Jaden, 12, of Marion, Ohio, knew he was lost—orphaned, in a sense—and he needed somewhere to turn.
So, he picked up the phone.
He had just watched the My Hope America program The Cross and dialed the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association call center, where volunteers donate their time to answer calls from people searching for spiritual answers.
“His voice was quivering. I could sense the sadness in his tone. It touched me so much,” says Judy Turner, the volunteer who took his call. “He just simply told me he was lost.”
When Judy asked Jaden where he thought he would go when he died, Jaden said, “I am probably going to hell because I don’t have Jesus.”
At that moment, Judy knew God had ordained her to be at the call center for Jaden.
She spent a long time with him—much longer than usual—because she sensed in her spirit that he needed as much time as it took.
After Judy talked through the gospel with Jaden, it became clear he thoroughly understood what Jesus did for Him. He prayed, trusting Christ as his Savior.
“When he prayed, he acknowledged that he is not good enough but that Jesus is,” recalls Judy. “He said, ‘Jesus, I trust that Your blood paid for my sins in full.’ He was so happy."
After he prayed, the conversation took an unexpected turn.
Jaden asked, “Would you pray for my dad? He is in prison.”
According to Jaden, his father is currently serving a 21-year jail sentence. Jaden is just 12 years old, but his dad has been in prison for most of those years.
“This broke my heart,” Judy says.
The Holy Spirit prompted her to share Psalm 27:10 with him, which promises God cares for us, even in the absence of our parents.
“I told him that the Lord will be real to him and that He will be a father to him—even when his earthly father is in prison,” Judy says. “I am overwhelmed that God would touch a heart like that and give a child saving faith. Through The Cross, God gave him the courage to call and talk to a stranger about his soul.”
As the conversation continued, Jaden offered a quick testimony of God’s faithfulness in his hardships. “This is how I know Jesus is real—we were homeless for a while. I prayed, and He helped us find a place to live,” he said.
Judy then assured Jaden that he always has a place to call home in God’s kingdom.
“Well, now you have two houses,” Judy said. “You have your house in Ohio and your mansion in heaven. Jesus is preparing a place for you there. You’ll never be homeless again!”
Before Judy ended the call, she offered Jaden one last word of encouragement: “Remember this day, Jaden. Mark it down on your calendar, and celebrate it every year. This is the day God has welcomed you into His family.”
Then she reminded Jaden that not only does he have an active, loving Father, but that he has brothers and sisters around the world.
“Jaden, when we get to heaven, let’s look for each other,” she said. “We will worship Jesus forever—together.”
Jaden replied, “I definitely will. I can’t wait!”