From Failure to Freedom

Chad Kaeb Profile
Article by Chad Kaeb
Development Director

A few years ago one of the most challenging boys we have ever had was placed in the Residential Program. This young man came straight from the streets and was firmly entrenched in his gang as an influential leader. He did not want to participate in Christmas because it was offensive. Many of us thought he would be the first to refuse to participate in church and church activities. A young man that was so caught up in sin and gang activity that he would have regular ‘satanic’ dreams that would keep him up all night. Out of the many kids we worked with over our 4+ years as houseparents, this young man’s life oozed a spiritual warfare like none others that we experienced.

Through his time at Gateway, he never did refuse to go to church, but he did opt out of participating in Christmas and Easter celebrations. Over time he did become a little more open with spiritual matters when talking one-on-one with us, but usually quietly opposed God and Christianity. He was able to make some positive improvements by passing his GED before he left. Even though he was not a very vocal individual, he still impacted most of the young men on campus because of his ‘gang’ influence. Unfortunately, after approximately ten months this young man had to be discharged early because of his choices. We will never forget the day we watched him be taken away in handcuffs. It was one of the most difficult days for us as houseparents, to witness that knowing there seemed to be little hope. Prayers, countless talks and time invested into his life seemed to be all for nought! We just went back to the house and wept over the mess of the situation.

We sent a letter and tried to look him up a number of times when we were in his hometown, but with no success or response. Some times the only things we can do is pray for these individuals.

Fast-forward a couple years. Our family was in the his area and decided to try to Facebook message him to meet for dinner. We didn’t hear back (no surprise, considering how he left Gateway). The former residents we were visiting told us that they had some contact with this young man and that he was different.

Several days later we received this text from him “I’m doing good, been working steady over a year now. Got my own place back in April and finally turned my life over to Christ last year. Sorry for all the problems I caused you guys. I have been wanting to visit some time. God has been doing many amazing things in the past year for me. I’m so glad even though I failed the program, I learned something from it all.

It took me a while to realize it, but I know God’s working and has been using me as a voice for his lost sheep. I changed a lot. Even though I’m not perfect, in ALL things God has made me a man with a purpose.

Words can’t describe the overwhelming emotions that followed as we conversed via text for the next hour. When he left there were tears of anguish and now tears of joy and overwhelmed by the work of God. We serve an awesome God who is continues to amaze with His miracles.

Chad is currently the Development Director at Gateway Woods. He has also worked as a Houseparent.