ARISE: Risks Are About Process, Not Results

Youth Specialties
October 28th, 2016

I’m going to tell you a story about how $800 and a suitcase changed my life.

To understand the story, you have to understand the era this story started in. The story took place in the year 1985. The eighties were definitely an interesting time to say the least. Some of the most famous music of the time came from a duo from England called WHAM! In 1985, people would flood movie theaters to see the most patriotic movie of the time, Rocky IV. In 1985 you didn’t use a cell phone, you used a gigantic box called a bag phone. The 80’s were definitely a different era.

Also in 1985, on a small island named Trinidad and Tobago, a young father would say goodbye to his wife, say goodbye to his young daughter and young son. He then would grab his whole life savings of $800 and he would board a plane. His destination, the greatest country in the world, the United States of America. This man knew nothing about the U.S. This man had a third grade education. This man had no job lined up. This man only had $800, a suitcase, and a dream for his family. He was about to take a major risk. He was very nervous and very shaky, he boards the plane and has a destination of Miami International Airport.

He lands in Miami and becomes very confused.

He hears all these spanish speaking people and thinks he is in the wrong country. He stumbles his way through the airport and finally makes it to the taxi cab stand. He gets in a taxi and he says to the taxi driver, “I would like to go to the hotel. To which the taxi driver responds, “Which one?” He doesn’t realize there is more than one hotel. Thinking quick on his feet, he says, “I don’t want to go to the nicest hotel, but I don’t want to go the cheapest hotel, I want to go to the hotel that’s right in the middle.” The cab driver drops him off at a Holiday Inn. He checks into the hotel and gets settled in his room. This dream is starting to become reality and as he sits his stuff down in his room he gets a little shaky. He’s super stressed out and says something that we all say when we are stressed… “I need a drink.”

He decides to go to the local hotel bar.

He gets up to the counter and doesn’t recognize any of the drinks besides one. He decides to get the only drink he knows, a Heineken. He sits down and he’s thinking how is he going to make this work. How he’s going to make this risk count and whether or not all this will pay off.  “Am I going to be able to pull this off?” As he is thinking of a plan, a lady from down the bar looks over and says, “You Trinidadians sure do love your Heineken!” It turns out, the lady and her husband were both from the same island this man was from. They began to talk and have full conversations and the couple really took a liking to his story. They asked him, “So you want to start a dream for your family and you wanna take a risk, how do you plan on doing that?” His reply, “I have no idea, but I’m going to do it.” His courage inspired them so they started sorting through different classified ads together looking for a job for this man. They opened up the newspaper and found the perfect one. A construction job in Naples, Florida. The next morning they took the man to the Greyhound station and he heads 90 miles west to Naples.

He shows up to the job site, with the suitcase in hand, and is ready to get to work.

The guys around the yard asked the man what can you do? He replies simply “I can work.” They respond quickly,  “So can you do drywall? “No.” Can you do roofing? “No.” Well what can you do exactly? “I can work,” he says. They decide that they would give him a shovel and have him dig trenches for $5 an hour. Slim, the supervisor of the yard, started taking a liking to this man. They start to share each other’s stories and Slim soon realizes that this man has no place to stay tonight. As fate would have it, Slim’s buddy Wade just has broken up with his girlfriend and needs a roommate to help cover rent. If Wade doesn’t find a roommate, he’s getting kicked out of his apartment. Wade asks this man if he would like to room with him and immediately the man jumps on the opportunity.

For the next year to year and a half, the man works two, sometimes three jobs, construction during the daytime, cleaning dishes at night, or finding any work that he can do. He does this so that he can send enough money to pay for his wife, young son, and young daughter enough money to bring them to the U.S.

The young boy in this story is me. The man in this story is my father.

My dad took this giant risk on me before I could truly do anything. He counted my future valuable enough to take this risk. Risk is required for lasting impact. My dad’s risk wasn’t about him. It was about me and my future.

Some things you need to know about me, is my name isn’t Paco. No one in the world should name their kid something that rhymes that close to a word like taco. My name is actually Neville. I got the name Paco when I was 12 years old. It was given to me by a gentlemen that took a risk on me when I was 12 years old. At 12 years old looked like a normal 12 year old. I had terrible posture, a pre-puberty mustache, and I was a mouth breather.

I was at a church function when I got my nickname. I didn’t know many people at this church function. A gentleman named Kevin Mendez approaches me. Kevin says “Hey man, what’s your name?” At the time, I was going through the voice shift changes, so my voice sounded a lot like Scooby Doo and I said “Neville.” He replied “Excuse me.” “My name is Neville” I replied back. Kevin hesitated and said, “Well you don’t look like a Neville, you look like a Paco!” I responded with “Oh well you look like a racist.” And instantly from that conversation Kevin and I became best friends.

Over the next few years, Kevin took multiple risks on me.

He took a risk on me by introducing me to Jesus, showing how to live out my beliefs as a Christ Follower, and how to be a Godly man. Kevin risked being embarrassed, having his time wasted, and being rejected by showing me these things. He took a risk on me even when I couldn’t take a risk on myself. Kevin poured into my life so much that I see the effects some 15 years later.

Today, I get to work with middle school and high school students at Crossroads Church in Cincinnati. God is doing incredible things here and it’s an amazing to say I get paid to do this. Because of the risks that people like my dad and Kevin took on me I am able to inspire and challenge young people to fully devote themselves to Jesus. I’m in the position I am in only because of those who risked time, energy, money, safety, and many other things on me before I could even show them that it would be worth it. I know realize that these risks that people took on me were not just about me. They are about the lives that I get to impact. They are about the family trees that get reconnected, the lives that get restored, the stories of hope and life change that happen only because of the gospel. It’s powerful to know that someone took a risk on me. God put people in my life that took a risk on me before I had anything to offer. These risks give me strength when I feel like quitting, when I feel inadequate, or when I feel like what i’m doing isn’t important or paying off.

This is the most important thing I know about risk…

Risks are not about the results. Risks are about the process.

It is our job to commit to the process, it’s God’s job to take care of the results. This has had tremendous impact on how I do life and ministry, especially with students. I’m not sure if you realize this, but students are tough to deal with! Often times I find myself in front of adult leaders as they ask questions around whether or not their time and energy is worth it. I often wonder if Jesus had the same questions during his time on earth. Is all this going to be worth it? Are these people even getting the message behind all this stuff?

The book of Romans says it like this.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.  But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:6-8)  

Jesus took a risk on us, before we deserved it.

Jesus died for us, while we were still messed up. He counts us worthy to risk it all for us. Since he risked it on us, we are now qualified to take our own risks. These risks should not be for our own sake, they should be for the sake of the lives that will be impacted because we stepped out of our comfortable existence to pursue something new.

What risk is Jesus asking you to take?

pacoNeville “Paco” Pancham is a gifted communicator with a passion for seeing people who are far from God encounter him in a real way to develop an authentic relationship with him. He has over 10 years experience traveling the world encouraging and challenging young people to invite Jesus to be at the center of their lives. His messages seamlessly integrate humor, crowd involvement, and solid biblical truth that allow for a memorable experience that everyone will enjoy. Paco and his wife Leslie currently reside in Cincinnati, OH where he serves as Director of Student Ministry at Crossroads Church, the #1 fastest growing church and the #9 largest church in 2015 according to Outreach Magazine.

Youth Specialties

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