt “rejuvenated, ready to go to physical therapy, and begin my process to play [basketball] again.”
The next challenge Leland faced was the loss of a friend he knew when he attended Meadowbrook High School. “One of my best friends was named Miles,” he said. “Miles was the funniest guy I ever met, and I honestly couldn’t put a price on our relationship.”
After Leland transferred to Amelia Academy, he learned that Miles had gotten into trouble and become depressed after his sister had passed away. Then came the news from a mutual friend that Miles had taken his own life.
“I stood there in shock,” Leland said. “I checked the messages on my phone and late the night before I had a text from Miles saying he needed someone to talk to. I had been asleep.”
Over the coming days, Leland said that he tried to “keep on going as if nothing had happened.” One night, he was overwhelmed with emotion as he prayed with his family. “I felt as if I had failed my duties as a friend.”
“Then, out of nowhere, I felt a warm embrace go from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. I realized that God was giving my comfort like nobody else could provide,” said Leland.
After these two experiences, he said that he now knows more than before that God is present in his life. Addressing his fellow students, he said that “God will be there for you when you feel like a failure, unworthy, or lonely. He will see you through until the end.”
Leland joined the AA class of 2017 last year. He expressed appreciation to the members of the class as well as the Academy teachers. “I want to thank you,” he said, “for welcoming me into your Academy family and making me a better person than when I first stepped through those double doors.”
He also expressed gratitude to his family for “always showing me an endless amount of love even at my lowest points.” His mother and father, Julie and Richard H., were in attendance for his chapel talk. Also present was his sister Leah H.
Leland is playing varsity basketball this year, and he is also a member of the Beta Club. He looks forward to continuing his educational and athletic endeavors in college next year.