My name is Brandon Reinhardt, I’m a senior college student at Florida State. I grew up in Stuart, Florida down in South Florida, and went to Martin County high school. I grew up with two younger brothers, grew up with my mom and dad, all in the same family.
We grew up going to church, I grew up Catholic, actually. My parents raised me with good and strict moral values, I definitely felt like I was trying to be the good person. I thought like going to church on Sundays and as long as I was being a good person and doing good things, then that was good enough. I think a lot of that stemmed from the Catholic church that I went to, of just doing good. And I was so raised on manners, and politeness, which are good things, but that’s where it ended, just being a good person.
Never really grew up knowing what a relationship with Christ was, I just knew that I went to church on Sundays and youth group on Wednesdays. And that was pretty much the basics of it.
Growing up in high school I was the kid that just had to be part of everything. Whatever was going on, if it was the fun thing going on, I had to be in it, I had to be involved. Whether that was sports, or pep rallies, or going out fishing, or going out to the sand bar, or just going to the movies. Whatever anybody was doing fun, I had to be a part of it and just be with the big crowd having a good time.
The summer after my senior year in high school, the cool thing and the fun thing was to go to parties, and I got a little more freedom since I was going off to college. My parents told me, “You know, you’ve got to be responsible and that responsibility is up to you now.”
So I got that freedom and did the fun thing. So I went to parties and started drinking and came up to college that fall and the cool thing was to party but on a higher level. By that time, I started to a little bit but it just wasn’t the fun thing for me anymore and I was searching for something else. This was fall of 2006.
I was searching for the fun thing but I realized there was something missing, it wasn’t about just having fun anymore. I wanted something, and I didn’t know exactly what that was and I felt kind of lost in that. I felt an emptiness, like I needed something more.
At first I thought maybe it was my family, like maybe I was missing my family. I called my mom and started telling her how I was feeling and she encouraged me that maybe I needed to find new groups of friends, like find something different than what I had back home. She didn’t know exactly what was going on but I just feel like that was probably God, at the time, working through my mom.
I took her advice and I tried to do different things. One night I went down from my dorm, I went to go get a snack, and I saw one of my good friends from back home, his name is Pat. He was sitting around with a group of people and I said “Hey Pat!” I guess they were praying at the time so he kind of gave me the like “hold on a second.” I realized what they were doing and I was like “Oh ok, I will talk to you later” because I knew where he lived and stuff and I had seen him up there before.
So I go to go in the elevator and go back up to my dorm room and a guy on staff named Andrew, who I didn’t know at the time, came running around the corner and he was like “Oh hey! Do you know Pat?” And I told him “Yeah I know Pat from high school, we were friends in elementary school so we go way back.” He was like “Oh that’s cool, we’re with Campus Crusade for Christ and we’re just having a bible study down here.” And I was like “Oh that’s awesome!”
And at the time I remember my mom was in the back of my mind “Oh get plugged in, find something else.” And he was encouraging me at the same time like “Oh you should come out and check it out.” I’m thinking, why not check it out, I’m not doing anything. But I had given him my phone number and he called me before, and he said “Hey do you want to get lunch?”
So he met up with me and just kind of wanted to hear my story, how I got to FSU, what was going on in my life, and just was really concerned about what was going on in my life, and what was important in my life. So I met with him on Wednesday and he wanted to meet again for lunch and he just started diving a little deeper each time that we got together. Pretty much the second time we met he just challenged me and asked me if I had a relationship with the Lord. I said no, I don’t know what that looks like. He was like, “Would you want to take that step and give your life to the Lord and have a relationship with him?”
I just remember just feeling this big, I wouldn’t say pressure, because he wasn’t pressuring me into it, but this big welling up inside of me. And just knowing that this burden was going to be lifted off, and just saying yes, I wanted that relationship. And all of a sudden feeling like everything rush in and out of me at the same time. I felt at that moment that I had something.
I ended up realizing that that void was filled with Christ, and I haven’t lost that feeling since that day. I have what I’ve been looking for.